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Any Other Autoharp Players?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Stringbanger, Apr 19, 2021.

  1. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have an Oscar Schmidt OS15B model.
    It’s fun to drag it out every now and again just to noodle, although I actually learned about 2-3 songs on it.

    Definitely has an interesting sound whether it is strummed or played with finger pics. I’m a strummer for now, but I have the finger pics, although I have not made the effort yet to try them.

    Has anyone ever used an autoharp in recording? I thought about. More as a background sound, like a well-placed strum here and there.
     
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  2. blackguts

    blackguts Tele-Meister

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    The Carter family could shred on autoharp
     
  3. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    Strangely, I have two of them! I find it to be a frustrating instrument. Neither of the harps I have resonate like they should. The wood is too thick to be a good sounding acoustic instrument. They are also pretty quiet.

    I also struggle with the picking. Finger picks seems like the best solution I have found, though I just remembered I bought some felt picks that I never tried out.

    There's a pretty strange band called The Billy Nayer Show where the autoharp gets used a good bit.

    This starts weird but gets pretty good IMO. They need a bass player; I think they used to have one.

     
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  4. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    This guy...

     
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  5. Chester P Squier

    Chester P Squier Tele-Holic

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    In a past life, I taught elementary school classroom music. Sometimes, I accompanied the singing with an autoharp. But that was several decades ago and I have not touched an autoharp since.

    The local school board in those days would not allow me to grow long sideburns like John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful had, but when it was discovered I was nearsighted, I did get steel-rimmed glasses.
     
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  6. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Holic

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    One of my favourite scenes from A Mighty Wind, with Eugene Levy and Catharine O'Hara.
     
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  7. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    My wife has had an electric Oscar Schmidt autoharp for 40 some years. She used to play it very well and write songs with it, but arthritis has changed that. Still has the original strings on it! Her sister has a non electric OS that was to of the line 30 years ago. Still pristine and it sounds amazing.

    I used to plug her autoharp into my amp with some chorus and delay....talk about a room filling sound!

    Oh yeah, I also have a little Oscar childs autoharp that is pretty cool. They seem pretty rare.
     
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  8. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    As for recording.... the one that I played had very low volume but the pick striking the strings was very loud.
     
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  9. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    My first instrument, although I was never more than barely mediocre with it. Still have my Oscar Schmidt 21 chord that I got in 1973 for Christmas. I credit the autoharp with my early understanding of transposition and relative minors.
     
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  10. tanplastic

    tanplastic Tele-Holic

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    These types of instruments have a lot of string noise and little acoustic volume IME.
    I bought these three stringed instruments from an local old fellow.
    From left to right, a Tremoloa, a Victor Harp, and a Ukelin.
    These were sold by traveling salesmen to farmers on payment plans.
    The salesman would do a demonstration, and the victim, er customer, would order the instrument believing it was easy to play these things.
    [​IMG]
    The Tremoloa is the most awkward instrument I've ever played.
    Broken Social Scene had a brief flirtation.
     
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  11. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    I picked up a broken autoharp this past winter. It was in the family of an older lady who I do work for each year. She is a talented musician, as was her whole family. This was her mother's autoharp and it needs a little attention. I haven't gotten around to working on it yet, but I hope to bring it back to its full glory sometime soon.

    On the Will The Circle Be Unbroken album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (great album!), there is a snippet of conversation between Mother Maybelle Carter and Doc Watson where she mentions what a pain it is to restring an autoharp. I think that album, along with my early K-3 elementary school music class planted the notion in my head that the autoharp is one cool instrument.
     
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  12. MLHull

    MLHull Tele-Meister

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    Sorry I can't post a link, but google Basia Bulat . I think she can play just about stringed instrument.
     
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  13. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I know a guy named Ivan Stiles...I heard he was the king of the autoharp.
    I thought that was sort of like being king of the kazoo...until I heard him play.
    He rocks it!
     
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