Mudcat Café message #543166 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #38588   Message #543166
Posted By: BlueJay
06-Sep-01 - 03:04 AM
Thread Name: Looking to Buy 21 chord Autoharp
Subject: RE: BS: Looking to Buy 21 chord Autoharp
Francy- First off I admit I'm prejudiced against 21 chord harps, because I bought one and found it to be more trouble mechanically than the extra chords are worth. The chord bars, due to their very narrow spacing stuck a lot, and it was a general pain to play. So I bought a 15 chord conversion kit, which, (to me), is less problematic. I refelted a few of the bars to get chords not available in the standard set-up, like B flat and B minor. This was about fifteen years ago, but I'd bet you can still buy such a set up from Oscar Schmidt. I don't recall the cost, but it didn't seem prohibitive, and replacing the whole chord bar structure was easy for me. You do have to drill a couple of new holes, and it leaves a couple of holes in the top from the old 21 string cover. No big deal to me.

Changing the strings is another matter. I'd rather change four flat tires in a snowstorm than string an autoharp. The last time I restrung my harp, it took all day. And then the strings didn't settle in for at least a month or two, without constant re-tuning. I'd go with the old strings for as long as possible. Harp purists may cringe at the thought, but then I just have a cheap old OS, and the lack of absolutely brilliant strings doesn't bother me near as much as the thought of changing them.

Don- Does a set of autoharp strings really cost a hundred bucks? That's outrageous. The last set I bought was about forty, of course that was about fifteen years ago. (I don't play the harp all that much). I'd upgrade to a new harp with with a solid wood top and new strings before I paid a hundred dollars for a new set of strings. Thanks, BlueJay