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What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)

28 Dec 09 - 10:10 PM (#2798139)
Subject: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: katlaughing

Even Goodwill doesn't know exactly what this is. They are calling it a "Vintage No Name Lap Steel Tremolo Autoharp Instrument." Do any of you know what it is, or have you seen one like it?

CLICK HERE.


28 Dec 09 - 10:20 PM (#2798142)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Bill D

Looks like what would be a plucked version of a ukelin. Chord strings to the left and melody strings to the right that don't 'quite' look like you'd use a bow on them. (I can't get the enlarging javascript windows to work.) Maybe in another browser.


28 Dec 09 - 10:26 PM (#2798150)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Bill D

Ahhh yes... and it says stuff about "moving the chord shifter", so it has some way to move a lever to change pitch. Weird one...


28 Dec 09 - 10:35 PM (#2798151)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: GUEST,999

Bill, when you get to the page at e-bay, click on the photo. Some other small pics will come up in the bare spot to the right (from our perspective. Click on them. I don't think javascript is on this machine, or if it is it ain't a modern version. It 'amplified' for this machine.

It seems to have 49 strings.


28 Dec 09 - 11:01 PM (#2798159)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: GUEST,999

I think that the group of strings would be in some open tuning. There is what looks like a double-ended nail near what would be the nut on a guitar. That metal nail is welded to a piece that then is slid along the strings. In the lower right (our) prespective is a small clump of rosin that seems to have been used by a bow. So, sometink can be bowed on there. The white/black 'keys' to the right are markers. Don't seem like they actually do anything. The strings to the right bifurcate about three-quarter-way along the body, and split fifty fifty into two sets of about 6 strings each. That section is elevated so that the bowing will not affect the main chord strings. I would guess that the instrument would be held much like an autoharp. The left hand would do the chording on the main board (the board that is parallelled (sp?) by the chord strings, and the right hand would pluck, finger-pick or bow the strings that are slightly angled, and they would do melody lines. Only way I can see it happening. Don't mean it's right, but it's all I can figure. Looks like it could be fun.


28 Dec 09 - 11:07 PM (#2798163)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: katlaughing

Actually it says it has 52 strings. Maybe a few are missing? Thanks, folks. It's always fun to see what folks think of these "unusual" instruments that show up from time to time. It does look kind of fun. I hadn't noticed the attached rosin...how handy!


28 Dec 09 - 11:13 PM (#2798165)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: GUEST,999

I miscounted, Kat. (I ain't got my specs with me.) However, it would
cost a bundle to re-string it, imo.


28 Dec 09 - 11:25 PM (#2798170)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: catspaw49

Can you say TREMOLOA?

Spaw


28 Dec 09 - 11:31 PM (#2798175)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: katlaughing

There ya go being a smart-aleck-know-it-all, again, Spawdarlin'!
That one doesn't look as long, nor does it look as though it has as many strings, though, of course, that whole one side may be missing its strings. It's hard to tell in those pix. Definitely related, same kind of action etc.


28 Dec 09 - 11:37 PM (#2798178)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: GUEST,999

Spaw, that looks like a Chinese kung-fu weapon/eating board.


28 Dec 09 - 11:53 PM (#2798186)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: catspaw49

Not only that but I bet the sucker would slice a lot of cheese!


Spaw


29 Dec 09 - 12:54 AM (#2798201)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: GUEST,999

Not only that, but those little egg cups are just adorable. Also, it comes with its very own dining tray. WHAT an invention.


29 Dec 09 - 04:22 AM (#2798235)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: romanyman

bet it would make a cushti slide guitar and finger slicer


29 Dec 09 - 04:51 AM (#2798242)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Georgiansilver

Just an early 'autoharp' I reckon..... the shape has since changed but the set up is more or less the same.


29 Dec 09 - 06:06 AM (#2798273)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: open mike

i just started a thread on ukelins and similar..
the instrument being discussed in this thread
appears in a picture on this page:

http://www.fretlesszithers.com/links.html


29 Dec 09 - 02:03 PM (#2798647)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: catspaw49

Its a pianolin.....another of Henry Marx's strange creations. We had an earlier thread on it as I now recall........

Spaw


29 Dec 09 - 02:25 PM (#2798670)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Jack Blandiver

Pianolin sounds about right, but it's missing it's bow! You can see an integral block of resin in one of the pictures - a neat touch it has in common with various other bowed (folk) instruments. Contraptions such as this would eventually lose the chord strings & morph into the Bowed Psaltery - which people assume is medieval or otherwise traditional, but isn't, despite their persistence in Folk Shops. The Ukelin is a similar beast, as used by Sun Ra on Strange Strings & other Saturn classics.


29 Dec 09 - 02:43 PM (#2798680)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: katlaughing

Maybe it was THIS THREAD, Spaw? There is another with "Marx" in the title. Thanks, btw, for identifying it!


29 Dec 09 - 03:37 PM (#2798726)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Stewart

Claudia Schmidt plays the pianolin.

"Schmidt taught herself to play Appalachian dulcimer, twelve string guitar and the deluxe pianolin, a 52-string, zither-like, instrument. Within five years, Schmidt had left her day job and sought her fortune as a musician. Schmidt's self-titled debut album, released in 1979, established her as one of the Midwest's best singer-songwriters."

"The song [Come Take a Trip on my Airship] is a waltz with a somewhat strange sound, because Claudia Schmidt uses it to showcase the "pianolin," a strange hybrid of the autoharp and the violin with a kind of scratchy bowed-instrument sound."

Cheers, S. in Seattle


29 Dec 09 - 03:55 PM (#2798737)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Richard Mellish

I don't know what GUEST,999 was looking at when (s)he said
"The strings to the right bifurcate about three-quarter-way along the body, and split fifty fifty into two sets of about 6 strings each." It looks to me that one string starts at the first note marking, the second string at the second marking, etc, so that by bowing at one of the markings you get that string -- exactly as in a bowed psaltery, and presumably producing a similar sound, rich in harmonics (which I personally greatly dislike).

Richard


29 Dec 09 - 03:59 PM (#2798739)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Stewart

Here's a pianolin at the Brooklyn Instrument Museum.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


29 Dec 09 - 04:12 PM (#2798749)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: bobad

From that link it is a Marx violin guitar.


29 Dec 09 - 05:22 PM (#2798795)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: katlaughing

Even down to the slot for the rosin. I love the sound of it, too!

Stewart, thanks so much for the link. What a fantastic site. I could spend days on there. All of the sound clips, the info, plus pix make it pretty incredible and so interesting!

No bids, but there's six days to go...wonder if it will slip by for the starting bid...hmmmm...:-) (I wish autoharps weren't so expensive.)


29 Dec 09 - 06:13 PM (#2798828)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Richard Mellish

Pianolin had no bow to his strings?

Richard


29 Dec 09 - 09:18 PM (#2798943)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: GUEST,999

Richard, I was looking at the following site originally posted by Kat.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-No-Name-Lap-Steel-Tremolo-Autoharp-Instrument_W0QQitemZ300381704446QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDoma

If you go to that site and click on the picture of the doo-dad, it will about double in size. In the white strip along side the doo-dad, small pics will apear. If you then click them, they enlarge to show various aspect of the doo-dad. I hope that's clear.

Best wishes to you.


29 Dec 09 - 10:15 PM (#2798971)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: katlaughing

I like that. I think we should rename it as the "Doo-dad!"*bg*


03 Aug 11 - 09:25 PM (#3201369)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Songwronger

This is an instrument on craigslist.

"stringed instrument. Shaped like a Lyre or Harp. It appears to have a banjo head at base of strings. It was found in Estate Sale in Colorado. Beautiful sound.:

Banjo lyre

Don't know how long this posting will run. They cull them often.


04 Aug 11 - 12:20 AM (#3201417)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Dan Schatz

Wow. That is the weirdest looking instrument I've seen in a long time. Very useful for making egg salad, though.

Dan


04 Aug 11 - 01:06 AM (#3201431)
Subject: RE: What is it? (eBay instrument - Goodwill)
From: Martha Burns

Price seems a bit crazy, though. Or am I way out-of-date.