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Help: autoharp parts?

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GUEST,lilith (tigerlilith@hellokitty.com) 17 Apr 01 - 08:31 AM
SINSULL 17 Apr 01 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Claymore 17 Apr 01 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,lilith 17 Apr 01 - 09:20 AM
wysiwyg 17 Apr 01 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Don Meixner 17 Apr 01 - 09:34 AM
Bernard 17 Apr 01 - 09:49 AM
lilith 17 Apr 01 - 10:15 AM
SINSULL 17 Apr 01 - 11:10 AM
Bill D 17 Apr 01 - 12:04 PM
Joan from Wigan 17 Apr 01 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,Arne Langsetmo 17 Apr 01 - 02:06 PM
SINSULL 17 Apr 01 - 02:30 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Apr 01 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Claymore 17 Apr 01 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 17 Apr 01 - 03:47 PM
harpgirl 17 Apr 01 - 06:42 PM
Bill D 17 Apr 01 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,Nathan in Texas 18 Apr 01 - 12:44 PM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 01 - 01:45 PM
GUEST 18 Apr 01 - 02:00 PM
harpgirl 18 Apr 01 - 02:49 PM
Bernard 18 Apr 01 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,doug curran 02 Dec 14 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,Mary 07 Dec 14 - 04:15 PM
beeliner 07 Dec 14 - 10:12 PM
beeliner 08 Dec 14 - 07:33 AM
GUEST 08 Dec 14 - 07:39 AM
beeliner 08 Dec 14 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,HootsonMusic.com 11 Aug 15 - 01:18 PM
Felipa 11 Aug 15 - 02:22 PM
Pamela R 06 Sep 15 - 08:01 PM
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Subject: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,lilith (tigerlilith@hellokitty.com)
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 08:31 AM

i'm hoping that someone here would be able to help me out... i've recently inherited my dad's old autoharp, and it desperately needs re-felting before it can be played. unfortunately, any music repair place that i've phoned in my area (i live in glasgow, scotland) says "a what-harp?!?" when i ask about replacement felt. is there anyone on this forum who a)is living in the uk and b)knows where i could get the felt replaced, or where i could buy replacement felt so that i could do it myself? thanks lilith


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 08:39 AM

Try Elderly instruments. They have a website where you can order strings and felts.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 09:16 AM

That would be www.elderly.com . They do have most parts for autoharps, however they may not be able to get the parts for the truely old harps (black boxy things with the string anchors set under a plastic end piece, and the anchors themselves are pins set in the base of the instrument). Be advised that some parts are hard to get and frankly, unless you are planning to build some of your own chord bars, such as Bm, Em, F#m, etc. it is cheaper and easier to order the 15 bar (or 21 bar) adaption kit, which comes with all the chord bars, springs, and channels, etc. for about $80.00 dollars 'merican. Then you can save the working parts for replacements as they are needed. Be advised that the autoharp felts are going to black in the near future, and that 15 bar felt is an 1/8th of an inch wider than 21 bar felt (21 bar felt can go on 15 bar, but not the other way round.)

Also get your strings from Elderlys as they are cheaper for mail order than anywhere else (A style are loops for the older harps mentioned above, B style have buttons on the end for the newer slotted end pieces - about $32.00 'merican). Good luck!

(As for the "What-harp", tell them that West Virginia is passing a bill to make it the State Instrument, and that it lends itself well to Scots-Irish Appalachian ballads and aires such as "Archibald McDonald of Kepoch" and "Teddy O'Neil".)


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,lilith
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 09:20 AM

i have taken a look at elderly's website. the problem is that due to the 'harp's sentimental value, i'm really hesitant to take it apart myself, and would rather find a local, trustworthy person who could help me, at least the first time anyways! so if anyone knows of a good repair place anywhere in the uk that would know what to do with an autoharp, i'd appreciate being put in touch. thanks.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 09:27 AM

Lilith, if you care to join Mudcat, people can also send you personal messages within Mudcat to discuss this further.

I recently had a complete rebuild of my autoharp at a good shop a few hours away, and I know other Mudcatters in the US have good people nearby too or can do the work themselves. If you run out of options in the UK, and want to ship it to the US for repair, we could work this out.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 09:34 AM

Those old Harps had black felt on them. If you have an "A" model harp the felt was simply glued to the bars. Most of the newer harps have a double sided tape that holds the felts to the aluminum bars. Your bars are very likely Americain Poplar and I'd not trust the tape too awfully much. Take a piece of the felt to a Machine Shop Supply or use the Mc Master-Carr catalog and see if they can supply a sheet of felt of the same weight and color. Felt is used as a vibration dampener and comes in grades of hard, firm and extra firm. Its all over the place in price too.

Send a sample to Mc Master - Carr 473 Ridge Road Dayton, New Jersey 08810-0317 USA.

Hope this helps, They may have an international wing for their business as well.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 09:49 AM

It's probably a 'Hopf' - they were very common in the UK in the late '60's, early '70's.

I have one which was a bit of a mess when I got it (over 20 years ago), but it is in full working order.

I'm sending you an email with a photo of it - maybe that will be of some help?


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: lilith
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 10:15 AM

sorry bernard - maybe i should have been more specific about the make and model etc! it's an oscar schmidt appalachian, 21 chord. i'm not sure how old it is, but my dad had it for at least 25 years, possibly longer. i did manage to take it apart (scary as it was!) and the chord bars are metal. i'm not sure what you mean by "a" model...


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 11:10 AM

I was able to get strings for both an older and newer Schmidt autoharp. Elderly advertised the felts at that time. It takes some digging on their website to find them but they are there.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 12:04 PM

I re did some bars on MY 21 bar Schmidt many years ago...what I did was find a company that made gaskets, and they gave me a scrap of felt from which I cut bars to fit...it was MUCH more 'resiliant' than the felt that came on the 'harp, though slightly thicker...felt comes in many, many grades and if you can find a local source, it might be both cheaper and an improvement. I'd even send you the remnant of the scrap I had, but there's not enough to do all 21 bars....but if a piece as a sample would help......


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 02:03 PM

I used to have an autoharp (it got 'nicked' a couple of years ago). When I couldn't find any authentic felt for it, I used piano felt, which worked well as a substitute.

I have a friend who has just found an autoharp in her loft, but without its tuning key. Does anyone know where (in the UK) it may be possible to find one please?

Joan


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Arne Langsetmo
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 02:06 PM

You might try to go directly to Oscar Schmidt (http://www.oscarschmidt.com) for replacement bars; they will have the right bars for your model of harp, and you won't have to worry about getting the right ones.

If you decide to customise your chords by getting blank bars and cutting them down (or buying blank flets and putting them on your bars) you should cut "V"s into the felt with a very sharp razor blade using a sawing motion:

----------------------------- __A____A______A_A____________

rather than the straight cuts up to the metal that they seem to come with:

_____________________________ __||___||_____||_||__________

The straight cuts leave felt toungues wobbly, and with time and wear, they'll shift and muffle the wrong strings:

_____________________________ ___//___//_____//_/__________

If you're trying to fix up the harp, you might also think about putting a little thin piece of felt on the _top_ of the ends of the bars; this helps cut down on the clacking you might hear when you release the bars.

My two cetns worth.

Cheers,

-- Arne Langsetmo (zuch@ix.netcom.com)


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 02:30 PM

Tuning keys are sold regularly on Ebay for about $6-7. Elderly carries them.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 02:38 PM

There's no need to go to the USA for an autoharp key; we do have them here!  For example:

Hobgoblin Music: accessories


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 02:46 PM

Arne,

That was an elegant use of the key board, and I concur entirely.

I would add to the post about the "Tuning Key" or "Tuning Wrench" as they're called in the States (important only for word searches) that you should spend the extra couple of bucks and get a "T handle" tuning wrench as they are much easier to twist the pegs in the exact position for correct pitch, as opposed to the standard "one lug" wrench.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 03:47 PM

"A" model harps were made in the US by Oscar Schmidt until about 1966, Give or take a year. Then came the "B" models, still 12 and 15 bar harps but with rounded corners and white plasitic bar buttons rather than the golf "T" style most of the "A" mosels used.

The 21 is a rather new style in the cosmic scheme of things. Felt and tuning pins are easy to locate. Call them zither pins and you may go further in your search. Many hammered dulcimer and harpsichord makers use the same tuning pins.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: harpgirl
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 06:42 PM

...my goodness...I see several, seemingly new autoharp enthusiasts! What songs do you all like to play on the a'harp?


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 10:51 PM

unless they have improved a lot in recent years, I don't like the felt that Oscar Schmidt puts on their instruments...it is soft, and the strings gradually make grooves in it until they buzz and don't work. If you a nice stiffer felt like I refer to above, you will not regret it.. The bars I put it on are still fine after 20 years. (but, maybe there IS a choice now at Oscars)


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Nathan in Texas
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 12:44 PM

You can become a member of Cyberpluckers, the online autoharp group, by going to www.autoharp.org There are several members in Great Britain who could probably direct you to local sources for supplies, as well as where to meet other autoharpers on your side of the Atlantic.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 01:45 PM

Folk music camps seem to attract some clever autoharp repair experts. Go to a camp with your autoharp and look like you're having trouble, and you're likely to find somebody to help. I can't believe you'll have to go to the U.S. to get repairs.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 02:00 PM

Thanks to all who've posted on this thread. Arne, your suggestion about putting felt at the top is just what I'd considered doing with mine, as it definitely clunks. Mine is a Chromaharp, bought about 1973 - the 12 chord version.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: harpgirl
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 02:49 PM

or you could glue a flat piece of rubber band there to stop "clacking" and shim the bars with cardboard at the end as well, so they don't move around...but it is jury rigging. I vote for new bar sets ordered from a reputable luthier...hg


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Apr 01 - 05:53 PM

Didn't Chromaharp make an electronic one... late '70's, I think.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,doug curran
Date: 02 Dec 14 - 04:28 AM

British players should join the UK Autoharp group on Facebook, where
all help and advice is free. Scottish players should make their way to the Scottish Autoharp Weekend, in Moniaive, Dumfriesshire every summer And I have loads of felt, in Dumfriesshire...


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,Mary
Date: 07 Dec 14 - 04:15 PM

Need help finding the bottom part for a Johnson Chromaharp/Auto Harp. Have checked elderly.com, but they dont seem to have it and there is no search that brings it up.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: beeliner
Date: 07 Dec 14 - 10:12 PM

What do you mean by 'the bottom part'? Do you mean the pin cover? I can sell you one, but I'm not sure what the rules are here regarding conducting business on this forum.

For a simpler solution if you are handy in the workshop, go to a hardware or home improvement store and buy a length of WAINSCOT CAP. It's not expensive and can be converted quite easily into a suitable replacement for the pin cover.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: beeliner
Date: 08 Dec 14 - 07:33 AM

P.S. to previous post: There are several varieties of Wainscot Cap, if you have a Menard's in your area, their SKU for the kind I use is 4175083. It comes in 8 foot lengths, I am down to my last foot, having used it to replace broken or missing covers for both Schmidt and Chromaharp instruments.

After cutting off the right length, you will need a power sander to round off both ends. Then drill the holes for the mounting screws, spray paint, and you're in business.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 14 - 07:39 AM

Any suppliers in UK sell individual replacement strings for Oscar Schmidt autoharps.
One of the wound strings on a brand new autoharp imported from USA
broke on first tuning out of the box.

The autoharp was then put away unplayed for 1/2 a decade until I recently aquired it.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: beeliner
Date: 08 Dec 14 - 09:30 AM

Guest wrote: Any suppliers in UK sell individual replacement strings for Oscar Schmidt autoharps.

Is that a statement or a question?

The "out of the box" string probably broke because it was tuned sharp, but it might have simply been defective.

In either case, hardly a reason for abandoning the harp. You just buy a guitar string of the same gauge, strip down the windings at both ends and you are all set.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: GUEST,HootsonMusic.com
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 01:18 PM

Felt and tuning wrenches and springs available. HM based in Edinburgh.


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Felipa
Date: 11 Aug 15 - 02:22 PM

Great co-incidence that you are in Glasgow, Lilith - but pity your request was 14 years ago. I came across an advert from Madhoose music,Lanarkshire, which is planning to start an autoharp group and a ukulele group this autumn. They are appealing for instrument and parts donations.

"We will take your autoharp from you in any condition, becuase if it's mangled, it might still be possible to make up a new instrument from several old ones." -- so they must have someone who knows about autoharp repair -- and anyone in the area reading this may like to join the Madhoose Music group as well.

http://www.gumtree.com/p/groups-associations/ukeleles-and-autoharps-wanted-/1124864797


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Subject: RE: Help: autoharp parts?
From: Pamela R
Date: 06 Sep 15 - 08:01 PM

I have an old, standard 15-bar O-S Autoharp which I play a fair bit at home. Having this reputation, other people tend to give me old, un-playable Autoharps they don't want. I have accepted them happily, with the hope of re-tuning and re-felting them to make diatonic harps in a couple of keys I tend to use a lot. While I'm at it I could felt the upper bar to reduce clacking noted by many above, give them a fresh set of strings, take the opportunity to clean up the wood too... In principle this sounded like a fun project, but I simply haven't had the time to tackle it myself for several years now.

So -- in addition to the leads mentioned above, does anyone know of a person/shop in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA that would take on such a project?

Does anyone know if fine tuners could be added to the old low-end models during such a refurbish?

Thanks!
Pamela


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