Autoharp Resources -- Where to find the things you need.
Books About the Autoharp
There are two books about the autoharp that are absolutely indispensable. The first one is The Autoharp Owener's Manual, by Mary Lou Orthey. It's a compendium of articles from The Autoharp Quarterly, that cover almost all aspects of the autoharp, including maintenance, tuning, altering the instrument and setup. This is available from Amazon or from Mel Bay. Get the spiral bound version. There is a kindle version available, but the font used is tiny and very difficult to read.
The second one is The Autoharp Book by Becky Blackley. This has a lot of information about the history of the autoharp up until 1983, which was about the time that the Oscar Schmidt Company took its manufacturing business overseas. So there isn't much information about Asian-made 'harps, other than ChromAHarps.
Nevertheless, there is good history in this book.
Bob Lewis has an amazing amount of information about autoharp setup, plus lots of supplies. Sometimes he has refurbished autharps for sale. He has lots of charts, including very effective chord bar setups. Also, if you purchase a new Oscar Schmidt instrument, he is a good source. You will pay a little more for one from Bob, but he puts a lot of work into setting it up properly. You get what you pay for.
Pete D'Aigle is an experienced autoharp luthier with a big shop in Washington State. He is also a good source for new Oscar Schmidt instruments that are properly set up. He has a huge amount of information on autoharp maintenance on his web site. He also carries parts.
Greg Schreiber manufactures several items specifically for autoharps, including fine tuners, magnetic pickups and the best autoharp strings you can buy. He also has some parts, but they are not listed on his web site. He also has some youtube videos. In addition to all of this, he is one of the top autoharp luthiers around.
He bulit a unique left-handed autoharp for me. You can see it on the gallery page.
This is the web site for Ken Ellis, who makes some really fine autoharps. I have one of his custom left-handed instruments. You can see it on the gallery page.
A Good Source for Instruments and Parts
Over the past few years, I have gotten some very good deals on parts and used instruments from Theresa Wells, who has a presence on Reverb.com . She tends to find good, USA made autoharps, which she refurbishes and sells for a reasonable price. To locate her go to Wellspring Music.
There are many autoharp instructors on the internet.
I am listing a few of them in alphabetical order.
Cathy Britell is an International Autoharp Champion and a well-known teacher. She has some good information on her web site. She has also authored a good basic book for beginning autoharpists. -- It's An Autoharp.
Lucille Reilly is an Autoharp Hall of Fame inductee, a three time International Autohapr Champion, a three time Mountain Laurel Autoharp Champion, a tireless researcher and a top-notch teacher. Her web site has a wealth of information about the autoharp, its history and how to play it.
Jo Ann Smith is also an International Autoharp Champion and a Mountain Laurel Autoharp Champion. She has loads of tips for learning and playing the autoharp on her web site, as well as a youtube channel that will show you plenty of good information on how to play, and maintain your autoharp.
Hal has a regular youtube production called "Stalking the Wild Autoharp" that will guide you along a path of learning the instrument. Much of this information is drawn from his extensive experience as an autoharpist. He won the National Autoharp Championship at Avoca, Iowa.
The Most Important Autoharp Page on the Internet
This is the "king daddy" of all of the autoharp reference web sites. There are listings of autoharp services, autoharp players, autoharp luthiers -- you name it, they are there. It is operated and maintained by Lindsay Haisley
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