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BS: KILLER AUTOHARP

16 Mar 01 - 08:56 PM (#419603)
Subject: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: SINSULL

The evening started simply enough. I heard a recording, decided to try to pick it out on my autoharp, and then...Do these damn things ever stay in tune. Elderly's catalog says that they tune it before shipping and it may need a "little" adjustment when it arrives. Mine needs adjusting if I stop to answer the phone.
Anyway, out came the Chromatic Tuner and of course the batteries were dead. AAA batteries are not a stock item in my household so a trip to the local store was required. Broke a nail opening the tuner to change the batteries. The usual #@#@!$#@&&&$@##! Then proceeded to pluck strings. Had to change locations when a car alarm in the street started interfering with the tuner. Had to change locations again when the cat started interfering with the tuner. The "D" string refused to register on the tuner so I tightened it ever so slightly...still no register. So I tightened it again ever so slightly...fourth try the string snapped, tearing a nail off to the quick and lashing me in the face. So now I have a useless autoharp, two broken nails, a scratched chin, and a bad attitude.
My question to you all is "Will the four string banjo be any easier and less life threatening to tune? Or should I try the harmonica?"
Thank you for listening. I am now writing a parody called "Blood On The Keyboard" to commemmorate the event.


16 Mar 01 - 09:01 PM (#419607)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Allan C.

I just did a "tuneup" on my autoharp. I mentioned this to a friend who asked if I had restrung it. I told him, "No, this is one of those instruments that I would only restring when the strings rust all the way through!"

My sympathies, SINSULL.


16 Mar 01 - 09:04 PM (#419608)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: catspaw49

Ah well.......It happens. stuff like that I always figure is payback for something. I figure something will get me for cursing the clock that hangs behind and above me....which is about to go off with a sudden and loud blowing of railway sounds........there it goes.......We've had it for days and my son Tristan just loves it. If I (or Karen) doesn't notice the time, it still continues to make me jump....I mean like its STARTLING as hell. So I figure the fact that I cuss at it when Tris loves it so much will come back to haunt me. A good friend sent it as a gift and I'm sure the friend will get their own payback for it.

Spaw


16 Mar 01 - 09:19 PM (#419619)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Matt_R

Since...you need a nice guitar!!


16 Mar 01 - 09:25 PM (#419622)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Bill D

one of Murphy's Laws

"Whatever hits the fan is not distributed evenly"

it all came the same night, SINSULL..*sigh*(and you need a piezoelectric plugin for the tuner, so that you can tune even in a room full of bagpipes and accordians)


16 Mar 01 - 10:36 PM (#419653)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Jeri

Spaw, get the singing fish back out and you won't notice the clock.

Hammered dulcimers had more strings than autoharps I think, and they go out of tune if you look at them. Appalachian/lap dulcimers, however, may only have three strings, and there isn't that much tension on them. I think a reed instrument such as concertina or accordion is your best bet if you don't want to keep re-tuning.


16 Mar 01 - 10:58 PM (#419661)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: SINSULL

Hey Spaw! WHOO WHOO!!!! Isn't that what you do on the way to the shower???? Is karen taking the second clock to work?

Matt, I tried guitar once and I swear to you this is true. As I picked it up the end of one of the strings stuck me - about 3/4" into my finger. My brother had to remove it and my finger turned black from internal bleeding. Only time in my life I almost fainted. Bet I could choke on a tin whistle if I tried. Maybe a tissue and a comb???


16 Mar 01 - 11:02 PM (#419663)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: wysiwyg

Well, I can relate. There are some days when tuning the autoharp is just not a good thing for me to try to do. So on those days... Hardi does it for me!

~S~


16 Mar 01 - 11:07 PM (#419668)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Bill D

and you'd be amazed what you can catch in the bellows of accordians and concertinas! *grin*...and Jew's harps can chip teeth...and steam calliopes can explode!...better just listen to the radio


16 Mar 01 - 11:07 PM (#419670)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: catspaw49

Well congrats Sins my luv......I read that just as the clock went off!!! Karen wouldn't dare take the other one to work though as she works with VERY sharp knives and things. Funny you say that though because we talked about it since one of her co-workers is deaf and we figure SHE could hear these things!!!!

But oh my, does Tris ever love it.........Tonite it went off and I realized it was 6:20 by my watch.......then I noticed the chair by the clock. I looked over at Tris and he said, "Twelve Daddy!!!"

Spaw


16 Mar 01 - 11:11 PM (#419671)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: SINSULL

So take it off the wall and let him have it! Chemistry set next. Or a detective's kit. Little boys can do wonders with a little vial of greasy, ground charcoal for taking fingerprints. My sister-in-law hasn't spoken to me in years. Something about a white couch.


16 Mar 01 - 11:21 PM (#419681)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: dick greenhaus

One of the experiences that helped shape my life was when I had to tune 14 autoharps one afternoon---'twas at a school where a dear friend named Margot Mayo was teaching, and a fifth-grade class was going to give a concert. I hate to say what shape my life took as a result.


16 Mar 01 - 11:24 PM (#419685)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: SINSULL

Oh Dick. I am so sorry. It does explain a lot though...(GRIN)


17 Mar 01 - 11:35 AM (#419937)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Bedubya

Hi SINSULL,

To reply to your original question about the four string banjo....

I've seen it said by others in this forum and I fully concur and reiterate....

"YOU CANNOT TUNE A BANJO!"

You can tweak it. You can diddle with it. You can try every brand and gauge of string on the market. You can replace the bridge and the tailpiece and tighten the head. You can make sacrificial offerings to the goddess Vega. But the best you'll ever achieve is an approximation of "in-tune" and you will make little adjustments after every tune you play but they won't make it sound any better either. And it makes no difference whether you have a $300.00 banjo or a $3000.00 one.

Are you enough of a masochist to take the challenge?

bwl


17 Mar 01 - 11:46 AM (#419938)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: chip a

Sinsull, I guess this means we don't have a five string, but I still don't know where the house is! Chip


17 Mar 01 - 11:53 AM (#419940)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: Peter T.

Perhaps the problem is that the rest of the universe is slightly out of tune, and that you should tackle that problem first.

I don't know what that means, but it sure sounds profound.

yours, Peter T. Ommmmmmm.


17 Mar 01 - 12:25 PM (#419955)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: wysiwyg

Hey, Bedubya-- WELCOME TO MUDCAT!

~S~


17 Mar 01 - 02:35 PM (#420015)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: SINSULL

Peter - Oprah could make three shows out of that remark. Unfortunately, with a sore finger, a scraped chin, and a broken autoharp all I can say is...Maybe in the interest of international relations I won't. Thank you for your input Peter. (useless as it might be).


18 Mar 01 - 01:25 PM (#420473)
Subject: RE: BS: KILLER AUTOHARP
From: GUEST,multismus@aol.com

I am sorry for the trouble experienced with tuning the autoharp. I have always tuned mine sitting at the keyboard which is an acceptable way to tune the thing. It is a simple pitch-matching exercise which should take about 10 to 15 minutes at most.

With age, any of the strings can wear out. This is true of any stringed instrument guitar, violin, piano etc. Do be careful with piano strings that snap as they can be lethal.

Hope this helps.