Oscar Schmidt OS21C my axe (autoharp)

motormike
@motormike
3 months ago
16 posts

NateBuildsToys:

 A couple of the pads had been damaged over time, and it took QUITE a while to tune up, but the ethereal brightness of the sound is unlike any other instrument I've heard. Such a beautiful sound.
Nate

 Pads do get damaged with play, but it took more than 10 years of moderate use to get to the point of needing replaced. The tuning of autoharp took me quite a while before I could develop a working procedure. The "secret" was to skip from one side to the other, working toward the middle. Going from one side in sequence to the other side would always result in de-tuning of the beginning strings. I have time down to 20 minutes for a full 36-string tune job. The reward is that "etheral" beauty, and you know you've nailed it. One string not in tune is immediately obvious.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
3 months ago
1,076 posts

Autoharp seem to find their way to me, although don't play. I usually either give them away or sell them. My sister has an autoharp which I completely repadded at one time. I've replaced pads on other autoharps as well. Also replaced string, repaired tuning pegs, etc. Partly, this is because I have friends who play and also having been friends with George Orthey and a friend of Greg Schreiber. I also hosted and emcee autoharp concerts for about 20 years, so I know a lot of professional players and builders. I enjoy listening to autoharp music.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
3 months ago
243 posts

I got the opportunity to play an autoharp once. It belonged to a family friend who would play it and sing when my father was a kid. A couple of the pads had been damaged over time, and it took QUITE a while to tune up, but the ethereal brightness of the sound is unlike any other instrument I've heard. Such a beautiful sound.
Nate

motormike
@motormike
3 months ago
16 posts

Stanley Adams:

I don't play autoharps, but i like to hear and watch others play them! Seems to me they are perfect for singing along with. Mike, who first taught you about autoharp when you were a kid?

 It was 1963 and I was in 5th grade at grade school in Maroa, IL.
A wonderful music teacher, Doris Dotson, would bring instruments periodically.
Mostly they were percussion, like wood block, triangle, tambourine.
But for reasons unknown, she also had an autoharp. I was instantly intrigued,
but never given much time to explore. The interest never diminished, so when I saw an autoharp
in the Sears & Roebuck catalogue for a decent sales price I made the purchase.
Mrs. Dotson covered all ages of students through 12th grade, and I remained active in chorus
under her direction for 8 years until graduation. She was strictly teacher of vocal music, having nothing to do with band. Her service to our schools lasted some 40 years and she was adored and respected.
...Agree with Dusty Turtle, autoharp has a magical quality as the harmonies resonate in my heart when playing.

Stanley Adams
Stanley Adams
@stanley-adams
3 months ago
5 posts

I don't play autoharps, but i like to hear and watch others play them! Seems to me they are perfect for singing along with. Mike, who first taught you about autoharp when you were a kid?

Dusty Turtle
Dusty Turtle
@dusty
3 months ago
1,723 posts

Hey, @motormike.  I have an autoharp as well, a diatonic G/D that my uncle made for me. I should play it more often. The autoharp is such a magical instrument.




--
Dusty T., Northern California
Site Moderator

As a musician, you have to keep one foot back in the past and one foot forward into the future.
-- Dizzy Gillespie
motormike
@motormike
3 months ago
16 posts

Since I've joined this board, discussion has ensued regarding a dulcimer and a psaltery. True passion, however, is my Autoharp. Having been introduced to them age 10, about 20 years passed before I bought one in tobacco sunburst. The VERY first time I remember seeing anyone play autoharp professionally was on TV when John Sebastian and the Lovin' Spoonful appeared on Ed Sullivan show playing "Do You Believe in Magic". Fast forward to 2010, and I replaced the first with a stunning red finish harp. I play strictly for my own enjoyment, gospel, folk, rock, and whatever sings to me in the moment.

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