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Thread: Autoharp Advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Near Cincinnati, OH
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    788

    Default Autoharp Advice

    I described an autoharp to my wife and she said she'd be interested in playing one, so I bought one on eBay. My experience with ukes tells me it is structurally sound. But there is not a lot of advice out there on the net about autoharps. Do any of you know any sources of info - if you Google ukulele you get thousands of pages.

    In particular I can't seem to find an autoharp forum that has any real activity, all seem dormant.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
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    Default

    You might try this link if you haven't already come across it -
    http://www.autoharp.org/

    I looked into the autoharp a few years ago, and have to admit I found it somewhat baffling. The ukulele seems much more comfortable to pick up and play as a beginner. I think an Appalachian/Mountain dulcimer might be more my speed as my next instrument.

    I see you are near Cincinnati - have you tried this group? Their website says they welcome autoharps.
    http://www.cincinnatidulcimers.com/index.html/
    Last edited by actadh; 01-26-2014 at 05:39 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    West Virginia
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    Default

    My previous post seems to be gone, so I hope this is not a double post.

    You might try this link if you haven't already come across it -
    http://www.autoharp.org/

    I looked into the autoharp a few years ago, and have to admit I found it somewhat baffling. The ukulele seems much more comfortable to pick up and play as a beginner. I think an Appalachian/Mountain dulcimer might be more my speed as my next instrument.

    I see you are near Cincinnati - have you tried this group? Their website says they welcome autoharps.
    http://www.cincinnatidulcimers.com/index.html/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    29,648

    Default

    My first ukulele teacher was a championship Autoharp player, 1984 I think. In a pinch, google Homestead Pickin' Parlor in Richfield, Minnesota. Her name is Karen Mueller. She is a very lovely woman who I know would talk with you if you need help.
    I hope your wife enjoys her new instrument.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
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    856

    Default

    The Autoharp is a fairly easy instrument to strum chords on to accompany your vocals or take part in a jam. It can also produce some great instrumental music if you take the time and put the effort into learning the techniques required. Listen to some of the top 'harp players like Bryan Bowers, JoAnne Smith and Sukie's uke teacher, Karen Mueller, to hear what the Autoharp is capable of. They make the Autoharp sound like a real instrument and all three often use diatonic Autoharps, which sound fuller and richer.

    I taught school for thirty some years and every school I went to had a dusty old out-of-tune Autoharp lying in a storeroom. I'd always get it out, clean it off, tune it up and use it in my class. The other teachers would hear it and want to use it too. Pretty soon they were all using it and there was a sign up sheet to see who got it when. After I'd moved on to another school and I'd run into a teacher from the old school, I'd always ask if the Autoharp was getting much use. They'd always say, "Oh, it got so out of tune that nobody uses it any more." They're very easy to play simple accompaniment, but tuning them seems to be a chore. Maybe now that we're in the age of electronic tuners, someone will get out those dusty old Autoharps and make some use of them.
    Last edited by Jim Yates; 02-03-2018 at 06:15 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Kerrville, TX - Heart of the Fabulous Texas Hill Country
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    Autoharp was actually my first stringed instrument. My mother was a grade school teacher, and brought one home when I was in about a freshman in high school. I immediately got a thumb and finger picks, and started wailing away on it, thumbing low notes and pinching out chords. Then I managed to pick out some melodies while playing. I eventually drifted away from it. About a two years ago I got the urge to play one again, so I bought one and played it for a few weeks. Again, I lost interest. So, it's sitting in the closet all lonely and neglected. But when I got interested again, I checked things out online. There are some really fine Autoharp players out there. Here are links to two performances I really like:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlYFfB3Fc3s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_5nE7wqUCY
    "The sole cause of all human misery is the inability of people
    to sit quietly in their rooms." - Blaise Pascal, 1670

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Matamoras, Dauphin County
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    If your looking for a good autoharp check out George Orthey. He makes the best IMHO. Bowers plays one. I was sad to hear Drew Pierce passed away this year. Great autoharper from NJ.
    "Inspire me muse to sing of the wanderer, who sailed the wine dark sea and toppled the towers of Ilium"
    "Make a Joyous Noise"
    "Let there be song to fill the air"

    Uncle Tommy's Holiday Camp

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
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    856

    Default

    I just found a fabulous Irish set played on the 'harp by Karen Mueller (Sukie's teacher) on YouTube.

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