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Possible Autoharp defect list wanted

28 Jun 00 - 10:28 PM (#248895)
Subject: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Homeless

I found an autoharp at a pawn shop for $79. It's got 15 chord bars. Can anyone give me ideas on what I should look for to see if it's worth the money. I know I should check the felt on the chord bars (easily fixed) and look for warps or cracks on the front, back, and around the tuning pegs. Is there anything else that might be wrong for which I should avoid it?


28 Jun 00 - 10:34 PM (#248899)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: harpgirl

Hi Homeless, I've made every buying mistake there is to make, unfortunately. Look for separation at the seams and also look down the front at the sound hole and around it to see if the wood is bowed...there are some models which are known for problems so check the model numbers and check with the cyberpluckers list about the quality of the model you bought...hg


29 Jun 00 - 07:52 AM (#249066)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: harpgirl

...also when the tuning pegs are pulled towards the bottom of the harp and the wood holes are enlarged...not a good sign but some of mine play okay in spite of that defect???


29 Jun 00 - 04:36 PM (#249413)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Homeless

I plan on going during lunchtime to look this over and to tune it. Then go back after work to see if it held the tuning. How many strings do I need to tune? Is three or four enough, an entire chord's worth, or do I need to tune and check every string?


29 Jun 00 - 11:43 PM (#249593)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Bill D

hi, Homeless...sorry to be slow posting...was busy, then Mudcat was not responding......if it were me, I'd try to tune the whole thing, then wander around...or play at it for awhile...then check the tuning again..(if it has not been tuned recently, it takes awhile to settle in. Look for obvious BIG changes..little one are not serious)

If there are no obvious cracks, or loose pegs, or warping of the back, it will probably be ok...

Now I promised you and someone else that I'd post pictures of various pics and other accouterments for the 'harp. I took them, but have not taken them off the camera yet, so it will be tomorrow.

Hope the instrument seems ok....


29 Jun 00 - 11:46 PM (#249594)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Bill D

oh...forgot..it is just possible that the felt has been damaged on some harps...if it is tuned and sounds wrong, look edgewise and see if any felt seems to be missing...not a 'serious' problem, but is a nuisance to fix


30 Jun 00 - 06:18 PM (#250015)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Bill D

ok...for Homeless & Niteowl....here are 3 pictures...one of my 'harp with two models of tuning wrench, several picks and a Korg with a pick-up attached, one closer of the picks, and one of ME playing...

click here

the wooden tuning wrench of brown wood is FAR better than the bent plastic thing they often include with the harp...fits better and more control..the wire pick is the Mizrab(the red plastic is not always there)which allows me to flick my finger(I wear it on the middle finger) back & forth rapidly and not catch the strings. There are, of course, other ways of picking using banjo type picks..

The brass pick is one I made years ago by taking flat brass sheet and cutting & bending till I has waht I wanted...now..THIS one is not my usual one!..Couldn't find it for the photo..*grump*,,imagine the brass tip extended and bent over the finger tip like the Mizrab, making a 'V' at the tip. Works the same, but has a different sound and MUCH more weight.

The Korg tuner has a semi-commercial plug-in attached which clamps to a peg or strap button and allows much more sensitive pick-up when you are trying to tune in a room where the guitar players are noodling..*grin*...(the tuner has nervous breakdowns trying to sort out notes otherwise...unless you go off to a quiet spot)...you CAN buy the parts for the plug-in at Radio Shack, but if you have a music store near who can order them, it is easier to just buy one..)

hope this helps....any news on the instrument you were looking at, Homeless?


01 Jul 00 - 05:15 PM (#250215)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Night Owl

Thank you Bill D, for taking the time to post the great pictures! Wondering if the Mizrab pick gives you equal volume/clarity on both the forward and back "tickles" if you wanted? Looks like it would.


01 Jul 00 - 05:29 PM (#250220)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: GUEST,harpgirl

...your pictures were interesting Bill. We should get together and play. Are you going to any festivals in the near future? I have wanted to try mizrabs but haven't gotten around to ordering them. All the autoharpers are at Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering this weekend!(except us of course!)...also homeless I would try to start with a 15 bar oscar schmidt A model and stay away from the chromaharps. They don't sound very good. I like the bars in separate holders instead of covered because you can do modifications more easily. Tune all the strings with your tuner and then listen and retune according to how your harp sounds...


01 Jul 00 - 06:18 PM (#250251)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Bill D

harpgirl...have not been doing much traveling...$$$ are dear and gas is up...I kind of save up for the FSGW Getaway....sure was disappointed you were not able to make it last Oct...maybe this year? (funny, there have been local all autoharp/dulcimer gathering near here..[Keith Young has helped with some], but I never seem to gravitate to those...kind of like regular festivals best)

Night Owl...not much difference in the sound to my poor ears...I guess it is a matter of control...the sound with the Mizrab is 'tinnier' than the brass picks, and still different from the plastic picks I used to use...you have to experiment..


01 Jul 00 - 06:38 PM (#250267)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Mark Clark

Homeless, I'm not an autoharp player but I've seen enough of them for sale to think that 79 USD would be a lot to pay for a pawned autoharp. A quick check on eBay turned up several for significantly less money. If you like the one at the pawn shop, tell them the price is too high and all you can afford to spend is 50 USD. Those shops are used to haggling over price.

      - Mark


01 Jul 00 - 09:47 PM (#250361)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Joe Offer

Bill, about that alligator clip pickup for the tuner - where can we lazy people buy such a thing (instead of making our own), and how much does/should it cost?
-Joe Offer-


01 Jul 00 - 10:12 PM (#250378)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: harpgirl

I got one at Radio shack but paddymac got his elsewhere or made it, I think.


01 Jul 00 - 11:35 PM (#250429)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Bill D

a friend gave me one, Joe...(I think you met her at the Getaway..)but I think maybe SHE got it at Radio Shack...it is about $3 worth of parts, but I suppose it will end up being $8-10 after someone else assembles it..(has that piezo-electric chip in it)


02 Jul 00 - 11:35 PM (#250838)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Homeless

Well, I went back and took a better look at the thing. It seemed to be some real cheap model (maybe for a school or something?) tho I couldn't find any model number on it. The finish on it was gray paint, the end and ends of the chord bars were covered with plastic. The plastic had been broken and glued on the end piece in a couple places. I started looking it over and noticed that there was a bowl shaped warp underneath the strings about 3" in diameter and 3/8" deep. Flipped it over to look at the bottom and it was warped from corner to corner. Having gotten that far I didn't even bother tuning it before making my decision to let it go by.

Thanx everyone who offered me advice. It was appreciated.


03 Jul 00 - 09:08 PM (#251354)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Bill D

......hmmmm...Homeless...I have an old Oscar Schmidt 15 bar...haven't used it in years. I will try to test it soon and see how it looks & sounds. Someone oughta be playing it..I don't know how far away you are, but......(ideas germinating)


03 Jul 00 - 09:45 PM (#251370)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: Homeless

Bill - Don't trouble yourself for my sake. It's not as tho I need another instrument. I've already got a bunch that I don't play often enough as it is. I only expressed interest in this autoharp because I thought $80 was a good deal if it was in good shape. It was more of a "here's a chance at a bargain" more than "I want to play autoharp." If you want to pass it along to someone else who would use it you have my admiration tho.


20 Apr 02 - 01:08 PM (#694405)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca

Mudcat is great.

I'm a non-musician. Have been all of my life.

Our little folk group had a fun evening last night with as a theme O Brother Where Art Thou. It went well. However, just before it all started, I stopped in to my church, and there were people getting things ready for a rummage sale held today.

I saw this item, and thought it fit well with the theme of the night, so at $25.00 on it, I bought it. Of course, I haggled it down to $20.00.

 

Now, I have to decide whether to keep it or what. I've already been offered $25.00 and $50.00 for it. It's missing one string (the smallest), and has a few out of tune strings. Pretty dusty, but otherwise looks good. No case or tuning wrench though. Should be easy enough to get replacement for that.


20 Apr 02 - 07:26 PM (#694562)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: JohnInKansas

Joe Offer -- re the alligator clip pickup:

Virtually all of the music stores in my area carry one or the other of these. They come in a variety of styles, and usually range in price from about $7 to $15.

The "alligator clip" style is common, but many people complain that they have a tendency to scratch the parts they're attached to.

I use one that's more like a small plastic "clothespin," that's marked "Matrix Universal Pickup." I believe I got it 7 or 8 years ago from a vendor at the Winfield KS festival. It actually "clamps" the sensor - that looks like a flat disk about 3/8 inch in diameter - directly onto a surface (anything that sticks out enough to clip to).

Most of the guitar shops around here stock one that sticks(??) on with a small rubber "suction cup." Almost everyone in our neighborhood has one of these - but they don't get used much because they're a p.i.a. to use. You have to work at it to make them stick, and then you have to work at it to get them off - and usually you leave a big gob of spit (that you needed to get them to stay on) where you had them. One of our guys (who's just too cheap to replace it) uses one of these and a great big wooden clothespin to hold it onto a tuning knob.

John


20 Apr 02 - 10:42 PM (#694654)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: 53

I had an autoharp back in 1967 and it was messed up so I gave it away, you reckon I made a mistake?


20 Apr 02 - 11:17 PM (#694670)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Tune it - Play it - You like - Then buy

Don't how to tune/play....then play the marked C,G,F chords, if it sound vaguely "musical" buy - you will get your monies worth no matter what


20 Apr 02 - 11:18 PM (#694671)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

whoops forgot....offer 50...and jew them down to 65.


21 Apr 02 - 12:17 AM (#694685)
Subject: RE: Possible Autoharp defect list wanted
From: DonMeixner

...Jew them down??....

I had hoped... but then I see the source.

Don