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Tech: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp

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Fortunato 04 Jan 00 - 09:38 AM
harpgirl 04 Jan 00 - 10:03 AM
Bill D 04 Jan 00 - 11:11 AM
Rick Fielding 04 Jan 00 - 01:25 PM
Fortunato 04 Jan 00 - 01:55 PM
Gary T 04 Jan 00 - 02:40 PM
Joe Offer 04 Jan 00 - 02:42 PM
Rick Fielding 04 Jan 00 - 06:00 PM
04 Jan 00 - 06:03 PM
Roger in Baltimore 04 Jan 00 - 06:28 PM
Bill D 04 Jan 00 - 06:44 PM
GutBucketeer 04 Jan 00 - 08:11 PM
ddw 04 Jan 00 - 08:59 PM
DonMeixner 04 Jan 00 - 09:00 PM
DonMeixner 04 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM
catspaw49 04 Jan 00 - 10:16 PM
Bill D 04 Jan 00 - 10:45 PM
catspaw49 04 Jan 00 - 10:59 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 05 Jan 00 - 01:39 AM
Rick Fielding 05 Jan 00 - 03:33 AM
harpgirl 05 Jan 00 - 08:36 AM
Bill D 05 Jan 00 - 10:31 AM
Fortunato 05 Jan 00 - 12:47 PM
Rick Fielding 05 Jan 00 - 02:58 PM
Joe Offer 05 Jan 00 - 03:51 PM
Sandy Paton 05 Jan 00 - 05:51 PM
catspaw49 05 Jan 00 - 06:26 PM
05 Jan 00 - 08:12 PM
Fortunato 05 Jan 00 - 08:16 PM
ddw 05 Jan 00 - 08:20 PM
Rick Fielding 05 Jan 00 - 11:33 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 00 - 08:30 PM
Rick Fielding 07 Jan 00 - 12:35 AM
Night Owl 07 Jan 00 - 01:04 AM
Bill D 07 Jan 00 - 02:52 PM
catspaw49 07 Jan 00 - 03:23 PM
BK 08 Jan 00 - 04:41 PM
BK 08 Jan 00 - 04:44 PM
DonMeixner 08 Jan 00 - 04:50 PM
Rick Fielding 09 Jan 00 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Bob Briehl of Applachian Instruments Sales & 08 Jun 12 - 03:18 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Jun 12 - 04:56 PM
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Subject: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Fortunato
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:38 AM

Please offer opinions of brands of electronic tuners for autoharps. Also, if you have opinions about autoharps that might compare to Oscar Schmidt and be of relative price please share them. I'd welcome a comparison of 15 and 21 chord models, or anything you all might have to share. Thanks. Happy New Year.

Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: harpgirl
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 10:03 AM

...Fortunato...be sure you buy a chromatic tuner...a good place to buy autoharps is E-Bay. With some luck and attentiveness you can get a bargain...I am looking at some of the new Korgs at Elderly Music and there are some very inexpensive new models...a twenty one bar harp gives you lots of chords...most everyone I know who plays modify our harps or buy diatonic models for a fuller sound and use more than one. Look at Zephyrhills Autoharps in Tampa for Mark Fackeldy's luthiery... harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 11:11 AM

and be SURE that whatever tuner you get allows for a plug-in input, so you can use an inexpensive little gadget that clips to a post on the 'harp and allows you to tune even in a noisy environment!!It is nothing more than an alligator clip with a 1/4"RCA plug , but it saves you hours of aggravation, I used to have to go off in another room to tune till someone gave me one of those.


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 01:25 PM

Hey Fort, what Bill left out out was that now they make him go into another room AFTER he's tuned!

I really like the tuners with an actual arrow, rather than LED lights. Kind of lets you see how things are progressing. I use a Seiko, which is the quickest and most accurate I've owned. I think you can make one of the clip devices. Just a guitar plug, wire and alligator clip. Sandy gave me his and it works great.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Fortunato
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 01:55 PM

Thanks Harp Girl, I'll check out EBay. Thanks, Bill and Rick. I'll make that clip thing tonight.


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Gary T
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 02:40 PM

I haven't used many brands, but I've always been happy with my Boss tuner, which has a needle as well as "close enough for government work" lights.


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Subject: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 02:42 PM

I have a "Quik Tune" chromatic tuner that has a 1/4' jack on it, but the instructions say it's for plugging in a guitar pickup or the like. Any chance this alligator doodad would work on my tuner, or is it some sort of clip-on pickup that I need? I think I'd rather do plumbing repairs than tune an autoharp. Hey, Rick, I'll buy you a beer if you'll come over and tune mine. Hell, I'll even fix a toilet or two for you.
Might make a musician out of me, if I could ever get my instrument tuned right.....
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 06:00 PM

Joe, funny you should mention the toilet... Yeah, I think you can just clip of the plug and solder an alligator clip. If we could get Sandy back, he'd have the answer.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From:
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 06:03 PM

Why???


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 06:28 PM

Anonymous,

Because, that's why!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 06:44 PM

gee, last time Rick heard ME play, HE went in another room...and was sick...*grin*...but he is right about having the 'arrow' or in my case, an actual 'hand' pointer..it really helps to see an indicator swing closer to 'right'...and if you want to be fancy, you can tune 'slightly' off for certain keys...etc..and calibrate it by eye...


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 08:11 PM

Yes to all of the above:

If you are looking for autoharp information join the cyberpluckers list. You can find out about it on Autoharp.org

If you are looking for Autoharps on e-bay, be careful. The most sought (sp) after are Oscar Scmidt model B or C models that were made in the USA. This was before Oscar Scmidt started manufacturing them in Japan and then Korea.

Look for a good B model with a sound hole in it. B models have the aluminimum string anchor across the bottom. Ask and make sure that the bottom is not starting to pull out, and it is in good shape otherwise. If you find a good one with 15 chord bars, you can always change it to a 21 chord bar setup by buying a conversion kit for around $60. That is what I did, and it is highly recommended. The advantage of a 21 chord setup is it allows you to play in different keys and keep the pattern of chords that you push down the same.

If you want to spend more money a Custom Harp is the best. They are much louder and usually have more bass and better action. However, they also cost much more $$$. Fladmarks are very nice. Other custom harps are made by George Orthey and Timberline among others. Custom harps are very hard to find used.

JAB

Good luck and keep plucking!


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: ddw
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 08:59 PM

Sorry to say I haven't had my harps out in a while — been concentrating on the guitars — but several things sprang to mind in reading the above posts. I have an Intellitouch chromatic tuner that should attach right to the harp without having to put in any special clips. It reads vibrations in the wood rather than in the air, so ambient noise doesn't bother it — except other instruments that make the one being tuned vibrate sympathetically.

As for the 15- vs 21-bar question, I prefer the 15s because there is more room above the strings for picking. I hold it Maybelle Carter style, and the 21s fill so much space there's no room to get at the really high strings, which I use in the fiddle and banjo numbers. Also, if you have two, tune one to standard tuning and the other down a half-tone. Really gives you a pretty wide spectrum of keys to play in.

You've been given a couple of good pieces of advice about being wary of buying on the Net. I personally wouldn't chance it, but that's up to you.

Oh, and one other thing. Whatever harp you choose, think about taking the cover off the bars, cutting up some of those little vase-bottom felt sticky things and putting them on each end of each bar. It cuts the return clatter immensely.

Cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:00 PM

When I play Auto Harp I have a 1969 Appalachin 15 Bar that I took down to and 8 Bar harp. I use this chord configuration and in most cases there are no sharps except the few needed to create the D and a few minors. The sharped strings I have tuned to natural notes and the chord bars are opened to allow for unison strings. It is a very loud melodic instrument. It is also limited in many ways. I have to create 7ths by picking very creatively. But the incredible ful sound is worth it for me. I have a similar one that plays in D and G and a little of A. But nothing as successfully as the key of C Model that I have described here.

I like the Korg #1 Tuner/trainer best and I have a pick up on the Harp just for tuning.

Bb Dm F Am C Em G Bm D

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 09:03 PM

I realize I miss typed, nothing new for me, Its a 9 bar harp. The minor chords are in the back rank and the majors are in the front. Fewer chord also means more area to play in.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 10:16 PM

Tuning multi string/register instruments like autoharps and HD's...the best electronic tuner I've found by far is the "Zen-On Chromatina"...sounds funky, but works GREAT! It has both analog meter and led display and is extremely accurate with an excellent ability to sort out overtones and harmonics in both extremely high and extremely low registers. VERY popular with Hammered Dulcimer players. It also has a jack input if you want to use it....AND (if you have the dexterity of a yak and need to buy one) both the tuner and the pick-up are available at www.musicfolk.com CLICK in case the blue clicky gods hate my ass since I have the brains of a yak and the blue clicky don't do its do!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 10:45 PM

....gotta laugh, spaw..they want $10 for the jack thing that is worth about $2.98...ah, well...


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Jan 00 - 10:59 PM

Yeah, I know......I don't think its worth $2.98 Bill, I mean, what CAN the parts cost? But like I said, if you have the dexterity of a yak............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 01:39 AM

Any decent quality chromatic tuner can be used, but I'd narrow the range down to two. Sabine makes one of them; I think the model number is AX-12. It doesn't require a jack since it just sits on top of the sound board (or any flat area) & picks up the vibrations.
The other is the one "ddw" mentioned; the "IntelliTouch" from Onboard Research. Best tuner I've ever used: very sensitive (even with the lowest strings of my acoustic bass guitar), with a large accurate display. Costs about the same as the Sabine or Korg's top models. One caveat 'though: the IT has a swivel joint that doesn't look too durable - be gentle with it.

Rick - might you describe your 'harp for the good folks? The way you have it modified seems to me to be the most versatile setup I've seen.


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 03:33 AM

Certainly Jeremiah. Although it's actually tricky to describe. Wish I could put up a picture or two.

It started out as a standard 15 bar Oscar Schmidt. What I wanted to do was have an instrument that could be as easily played on the lap (but NOT cross-handed) as cradled in your arms (Maybelle style)

I also wanted to cut the tuning time by 3/4 so I installed Schmidt's fine tuning system. Finally I wanted to be able to play any song in any key (while still having at least 3 inches of playing room free around the high strings.)

I removed the two plastic cartridges that hold the bars and cut them down to hold 11 bars instead of 15. I left the base of each cartridge on and drilled a hole in each end. I took the felts off two bars and glued them in the last space of each cartridge. This now keeps the two cartridges stable (like a square) There are now 9 openings left for chord bars.

I placed the cartridges (now just ONE assembly) at the bottom (near the fine tuners) and drilled through the existing holes into the autoharp itself. I then moved the cartridge assembly to the other end (very close to where the high strings are) and once again drilled holes through the existing ones and into the autoharp.

I use thumbscrews with knurled knobs to go into each of the four holes.

I've covered each cartridge with a thin piece of wood (about the size of a popsicle stick) to hold the bars in place. It's quickly removable with one thumbscrew in order to change chords.

Put a tiny drop of glue on the bottom of all the springs, so they won't pop out when tou're changing chord bars.

When I want to play with the harp on my lap (or when I'm working with a student who is very visually oriented) the cartridge is afixed to the left side, giving me about 3 to 4 inches clearance on the right side to play.

When I want to hold it upright I put the cartridge on the other end giving me lots of access to the high strings.

Using simple hardwood, I've cut about 50 blank bars (you could just as easily have used blank ones from Schmidt) and have felted about 35 so far. I played on an album recently where they wanted Jazz chords!! So I felted several bars to play Fm6, Cmaj7, and F#dim.

Sometimes when a student is having real trouble with guitar or banjo, I just insert 2 chords in the autoharp (like D and A7) and have them play it on their lap. We'll do something like Skip to my Lou, and since they have only two buttons to push (and still make glorious music) it can be a real ego boost when they most need it.

I know this sounds terribly complicated but it really isn't. I've done this conversion for several folks now and it takes about two hours. Making a hundred false starts and an equal number of messes before I finally came up with something that really worked has taken about 29 years!

Sheesh, hope that helps.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: harpgirl
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:36 AM

...oh and Barry...as to sexism in electronic forums...have you ever noticed how few women post to the tech threads and the men (like you Gargoyle) make fun of the threads like "healing" and other non music threads that draw female comment????...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 10:31 AM

???Barry??...gargoyle??...not sure I see exactly what brought this up, harpgirl..(I don't see much real sexism in here, though lord knows, it is an ongoing issue in the world, and probably WILL be as long as we have somewhere around 2 sexes)


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Fortunato
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 12:47 PM

Thanks to everyone for the help. I'm going to be referring to this thread for a long time for tips for my wife who is just getting started with the 'harp.

Harpgirl,

Thanks. I have place a bid on an autoharp at Ebay. I'm scared, but the feedback on the seller was very positive. If it can be tuned I will be happy.

'Catspaw49, do I remember seeing somewhere that you build autoharps?

Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 02:58 PM

Barry? Huh? Men's threads? Women's threads? Isn't this about autoharps? Is Gargoyle here and I don't know about it? 15 fucking paragraphs, and an hour's worth of time? Sorry Jeremiah, shoulda just said "too complicated" and left it at that!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 03:51 PM

Hey, Rick, any chance of getting a picture of that autoharp that we can post somewhere? I just got a glance at it in the spring because you were "otherwise occupied" after your concert...
Bill, don't you also have some way of changing the bars on your autoharp so you can get different chords? What's your setup?
? There are some great threads about autoharps here and here and a bit here and particularly here
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 05:51 PM

Rick: Regarding the plug-in/clip-on tuning gizmo, I don't have a clue -- does it have a miniture pickup in the clip? Frankly, I never bothered to look. As long a it worked, it was okay with me. I'm a genuine techno-phobe. Perhaps that's why I never post to technical threads. Does that make me some sort of sexist in reverse?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 06:26 PM

Sandy....The gizmo is simply a plug fitting the tuner and a wire with a small gator clip on the end. Probably about two bucks at Radioshack. Leej would know. The Zen-On 331 and some others generally don't require it in most situations, but they are useful in an excessively noisy environment.

And Fortunato...I've built three and they've been OK, but nothing to write home about. Sounded fine, but just another autoharp. It is one of the easiest soundboxes to figure, but to me, the problem in autoharps is not one of sound, but ergonomics. When I finish the redesign of my hammered dulcimer and I'm building at a reasonable level, I want to talk in depth to Harpgirl about some specific ideas and questions about autoharps. If you don't know, she has a fine reputation and I would trust her judgement on things related to this instrument. I'll throw it to Bill too and to Rick, and open to the forum later. I already have made a few asymmetrical Appalachian dulcimers, but I'm going to focus on ONE model only of HD first, then add either the App or the autoharp next...again, ONE model only. One of the problems I experienced before getting sick was building too many of this and that, mainly because I was learning and it was fun and a challenge. But as a small time builder, I need to focus on building only one model that fits many circumstances at a cost that's livable.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From:
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:12 PM

Hey'spaw I didn't know you'd been ill. I hope you are well now. Harp girl did give me some advice and I will heed it, thanks for the tip. I'm bidding on a 15 year old Oscar Schmidt only played a few times by a gentle Sunday School teacher. Said to be in near mint. This is an ebay auction that Harpgirl recommended.

take care of yourself 'spaw, there's a dearth of good folks in the world, you're needed.

cheers fortunato


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Fortunato
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:16 PM

Sorry, didn't notice the From: field It's me, Fortunato!


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: ddw
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 08:20 PM

Hey Rick,

Sure hope you bring that beast with you when you come to Windsor for your concert in the spring. I'd love to have a look at it.

david


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 11:33 PM

Will do David.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 08:30 PM

Joe..the 21 bar harp has its buttons stuch thru a plastic cover, so you 'sort of' can make new bars and change 'em around, but it is NOT easy...best to build a special rack like Rick and others have done, where it is just flip it open and put in the new ones. (and try to REMEMBER what you have changed-- I totally reversed my 21 chords end for end, and it took months for the new system to sink in, though I like it better. (I also have an original Zimmerman harp with the 'shifters', so you can play 3 chords one one bar....weird!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 12:35 AM

Bill have you ever seen some of those astonishingly complex turn of the century jobs. One was advertised (in a Sears Roebuck catalogue) as "able to play 160 chords!" The autoharp is an amazing piece of machinery.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Night Owl
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 01:04 AM

Rick...found your explanation of your autoharp "reconfiguring" understandable and fascinating. Thanks for the info!!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 02:52 PM

Rick..15 years ago, Mike Holmes(Mugwumps) told me he had JUST sold/traded a Zimmerman "concert harp"...the BIG one, to some guy in Vermont (I think)...I said "...but you didn't TELL me"....anyway, it went for the equivilent of $900, so I probably wouldn't have managed anyway. The only other one I know of was a 'basket case' in the window of a music store in Berkley. Mine is the same principle, just standard size...see pictures


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 03:23 PM

Great pictures Bill...I like the "group shot"...It needs a bowl of chips and some dip, "Harps kicked back and watching the tube." Excellent detail though, really!! I think your counter is broke.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: BK
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 04:41 PM

As for aligator clips "just soldered" to a cable - speaking w/the mental remnants of a once well trained Navy electronics tech - and from recent experience & observation - that in itself wouldn't work. Those I have seen, on close inspection, clearly have some form, albeit very small, of pezio sensor (a type of "pickup"). Ya simply gotta give some kind of electrical signal to the tuner, the inputs are designed for it & a wire can't carry the simple mechanical vibrations worth a darn. So ya gotta turn the vibrations into electrical signals that vary as the mechanical vibration did so the tuner can sense it. I was gonna make one but then saw the IntelliTouch at a jam session & can hardly think the effort is worth it, as this tuner is so good. All the other tuners I've seen are clearly eclipsed next to this contraption. Gonna get one sooner or later. Maybe the Sabine you semipermanantly attatch to your guitar might be worth considering for me, but for flexibility & ease of use - at least in a reasonably well lighted area, the IntelliTouch blows them all into duet. Really. Check it out.

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: BK
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 04:44 PM

into dust, not a "duet".. never could type worth a damn.

cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 04:50 PM

FFor a rudimentary Piezo pick up for tuning purposes. Get a piezo buzzer at radio shack and carefully take it apart till the wafer is free and the rest is junque. Solder a piece of 2 strand speaker wire, one strand in the center of the wafer, one strand on the edge. Care full not to cross over the isolator. Besure to leave the smooth side smooth. On the smooth side add some Barcus Barry stickum. at the other end of the 2 strand wire. wire in a 1/8 " Plug lack also from radio shack. Plug your tuner into this mess and stick the poezo on the harp, dulcimer, guitar, what ever. The piezo effect is strong enough to give you a solid pick up for the tuner.

I have also made very successfull piezo pick ups this way.

From an old article on pick ups in guitar player about 12-15 years ago.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 03:41 PM

Don, will you be my father? Never had any problems with my real one, but he used to blow circuits the way Catspaw does possums. His strong suits were patios and bookshelves, but piezo making? Not a chance.

By the way. Dan Armstrong told me that the very first piezo pickups (used by John Sebastian) were "diver's mikes.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Pick ups for Autoharp
From: GUEST,Bob Briehl of Applachian Instruments Sales &
Date: 08 Jun 12 - 03:18 PM

I am coming up with customers with problems with their magnetic pick up on the autoharp. The tiny wires break and no one seems to have schematics for resoldering the wires to their proper connectors.
The model I am referring to does not have the new EQ built in, (where they seem to have solved this problem by making it more modular and less chance of breaking the wires.) I think the Oscar Schmidt number is 442 for the pick up.
Your help would be appreciated so that I can help my customers.
Bob Briehl
PS Regading the tuners in the above entries, the new models now have a built-in tuner (digital) for both the 15 and 21 chord Autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Electronic Tuner for Autoharp
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Jun 12 - 04:56 PM

http://www.appalachianinstruments.ca/

This thread went dormant 12 years ago, and a magnetic pickup is a little off the original topic, but prior comments didn't really stick too close to anything in particular, so the little bit of thread wander isn't really a problem.

Prior comments about tuners and tuner pickups were a little off the mark - or at least a little incomplete.

Since an autoharp has a whole bunch of strings to tune, it's obvious (I think) that you need a chromatic tuner. The simplest tuners on the market are really intended only for guitars and the like and might get confused with "too many notes," so you may want something a little fancier, but any tuner that can "hear" all the notes you need, and that tells you in a reasonably handy way how close you are should suffice.

The clip-on pickups that you attach to the instrument and plug into the tuner are a real help in getting what the instrument is saying without picking up what everybody else's instrument is doing, but they're very slightly more complex than just a wire and an alligator clip. The wires at the "clip" end have to connect to a "piezo element" as DonMeixner (08 Jan 00 - 04:50 PM ) described. A "piezo" element is anything that produces a voltage when you shake, squeeze, or bend it. When the instrument vibration shakes it, it makes a voltage, and that voltage is what's fed into the tuner.

You can make your own clip on tuner, but unless you've got a well-stocked junk box and have saved a variety of "broken things" it's generally cheaper - and a lot less hassle - just to buy one ($9 - $15 (US) last time I looked). Piezo elements are "findable" in a lot of things, both for detecting sounds and for making sounds. One half the size of the littlest pea in a pod (the one that didn't grow) should suffice for a tuner pickup, but I've seen them up to about 2" diameter in the alarm clock "screamer" of the kind sold in truck stops to wake up the trucker sleeping in the middle of a yard full of running reefers.

The clip-on tuners just have the piezo pickup in the tuner.

When you say "magnetic pickup" I assume you're referring to a pickup intended to detect what the strings are doing while you're playing so that you can amplify the wiggles to make things loud enough for the surly crowd to hear. These things are generally intended to be permanently installed, usually inside an instrument where they're pretty well protected from "violent events" so they can be made quite tiny and outside of normal use the itty-bitty parts can often be easily damaged.

There are lots of variations in magnetic pickup designs, and about the only ones who can really tell you how a particular one is put together is the one who put it together - so beating up a manufacturer's rep is probably the most effective approach - if you can tell which one to hit on.

The only reference to a "442" I found at the O Schmidt site was for the "EQ" version, and it doesn't give enough info even to tell whether uses piezo or magnetic pickups. There are ads on the web offering a "442 pickup kit" for addition to an autoharp that isn't wired for sparks, but the "complete installation instructions" they advertise may not really be helpful for broken things (and they don't actually say whether that's the same one O S uses).

John


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Mudcat time: 16 August 6:37 PM EDT

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