Hi, tonight I rescued 2 autoharps from the church choir room. They'd been there so long no one could remember the who or how of it.
Anyway, one is an Oscar Schmidt Silvertone 15 bar, 36 string. One high E string is missing, but as it was in it's case, is in very good condition as far as I can tell. A little googling told me Silvertones were made between 1965-1967 and sold through Sears and Roebuck. It came with a 7 inch record with instructions for tuning, but sleeve is there, but no record.
The second autoharp is the Japanese Sekova chromaharp, these entered the US market in late 60s. While the Silvertone is maple (veneer I assume), the chromaharp is that sunburst coloring, you see on guitars. I found a serial number and would like to date that also. It's also 15 bars and 36 strings and has all the strings. However it wasn't in a case so is very dusty and grit etc has fallen into the soundhole which I can't shake out.
All I know about this instrument is the above text, thanks to Google!. Do strings that could 40+ years old have to be changed? The info that came with the chromaharp says strings do need not need to be replaced, except if they break. There is a tuning device, but plastic handle is so brittle, it's broken off. I'm wondering whether I should try tuning or not.
Apart some dusting, I haven't done anything else with them. I've got permission to see if they can be made playable again. So, where should I start? Can I unscrew the bars to clean underneath them? What do you clean the strings with? And best way to get the grit out of the body of the chronograph? Or should I find someone to restring them? I'm in Dallas Fort Worth area. Sorry for all the questions, I'd like to bring these alive again, I hate to see neglected instruments.
updated by @ruth-lawrence: 02/19/19 03:45:19AM