Autoharp Facts: Shop for Instruments, Accessories, Gifts

Autoharp Facts

Autoharp Facts

Here’s one of the most interesting autoharp facts. Despite the name, an autoharp isn’t a harp at all. It’s actually a chorded zither.

How does it work? A series of chord bars are attached to dampers. When the chord bars are depressed during play, strings are muted to form the desired chord. Modern autoharps usually have 36 or 37 strings. Some have as many as 47 strings, and a rare 48-string model also exists.

In the United States, the autoharp often provides rhythm in bluegrass and country music. However, skilled chromatic players can perform a range of melodies on the instrument.

More Autoharp Facts

Fun Fact
Did you know … a person who performs on this string instrument is called an autoharpist.

Notable autoharpists include Basia Bulat, Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins), Sheryl Crow, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Janis Joplin, Linda McCartney, Dolly Parton, John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful), and Joni Mitchell.

Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family

The autoharp was a favorite with the historic Carter Family, including Maybelle Carter, her cousin Sara Carter, and her daughters Helen Carter and June Carter Cash. The Carter Family adopted an upright style for playing that was developed by Grand Ole Opry star Cecil Null.

Maybelle Carter’s granddaughter Carlene carries on the family tradition today, performing onstage as well as on her recordings. Carlene’s 1990 song “Me and the Wildwood Rose” was dedicated to her grandmother Maybelle Carter.

Maybelle Carter

Wildwood Pickin’
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Wildwood Pickin Maybelle CarterWildwood Pickin’ Maybelle Carter

Listen to the Autoharp

Solo by “Mother” Maybelle Carter

The legendary Johnny Cash introduces his mother-in-law Maybelle Carter on the February 25, 1970 episode of “The Johnny Cash Show.” The musical piece is called “Black Mountain Rag.”

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Autoharp Facts

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Oscar Schmidt 21-Chord Adirondack Autoharp

Product details:

  • Handcrafted quality and workmanship
  • Solid spruce top, bird’s eye maple back
  • High gloss finish
  • 21 chords
  • Built-in FT600 Fine Tuning System
  • Includes Squier 10-watt acoustic amplifier, Oscar Schmidt AC445 Autoharp bag, Effin Guitars FNG20 20 foot instrument cable with metal ends, Butler Music polishing cloth
  • 5-year warranty
  • Fun for the whole family

Oscar Schmidt 21-Chord Adirondack AutoharpOscar Schmidt 21-Chord Adirondack AutoharpIncludes Squier amplifier, gig bag, 20-foot instrument cable, polishing clothIncludes Squier Amplifier, Gig Bag, 20-foot Instrument Cable, Polishing Cloth

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Autoharp Facts

Autoharp Deals Online

Keep an eye on this automatically updating gallery of autoharps and accessories available on eBay. Find bargains on all kinds of stringed instruments including autoharps.

Vintage Chromaharp 36 String Autoharp by Rhythm Band, Inc. with Metal Case

$19.50 (1 Bid)
End Date: Tuesday Aug-21-2018 16:59:43 PDT
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Vintage Oscar Schmidt Autoharp 15 Chord 36 Strings With Original Case Tuner Pic+

$80.94 (9 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Aug-19-2018 16:59:14 PDT
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Autoharp by Oscar Schmidt OS-21C 21 Chord Zither sn DC09040140

$75.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Aug-23-2018 14:09:01 PDT
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$16.00 (4 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Aug-23-2018 14:57:43 PDT
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Oscar Schmidt Autoharp Musical Instrument in Case

$9.99 (1 Bid)
End Date: Wednesday Aug-22-2018 10:10:08 PDT
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