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[We played in] restaurants, taverns, and gangster hangouts. Played... Italian music, German music, we played polka music... we'd play blues, too... we played wherever the dancers was - Roosevelt Scott, on the life of a bluesman in Chicago in the 1940s. From an interview with Jim O'Neal in the notes to Document 5413

Author Topic: Autoharp query  (Read 429 times)

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Offline frailer24

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  • Good Mornin', Judge
Autoharp query
« on: February 28, 2013, 04:21:54 AM »
I just bought an old (70's) Chromaharp branded autoharp. As my left arm goes numb when I try to hold it upright, I was wondering if it is possible to move the chord bars towards the top so I can play lap style in the way I am used to? I know there are probably few harpers out here, but I trust the judgement of the Weenie masses more than some "experts."  Thank you, Larry
That's all she wrote Mabel!

Offline alyoung

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Re: Autoharp query
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 03:36:18 AM »
Yes, you can do it, but you'll lose tone thru playing close to the saddle. If you do make the change, move the bars up as far as you can to create maximum playing area behind them. Another option might be to do the exact opposite -- move the bars as far back as you can towards the bottom of the instrument. That will open up more space towards the top and that might ease your numbness problems by giving you more playing space so your arm isn't so constricted. You'll always get better tone playing in the cross-arm style ... but then again all those great old players like Pop Stoneman, Kilby Snow et al played lap style; their sound is harsh, but it's also great. 

Offline frailer24

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Re: Autoharp query
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 12:24:19 AM »
Thank you very kindly, Mr. Young. I always get a slight rattle playing at the top, even on brand new harps. P.S., I learned a ton from Pop, Kilby, and turns out that great-grandpa was a cousin to the Benfield clan. Oh, the joys of interview tape damage!
That's all she wrote Mabel!

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