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Tech: Autoharp mechanics

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Bugsy 14 Dec 23 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,DrWord 16 Dec 23 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,DrWord 16 Dec 23 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,saulgoldie 16 Dec 23 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,saulgoldie 16 Dec 23 - 08:10 PM
PHJim 17 Dec 23 - 12:21 PM
Bill D 17 Dec 23 - 03:36 PM
Bugsy 28 Dec 23 - 05:25 AM
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Subject: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: Bugsy
Date: 14 Dec 23 - 12:24 AM

I've recently got my old autoharp back after maant years.
It's a Chromatic model.
I'd like to convert it to a Diatonic, but have no idea where to start.

Does anyone know if there's a conversion kit available for for this?
I've searched the net but to no avail.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 16 Dec 23 - 03:24 PM

Hey Bugsy wish I could point you to appropriate website ~ surely another ’cat will help out. I repaired a harp several years back, and yes! all the bits & pieces ARE out there. Counting on a harp-friendly to pick up this thread. I distinctly recall a site that was precisely what I needed to bring an old Oscar back to snuff. I’ll check back here to see if you’ve found info & material, & happy strumming!
Dennis


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 16 Dec 23 - 03:37 PM

Hey Bugsy
It may be that the harp techs want the work rather than selling conversion kits, but you may well find info &/or materials at, for example [there’s lots more] harpdoctor (dot) com   or daigleharp (dot) com
Hope they are of some help. :)
There are quite a few videos on youtube too, fwiw
??keep on pickin’ {& strummin’}
Dennis


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 16 Dec 23 - 05:10 PM

It sounds like you want to make it have fewer chords, but a richer sound. Did I get that right? Great idea!

It can be done. You will have to do some arithmetic. Figure out what key(s) you want. There are some key combinations that work better than others. You will have to make new chord bars. Figure out what strings you want doubles of. Then you will have to cut some felt or some material for each new chord bar. Some folks use old mouse pads for the material. Or plain old felt.

Then glue the pads on each chord bar in the right places to make the enhanced chords. I don't have the "formula." But I know it can be done; it HAS been done. I *think* Bryan Bowers has done some of that sort of thing. When I have seen him perform, he brings one of those tall rolling pastry things with trays that hold different harps with different setups.

Bev and Jerry used to be the Mudcat resident autoharp experts. Maybe they could weigh in? (Did one of them or both pass away?) Also, BillD may have some intelligence.

Try here: https://autoharp.org/

I will try to dig up my notes on the subject. One thing to think about is that if you're going to all this trouble, you might want to make sure the harp has a sound that you think is worth the effort.

AND...report back, please and let us know how it went.

Saul


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: GUEST,saulgoldie
Date: 16 Dec 23 - 08:10 PM

I found this from...somewhere:

I converted a 21 chord Schmidt into a three key, G D A harp.

Mine has 12 chords, the row nearest the high strings E, D7, A7, E7, ; middle row C, G, D, A,; row toward low strings Am, Em, Bm, F#m. There might be a better choice than the E, but I have songs I need it for, so I'm happy with it.

I would suggest that you keep your key configuration the same for whatever
harps you use (so you reach your 7ths and minor chords the same way) though,
of course I've broken this rule for the E.




I play a 3 key diatonic (G,D,A) mostly, but also own an F/C.


Saul


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: PHJim
Date: 17 Dec 23 - 12:21 PM

I own two semi-diatonics (2 keys), a G/D and a E/A. I also have a C diatonic (Well it's not strictly diatonic, because I missed the C7 chord, so I have a Bb string in the middle register).
I converted these 'harps on my kitchen table, using an Eacto knife, some contact cement and sandpaper.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Dec 23 - 03:36 PM

If you make new chord bars, be sure to choose your material to allow room for the thicker bass strings. Cut a piece the full length of the chord bar, then cut notches in the right places. (BEFORE removing old felt, mark the bar on the side to show the place for the notches!)

   I was lucky to find a resilient chunk of felt at a gasket company,but it was a tiny bit too thick at the bass end and I had to trim it with a razor blade.
Note.. all this was done on a 21 bar 'harp.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Autoharp mechanics
From: Bugsy
Date: 28 Dec 23 - 05:25 AM

Thanks everyone, for the input.
I'll do some more research and report back.
In the meantime, a Happy New Year to you all!0

Cheers

Bugsy


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