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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
harpgirl 14 Dec 01 - 07:51 PM
wysiwyg 15 Dec 01 - 08:27 AM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 02 - 01:09 PM
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
GUEST,Jim 15 May 07 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Jim 15 May 07 - 03:04 PM
Mooh 15 May 07 - 03:30 PM
DonMeixner 15 May 07 - 03:47 PM
Susan of DT 15 May 07 - 03:52 PM
Mooh 15 May 07 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 15 May 07 - 11:10 PM
Mooh 16 May 07 - 09:39 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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