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Help: autoharp :-)

22 Jan 01 - 06:09 PM (#379948)
Subject: autoharp :-)
From: AggieBethie

I recently purchased a ChromAharp and was told that I should invest in an electric tuner. Do any of you think this is true, and if so, what type of tuner do I need to get? Will a guitar one work or do I need something special? Thanks!

22 Jan 01 - 06:20 PM (#379962)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: wysiwyg

Hi AB--

Is your Harp electrified? If so, get the kind where the Harp's cord will plug into the tuner. The thing is, without the pickup cord, it's hard to use the tuner if you have to hold it near the ringing string-- where do you set the tuner while you work? I always find I have to use two hands to tune, and wish I had three. One to ring the string, one to operate the wrench, and one to hold the thing down safely as I turn the peg. So having a tuner that is a help and not a hindrance, especially when you are having to chage a string, which is another feat of ccordination, is important.

If you aren't electric, any chromatic tuner will work fine as long as it sits where you put it, and doesn't skitter all over the place. I don;t have fine tuners-- do you? It may make things much easier.

I find that the kind that tells me what note it is picking up is best, not the kind where where it is expecting certain notes and tells me how far off pitch I am.

I have used several tuners, mine and other people's, and biggest problem seems to be that they all get mixed up about the lowest notes. So I would suggest that you take your Harp with you to the music store to try out several models. No music store worth visiting will mind letting you try them out.

When you get the one you like, put your name one it. They tend to get up and walk away when you jam with strangers, or to get mixed up with someone else's cuz they all look alike!

Is this your first instrument? Will you have people to play with? Have fun and let us know how you do!

BTW, will you be chording or melody picking I chord, tabletop, upside down, electric. I hammer it too.


22 Jan 01 - 06:40 PM (#379978)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: Bill D

I use a KORG tuner...there are several models and other brands, but should get one with input plug...then there is a simple way to clamp an alligator clip to a peg and tune with no 'background noise' problems...not sure if you live near a major music store, but you CAN use any decent electronic tuner till you can get the plug in gadget...(you do NOT need a plug ON the harp)

22 Jan 01 - 06:44 PM (#379986)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: Bill D

you ARE Bethany on ICQ? $486***..etc? If so, I can talk you thru a few things..ICQ 1230275(been playing 30 years..) there are several others who know as much or more than I who may check in also...

22 Jan 01 - 09:25 PM (#380118)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: AggieBethie

OK... what do ya'll think of these?

(sorry, don't know how to do the blue clicky things :-(


22 Jan 01 - 09:32 PM (#380124)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: wysiwyg

I'll check them out tomorrow, OK? Be sure you come back!

And I see you just joined Mudcat recently-- welcome!!


22 Jan 01 - 10:05 PM (#380137)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: Gypsy

Try the intellitouch tuner...costly, but clamps directly onto anything, and uses the vibration, rather than sound. Really nice in a noisy room, and you don't need a tail. Works well for all notes on my hammered dulcimer

22 Jan 01 - 10:29 PM (#380157)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: GutBucketeer

Aggie Beth. Yes by all means by a tuner. I wouldn't buy a used one though. Also, make sure it is a Chromatic tuner that covers the full scale with all sharps and flats. Some of the Guitar tuners are set up for standard Guitar tuning, and won't cut it for an Auto Harp.

Also, there are some really great threads on the Autharp which give a lot of great advice on playing, tuning, etc.

Just do a forum search on Autoharp.


22 Jan 01 - 11:23 PM (#380182)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: ddw

WYSI, I'll second Gypsy's advice to get an Intellitouch. They're completely chromatic and even though they won't attach to anything on an Autoharp at least I haven't found any way to put them on mine they work well by just laying them down on the harp. They list for about $79 US, but many places sell them for about $52 to $57.

If, as somebody mentioned, it doesn't work well in the lower registers, just touch the string you're tuning in the middle and tune with harmonics.



22 Jan 01 - 11:30 PM (#380186)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: DonMeixner


I have used a Korg T-1 for years and can find no better device for the task. While I do have a pick up in my harp I tend not to use it. I put the tuner in the harp case and set the harp on three edges of the case so the harp vibrates into the case. The tuner reads it all quite well and tuning commences.

There are other less expensive tuners out there but this is an expense that is worth spending a little more on if you have it. My best experience has been with Korgs, my worst with Sabines', you take it from there.

Good luck with the instrument. I'n sure you will enjoy it.


23 Jan 01 - 08:49 AM (#380395)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: Mooh

Buy a tuner, if for no other reason than it saves time and tunes more accurately. (What other reason do you need?) I can tweak individual strings by ear, but more than that I gotta have the tuner.

I too use the Intellitouch tuner, though there's not an ideal spot to attach it on my old autoharp. I usually attach it to a couple of pegs. Sometimes I'll use a chromatic "guitar" tuner with the built in mic and that works okay, though it's more prone to picking up other strings vibrating in sympathy with the one I'm tuning, if they're not muted.

So long as you can get a chromatic tuner, you'll be okay.


23 Jan 01 - 12:20 PM (#380523)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: AggieBethie

Is this the Intellitouch tuner that ya'll are talking about?

23 Jan 01 - 02:26 PM (#380613)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: Gypsy

That's it. Good price at 43.00. Got mine for 50.00 thru the Skelton Crew in Lake County, CA. I wouldn't pay more than 55.00 for one. Musicians Friend offers them for that, and i think that Elderly Instruments is in that range. Good company. My first one ate batteries, when I called to complain, they sent me a new one within the week. I think I got my new one, before they got the sick one that I returned. The current one is 2 years old, with nary a problem.

07 Apr 13 - 10:13 AM (#3500029)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)

once you have the straps and buttons put on your auto harp is ther a different way to hold it, mine kind of leans a little forward, am so new at this, had starp put on cause want to stand and play but don't know if I like it, but maybe something just have to get use to

07 Apr 13 - 12:23 PM (#3500071)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: PHJim

I often stand to play, but have never found a strap to be necessary.

Since this thread is pretty old, I'd like to recommend a Snark chromatic tuner. I've found they grab the note more quickly and have a clear screen display and a choice between vibration and microphone. My red one cost me about $12 Canadian. Unlike the Intellitouch, which had difficulty grabbing the low notes, (I had to tune the low E on my guitar using harmonics with my Intellitouch) the Snark has no difficulties with those lower notes.

07 Apr 13 - 01:03 PM (#3500080)
Subject: RE: Help: autoharp :-)
From: John MacKenzie

I found Snarks good for my 12 string,as they pick up lower notes better. My Intellitouch is crap at low D, which is what the base string on mt 12 is tuned to. Not very good at E either, in normal tuning.