Terwilliger, part 1 Also, if you’re playing in a warm environment, make sure to wipe any sweat completely off the harp body, and perhaps clean it with guitar polish after playing. Unless you have some technical knowledge and skill, I’d advise getting any autoharp through luthier/technician who is also a dealer in Oscar Schmidt autoharps. This results in the buttons being arranged with the majors in the middle row, the minors in the farthest row with the relative minor right underneath the major, and the sevenths in the closest row, with the seventh right above the same major. With no more than a two-hour workshop and this little resource guide, you’ll be equipped to play your Autoharp whenever the mood strikes. Here are a few of the people you can send your ‘harp to who will do excellent repair/conversion work at very good prices. Modern Oscar Schmidt harps use “B/C strings”. Are the felts in good condition? Your autoharp requires very little care. You may need to order your new string by mail. Blue Ridge Autoharps When I asked for requests, a nice little lady replied "Do you know 'Amazing Grace?'" Debate exists over the origin of the autoharp. It takes a three or four hours to re-string a harp…perhaps less with practice. Finally, he shows how to play the Autoharp as a "full-bodied" instrument, picking the melody while stumming chords. Of course, a fine custom autoharp will give you the best overall tone and playability. But if you do, this can yield an instrument much better than most new ones. There are quite a few good beginning instruction videos for our instrument on the internet. This simply happens, and is unavoidable. The cost of these custom ‘harps will run from $850-$2500. This will allow you to make fine adjustments and also to catch any mistakes you may have made by tuning a string to the wrong note (a frequent occurrence). In general, each artist who records autoharp music sells his or her own tapes and CD’s directly, and that often turns out to be the best way to support the artist. Diatonic ‘harps, on the other hand, have their strings tuned in the whole steps (seven notes per octave) of 1, 2 or 3 scales. All for under ten bucks. Fladmark Woodworks If you’re really serious about playing melodies on the autoharp, I’d advise that you invest in a chordbar setup with three rows. The autoharp is likely inspire you to do things you’ve never done. You may find that your tuner doesn’t register too well on the lower notes, and so you’ll need to tune those by ear. As you can see, this is a three-row setup. But even though you could now play 3-chord songs in F, Zimmerman didn't want to mess up his system by using chord names. The autoharp technicians listed above can do that easily if this seems to be a daunting task. Some also put picks on the ring and little fingers. Most of the sons included are old folk or gospel tunes. There are some excellent resources that will help you find about other autoharpers, recordings, books, performances, supplies, and general information about the instrument. email: fladmark@hughes.net, Greg Schreiber Are the strings shiny and without rust? This may seem like a mysterious and difficult process at first, but if you just keep at it, suddenly one day, patterns will begin to emerge from the music for you and your fingers and brain will start to find those melodies and chord accompaniments, as if by MAGIC. Amplifying an autoharp can be a bit complicated due to the very nature of the instrument. Then hook the ball of the string at the base of the ‘harp, thread it carefully under the chord bar mechanism, and feed it into the hole in the pin. My autoharp is a new Oscar Schmidt OS120CNE Adirondack Acoustic/Electric with a fine tuning system. Play the Autoharp! It’s a really good idea, if possible, to get one song really under one’s belt before starting on a new one. Cathy is the author of the popular book, "It's An Autoharp: A very first beginners guide to autoharp playing," available at Dusty Strings. If you want to play the autoharp standing up (recommended, certainly for singing, if you're going to perform in front of an audience at all), you will want to attach a strap. It’s important to remember that rhythm fills are embellishments…they are secondary to the melody. The chords on the 5-chord Zimmerman autoharp were G7, C, C7, F, and Bb. Just push down a button, strum, and you're rewarded with a nice-sounding chord. You need to position your ‘harp so that your right arm strums through all the strings from the lowest to the highest naturally with a simple rotary motion of your elbow. Is the body straight and intact, without warping or cracks? Sometimes it’s a bit difficult to find strings, felts, tuners, straps, stands, and other things you might need for your autoharp. Only premium woods and superior hardware are used in an Oscar Schmidt Autoharp. Rhythm fills can be (1) a simple strum (2) a back-brush (3) one or two single notes or (4) a combination of these. In most cases, the autoharp cannot be played satisfactorily or comfortably with bare fingers. 570-286-5044 Within a short time you might be playing recognizable melodies. Once you are used to the way your fingers move while playing, you can start to learn these elements. Easier melodies with different chord bar arrangement. If the felts have deep grooves in them, they will have to be replaced. The autoharp is perhaps the easiest stringed instrument to sound "okay" on quickly. I also like either the plastic or heat-molding nylon finger picks. The Autoharp Is A Real Musical Instrument! Now, it’s important to note here that there are some VERY GOOD players who DON’T AGREE with this setup. e-mail: autoharpguy@minpin.com. I had always thought I had to stick with the way my ‘harp had been set up in the factory. There are an awful lot of strings, but finding a melody note and playing it clearly isn't as hard as it seems. Playing melody on the autoharp is not as difficult as it may first appear. Well, that’s certainly true! Don’t use waxes or polishes on it, except for a good commercial acoustic guitar polish (I use Martin guitar polish.) HOW TO PLAY AUTOHARP WITH CD By Mccabe. Welcome to the world of autoharp playing! As you progress, you will want to add a few two-chord songs and then progress to three-chord songs and more complex ones. You’ll probably want to replace all the strings on your ‘harp about every one to five years, depending on how much you play. The Oscar Schmidt 21-chord autoharp is an instrument for people who love and appreciate fine music. I have not found them to be useful for my playing; but they may well be worth a try if picks are uncomfortable and keep falling off. The air chamber inside the auto He encourages the student to pick out melodies as well as playing chords. The orange Kelly Slick Pick is my favorite: Metal thumb picks, in my experience, are too stiff and cause too harsh a sound as well as discomfort and fatigue in the thumb. The suppliers listed below will gladly send you a new string if you give them a call. So, if you learn where your left hand goes, and can play the melody of a song comfortably and automatically, you can then be free to embellish it with any kind of right hand licks that strike your fancy. If the temperature and humidity are stable and you are not playing very hard, and your ‘harp tends to stay in tune fairly well, you may only need to tune it every 1-2 weeks. It's also the most-rewarding. Terwilliger - Scales 141 Saw Mill Rd. . Diminished chords are not used in my beginner’s book; however they can be great fun for many popular “standard” tunes. There are two things it doesn’t like: water and extremes of temperature. Terwilliger, part 3 Perhaps one of the reasons you decided to learn to play the autoharp is because it’s EASY. And when it comes to quality Autoharps, Oscar Schmidt is the name to know. The melody that comes out of your autoharp is determined by two things: (1) which chord button you push down with your left hand, and (2) which strings you hit with the right hand at what time. Do this, first by learning scales and arpeggios and getting good at playing them. Most of the ones we see are chromatic; that is, the strings are tuned in half-steps (12 notes per octave). Well, that’s certainly true! by Cathy Britell, © 2012 Larkpoint Music, Seattle, WA 98139 http://www.larkpoint.com. You generally can’t buy a diatonic ‘harp in a music store, except for the Oscar Schmidt “Wildwood Flower” model. 700 Tower Road You’ll find that accompanying your singing is easy to do, and will let you begin to get an idea of how songs are constructed as well as build the skills for learning to pick melodies. And is my wish for you, as you go along your autoharp learning adventure: ‘’ May your heart be filled with song, as good friends gather ‘round you…”. Tom Fladmark Terwilliger - Pinch, Pluck The Autoharp has over 100 years of history. He encourages the student to pick out melodies as well as playing chords. Autoharp players usually just play songs they like. will continue making an effort to meet the needs of autoharpers in your community. I like to use a plastic thumb pick that is quite wide over the thumb and has a moderate amount of ‘’give” to it. It’s possible to get 21-bar conversion kits for about $150 from many of the repair and supply people listed below, and some custom luthiers make and install better quality chord bar sets for a bit more. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee Whether you are playing a simple unembellished melody line or a complex tune with lots of strums and brushes and frills and furbelows in-between, your left hand is doing exactly the same thing. As a piece of Americana it is often called "the nation's favorite musical instrument." Is the body straight and intact, without warping or cracks? Then do each F, each G, each D. Then you can tune all the notes in between in any order. The autoharp is perhaps the easiest stringed instrument to sound "okay" on quickly. It’s a good idea to talk with someone who has done this before before embarking on this project. Learn to play the beautifully unique Autoharp with this DVD. PO Box 13270 Some older Oscars, OS73 re-issues of “Black Box” autoharps and Chromaharps, as well as many custom ‘harps use “A” model strings. Bonnie's instructions are clear and easy to follow. Please don’t let your ‘harp sit in the sun, in or out of its case. Christiansburg, VA 24073 Cathy individualizes teaching to the€ goals and learning styles of the student.€She will teach you how to play entirely using printed music, or entirely by ear, or a … Below are some of the hymn videos on this site that include the most direct A-harp instruction. There are also a number of phone apps that work quite well. Schreiber Autoharps 2. Another distinction in harps is the chromatic vs. the diatonic harp. If they do, or are willing to order supplies for you, it’s good to patronize them, so that they. Chromatic vs. Diationic You can join the discussion by subscribing to the list and participating. And also, it’s important to say that , if you already have a two-row 12- or 15-bar setup, you’ll be able to learn to accompany your singing and play the melodies in this book just fine. It is possible to tune your instrument by ear with a pitch pipe or keyboard, if you have a lot of time and work hard at it. Your hand should be in a loosely flexed position…like you’re holding a big orange, and wrists should be neutral or only slightly flexed. Within a short time you might be playing recognizable melodies. On the other hand, if you’re playing long and hard and taking your instrument into different physical conditions, you may have to re-tune it 2-3 times per day. Because they orginated while brass bands were popular, they tend to include chords for trumpet-friendly keys like Eb and Bb, while neglecting guitar-friendly keys like D and A. When you strum the ‘harp, your shoulder and elbow should be as still as possible and your forearm working like the hand of a clock in a smooth vertical arc from the lowest to the highest strings. I played along for about 3 years before I realized I could change around my chord bar arrangement to suit myself! Most country songs use only a few chords, so once you learn them, you will be able to play a variety of songs. A book that has been read but is in good condition. Most people like a leather or nylon webbing strap to support the ‘harp in such a way that the hands and arms need only be occupied by playing. In his music system, he wanted even the songs that were based in F to use the numbers he had assigned to notes in the C scale. http://www.autoharpquarterly.com. I personally prefer the “Slider”, since it seems to secure the ‘harp a bit better. Home, © Copyright 2011-2020 by Music-Folk-Play-Hymns.com. Particular in older ‘harps, the glue on these felts often becomes hard and comes loose. There are some more costly picks out there, such as the “Perfect Touch” brand. You need to try out a number of different thumb picks and decide which one works best for you. I find that humming or singing “la-la-la” on songs while I’m learning the chord pattern and get comfortable with the rhythm strokes is the best way to learn a song. The thumb pick must be tight so it stays in place and doesn’t rotate around the thumb while playing. If the song becomes crowded with extra notes and the melody is not brought out above them, it becomes muddy. This will take advantage of the wonderful properties of your instrument and make your songs more beautiful and interesting. This will be covered in Part II and also expanded in Parts III and IV of the eBook. The most common chord bar setups are 15 bars and 21 bars. This will perpetuate a common misunderstanding about autoharps, and will make you an unwelcome guest at any musical gathering. The Autoharp is actually not a harp at all, but a form of zither. These luthiers guarantee their work. Another resource that you may find useful is the ‘’Autoharp Owner’s Manaul”. I like to use a plastic thumb pick that is quite wide over the thumb and has a moderate amount of ‘’give” to it. The first calamity you are likely to encounter when playing the autoharp is a broken string. How to Change the Strings on an Autoharp I have also found that the Ab, Bb7 and C minor chords are not very useful on the ‘harp and choose instead to have an E minor, B minor, and F# minor on the ‘harp instead. There are also a number of week-long “schools” where intensive autoharp instruction is available. However, an electronic tuner (available for about $20- $60) will make tuning a snap and if you play (and therefore tune) often, you’ll find it a very good investment. On one occasion I was playing for some ladies in a quilting class. Tune” and “IStrobosoft” are two of my favorites. Charles F. Zimmermann, a German immigrant in Philadelphia, was awarded US 257808 in 1882 for the design of a musical instrument that included mechanisms for muting certain strings during play. Introduction to Autoharp Playing 7. http://www.autoharpworks.com 6. It also includes options to show the active strings, or keep your chord buttons pressed, to make playing easier. Now it’s time to concentrate on the pinch. Probably the most inconsiderate thing you can do is to play for someone or come to an instrumental jam with your ‘harp out of tune. If you do break a string, it’s fairly easy to replace. You’ll want to make certain that the ‘harp stays in tune, and so if possible, should play it on two different days and for a period of time. – Augusta Heritage Center http://www.augustaheritage.com/, – John C. Campbell Folk School http://www.folkschool.org, – Swannanoa Gathering http://www.swangathering.com/, – Seattle Autoharp Week http://www.seattleautoharpweek.com, – Sore Fingers Week http://www.sorefingers.co.uk/. A good selection of autoharp-related materials is available at http://www.autoharpquarterly.com and also, if you go to http://www.cdbaby.com and type ‘’autoharp” into their search engine, you’ll find some autoharp recordings. Begin to learn chords and "rolls." Once the string is out, unwind the pin approximately four full turns from its “strung” position. You can find out how to play those in my book, if you need help. Des Moines, WA 98198 In my experience it’s a great deal easier to learn to play an autoharp with three rows of keys (21-bar ‘harp). Are the tuning pins without rust? Once I changed my ‘harp around this way, my playing and enjoyment in playing improved immeasurably. At some time, you may need to replace all the felts on your ‘harp. In order to tune the ‘harp, you’ll need a tuning wrench. Once you get it tuned, you can pick up the autoharp, make some pretty chords and strum along with your singing on simple songs after only a … . Unfortunately, these beginning melodies are often recognizable only to the one who is playing! If one wants to play a lot of melodies, or chord along some classical music, jazz, and pop music, a 21-bar setup is essential. One of the most obvious differences is the number of chord bars and buttons on the harp. Great musicians including Dolly Paton and Bob Dylan play this autoharp. Autoharp uses high-quality audio samples and matches its volume to your strumming speed for realistic playback. The Autoharp is a wonderful instrument for the occasional player because it offers a wide range of playing possibilities. In order to play any song artistically, you MUST get to the point where you don’t have to look at the chord bar buttons. Phone 540-382-6550 Thus the chord C is made up of C, E, G (I, III, V). One last piece of advice: Work on PLAYING BY EAR every single day. You can get felt from suppliers listed above. Email: greg@schreiberautoharps.com. Use the link on each page to print out the sheet music with chords you need for playing melody on your 'harp. These ‘harps will generally require some refurbishing, so you may want to add $150-$200 to the price you get them for as an estimate of the real cost. They include: – California Autoharp Gathering, Dunlap, CA http://www.calautoharp.com, – Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering, Newport, PA http://mlag.org, – Northwest Autoharp Gathering, Oregon  http://nwautoharp.org, – Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, KS http://wvfest.org. Also it includes artists’ schedules. Here’s a magazine specifically for autoharp lovers: The Autoharp Quarterly Do this, first by learning scales and arpeggios and getting good at playing them. Yes, the autoharp is a wonderful instrument! This is a very reasonably priced intro to autoharp book with history, instructions, lesson, folk songs, and how to take care of your autoharp. For strumming along with singing of simple songs in the most common keys, some people find a 15-bar setup adequate. The other things that will inevitably need some attention are the felt pieces that cushion the chord bars as they hit the strings. The Autoharp Is A Real Musical Instrument! If you have access to the World Wide Web, you’ll find the Autoharp page http://www.cyberpluckers.org to be tremendously useful. This best selling Autoharp method published by Santorella Publications contains clear, logical lessons for beginners with lots of different strumming patterns. You need to figure out first what kind of strings you have. (VERY important!) At this time, check to see that the rhythm is absolutely even, that you don’t have to pause to think about what note to play next, and VERY IMPORTANTLY, that you don’t have to LOOK at the chord bar buttons. ............................. Another autoharp teacher on Youtube is Jo Ann Smith. Now that you’ve learned the song, can play the melody clearly and evenly, and feel at ease and comfortable while doing it, it’s time to add some ‘’rhythm fills”. At this point, it’s important to practice just one song over and over again, adjusting your pinch so that the melody is clear and recognizable to others as well as yourself. Others can help you get started and teach you new techniques, but you will actually learn to play the instrument by playing it. Autoharp recordings may be a bit difficult to find in your neighborhood record store. Once you can play the song smoothly and evenly, without pauses and without having to look at where your left hand is going, you can then begin to work on more precise picking with the right hand. Chuck Daniels The Chromaharp will generally give you a brighter, louder sound with more sustain; but the chord bars can’t be easily rearranged. Be careful of the string ends, as they can be quite sharp. This step-by-step approach to learning to play the autoharp will help beginners and teachers understand the many ways in which this versatile instrument can be used. Whichever variation of this setup you use, you don’t have to do much thinking about what key you’re playing in, and the keys fall automatically and comfortably beneath your fingers. Subject: Play Autoharp lap-style left-handed? I find a “T” shaped wrench or a long-handled wrench (the kind often used to tune a hammered dulcimer) easiest to use. The Autoharp Is A Real Musical Instrument! This Is My Father's World The Cyberpluckers keep in touch by means of an electronic mailing list. Therefore, it’s good to go into this process with a bit of knowledge about your options and an idea of what you want. "Rolls" are repetitive patterns of finger picking. The Cyberpluckers is a collection of autoharp players and autoharp music lovers who work and play (when they're not playing music) on the Internet. AutoharpWorks I'm very happy with my purchase of this DVD. Replacing your strings also gives you a good opportunity to clean up and polish the entire ‘harp, and also to check and if necessary polish or replace the bridge rods on “A” model ‘harps. email: pete@daigleharp.com, Bob Lewis If you store your Autoharp under the bed or in the closet, this workshop is for you. I find that “Tacky Glue” works best for this, as it is easy to work with and dries with some flexibility. I am an absolute beginner. There are many things to consider when buying a ‘harp. Phone: 717-589-7210 Most serious adult autoharpers who play melodies on the instrument hold it up to their chest, put picks on 3-5 fingers, and use a strap to support the instrument. First, you’ll need to remove the old string. There are some remedies to this if the problem is loose tuning pins, but they are sometimes not successful. Remember to always use your ear as the final measure of whether the chords that the ‘harp produces are in tune. The best way to get started with the autoharp is to use it to accompany your singing. The ‘harp can be played either on your lap or holding it up to your body. Rather than duplicate them here, I'm including links here to some by Terwilliger Jones, who, along with Spot, the Wonderdog, provide an entertaining series of introductory lessons on to how to play the autoharp! phone: 864-868-0698, John Hollandsworth This is time-consuming but not difficult with some advance planning. How To Play Autoharp by Larry McCabe is The #1 autoharp method for students of all ages. There are also a number of phone apps that work quite well. Each song teaches something new and each strum pattern is built on the previous one. Give yourself the gift of some time each day to sit down, relax, put your ‘harp to your ear, and let it sing to you. 5. Back issues are also available, with classic articles on many topics of interest to autoharpers. To do this on any of the OS harps, you will need to install strap buttons as per the picture about halfway down this page . Start with a round on one chord, hum or sing the words, and strum the rhythm, then slowly add different kinds of rhythm strokes and rhythm strums. Des Moines, WA 98198 Note the number and note of the string you broke and call around to music stores before going to make sure they have and will sell you a single string of the correct size. You can find out how to play those in, “It’s An Autoharp” – Beginner’s Book and CD, Autoharp Quarterly – Person of the Year -2020, Making Music Happen – Workshops, Concerts, Festivals, Hosting Concerts by Your Favorite Performers, Hosting Workshops With Your Favorite Teachers, Starting and Managing a Music (Autoharp) Festival, All-autoharp Show – November 27, 1987 “Homespun” WLRH Huntsville Alabama, Cathy’s “Pandemic Music” Front Porch and Online, http://larkpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/The-Harpers-Blessing-Britell-and-Limbach.mp3. If you purchase your ‘harp from a dealer who is also a qualified technician, the instrument will be checked out and maximized for you, and the additional price you pay for the instrument will be well worth it. If you can find the right one, it can be a treasure. Remember: the autoharp is a folk instrument–one that is meant to be played in an individual and original style. It’s actually pretty easy, economical, and safe to send a properly packed ‘harp through the mail for repair. This gives you a better sense of what your listeners are hearing. Whenever you need to. This is the first rule of autoharp playing: KEEP YOUR INSTRUMENT IN TUNE! It will probably cost $50-$60 plus the cost of the strings to have it done for you. Terwilliger, part 2 Your local music store may stock these things. http://www.blueridgeautoharps.com/. What is rally important, though, is that learning to play the autoharp is fun and easy. We’ll start with that in Part I, and expand these techniques in Parts III and IV. 4. An autoharp is a fairly big investment, and the instrument is unusual enough so that you don’t usually have the opportunity to do much comparison shopping in local music stores. You can play many different styles of music in many settings. There you’ll find autoharpers from all over the world to talk with, ask questions, and share tunes and tips. Your local music store may be able to make quality repairs; however, you’ll sometimes find that these folks won’t know much about autoharps. The DVD covers tuning the instrument, chord placement, playing a scale to find the notes you want. “Clear. There you can hear the sound of various kinds of ‘harps, talk to a number of players and learn their preferences, and also perhaps have the opportunity to play a number of different kinds of ‘harps. Note that a new string will take a few days and 3-4 tunings to “settle in”, and so you will find that the string you just replaced will frequently be out of tune at first, and thus require special tuning attention. I’ve tried to make this book so that it will “work” for all autoharps. If your ‘harp is pretty much in tune, you can just go from one end to the other and quickly tune up any offending strings. If at all possible, get a three-row setup on your ‘harp! This can be arranged so that it is almost totally consistent among all the keys (with some variations on either end of the ‘harp). I’m sure this instrument will give you a great deal of pleasure–both in playing it and in using it as a means to share music with others. To clean it, just wipe with a dry cloth. The strings will sound better, play more easily, and last longer if you keep them clean. One last thing about picking melodies: your chord bar arrangement. String sets cost about $50-60. You’ll need to order a set of felts of the right size for your ‘harp, and set aside 4-5 hours of uninterrupted time to do this job. POSITIONING THE CHILD’S AUTOHARP FOR COMFORTABLE PLAYING. (206) 878-2193 1-800-630-HARP email: contact@autoharpworks.com Festivals and Schools Featuring the Autoharp. This will keep the finish from getting ruined and also from taking up an odor from your skin. First, how about used ‘harps? I never fight with my autoharp, though my other instruments have been known to frustrate me a great deal. Jesus Loves Even Me I'm very happy with my purchase of this DVD. And to have fun! The autoharp is a fretless zither with 36 or more strings and a mechanism of chord bars that mutes specific strings when the player applies pressure to a bar. Common major chords for the autoharp are made up of the I, III, V of the scale which begins with the root, or chord name. Though it's not essential, you might want to start at the top and work your way down, as that is, more or less, the way they were developed. If you learn to play beautiful, clean melodies, use interesting rhythms, and figure out stunning chord progressions, you’ll get SO much more out of your instrument, play more interesting and fun music, become a credible performer and accompanist, become an asset to real musical ensembles, and have WAY MORE FUN! From: icon Date: 09 Feb 09 - 09:42 AM I'm taking up the autoharp (OS 21-chord) late in life; no intention to perform in public, just with the guitarist son for the grandchildren, probably. Then, I had the good fortune to spend some time learning from Bryan Bowers, charter member of the International Autoharp Hall of Fame, who plays with great skill and musicality. Perhaps one of the reasons you decided to learn to play the autoharp is because it’s EASY. "Daniel In the Lions' Den" (blues). Pay attention to these harp playing … The older “A” model harps were made to be played on the lap or on a table and strummed below the chord bars. Finger picks can be made from metal or various plastic or nylon materials. This job takes about four to five hours, and is best to do when you have a good deal of time with few distractions and good music to listen to. This gives the greatest flexibility in playing. Once you get it tuned, you can pick up the autoharp, make some pretty chords and strum along with your singing on simple songs after only a … Virtuosity is often a process of eliminating unnecessary notes and emphasizing the ones that will have the most artistic impact. If you have a chance, it’s really helpful to attend a festival or gathering where autoharps are featured. The key is to play a little bit each day–maybe only 10 or 15 minutes. (206) 878-2193 1-800-630-HARP Autoharp Instruction. http://www.fladmarkautoharps.com Once the autoharp accompaniment is more or less automatic, I then add the words and….voila!….I’ve learned a song. (adsbygoogle=window.adsbygoogle||[]).push({}); The reason I wrote my book is that there’s SO MUCH MORE to autoharp playing that I want to share with you. This allows some of the strings on the harp to be doubled, giving a brighter and more interesting sound. Are the tuning pins tight? The Haven of Rest “Clear Tune” and “IStrobosoft” are two of my favorites. "Nearer, My God, to Thee" Getting your left hand to push the right chord bar button down consistently and easily is the first and most important step in playing melodies. http://schreiberautoharps.com These are often folks who do music in harmonic minors, pop music, classical music, and other repertoire that is far away from the kind of music I like to do on the ‘harp. 3. If you can’t find supplies locally, here are a number of excellent mail-order sources: Pete Daigle PO Box 13270 http://www.daigleharp.com. These seem to keep their shape and stay on the best, and can be bent to really fit the fingers. The following are a few of the luthiers that make autoharps for many of the professional autoharpists you’ve heard. Just push down a button, strum, and you're rewarded with a nice-sounding chord. It’s a good idea to try out both and decide which you like best. This makes it essentially worthless. I find it useful to have folks practice a smooth, rhythmic stroke with the thumb only, and not do anything else with the autoharp until they have a really comfortable strum. If you then turn under about the last 3/8” of the string into a little loop and tuck the end back into the hole, it will be more secure and also the end won’t catch on your clothing or cut your fingers when you’re done. It’s a good idea to look in the mirror occasionally while playing to check that your body is straight, your head is balanced and not slouched forward, and that neither shoulder is hunching up as you play. The strings will begin to sound dead when they need replacing. Basic Melody Techniques I figured, maybe, the dear old thing was deaf as a post, but it's possible, I suppose, that I wasn't playing as clear a melody as I imagined I was. It made me start singing and playing for others, and inspired me to write songs. Here are a few: Pete Daigle PO Box 13270 If you can’t find a repair person who is experienced with autoharps in particular, try looking on the Internet (See below for a list of some excellent autoharp repair people). One of the ways to help get beyond this is to record your playing, then listen to it. Perhaps one of the reasons you decided to learn to play the autoharp is because it’s EASY. Now, wind the string carefully and neatly without overlapping, and bring it up to tune. 354 Owl Hollow Road This consists of bringing your thumb and middle finger together in a short, fast motion, so that your finger is only hitting the melody note, and your thumb is hitting two or three strings below. The strap then hooks to the buttons and goes under the right arm across the back and over the left shoulder. If your ‘harp is quite out of tune, start with your highest note (usually C) and tune each Con the autoharp. When learning a song, then, it’s best to start very simply, with little short thumb strums or little plucks with your right long finger in the rhythm of the melody, and concentrate on which buttons you are pushing down with the left hand. Many people prefer heavy gauge metal picks. Every title is discount priced and most ship the same day. Bryan showed me how much easier it was, for the traditional and folk songs and tunes that he and I love to to play with a ‘harp that was set up consistently so that the three strongest fingers shared the work of pushing buttons equally. The DVD covers tuning the instrument, chord placement, playing a scale to find the notes you want. Always check your tuning before playing with or for others. Once you have tuned all the individual strings on the ‘harp, slowly play all the chords you have, and make certain they are tuned to your ear. Here’s the first song I wrote on the autoharp, sung with my friend William Limbach. Once you get it tuned, you can pick up the autoharp, make some pretty chords and strum along with your singing on simple songs after only a few minutes. This is a quarterly magazine which is a treasure house of information about technical issues, recordings, autoharp history, clubs, and festivals and contests. Most people use a pick on their thumb and index and middle fingers of the right hand. After practicing that motion and getting it so that you’re hitting the right number of strings, you can than experiment with moving your hand up and down the ‘harp, to position the pinch to hit the strings you want. That's because it is one of the easiest to play. Some also put picks on the ring and little fingers. Where We'll Never Grow Old Down at the Cross Do the keys work easily and smoothly? The kind of picks you use are a matter of preference. There are a number of things that can go wrong with autoharps over time, and so it’s a good idea to take an expert along on your shopping expedition and/or look carefully at the following things: 1. You must keep your autoharp in tune if you’re going to enjoy it and if you’re going to play with or for anyone else. He named his invention the "autoharp". Very minimal damage to the cover including scuff marks, but no holes or tears. The newer ‘harps are designed to be held upright against your body (which produces a much better sound on virtually all ‘harps), and so are awkward when played on the lap because of the necessity of crossing your hands. The Autoharp Chord Chart And Melody-Playing Tips is the perfect size to fit in your Autoharp case and has all you need to know to play both accompaniment and melody on your Autoharp.AutoharpChord Chart And Melody-Playing Tips incl… You can use either guitar strap or a “Slider Strap” for your ‘harp. So, a used ‘harp for $100 may cost you another $150-200 to get into good playing condition…sometimes a bargain, and sometimes not a bargain. However, an electronic tuner (available for about $20- $60) will make tuning a snap and if you play (and therefore tune) often, you’ll find it a very good investment. Learn how to play the autoharp with our great selection of autoharp instruction books, videos and DVD’s. I played several songs and ended with "Amazing Grace." The kind of picks you use are a matter of preference. The orange Kelly Slick Pick is my favorite: 1. When you have your pinch under control, it’s time to go back to the simple song you’ve been working on and with which your left hand is comfortable, and use the pinch to tease out the melody of the song. Minor chords are I, flatted III, and V. Seventh chords (more accurately called dominant sevenths) are made up of I, III, V and flatted VII. The phone version uses a condensed interface with proportionally larger buttons. e-mail: john@blueridgeautoharps.com If you listen to the very best autoharp players you’ll notice that their playing is more precise and in many ways more simple than people who don’t play so well. Well, that’s certainly true! Sunbury, PA 17801 Oscar Schmidt and Chromaharp are the best-known makers of mass-produced autoharps. There you can find out about joining the Cyberpluckers, the internet autoharp mailing list as well. If you purchase one of these ‘harps, from a music store or online, you will need to make some minor modifications to improve the “action” of the chord bar mechanism and make it truly playable. But if you ask your local music or record store to order an artist’s recording for you, that supports the artist, too, since stores will then begin stock recordings of artists for which there is demand. http://www.daigleharp.com Autoharps have actually “exploded” when subjected to extreme heat in the trunks of cars (not a pretty sight). We’ll be working on these skills in the Part I of the eBook, and also throughout the other parts of the book. Des Moines, WA 98198 Having to hold your harp in your arms and play at the same time can occasionally lead to shoulder, arm and hand discomfort. This is available from the Autoharp Quarterly Marketplace or via mail order from the magazine. Here are links to a few of her videos. Another layout, with more “flat” chords, sacrificing the key of A: As you can see, there are a number of variations of this layout, depending on what keys you plan to play in, and whether or not you want diminished chords. People who like playing only traditional tunes and those who like to playing fast fiddle tunes and lyrical tunes using open chording often prefer diatonic ‘harps. You can have 15 or 18 or 21 bars, whichever suits you, and can include keys on either end of the above setup as your playing needs dictate, but a consistent three-row setup will, in my opinion, give you the best and easiest playing. These are a bit longer than the “B/C strings”. Millerstown, PA 17062 For me the autoharp is a welcome refuge from playing guitar. Some players find them to be VERY good and extremely comfortable, stying on very well. This playing position is difficult and uncomfortable for most children, usually until the age of ten or twelve. Every autoharp has buttons that control felted bars that dampen notes that aren't in the chord you want to play. Includes care of the autoharp, playing positions, chord changes, back-up strums, arpeggio strums, melody picking, rhythm picking, and much more! Larry. your instrument by ear with a pitch pipe or keyboard, if you have a lot of time and work hard at it. After you can master those, try some of your favorite old folk songs. Finally, he shows how to play the Autoharp as a "full-bodied" instrument, picking the melody while stumming chords. The first thing to become comfortable with is long, even strums through all the strings of the ‘harp. If the tuning pins are loose or with certain types of plywood construction (a common problem with older Chromaharps and occasional Oscar Schmidt harps) the harp will not stay in tune. Of course, like with playing any other real musical instrument, becoming a skilled autoharp player takes some work. Do you like the sound when you play it and when you stand a few feet away while others play it? So this setup is not the “end-all and be-all”; but it’s the one I find personally most useful, and it certainly gave me easier and better playing than the setup that the Oscar Schmidt factory puts on their instruments. A quick fix for these will be to simply glue them back on. If you do it this way, rather than just chromatically going up or down the ‘harp, you will apply stress more evenly across your ‘harp, and will end up with the ‘harp more evenly and easily in tune and help it stay in tune better. Your ‘harp will need to have strap buttons on either side (see the illustrations). It will simply take a little more work, and compromise as to keys. If that’s all you want to do, don’t bother purchasing the eBook! They’d be happy to send you a brochure if you call or write. It may also make it possible to play a greater range of notes, and allows some special tuning a bit different from that of a piano. If you need some expert repair help, you can sometimes find someone through a local shop that specializes in acoustic musical instruments. The autoharp is one of the greatest musical instruments of all time. Keep your autoharp in its case when you’re not playing it, so that things don’t inadvertently get spilled on it and the strings don’t corrode from the moisture in the air. This costs about $100 if you have it done, or $50-70 for parts and about 4-5 hours of work and some knowledge if you do it yourself. This clear, easy-to-follow DVD lesson starts you off by showing you the right way to hold and tune your Autoharp and how to use the most efficient left-hand fingering to push down the chord buttons. If you hold the ‘harp upright, you will need to support it in some way. Taught by John Sebastian (he played autoharp on the Lovin' Spoolful hit "Do You Believe In Magic"), this DVD is a step-by-step guide to playing the Autoharp, one of the most beautiful (and easiest) traditional musical instruments. Particularly a pre-1978 (American made) Oscar Schmidt 21-bar Appalachian autoharp, will give you a lovely sound. Unfortunately, these beginning melodies are often recognizable only to the one who is playing! There is quite a bit of variation in these, so it’s important to play an individual ‘harp before buying it. This how to video installment explains a basic autoharp melody playing technique called "pinching". There are a number of festivals that feature autoharp performances, classes, workshops, and/or contests. 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