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  #1  
Old 01-13-2019, 03:03 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Default Autoharp Anyone?

From the first time I heard one of these in grade school in 1962, I enjoyed the sound. Then, along came the Lovin' Spoonful and made the instrument cool in a quirky kind of way. The nice thing is the instruments are not very expensive, and new Oscar Schmidt models, whether acoustic or acoustic-electric, can be had from around $400 to $700. The Oscar Schmidt OS110 21AE "The Americana Autoharp" looks particularly interesting to me for its features and acoustic-electric capability. Then there is the OS120CNE Adirondack Autoharp with Adirondack Spruce top. Anyone else out there fancied getting an autoharp and do you have any suggestions as to models and options? Thanks!

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Last edited by SpruceTop; 01-13-2019 at 05:01 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2019, 11:15 PM
CaptRedbeard CaptRedbeard is offline
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I have had my eye on autoharps for about a year. I check out the auctions and a few sites trying to find one I can afford. I think it adds another "flavor" to songs. Good luck on your search, and I'll keep looking as well.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:17 AM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Two words: Kilby Snow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzcKGRXPgWU
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:33 AM
Bikewer Bikewer is offline
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Check out the master, Bryan Bowers:

https://youtu.be/Y2DzPfs7QAA
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2019, 11:51 AM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
do you have any suggestions as to models and options? Thanks!
Fine tuners are a worthwhile option.

And now, back to the greats:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAeT1JmJNTg
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:27 PM
gfirob gfirob is offline
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Some are made with "spruce" tops which are actually plywood. I think the most expensive actually have spruce tops. Upscale autoharps for old time or Carter family tunes are usually marketed as "Appalachian" but all are not the same. It is also fairly easy to restore used auto harps, replace the felt sets and so on, if you find a good used one that needs work. They are also pretty easy to play with finger picks since you are not really picking single strings but just getting into the neighborhood of the note. They are fun.
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:43 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is online now
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I've played them for nearly 50 years. The cheap ones will not hold up over time. There's literally tons of stress on them, with 36 VERY tight strings. If you don't have RH calluses, they will take the skin off your fingertips very quickly, so I use picks on this that i don't use on guitar.

I think Orthy's are one of the best out there, many degrees above the best Oscar Schmitt. There are other luthiers bedsides Orthy who will make a great instrument. Compared to guitars, they are not all that expensive if you venture into the handmade realm. One of the better Schmitt's will also hold up well; I am not so sure about other brands.

Be sure to know the keys you wish to play in because one autoharp will not play in all keys. The diatonic ones are designed for just one key and are louder as a result.
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  #8  
Old 01-20-2019, 11:37 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Thanks, Everyone for contributing your experience and expertise in helping me in my autoharp quest. I'll consider all suggestions in choosing and playing the instrument!
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  #9  
Old 01-22-2019, 04:55 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
Definitely the Elizabeth Cotton of the Autoharp!

Love the way he uses multiple chord bars to get the 'blue' notes and the way he drags a fingerpick across several muted strings to arrive at the objective.

Wonderful rhythmic feel and voice!

Thank you for the suggestion!

Regards,
Howard Emerson
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:44 AM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Definitely the Elizabeth Cotton of the Autoharp!
Love the way he uses multiple chord bars to get the 'blue' notes and the way he drags a fingerpick across several muted strings to arrive at the objective.
Wonderful rhythmic feel and voice!
Thank you for the suggestion!
Regards,
Howard Emerson
You're very welcome!
Mike Seeger recorded an album's worth of great Kilby performances for Folkways:

https://folkways.si.edu/kilby-snow/c...um/smithsonian
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  #11  
Old 01-29-2019, 10:30 AM
ARiley ARiley is offline
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Yes, I got a used 15-chord Oscar Schmidt from Reverb a couple years ago and had it shined up, restrung, & the felts replaced at a local instrument repair shop. It's fun!
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2019, 09:34 PM
PHJim PHJim is offline
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Have a listen to Jo Ann Smith.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiACcPvlZKA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeCCSzDwWEw
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  #13  
Old 06-29-2019, 08:24 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
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WOW! Intricate & Tasteful Playing! Thanks for sharing Jo Ann with us.
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