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Help: Autoharp Models: History

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wysiwyg 11 Dec 01 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 11 Dec 01 - 01:51 PM
wysiwyg 11 Dec 01 - 02:06 PM
catspaw49 11 Dec 01 - 02:52 PM
ddw 11 Dec 01 - 06:53 PM
wysiwyg 11 Dec 01 - 08:38 PM
harpgirl 12 Dec 01 - 01:44 PM
harpgirl 12 Dec 01 - 01:47 PM
catspaw49 12 Dec 01 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,TNDARLN at work 13 Dec 01 - 09:20 AM
catspaw49 13 Dec 01 - 09:38 AM
harpgirl 13 Dec 01 - 12:01 PM
harpgirl 13 Dec 01 - 12:07 PM
catspaw49 13 Dec 01 - 12:26 PM
wysiwyg 14 Dec 01 - 11:19 AM
harpgirl 14 Dec 01 - 12:31 PM
wysiwyg 14 Dec 01 - 12:38 PM
harpgirl 14 Dec 01 - 12:42 PM
wysiwyg 14 Dec 01 - 01:30 PM
harpgirl 14 Dec 01 - 07:28 PM
wysiwyg 14 Dec 01 - 07:35 PM
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wysiwyg 15 Dec 01 - 08:27 AM
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GUEST,mollificent 17 Feb 02 - 09:38 PM
Kaleea 18 Feb 02 - 01:40 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Feb 02 - 06:05 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 18 Feb 02 - 06:37 AM
wysiwyg 18 Feb 02 - 08:40 AM
beadie 18 Feb 02 - 03:54 PM
harpgirl 18 Feb 02 - 04:40 PM
Bev and Jerry 19 Feb 02 - 12:18 AM
Bill D 19 Feb 02 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,mollificent 20 Feb 02 - 12:25 AM
Art Thieme 23 Feb 02 - 12:07 AM
harpgirl 23 Feb 02 - 01:46 AM
freda underhill 13 May 07 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,Jim 13 May 07 - 02:30 PM
Susan of DT 14 May 07 - 11:04 AM
Bill D 14 May 07 - 12:40 PM
Mooh 15 May 07 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,OLD TIMER- GROUCHO 15 May 07 - 11:44 AM
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Subject: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 01:00 PM

A friend has a very nice old Oscar Schmidt autoharp with its original owner's manual and a 1966 copy of the "Many Ways" book volume one. She bought it, used, many years ago, in its original chipboard case. It is a rectangular case with rounded corners and an unlidded pick compartment inside, lined in blue.

The owner's manual indicates the harp would be what was then designated as a BH model autoharp, specifically the 15 EBH. Chords reading left to right: E flat, D, F7, Gm, B flat, A7, C7, Dm, F, E7, G7, Am, C, D7, G.

The color is a medium warm golden reddish-brown stain, all over, with no sunburst pattern. It appears to be solid, not laminate, and there is mortise and tenon joinery visible along the side edge, near the high C string. Also faintly visible is the joinery attaching the top-- perhaps it's shrunk some and needs to be reglued. The sound hole looks a bit smaller than today's models.

The brown chord bar assembly is farther towards the pegs than how I recall 15-chord models being set up now (I have a 21), in fact it lies over the lower half of the sound hole. At the "Piano keyboard" end, instead of the keyboard decal, there is a stencilled pattern. This shows, top top bottom, the notes laid out on a staff with octaves marked off; string numbers 10 - 34 marked off in fives; and the note names. Ball end strings.

It's obviously been treated well by its original owner-- all the tuning pegs are standing up straight at the same height, with no string ends hanging out where strings were changed. The strings have hardly oxidized at all, tho there is dust on the top-- they must have been oiled at some point by the first owner. There is little wear on the felt, but it is unevenly broken in-- you can see that light pressure was applied, and to get an even sound on a chord you have to mash pretty hard to get all the strings damped out.

The serial number is gone, and if it ever had a sticker in the soundhole, it's come off. The owner's manual indicates that a warranty card with serial number would have been included, but that is gone as well.

It needs some work-- new chord bar springs I think, and some of the felt is damaged on two chords-- not worn, but pieces torn off, probably from things rattling around in the case.

The tone is really lovely. She has not played it since buying it YEARS ago! And it is still pretty well in tune relative to itself! *G*

Can anyone tell me anything about the history of harps in that time period, and what this one's value might be? Or what model might be comparable now, in quality?

I would be inclined to refelt it to get a fresh start on breaking in that felt, and because if I play it I will set it up differently for the keys I sing in. Make sense?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 01:51 PM

Sounds like a standard "B" Style Autoharp. The "B"s came in about 64-66 I think. Rounded corners rather thn pointed like the "A" models.

The label would have been silkscreened on the face of the harp. If it says Appalachian in the label its anice harp. The top would be solid spruce rather than a laminated or plywood top.

The bars rarely need replacement if they are aluminum. Just refelt the bars. Harpgirl can connect you with a parts supplier thru the AutoHarp Quarterly. Perhaps Elderly has Harp parts or try Musickits.com.

Look under the chrome plated pin cover at the bottom of the harp for a serial number, there maybe a model number there too, Its been a while since I worked on Autoharps.

Good Luck,

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 02:06 PM

Yes, the Oscar Schmidt name is stencilled on the face, but no model name with it. So this would have been an early B model?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 02:52 PM

Yeah....Don has it right....the direct ancestor to THIS.....The difference in values would depend on the woods used. In any case, it sounds like a playable harp, just needs felts. Felt material is about 2 bucks or so a foot and Elderly has it with preglued backing, but I'd use a dab of glue anyway.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: ddw
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 06:53 PM

Hi Susan,

Sound to me like a standard 15-bar birchtop harp, not an Appalachian. The latter had the bars moved down toward the bottom of the instrument so it could be held Maybelle Carter style (i.e., verticle as opposed to on the lap) and strummed or picked between the bars and the tuning pegs.

This one can be altered for that style by just taking the bars off, carefully lining up off the existing holes and moving the bar down. Of course, if you want to play it on your lap, all that isn't necessary.

As for value, I bought a 15-bar birchtop about five years ago from a music store in Detroit for $55. It was in fine shape except for one broken string. I tuned it a half-step down so it and my other one can give me a much wider range of keys to play in.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 11 Dec 01 - 08:38 PM

Thanks David. The E-bay prices are all pretty low too. I may make the lady an offer and then set it up for my style of playing.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 01:44 PM

The model and the years you are referring to Susan, are my favorite! There is one in that year range that I think has trouble with the A# staying in tune, if I recall but I can't remember which one it is. Anyway, I buy them whenever I find one and have them redone by Mark Fackeldy.

The one I spoke about recently is in that year range Model "B". Some of my B models have some caving in around the soundhole but it doesn't seem to change the sound and Mark says he likes that characteristic although I don't know why!!!

I love those instruments!!! I pay up to $115 for them and anything under that is a great bargain, in my opinion, if it's playable.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 01:47 PM

the one catspaw has a clicky to is NOT one model I think is playable and I avoid them. Sorry , Pat just MHO.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 01:51 PM

Sorry harp.....I wasn't suggesting it was wonderful, just that it's the descendant, which it is. The difference in woods though makes a lot of difference on the line.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,TNDARLN at work
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 09:20 AM

Susan,
A lot of times the serial number is found under the flat metal piece on the wide end of the harp. Also, don't forget to check for tight tuning pins. The case you described is often a clue to a nicer harp- when you suspect the case is the original one. George Orthey-not far from you-would also have really good felt. And he's a wonderful resource on all things autoharp. T


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 09:38 AM

Hi TNDARLIN....How ya' been?Yeah Susan, you oughta' do a field trip down there to drool and all His place is down north of Harrisburg. Here's his site Orthey Autoharps

You can also get felt of suitable density from your local piano tuner. just cut to fit and glue.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 12:01 PM

...or use Dr. Scholls foot pads.

Pat, it's the laminate that I think makes those harps sound weird. Doesn't it make them sound tinny???? I do think that model is the best one to amplify if you go electric and I think that's the one Susan uses in her electric church band, right Susan? That's why I like the earlier models with just some red varnish or whatever it is and we always rub that off so the wood can breathe and sing.

You can see the fire in their woods when the red finish is rubbed off.

Bryan Bowers likes George Orthey's harps real well and so do many other people. I like Mark's better than anyone else's. harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 12:07 PM

oh and Susan, there is an EBH in the EBay auction right now which was at $86 yesterday, if I remember correctly. I don't think I sent you that link but if you go to Ebay you will see it along with the other ones I sent to motormice. Did you get them?

I think they sell at $75 to $150 on E-Bay generally. Most of the good twenty one chord Oscar Schmidt's sell in the $200 dollar range.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Dec 01 - 12:26 PM

Couldn't really agree more harp......Although I've played and built other instruments with laminates that do just fine, the soundboard especially of an autoharp seems to be a loser in laminate. At best it's okay, but the sound quality difference in spruce is significant. I think it may be in the overtone/harmonics which are so much greater than on guitars or even hammered dulcimers that does it. I'm not saying that laminates are great, but they seem much less noticeable on other instruments.

BTW, I love that pgrase....."Fire in their wood"....yeah...really nice!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 11:19 AM

Been outta town. Thanks for all the info.

I have two now, both 21's, one solid (bought used and extensively recondidtioned and Bm added) and one laminate (bought new, Bm added.)

The solid lives at church in its hardshell case so I don't tote that one around much and it tends to stay in tune because the air quality doesn't vary much. I amp it with a Crate acoustic vocal-instrument amp-- not the one with digital effects, but the other one with the warmer sound. I do occasionally take this better harp to certain gigs, depending on a variety of factors, but I seldom take the Crate because it is so heavy and because at this point the gigs don't warrant risking it in transit. For these, if I amp I take an old Gorilla, either the large one or the small one, a bass amp that fits my sound well for voice and harp.

The other is a laminate I keep at home for working up arrangements and jamming with our gang, and I tote that one around for lesser gigs...

I really love the second one's case tho-- it actually came, used, wtih the used solid-wood one, and I swapped the cases between the two harps to give the better one the most reliable protection. But this second case is a heavy vinyl gigbag with good, stiff sidewalls and with a shoulder strap-- really heavier than most guitar gigbags, etc. I have seen, and its only liability is no pocket for picks and stuff... and I do like to carry some stuff around, including long-handled metal tea spoons for hammering arpeggiated chords.

Both of these have had pickups added, and for hammering the pickup (set on full tone but low volume) makes a wonderful tone. The tones of these two vary a lot, even with electrification... and that surprised me since they are magnetic pickups and I expected these would just grab the string sound, period.

Sometimes now I take an amp when I play outside of church or home, sometimes I go acoustic. When I amp sometimes I use the pickups and a Shure SM58 vocal mic, and sometimes I just use an omni mic hung to catch harp and vocal, which since I play it tabletop upside down, tilted up toward me, this works well in some sound environments. I also like to aim from the tilted top up and back against a corner or stone wall behind me to bounce the sound out to the people from there.

I did see the E-bay items but Harp, I didn't get your e-mail... unless the subject line includes the word MUDCAT, or the person sending is in my address book, my spam filters eliminate messages sometimes. So if you would resend I will add you to my book. Also-- I forget where your thread on F-tunes is-- one we are doing this year that makes me think of you is IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER, in F-- not because you are bleak (LOL!) but because it fits that key so beautifully and because I think your voice quality would be very strong there-- if you want my chords for this one let me know.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 12:31 PM

Susan, I sent links to the E-Bay autoharps which you must have already seen! I would like to see the chords to this song. I haven't heard or seen it.

F is not a good key for my voice, but I can play the odd fiddle tune in F and some other tunes more easily, I find with this new harp since I no longer have to transpose F tunes.

No winter here in North Florida. It has been 75 to 85 everyday. There has been almost one hundred percent humidity though! Some drizzle and a gray sky but plenty hot. The hottest December I can remember....weird....


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 12:38 PM

HG, didn't you say you wanted to sing in F??

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER is here at Cyberhymnal-- check it out and let me know what key you want to sing it in and I will set it up for you in chords.

There's another one from Cyberhymnal we are working on too-- see THIS in Favorite Christmas II, for lyrics, chords, and a tune link.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 12:42 PM

NO, I said I thought Mark thought I could sing in F. Thanks for the song. It is referenced all over the forum but it seems it's not in the DT. Thanks, Susan.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 01:30 PM

Ah, I see. Do you have a harp set up in all your best singing keys then? Geeze, Louise, how many do you have??

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:28 PM

I think about twelve but I only regularly play three, one is resting, three are not modified and three are in various states of modification and two are antiques.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:35 PM

Do you modify them all the same or will they be specialized?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Dec 01 - 07:51 PM

One is GDA, one is C/D and a partial F, one is F, and I am working on a B-flat. The resting one is a GDA and I remember I have my original GDA and one is an unmodified twenty one bar and one is unmodified fifteen bar.

The rest are in various states of experimentation or barless awaiting new finish or some such...I think the chord systems are all in the forum on various autoharp threads.

My original modifications I learned from Bryan and did myself and my subsequent ones are Mark's design. So I just play diatonics...


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 08:27 AM

Hm. OK, thanks.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 02 - 01:09 PM

Making an offer on this one tomorrow. If it is accepted, I'll swap out my 21-chord chord-bar setup and pickup, changing the Ab out for a B, too. Then I will have two very good toned harps-- one to leave at church and one for home and gigs.

Thanks for all the help, especially Harpgirl.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,mollificent
Date: 17 Feb 02 - 09:38 PM

Hmmm...this seems as good a place to start as any...

I'm curious as to what makers of reasonably priced, good quality autoharps are out there (other than Oscar Schmidt, I mean). Anyone know of a good resource for exploring what's available?

any info is appreciated :)

Molly


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Kaleea
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 01:40 AM

The typical oscar schmidt as it comes from the factory is unplayable by most autoharp players I know. we usually get one & immediately send it to someone who converts it to have the better chordbars & install a set of fine tuners, and of course most of us have a particular set up for the chordbars (the way in which the chords are laid out), I prefer the Bryan Bowers set up the major chords are in the middle row, the minors on the top (farthest away from my left hand's fingers)row, the sevenths the bottom row. Or, many just buy a Fladmark, which is a marvelous harp, or other high quality harp, and have them set it up the way we want it, but there is a waiting list of a couple of years for Fladmark right now I think. Autoharp is serious stuff to many of us, we do not just "strum" we hold the harp upright against the chest and pluck the melody & accompaniment, using fingerpicks on the right hand fingers, and pressing the chordbars with the left hand. The Fladmark goes for just under $2000. One can get a 21 bar professional model of an Oscar Schmidt such as the Adirondack for about $600, and then to get it converted will be another $300 or so. Or, you can get a lesser 21 bar harp for about $300-400, but if the chord bars are not set up in a configuration which makes sense, it is near impossible to play the thing. Some of us learn how to re do the chord bars by getting the pre glued felts & cutting them, which is not difficult, but you have to have someone show you how to do it right the first time so you don't get into too much trouble! Then once you start playing the melodies and playing faster tunes, you want to get more harps, and pretty soon you're a seriously nutty harpie!


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:05 AM

I have an early 20th-century autoharp (I don't THINK it's older, not sure) which I got years ago from a friend who was doing an estate-clearance in or near London and found it among the house contents. (He gave it to me for free.) It's black with a red rose-motif on its soundboard (or whatever you call it - I play the ordinary harp so that's the term that comes to mind) and it says it's a B&M Miranda. But what makes me mention it here is that it has a feature I've never seen or heard of before, though I'm no expert on this subject. It has twelve chord-bars, but each of these will play three different chords so you get a total of 36. This is done via a little lever or handle sticking out above each individual chord-bar, which you can move into three different positions, up-middle-down. This has the effect of shifting the chord by a semitone so for example on the A chord you also get Ab and A#/Bb. Has anybody ever seen anything like this before, can you tell me anything about "B&M", and can anyone hazard a guess as to its age? Another antique dealer who was looking at something else for me saw it and confirmed my estimate that it was probably early 20th-century but he didn't go into detail and no real analysis has ever been done on this instrument. It's in very good condition so obviously it was either not played much or very carefully handled. Any info out there? (It's not for sale by the way!) Thanks –

Bonnie (who should be working)


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:37 AM

Just had a thought: Might B&M be Barnes & Mullins? I've heard of Barnes & Mullins guitars... ???


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 08:40 AM

Strummers are serious too. We just play a different role in our bands, etc.

The cheapest way to do it is to get a used Oscar Schmidt (E-bay) and (if necessary) have a repairman put a conversion kit on it, with bars arranged the way you want them.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: beadie
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 03:54 PM

In the late sixties, I bought my first harp, an Oscar Schmitt creation called a "Guitaro." It was a 24 string instrument, with the chord bars closer to the tuning pegs than the butt, allowing ease of playing with having to "crosshand." It also had a sounding board arrangement behind the lower part of the instrument providing some degree of accoustic amplification. In short, it was a great instrument when you wanted to be heard and as a an accompaniment although not so great for the more "traditional" autoharp sort of music.

At any rate, mine became less and less "tunable" after many years of hard use (and not a few encounters with airline baggage gorillas) and was eventually retired to the display case in my basement. Lately, however, I have been interested in finding another of these long-out-of-manufacture beauties. Anyone out there got any leads or ideas where I might look. (The folks at Schmitt seem to scratch their heads and go , "a WHAT?")


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 04:40 PM

..."Guitaros" come up fairly often on E-Bay in the autoharp section. Look there, beadie


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:18 AM

Bonnie:

What you have there is your basic Rosenharp. We have seen a few of these but can't find any information about them. They were made in Germany and, from all appearances, the company bought genuine autoharp parts from whoever was the current manufacturer and did the assembly in Germany.

With regard to the shifters, these were in use on some American made Autoharps made by Zimmerman from 1888 to 1892. They were also used on some Dolgeville models from 1893 to 1899, and one model made by Phonoharp from 1910 to 1918. By the time Oscar Schmidt came on the scene in 1932, shifters had disappeared but you still see them occasionally on custom made harps.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 11:33 AM

I have a Zimmerman harp with shifters which is in playable shape..(or was the last time I tried it)...I even manage to play it MotherMaybelle style. It is quite fascinating, but I do see why they got away from shifters...it would require constant tweaking and adjusting, and did not have a good system for guiding the chord bars up & down, just used little wood shims at the ends.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,mollificent
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 12:25 AM

Thanks for all the input! I've started looking into a few places, though it's hard, as most of them are custom order only and I want to try and keep a regular stock. I'm just so fed up with Oscar Schmidt in general *sigh* that I thought it would be neat to look at some other options.

Orthey harps look quite lovely. I also found a site for Glad Morning autoharps. Anyone know about these? The search continues...

Molly


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 12:07 AM

I had a Schmidt harp with shifters and 5 bars. It was extremely old and I sold it for $30.00 to help with the rent one year in the mid '60s. (I paid $5.00 for it.)

This is a fine thread.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 01:46 AM

...what are the shifters? Can someone send me a link to a picture? I don't think I've ever seen one...


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 May 07 - 09:36 AM

for aussie musicians, evan mathieson in Brisbane makes autoharps with a unique aussie signature (check the shape of the hole in its belly) evan mathieson autoharps (scroll down)


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 13 May 07 - 02:30 PM

harpgirl,
    If you can get a copy of The Autoharp Book by Becky Blackley there are pictures of the shifters and a description of how they were developed. This book is the definative authority on Autoharps.

I seem to prefer the A styles and have two appalachian "A"s and two old black box "A"s. I also have an old Chromaharp. One of the black boxes is chromatic, all the rest are diatonic.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Susan of DT
Date: 14 May 07 - 11:04 AM

I bought a 12 chord Oscar Schmidt autoharp in 1967. Its best (most complete) keys were Bb and F. There was another model that had a lot of diminished chords - I never figured out who that was aimed at. There was an Appalachian model with chords that sounded more like what a folkie would want, but it was too expensive for me at the time. There were 15 chord models, but not 21, as far as I know, at the time. In the early 1970s I sold my 12 chord model and got a used 15 chord Sekova ChromAharp. I ordered some extra chord bars from Oscar Schmidt to customize it to keys I wanted to play. At the time I think chord bars they carried cost $2 and ones that were not on any of their models (Em?) cost around $5. I still have that one, but don't play it. I have seen some lovely handmade ones recently.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 14 May 07 - 12:40 PM

I have 6-7 models of 'autoharp', from the old Zimmerman with shifters to old black ones to strange shaped clones to a standard 21 bar.

Is there enough interest for me to take pics showing various features?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Mooh
Date: 15 May 07 - 08:57 AM

It strikes me that there is a lot of potential for the autoharp in "cetic" music (thinking of a very broad definition), but that it's not used so much there. Not sure most folks could endure a full evening of it, but a set or few tunes here and there would be cool. I should try it with my fiddle/guitar duo sometime.

I have a nice Appalachian Autoharp which had been my Dad's. 15 chord bars, all solid wood construction (no laminates) which he purchased for $70.88 in 1966. That would have been a lot of money for a clergyman with 4 kids. It has a hardboard case, the original tuning wrench, and the string pitch template which fits over the tuning pegs to aid in tuning. Sounds and plays pretty good though it could use some felts replaced. It's more complete keys are F and C major but lacks an Em chord which would help it in G or Em. If I ever get around to it, I'll make an Em chord bar for it.

Maybe if rock and roll hadn't happened there'd be lots more zither in the world.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,OLD TIMER- GROUCHO
Date: 15 May 07 - 11:44 AM

THE HARPDOCTOR AT   www.harpdoctor.com/   IS WORTH A LOOK FOR ANY ONE WITH ANY KIND OF HARP COMPLAINT, HARP ACHE OR IMPENDING HARP SURGERY, HARP TRANSPLANT OR REPLACEMENT A SPECIALITY .VERY REASONABLY PRICED WORK AND CAREFUL SHIPPING------AND A VERY HELPFUL GUY WITH QUERIES


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:00 PM

Mooh,
   Your dad probably got that harp the same year, or the year after they started making them. They were designed by Mike Seeger, Maybelle Carter and another player I'd never heard of. They were first advertised in Sing Out! magazine and you could only get them directly from the factory. A few months later, the demand became greater and they started wholesaling them to stores. I have two of these, one from '66 that has wood chord bars and one from '67 with aluminum chord bars. I have converted them both to semi-diatonic 'harps, and they're my favourites.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:04 PM

Mooh again,
There used to be a magazine called the Autoharpoholic, that was an excellent source of Autoharp info, kinda like the Banjo Newsletter is for banjos. The editor and driving force behind it, Becky Blackley, decided to persue other interests and in folded. I submitted a few Autoharp tabs of Celtic tunes that were published. One was Blind Mary, a great tune on the Autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Mooh
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:30 PM

Jim...Thanks for the detail. My autoharp has wood bars too. I remember that my mother had an autoharp too, except hers was painted black and didn't have as many chord bars (I think)...don't know what happened to that one.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: DonMeixner
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:47 PM

The Appalachain Autoharp was first built on the "A" Model frame around 1964-1966. Sharp corners. Basically an unchanged frame for more than 60 years at that point. The more curvacious "B" mdel folloed a few years later. I have one I bought in 1969. Powerful box for an Autoharp.

The dates are all in Becky Blackleys fine book.

Mooh the one your Mom had sound more like a Zither than an Auto Harp.
Probably had 3 or 4 courses of 4 strings that were tuned as achord. Then an Octave and a half of chromatically tuned strings.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Susan of DT
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:52 PM

Bill - pictures would be nice. I have not seen shifters on an autoharp. I'll take a look at your when I am next in your area.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Mooh
Date: 15 May 07 - 07:18 PM

Don...No, it was an autoharp (or "chorded zither"), played exactly as the Appalachian Autoharp is/was, chord bars and all. Got a picture here somewhere.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 15 May 07 - 11:10 PM

Sorry Mooh,

You wrote .."Didn't have as many..." and I read    Didn't have any regards to chords.

Dopey me.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Mooh
Date: 16 May 07 - 09:39 AM

Don...That's cool.

Bump.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,sitandance
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 03:48 AM

I just found a Sekova 15 chord chromaharp in my grandmothers garage. She says it was a gift in the 70's and has never been used. It still has all the original paperwork and says it comes with a tuning wrench, but there doesn't apear to be one. Is it hidden in the harp somewhere like a judy harp tuning wrench? Any ideas of the value of this thing? I don't want to sell it but I don't want to drag it out on the road, chip it at a show and deprive my children, either.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:00 AM

Get a five dollar wrench and tune it. Play it and see if you like it.
Sekova was the maker of Chromaharps for quite awhile. They can sound pretty good or be a total dud. As I recall they had slightly different sizes in the bars and felts from what Oscar's had.

Check EBay for values. I'd guess at $100.00 tops but you gotta add lots of value on top of the because it came from Grandma's house. And that value is hard to price out.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:26 AM

Was playing autoharp when a student showed for her guitar lesson last week, now she's shopping for one. I apologized to her parents.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:44 AM

Jeepers Mooh, at least it wasn't a banjo or accordion.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 05:22 PM

Don...Could have been banjo, even though I've got all my teeth, but no stinkin' accordions here.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Ron Smith
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 01:36 AM

very lttle infoo On Gordon BAkers Glad Morning harps Any pictures of him why he used 2 strings etc?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Susan of DT
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 02:13 PM

Don - As I mentioned above, I put Oscar Smidt bars on my Chromaharp without any problems, so they must be the same size.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,irma
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 09:36 PM

Does anyone know anything about a 6 bar Sohengrin auto harp ?? Would be interesting to know the history


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 09:59 PM

The only reference I can find is that one was auctioned in the UK in 1995. No picture.... It was evidently an uncommon model... no mention of it at http://www.fretlesszithers.com/


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,jay kaplan
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 11:43 AM

I found an autoharp- oscar schmidt 21 chord model at a thrift store for 40.00 and need to know if there is a serial # or a way to date it. Also I would like to sell or trade it for a guitar for my son as he is more interested in a guitar than an autoharp at 12 yrs old.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,DJ
Date: 05 Jul 10 - 02:47 PM

I have a 10 chord autoharp with no name or numbers on it anywhere to be found. I would like to know if anyone knows who the maker might be and roughly its age.It has four sided square tunning pegs and has 31 strings. If you could e-mail me at dwightc@sympatico.ca I would be able to send a photo of it. I have been to numerous sites, but can not find this model anywhere. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.

Regards & thank you
DJ


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Subject: RE: Help: Auto harp Models: History
From: GUEST,samphire
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 12:47 PM

Hi I have an old Muller 26 string, 6 bar Auto harp I picked up in a junk shop, its a bit knocked about but mechanically seems to work fine. Unfortunately half the strings are missing and those that remain are very rusty. Can anyone tell me anything about this beast and also where I could buy replacement strings for it?

Thanks in advance samphire


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 10:50 PM

Generally speaking, you should be able to get a standard autoharp string set from almost any good music shop - they may have to buy them in. If not, they are readily available on the net.

There are two main types, you need to check what style of end is on the strings (other end from the tuners) - more info is readily available about autoharps on here. See links to other threads listed at top of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 05:48 PM

I have an autoharp that is black 36 strings, 15 chords. It has a trapezoid symbol under the strings with the words Autoharp by Oscar Schmidt. Any idea of its age?
Thanks!
Amy
amycats3@bex.net


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: DADGBE
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 06:52 PM

Hi Amy,

What color and shape are the buttons?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: jtafaro
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:55 PM

I just boucht a Classic OS C/R on ebay for 127 USD. It has a brown chord bar cover but no label. The paperwork that came with it included three price lists from OS dated 1980 to 1982. It is very clean and after cleaning it up and replacing two missing strings it sounds pretty good. The more I play it the more it opens up and the better it sounds. I don't know if the back and top is solid or lainated but I think they might be solid wood and it may have been made in the USA. One day soon I am going to replace the strings and one or two chord bars that I don't use but for now it sounds OK and really stays in tune. I don't have a problem tuning it with the T wrence and an electronic tuner. I doesn't have fine tuners. I play the fiddle and Uke and tuning is not anything new to me. I would like to know it this is an early 1980's harp. When did OS send the manufacturing over seas. I know ukes and mandolins went from here to Japan to Korea and now is done in China. Some of those are realy great.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 10 - 05:45 PM

I have recently purchased "The Jewel" Chromaharp from a swap meet in San Diego, it is in practically perfect condition, looks brand new. My wife got it because she is interested in learning to play the autoharp. Since this particular harp is unique we think it might be best to sell it and get her a more typical one. Does anyone know roughly what the value of this "the Jewel" is and where would be the best place to sell or swap it? or any information at all would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, -Clay Worrell
oh, and my email address is addisonclay@mac.com. thanks again


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST
Date: 16 May 11 - 07:07 PM

What is the Judy Harp? How do you tune it? What do you tune it to?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 16 May 11 - 10:14 PM

You need to use Google... I never heard of a Judy harp, but here is one

Picture here

It's just a small zither-like thing with no frets. Tuning is done with some sort of wrench at the top end...not a standard autoharp wrench, but larger hex wrench. (There is one pic there that shows the top)


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Kimmy
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 05:05 PM

I need a little bit of help figuring out exactly what it is I own. I have an OS autoharp, 36 string, 15 chord. I bought it a few years ago at a junk shop for $20. It came with a blue lined autoharp shaped (not rectangular) case, and the Mother Maybelle records. I have looked under the silver plate at the bottom when I was replacing strings, and didn't find anything to indicate model or a serial number.

The body of the harp is exactly like this one on ebay. What confuses me is the chords on the harp. I really love that when you look right up close, the little knots all over remind me of birds eye maple. It has the same chord bars as the one from ebay, but the chords left to right are: G min, B flat major, A7, C7, D min, F, E7, G7, A min, C, D7, G, C dim, C# dim, D dim. I love the rich sound of this harp, but I find I play my Chromaharp more because the chords seem to work out better for playing in a group.

What I am hoping to find out is how old is this harp? Why isn't there a sounding hole? And is this harp worth getting a 21 chord set for?

Thank you all in advance!
--Kimmy


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 10:58 PM

Kimmy:

What is shown in the picture on eBay is an Oscar Schmidt Model 15. That particular logo was used from late 1964 to mid 1967 so that should date it pretty close. During that period, OS made a whole series of 15-bar harps including the 15B, 15EB, 15BH, 15EBH, 15C and 15EBH/R. They all looked similar but had subtle differences. The Model 15EB had no sound hole and it had two different sets of chord bars available, the Newport and the Berkshire. The cord sequence you described is the Newport version.

So, our guess is that you have a mid-sixties OS Model 15EB Newport.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,leon van egmond
Date: 30 May 12 - 06:32 PM

I just bought an old autoharp,serial number6320, is there some kind of database,where I can look up the model and find out when it was manufactured?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Green Man
Date: 31 May 12 - 05:03 AM

My wife was a very good harper and I play guitar and a melodeon. The melodeon and tha autoharp compliment each other really well and produce a glorious sound.

My melodeon does not smell either.

GM


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 31 May 12 - 08:16 PM

Leon hi...
What kind of autoharp do you have? Is it an Oscar Schmidt, a Chromaharp, or some other maker? How many chord bars? What color is it? How many strings? With this information we might be able to help you find out more. A photo would be great!
harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 01 Jun 12 - 01:03 AM

Sounds like you have an early 1963 Oscar Schmidt autoharp. If we're right it will have a sound hole (discontinued in 1964), the "scroll" logo decal (switched to the "trapezoid" logo in 1964), 36 strings and 12 bars.

How did we do?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Carolyn
Date: 30 Dec 12 - 11:05 PM

I recently got a 15 chord Oscar Schmidt autoharp model number OS-15BB.The inside label says serial number 880086, 1879-1979. Outside it has a little gold sticker saying made in Korea. What year do you think this was made and what part was made in Korea? Also, if I tighten the black bar screws over the lower sounding strings it does deaden/block the last two strings from ringing. Should I leave the screws (the ones holding the chord bars in)a little untightened? It plays well this way but it is loose!! Thanks


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Raina McKenna
Date: 21 Jan 13 - 11:33 PM

Would anyone that has some knowledge of Autoharps please take a look at this autoharp that is listed on eBay for me?

eBay item number#         
290845156776


http://www.ebay.com/itm/290845156776?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

It is listed as an antique and vintage. It caught my eye and I want to know if there is a way to trace the serial numbers etc. Is it worth the asking price?

Thank You for any help that you can provide. There are quite a few pictures on the listing. It is a "The New Golden Autoharp" with a Serial Number of 5317 (Are the Serial Numbers sequential?) Would that make the autoharp kind of rare? I mean would a number 5five thousand three hundred seventeen be rare if there were say twenty thousand made for instance?
Thank You for taking the time to consider my questions.
Raina


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Uncle Tone
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 04:51 AM

What the image can't tell you is if the body bows when the strings are tightened. If it does, then hang it on the wall. That'll be the only thing you can do with it.

I honestly wouldn't buy an old autoharp through eBay unless I can handle it and try it first, if I wanted to play it.

Tone
Autoharp twanger


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,harpgirl
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 11:43 PM

I would say no it is not worth the asking price or any price if you want to. get a playable autoharp. Rare autoharps are those made by luthiers who arenow deceased such as Mark Fackeldey. This autoharp is not rare.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 01:09 PM

A bit late.. but I have to say that I have one of that exact model of 'harp, and it plays & sounds very well! One can never be sure just from a picture, but that picture is of an instrument that LOOKS ok.

(I bought mine from a friend who was reputable dealer 20 years ago for almost that exact price) I don't play it regularly, but it tunes up pretty well and has that 'old' twangy sound that some favor. If the strings are still good, it 'might' be a decent buy.

So.. all I can say is- that model was decently built... if there is a return policy, it might be worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 03:46 PM

It appears to have a split in the top and it is missing the string end pin cover. And you can't tell if the felts are intact or badly worn.

I think this harp is rare in some places and not so much in others. I'm not a fan of the golf tee buttons. I prefer the trapezoids on the Harps made after 1968 or so. Easier on the fingers.

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 07:16 PM

This is a "Golden Autoharp" manufactured by Oscar Schmidt expressly for The National Autoharp Sales Company which marketed them mainly to school teachers between about 1950 and 1963. The serial number, 5317, indicates that it was manufactured in the 17th week of 1953.

As Don pointed out, there is a visible split in the top which makes this instrument useful for spare parts or for kindling.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 08:02 PM

Well... that split in the top doesn't look to me like it would render the entire instrument useless.... but it might be a good reason to lower the price quite a bit, so as to mess with it. Much worse cracks can be fixed or disguised...

This doesn't mean I recommend buying it... I just wouldn't toss it out if *I* had it.. ( I some some woodworking and would try to save it)


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Nigel
Date: 19 Mar 13 - 07:23 PM

Hi - I'm in the Uk, where, as we all know, it's hard to find an Autoharp.....

I have been doing some research & I am confused about the lineage of ChromAharP as a brand/logo, to suggest potential quality.

Some references suggest that ChromAharP was a Japanese maker of decent quality products ( back in the day ?) but many 'harps, bearing ChromAharP labels are credited to other, arguably 'low end' brands ?

Have other makers 'borrowed' the ChromAharP 'logo' & simply applied it to their products ? or are they made under licence ? A search of Ebay in the U.S. of ChromAharP shows the variety of producers.
regards,
N


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 19 Mar 13 - 11:16 PM

As I recall the first Chromaharp I ever saw was made by Sekova, Korean I think. That would have been about 1969 or 70. Sekova was a company who ran or bought from a box shop that made all manner of knock offs. I recall a Sekova Beatles Bass (Hofner Copy)

Don


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Mar 13 - 11:23 AM

The autoharp that I played on for the Walton's Theme and for the other score Jerry Goldsmith used for the Walton's pilot, a Christmas special called "The Homecoming" was a fifteen bar (Eb,D,F7,Gm,Bb,A7,C7,Dm,F,E7,G7,Am,C,D7,G) with rounded corners and a slight round indentation for holding it on your knee or forearm.

I also played this harp on a movie called "The Wild Rovers" and it was featured in the intermission part of the movie (on DVD).

It may be one of the few times this instrument was featured with a full orchestra on a movie score.

I sweated out the tuning by placing the wrench on the tuning pegs and retuned constantly while the orchestra was tuning up but it held its tuning well.

Jerry's daughter played it on subsequent episodes of the Waltons. She was a folklore student (I think at Oberlin).

I played dulcimer on "The Homecoming" also. .


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 20 Mar 13 - 11:07 PM

cool, frank.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,I Hope this thread is not dead yet...
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 05:09 PM

I just bought this OS autoharp on ebay for my wife a few days ago and it arrived today. After opening it up, I was surprised that it was as old as it is. It is in absolute wonderful condition. The strings were loosened while it was in storage and retuning it, I could feel that it had been tuned on a C (higher strings) and G (lower strings) diatonic scale. The strings want to go back to their old tuning. I tuned it chromatically, but it will probably need a new set of strings (anyone know a place to get inexpensive strings?)
Anyway, it came with a booklet that has the date August 1, 1982 in it. So I know that it is at least 30 years old. No discernible wear, cracks, or rust at all. It all looks brand new and came with a sort of flimsy hard case. It onviously spent most of its life in the case. It also came with an extra felt bar and an E major button. I suppose they belong together.
Here is a link to the ebay listing:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pre-Owned-Oscar-Schmidt-36-String-Autoharp-with-Case-No-Reserve-/380671966059?ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:US:3160


I would really like to know what model it is. I know that it is a model C from the chord buttons, but nothing else. It looks like it might be maple, but I am not really good with woods other than those commonly found in hardwood floors. Any help identifying it would be much appreciated. I am thinking about getting a fine tuning set put on it.

Thanks,
Ryan


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,I hope this thread is not dead yet...
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 05:11 PM

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pre-Owned-Oscar-Schmidt-36-String-Autoharp-with-Case-No-Reserve-/380671966059?ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:US:31

Link to the ebay listing. I hope it was a good deal. ;0)


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 06:02 PM

From the small picture,it looks as good as the same model I have been playing since 1978 or so. It is a 21 bar 'harp, which gives a lot of freedom in keys to play in.. (I re-cut the Bb7 to make an Emaj chord, and moved the bars all around to what *I* considered comfortable.)

I also replaced the white felt with a stiffer type, but that is a separate issue.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,I hope this thread is not dead yet...
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 06:57 PM

Thank Bill,
Do you have any idea if I can get fine tuners for this model? That is the basic gist of why I wanted it.

As for the felt, I actually agree completely. I was just fiddling with this instrument (I play all kinds of strings, but had never played an autoharp before) and looked at the felt to check its condition. The felt is white, like you said, and even though I can tell is has rarely been used, I felt like I was having to press the buttons too hard.

Call me touchy or ignorant about autoharps, but the felt just seems a little too soft.

I know that this is not for me, but for my wife, but I actually think it is a really run instrument. Very easy to pick up (not literally, because it is actually a LOT heavier than I thought it would be). ;0)

After only about a hour or two of playing, I'm already thinking about changing the bars or even replacing them with a different type. Is that possible? I really love the easiness of the instrument, but the "feel" of the bars/buttons is really cramped.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,I hope this thread is not dead yet...
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 07:00 PM

BTW here are some better pictures (Notice that there are 12).

Auto Harp Pictures


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,I hope this thread is not dead yet...
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 07:03 PM

Well, I guess it only shows 4 pictures there. If you scroll down on the original EBAY posting that I put up, you will be able to see all 12. Click on any of them for larger pictures.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: PHJim
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 07:05 PM

GUEST,I hope this thread is not dead yet..,
   
   If your 'harp was once tuned to a diatonic scale, then the chord bars would have been re-felted to accommodate the new tuning. Unless your chord bars have been changed back to a chromatic arrangement, they will not work with a chromatic tuning.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 08:01 PM

It did have other chord bars, but it was changed back and the others were sold separately. The seller gave me an E maj button and bar. I am sure you understand what I was talking about when I said that I could feel that they had been tuned diatonically. It feels the same as it does when you have a dulcimer or a guitar tuned up differently and try to go back to the original tuning.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 09:35 PM

re: fine tuners. Those take a LOT of care installing and fitting. I sort of understand why some folk..(mostly pro performers) would like them, but I have always felt that the right wrench and a digital tuner are enough if it is tuned often. (The right wrench means a close fitting 8-point T-handle.)

(The better felt I got from a gasket company years ago... from their scrap bin... it was gray with a red center stripe and was thick enough it needed to be shaved slightly for the 4 large bass strings. It has shown almost NO wear.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Olivia
Date: 17 Aug 13 - 07:26 PM

Hi all,

I recently bought a 15 chord, 36 string Oscar Schmidt autoharp. It has "BH 159" engraved in the wood at the bottom. I know it's a B Model, but is 159 the serial number?

Thanks,

Olivia


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Guest, Marshall
Date: 25 Feb 14 - 11:46 AM

I am looking at an autoharp for my wife who now plays dulcimer in DAA and DAD I play clawhammer banjo mostly in G, C, some D, and occasionally A. The harp is older but only played about an hour when originally bought some years ago The seller thinks it's a model OS 15EBH/R. Reported to have no delaminatiom, semi-hard case, tuning wrench. I suspect is was US made. I see new ones (Foreign) one in the range of $300 to $245, and used ones from $38 (Goodwill) to $190 asked. One reference on Mudcat suggested $110, assuming no case or shipping. Any guidance will be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,John
Date: 18 May 14 - 11:13 AM

We have an Oscar Schmidt 15 EBH autoharp. I am trying to find out it's age. We have had it about 30 years. When looking online I see a lot of 15 EBH/R. What's the difference? Distinctive markings on ours are: (1) a white logo in a parallelogram with "Autoharp"/"By Oscar Schmidt"; (2) below the chords, the string tone and octave lettering is in white right on the wood background; (3) the wood is a straight maple color without any embellishments; (4) all metal parts are silver toned bright work; (5) no model designation can be seen through the sound hole. So when was it made? Is it a cheap one or something we can send a kid through Harvard Medical School?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 18 May 14 - 12:42 PM

Nothing made by Schmidt will solve your financial worries. That model was made in large numbers, and if in decent condition would be a nice thing to play. I have 2 similar examples that I've played for 35-40 years, and no one tries to buy them from me. I prefer the 21 bar type, but some like having several 15 bar types and setting each one up for different keys.

Play it... or sell it, but don't expect to get rich


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bill D
Date: 18 May 14 - 06:23 PM

note... advertised sale prices range from $30 or so to $125 or so. It all depends on who wants it and condition.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 May 16 - 08:54 AM

How do the chord switches on the Erato mechanism work?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Antique-Mullers-Auto-Harp-String-Erato-Germany-Made-Ebonised-Travel-Case-1900-/301955244510


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Bill the cable guy
Date: 08 Feb 18 - 11:16 AM

Hi folks,
I have an old Oscar Schmidt 12 bar, 36 string autoharp. Probably hasn't been played in 40 years or more. 4-digit stamp on the back "6301". Does this indicate being made in 1963? I am considering restringing as all existing are quite corroded. I am in a far north town in North east B.C. Has any one got any hints as to whether it is worth it and how to go about it?


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Feb 18 - 02:06 PM

Bill:

Yes, it was made in 1963.

It's worth restringing if you want to play it and if it is not warped (sight along the top from one side to check) and if it has no cracks.
Also, check the felts under the bars by removing the two plates holding the bars in place and removing the bars one by one. If they're worn a little you can level them with sandpaper but if they're worn a lot they will have to be replaced. Remove the bars very carefully as they are spring loaded so be sure the harp is lying on its back on a level table.

You can buy a new set of strings at any music store but there are two kinds. Your harp has "loop end" strings but to be sure, remove the end cover and look at them. Do they have loops that fit over the little pins sticking out of the harp?

The other type is a "ball end" string that is captured in a metal plate on top of the harp which is visible. If the ends of the strings are not visible they are "loop end".

Replace the strings one by one so as not to change the overall tension too much.

Autoharps are, in general, easy to repair and you do not need a lot of experience or skill so have at it. The harp is only worth about US$40 anyway so you don't have much to lose.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,The Curious Man
Date: 27 Feb 18 - 08:23 AM

Hello!

Seeing how this thread seems to get replies, I was wondering if somebody could help me identify a 'harp that I've recently became a proprietor of.

Here is a picture.

Seems to have no cracks or warps, has a great tone despite dead strings and used felt. Obviously has been played and well taken care of before it was forgotten.

Considering restringing and converting to a 21-chord with new felt, but interested if anyone knows the model and/or any potential issues it may have.

Cheers,
The Curious Man.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 27 Feb 18 - 02:39 PM

Curious:

This is an interesting harp. It has all the characteristics of a Model 15B Berkshire harp including the logo, the rectangular buttons and, especially, the complement of chord bars. Only the Berkshire model included the Eb and F7 chords. These were manufactured from about 1967 to 1978.

But, the way the strings are identified at the bottom (the end away from the tuning pins) is wrong. Nearly all autoharps have some sort scale resembling a piano keyboard at that end or they are entirely unmarked. The individual names of the strings on your harp were only used on special models made for specific customers such as Music Educator's Group (MEG) or Monntgomery Ward (Airline models).

So, this is either some kind of special model that we are not familiar with or it has been modified.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,The Curious Man
Date: 27 Feb 18 - 03:43 PM

Huh! That's pretty interesting.

I've dug around eBay (as well as Reverb and such) and I found a couple of identical models, most sellers who did indicate a model called it a 15BH. Not sure how accurate that is.

Sadly, there are no stickers left on this thing, if there were any, and there isn't a serial number underneath the metal plate either.

I'll likely give it a nice refurbishing job, though.

Thanks for the help!

The Curious Man.


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST,Guitaro in Lincoln NE
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 05:54 PM

I saw one a couple days ago at a Music shop in Lincoln, NE called Roots Music.
Pretty fine shape.
http://www.rootsmusicshop.com/

I hope this helps you in your search.
Jim O


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Subject: RE: Help: Autoharp Models: History
From: GUEST
Date: 19 May 18 - 11:05 AM

I see a reference in here that classifies a Mark Fackeldey autoharp as rare. I have his Mark IV and it's a beauty. It has 18 bars, and a built in pickup. The downside is that it has started to develop a couple cracks on the top and one on the back and, yes, the top is showing signs of sinking. As far as its value goes, what affects it more, its rarity or its condition? Any estimates?


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