how old is my autoharp

Most of the Type A autoharps people ask me about have no particular collectors' value, because they are so common.

But I have made a valiant attempt to collect, fact-check, and organize information for new readers. There were also small competitors with just as much right to the name, like the Williams & Sons company in Toronto, Canada. Obviously, the longer you do this and the more examples you see, the closer you'll get to determining the potential value of your own instrument.

Our Autoharp Buyers' Guide shows a sample range of new 21-chorders, which might give you some idea of features to look for. If you look at online reviews, a surprising percentage of the one-star reviews say something like "By the time I realized it was damaged (or had a critical manufacturing defect), the period for returns had run out, so now I'm stuck with a useless piece of .

new destination. 6-String Banjo Buyers' Guide on Riverboat Music Strings run parallel to the top, between the mounting plate and the tuning pins, and pass under the chord bar assembly. [8] In the 1970s, Oscar Schmidt came out with their own magnetic pickup.

The range is determined by the number of strings and their tuning.

So at any given time, there are quite a number of nearly identical instruments on the used market. Or once you understand the maintenance involved, you might want to buy a second one to convert into a diatonic and keep your first one.

[10] Right hand strums were typically done with a plectrum similar to a guitar pick, made of shell, plastic, or compressed felt.

Most models have either 15 or 21 button/chords.

New techniques have been developed, however, and modern players can play melodies on the instrument: diatonic players, for example, are able to play fiddle tunes using open-chording techniques, "pumping" the damper buttons while picking individual strings. SKU: SCHR1B.

This is especially true of Chromaharps, which were long marketed into school systems through their affiliation with Rhythm Band instruments.

The photo to the right shows the buttons available on the standard Oscar Schmidt "21-Chord" Autoharp configuration.

In 1882, Charles Zimmerman was awarded the US patent, but the design for his instrument was different from today's autoharp (History 6). Acoustic Guitar Buyers' Guides on

Musings About the musical Creek Don't Rise

Since Gutter was German, it is likely that he had a patent for his autoharp in his native country, but no records have been found (History 9). And that, in turn, helps us provide more useful resources.

In fact, it will generally be worth less.

There were a few models with fancy colors or such that may bring a premium, especially to folks who want a a specific "Old-Timey" look. Neither the cardboard cases or cloth gig bags that most people buy for these will really protect the instrument from physical damage in a packed car or whatever, but either will protect the instrument from collecting dust in hard-to clean places. Chromaharp made some goofy instruments, too, but the vast majority of Chromaharps are made to the same basic plan and have the same number of strings. From the 1960's to present day, Oscar Schmidt has designed many new models of autoharp and has created or sells many autoharp accessories.

Are 6-String Banjos for Real?

Checking the serial number against Oscar Schmidt’s database to establish the model, series and year of construction is a good start.

Since there are E7 and B7 chords, you could play a blues in E if you wanted, as well. But at the entry level, choosing one or the other is pretty much just a matter of personal preference. But in the end, you are responsible for making certain that an instrument or product will serve your needs while you still have time to return it.
Forums Some folks list things way over their value in hope of finding a sucker. True, if the wood bits deteriorate, you have a big problem. If it is in fact pretty old, the sound is probably better than a new one. Set Suggestions

Even after a good external cleaning, mold can still linger inside where you can not get to it without, say, taking the back off, and then you're into a serious rebuilding effort. Two versions of this instrument were patented in the early-to-mid 1880s, with the second of the two surviving to eventually become the modern autoharp. Most of these guys will do any reconditioning or restringing that is necessary while they're doing the conversion, so you wind up with a like-new, customized autoharp for what is actually a reasonable price, considering the work they've put into it.
Evaluating and Buying Used Guitars Today, the autoharp enjoys a modest but loyal following and is commonly used as a student instrument, where it is particularly helpful in learning chords. Janis Joplin occasionally played the autoharp, which can be heard in her early, unreleased recording "So Sad to Be Alone". Zimmerman. In most cases, to restore them to playable condition would cost substantially more than they would be worth to anybody, since nobody actually plays them, period. So if you have a 90 or 120-year old autoharp with some rust, you're probably okay. Then the autoharp made a comeback - through the radio of all things.

(includes case; also available without case). What about the really old ones?


They are charming-looking devices, and generally that's all th…

SKU: ACOS-73DXGIG. All Oscar Schmidt and Chromaharp autoharps being made today are "chromatic," which means that they have over two octaves of chromatic notes (white AND black keys) plus some extra bass notes in the most common keys. A three-key harp in the circle of fifths, such as a GDA, is often called a festival or campfire harp, as the instrument can easily accompany fiddles around a campfire or at a festival. A typical 36-string chromatic autoharp in standard tuning has a 3½ octave range, from F2 to C6.

The Billboard Book of No. A strum would usually activate multiple strings, playing the chord held down by the left hand. If they had a case, there's a chance that the instrument is less dirty.

Type A (pre-1968) Oscar Schmidt autoharps in various condition, OS-15, Oscar Schmidt's baseline 15-chorder. Beginning 5-String Folk Banjo

Again, I am hardly the expert on these; I barely play them. They "googled" the product, saw my recommendation or review, then e-mailed me to tell me they were going to sue me or report me to the Better Business Bureau for personally ripping them off by recommending a product they had bought from someone else. As with any vintage instrument, establishing the value of an old Autoharp can be difficult, but newer models are fairly easy to price. Products, Audio Recordings, [5] In litigation with George Orthey, it was held that Oscar Schmidt could only claim ownership of the stylized lettering of the word autoharp, the term itself having moved into general usage. So if you have a 90 or 120-year old autoharp with some rust, you're probably okay.

He named his invention the "autoharp". In spite of its name, the autoharp is not a harp at all—instead, it's a chorded variant of the zither. If there are signs of mold, though, steer clear. Something worth considering if you're a Folkie, Celtic, Bluegrass player, etc. Oscar Schmidt 1930's Original Design Autoharp & Gig Bag, 15 Bar, Black, OS73B-AC445. George Reece began writing professionally in 2007 as a music critic at the "Leeds Student" newspaper.

But eventually that was challenged, since the term "autoharp" actually predates the Zimmerman models. In 1926, the line was acquired by a company co-owned by Oscar Schmidt. It's those long bars with the felt under them that makes autoharps, er, autoharps.

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