Last year I put up an autoharp buyers’ guide page on RiverboatMusic.com. And I started getting reader questions about autoharps. Since I only dabble in the things, some of the questions took a lot of research to answer, and the answers I found were scattered in various places like discussion forums, personal pages, etc. I thought I would write an overview article pointing to those resources, but I wound up writing four just trying to include the answers to reader questions I’d gotten so far. I also wanted to do some projects on my own autoharps so I could “flesh out” the “how-to” part of some of the articles with personal experience and photos, but I have run out of time for that, at least until summer. In the meantime, here’s what we have so far:
- Autoharp Factory Tunings – Which autoharps (if any) have the chords you need to play the songs you want to play?
- Making Your Autoharp “Folk-Friendly” – Tweaking autoharps to make them more useful in guitar-friendly keys like D, A, and E.
- What is a Diatonic Autoharp? – Reconfiguring autoharps to play in fewer keys, but to double strings wherever possible to provide a much fuller sound.
- Autoharps for People with Short Arms – Suggestions for folks who find standard-sized autoharps inconvenient or painful to play.
I kept encountering autoharp “luthiers” who insist that no autoharp is worth owning unless they get their hands on it first and set it up. Most of them are good guys, and I see where they’re coming from, but I’m used to setting up my own instruments. Plus I have readers in continents (yes, you heard me right – continents) without ONE autoharp luthier. I tried to find good sites about autoharp setup and maintenance, but could not.
I’m told that The Autoharp Owner’s Manual by Mary Lou Orthey contains a lot of useful content that would apply, but I have just ordered the book for myself, so I can’t give you more information on that score.