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INTRO TO AUTOHARP TUTORIAL



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greetings oh this is an introduction to

the autoharp a little tutorial long

overdue I've been planning on this for a

long time and I just haven't half made

it happen so I'm gonna share with you

some of my favorite tips on we're

getting to know the instrument and and

what not so if you have any questions or

comments you can post them in the chat

and if you're watching after the fact

you can push them in the comments so

again let's do jump into this tutorial

good morning Garrett welcome I want to

start by letting you know what this is

this is an auto heart I think mine is

from the 80s I don't tell you remember

apparently you can look it up there's a

book that was put out by Becky black Lee

I think it has like all the auto harps

listed from like the awesome the

nineteen hundred's into like the a

teaser

I think mid 80s or maybe even 90s but a

great guide you can't find the book much

anywhere it doesn't matter anyways

because you know that's not important

ultimately what's important though is

that it's one of the easiest instruments

to start playing it was created in the

1890s and it's been a changed over the

years I think personally I feel like the

the instruments in the 70s and 80s have

some of the best sounds because they're

get this full-body the problem with them

from what I understand is that they

collapse a little bit easy their bodies

aren't as solid something about the wood

now that said the modern ones don't I

don't think I've run into that problem

nearly as much but they don't sound

nearly as good in my opinion maybe

because I haven't played them long

enough and you get used to the sound

over time but yeah so what we have here

is a 21 chord autoharp I'm using

basically the majors the minors and the

seventh now some people have them

reversed so the sevens over here the

minors over here if you bought a an

autoharp from a store it might not have

this it might be set up in a different

way it is set up right here as the

circle of pips so this is one of the

first things if you haven't if it's not

already set up this way I would suggest

that you do so first of all circle fist

meaning you know if you start in the key

of C F G seven all the cords are pretty

much right by each other C F G that

helps the making it really easy to get

started with the auto heart because when

you if you take out the old format for

like the the 15 quart auto harps you had

things like a cord up here and a cord

down here and you had to play like that

so if you're trying to pick out melodies

makes it very difficult good morning Dan

makes it very difficult there to to play

that way so someone came the idea of

setting it up in the circle of fifths

and it works beautifully now you can

play things like

[Music]

makes it very easy because all you're

doing is doing two cords right by each

other right by each other and there's no

problems now you can hold your Otto

heart as I do up against your chest or

you can put in your lap it seems like

once upon a time it was really popular

to put it in your lap nowadays it seems

like most the other hoppers I know play

it with on the chest you do have to add

something to make it happen they have

these little guitar whatever they call

it I forget what they're called but they

to basically attach y'all to hurt to it

I have one on the back or on the front

this is my strap that's falling to

pieces but I need to get a new one

some point I will greeting is Rita so

again the instrument is one of the

easiest to play because all it is

basically is press a button and strong

doesn't really require a whole bunch

more than that you can do more you can

do a lot more like I was doing

[Music]

so you can do a lot more with the

autoharp if if you when you have it set

up this way and that makes a lot easier

so when I was going to write now

something that I've been long talking

about is tuning instrument because my

instrument is not tuned now you will

note that I have a pickup on here it was

installed it's a an autoharp and oscar

schmidt bar pickup and it's got a reason

I use this particular pickup is because

it has a great sound in my opinion I

like a lot of low-end

on the autoharp and the auto heart but

most auto Harper's I think have a much

more higher and you get these beautiful

great for playing melodies but I'm using

it mostly as a rhythm instrument

occasionally I do take melodies out of

it but I'm not the expert speaking

abilities on the auto heart by any means

now if you're using that you get a nice

tuner the CAG whatever this one is c20 I

think it is is a great tuner pretty much

I think it's like sort of standard for

certainly Auto Harper's but others as

well you get the cross tuning wrench

this one the t tuning wrench rather this

one is better because then then the the

one sided ones it just it helps you

balance it a little bit more so they say

oh I like makes sense you know cuz if

you're if you have your you're tuning

wrench and you're putting it into the

into the pegs and it's a little slanted

it's going to grind a little bit weird

so this one gives you a nice solid

grinding way to turn it and tune it so

let's turn this down here a bit to see

how that looks there and what we're

gonna do is we're gonna tune the

autoharp and I'm gonna show you how I I

tune my Auto heart to make it look and

sound good alright so we got the tuner

right here sitting on there

now not all auto harps of course have a

quarter-inch jack to plug into you can

also get one that sort of clips on over

here and

I used to have one of those I don't know

what I did with it because I never use

it the problem it's never it's not that

important useful for me because I am

plus a you know plug in this way so you

can but you can click one on there and

it was in direct in what I used to do

also sometimes if it depending on how

loud it is I'll take the autoharp and

I'll put it right under here I put the

tuner right under the auto heart and

that way it picks up the sound a little

bit better but more than likely

depending on where you're playing you

can just set it right out here and it'll

do a pretty good job as well as you

really need alright so here we here we

have the autoharp I'm gonna tune it up

really quick again it hits way out of

tune right now so now one of the ways

they suggest tuning is by going one no

key at a time up and down the harp so

for instance we take the FS all the note

the F notes and then you go up to the

next half note I understand this is done

because it adds a little bit of balance

for the pressure in the auto heart so

the autoharp adds I think it was at 2600

pounds per square inch of pressure so

it's tightly wound and that's one of the

reasons why it's been known to explode

in the heat if you leave it out in your

car not a good idea to do that but this

supposedly reduces the pressure so you

just you know loosen it up and tighten

it up just a little bit along the way

there's an what kind of auto harps there

are there there's chromatic and diatonic

I play a chromatic autoharp what that

means is that I can play in pretty much

any key

it has a a felt for the other is a

diatonic diatonic is pretty much all in

the same key so it the great thing about

that is that the the great thing about

this of course is the versatility you

can play most most of the major the main

keys that you're likely to come across

but if you're trying to do but if you

use a diatonic you can more easily play

tunes that you want to play and that's

because you have the greater than you

have you're basically in this case you

have twenty-one key keys that you can

play so you don't have to play it's all

and basically the same key so if you're

playing a D diatonic and tonic autoharp

you can you know set up you know a DD

seven D minor or you know the six if you

want whatever Keys you want to do and

and it's all on the same key it makes it

also makes it easier for playing Irish

tunes because because it even if you

just if you just strum strum the

autoharp just like that it'll still

sound pretty so that means if you miss a

chord it's still gonna sound good you

know it might not sound perfect might

not be hit the right note but it makes

for some of those uh those notes when I

was doing the I hit this

[Music]

ya know if I could pull this off

I do this and it sort of uh gives us a a

passing note sound and the passing note

is a lot easier when you're using the

diatonic because again it's all in tune

but here it might sound a little bit off

you might I might miss the note and just

sounds bad but with the or not good

maybe even but with the diatonic you're

not gonna have that problem again I

prefer this one because it gives me it

gives you gives me a great versatility

and that's what I need the most when I'm

performing I don't want to play I don't

want to carry ten out of harps with me

there are many other arbors you like to

have you know three or four Auto harps

at their side and they will play them

each on their own but that's not me

this is my main instrument it is the

instrument I want to play them the most

and so that's what I do so again I'm

going up and down the notes hitting the

A's right now

now the the A's for me are some of my

worst notes ever that's not that I it's

not for tuning reasons but because the

a9 in particular this note right here

and I say a nine because each of the

strings is sort of numbered so you got

the F 1 G 2 c 3 d 4 D 5 what F 6 but you

know the the a 9r up here it is it

sounds it breaks easily it's one of the

it's one of the last round strings if

not be no we have the a a sharp it's so

it's one of the wound strings and the

wild string is of course they are they

can be a little bit more fragile when it

comes to

playing hard and now I started when I

started playing music back in 1991 I

started with the guitar and I never got

really good at the guitar I picked up

the autoharp in 1997 to play it

seriously and it was it was a great

instrument for me but I was coming out

of the punk band basically and not a

very good guitarist I kind of tightly

wound myself I think when it comes to

playing an instrument and so

consequently I play harder than most

Auto Harper's which has its advantages

and disadvantages the disadvantage

obviously is that I braked more strings

the advantage is it gives me more of a a

stronger sound overall it gives me that

that little pop thunk that I that it's a

sort of a characteristic of my of my

playing style this thing

someone if someone said when playing the

California autoharp gathering and they

pointed out that I have a very strong

thumb lead I never really thought about

it but I guess so you know

but that gives me this this lower-end a

sound which is one of the things I

really love all right since I now I'm

tuned up for now I'm gonna go ahead and

play a song and I'll come afterwards I

will answer your questions about picks

felts and strings and more so this is uh

the prettiest Hobbit

[Music]

I'll tell about it underneath the party

tree let's have fun come dance with me

if she won't get my last days he will

stick to the Sun comes up over the trees

jump up and down

let's keep clean Chuck your love now one

two three sing a song down on one knee

she's the prettiest Hobbit you've ever

seen

prettiest avec you've ever seen well

laughing we eat our honey cake city rule

in the grass down by the lake this one

called oh ho my friend to the party

trees we'll start again jump up and down

let's t clean chuck your love now one

two three sing a song down on one knee

to the prettiest of it you've ever seen

the brilliance of ever see looks down on

a hungry cheer let's raid among those

mushroom fields if we lose our way the

starry sky which has shown Tony's to the

broad daylight jump up and down let's

deeply Chuck your love now one two three

sing Chuck your love now one two three

sing the song down on one knee to the

prettiest I like it Gary you say tightly

round like the player yes it is true all

right

so I played that song because it's a

very simple song to play key of C and

it's basically you know I think it I I

don't read music so I believe that's

basically a two to four time signature

because it's you know so I'll go into it

a little bit a moment but first picks

here are my excuse me my choice of picks

everyone has different desires and once

how they want to play you can play with

a plectrum a little guitar pick type

thing

they actually have Auto heart picks

which are made of felt and they they

have a better sound for playing

obviously I use picks and I use my

Dunlop picks I have that usually have a

medium on my ring finger

a large on my you know index finger now

I have a steel pick on the middle finger

there are some other picks that you can

get it to is a Dunlop there are some

other picks you can you can get that are

supposedly a little bit more comfortable

I'm so used to this I continue to use it

even though it's not there's one that

like sort of wraps around supposedly

comfortably on your finger and I got one

man I just didn't like it I'm gonna try

them again when I get to the auto heart

California or gathering in May but

meantime I'm using this one and and

probably will continue because you know

change can be difficult but you can play

an instrument that you know really well

the other pic I use is a heavy golden

gate thumb pick I use this because again

I hard you can get lighter ones that

give you a little bit more versatility

and those can be great if you're to

actually want to play melodies with your

thumb you can pick that out and these

I can't do it again if you're used to

playing out the pic then it makes a

little bit easier I like these because

again they're they're strong they last

long it's taking me a while to if you

can see that I wore down that the pic a

lot it was a little bit pointer but I

beat the hell out of it so it's it's

kind of it it comes like that so yeah

you can get whatever you want there are

lots of options for picks you can even

use your pinky finger who is it Brian

Bowers who probably his most famous ly

known for for those who aren't Auto

Harper's he's that most famously known

for the guy who popularized the Scotsman

Scotsman clad and killed left bar it

wasn't even in fair he's the one who's

first did it he didn't play the autoharp

on it but I think his first album had

that song on it little some most other

Harper's know this but I in consequently

I always appreciated that little fact

but he will play with his pinkie as well

and I don't think he uses pics at all

you can play without pics and develop

very strong calluses he does a I think

he actually has nails - I met him last

time at the California other have

gathering I don't know if he'll be there

this time or not but great guy he he has

a one of his albums he has a sort of

tutorial on how to play with how he

plays the autoharp and you can hear him

if you're on streaming go look for this

I don't remember the album I'll post it

afterwards if anyone you know post a

comment not in the chat but in the

comment section below I'll go ahead and

post the name of that song and what

album that's from but if he basically

does a Battle Hymn of the Republic and

shows how he plays you know

adding in each finger into the days of

brilliance of brilliant recording I love

hearing you so fantastic um but again

you do what's most comfortable for you

and we'll see what happens now what do

we also have is we have strings these

are B model Auto harp strings most of

them are gonna be B model these days

unless you're playing an older I think

it's like before the 68 and older those

use a model auto heartstrings I don't

know the difference but it's a either

way it works great I like how this comes

out you can get them you can actually

build your own I had a guy who would

take guitar strings and build some but

it's it's more complicated and not worth

the time quite obviously each string

varies in price between two to four

dollars if you break them it can get

expensive but you can buy them in bulk

for like 60 or 70 bucks on Amazon do you

want foot remember also go to Auto heart

music calm if you want to know any thing

about the auto heart there's a whole

bunch of tips and suggestions over there

now the felts usually go I forget how

much those are two or three bucks for a

foot long felt but each of the felts you

can't I'm not gonna be able to show you

those they they're cut to groove so

everybody when you play when you strum

the felts mute everything that's not in

the chord that's why it's the

instruments so easy now you do that you

know

and obviously he don't get that but as

soon as you touch it

it needs everything in there now most of

your felts if you if you're buying it

new you should be fine for a long time

they last really well unless you're

playing it a lot and and or you know

playing hard like it like I do you do

need to press it down all the way or or

it might not sound quite right you can

I press it down and it gets it sounds of

better you can replace your felts quite

easily you take off this part and give

it a nice razor or something to cut off

the old felts and then stick on a new

one it's pretty simple if you were

looking for anything Auto Harper later

on how to do these things I recommend

this book the author Harper's manual

it's a it was compiled by Mary Lou

orthey and a lot of it the articles were

featured in the auto heart quarterly

newsletter I think that the newsletters

still running I haven't subscribed in a

while but it's a it's now put out by

Pete Daigle of Dave all harps and it's a

great guide that is a everything you

need to know like how to set up the

chord bars you know it tells you they're

actually that's how kind of how I did it

using I think it was that book um only I

think I got it backwards and so I ended

up putting the minors over here instead

of over here which I think it suggested

and consequently I played backwards from

many other Harper's you know other books

that you that I would recommend meg

Peterson is who I learned from I

basically took a picked up these books I

don't know which one it was I think it

was this one that looks more worn down I

basically took the took the book and I

not it does not look like the run yeah

yeah this is it this I basically picked

it up and started you know learning

strum patterns and as I learned a strum

pattern I wrote a song I don't think

this is it either this is not it

no anyways I basically took a song and

said okay well how do you how do you do

this well it's each each strum pattern

now these these are old books they were

written I think in the 60s maybe 70s so

consequently they don't have details you

know they don't have autoharp tab

tablature so autoharp Auto Harper's have

her own tablature now I don't know who

came up again but it's brilliant it

shows you quite easily how this to pick

stuff so if you want to play Celtic

autoharp by Karen Mueller you it shows

you some of the tablature right there I

don't know if you can see that or not

but as well as the chords so you can

know that you know further there's this

little pinch the thing pinch or a pluck

what I liked about Meg Peterson again is

it focused it is made pretty much for

the singers so it basically talked to

you a very simple strum pattern so so in

a moment before I go into this I want to

ask you to post your questions and now

I'm about done with my tutorial so I

would love your feedback and I forgot to

plug my auto heart back in that's okay

so all you have to do is you know it

talks you basically strum patterns and

you know the very first one I think

you're taught was this one you know

which is just a thumb pick sliding

across the autoharp strings with you

pressing a button

it's from there I learned where was it

Irish lullaby

[Music]

kill Ernie many years ago

me me the sang the song to me in tone to

Sweden so you can see that it's a very

simple all it is is one thing one strum

from there you can add in other strum

patterns again I'm gonna show you a few

to get this started you can do one two

one two one two one two

whichever's for finger works for you I

usually think he's the middle one

the middle one gives me the heat since

it's the metal one supposedly it gives

you a little bit of a brighter sound I'm

not sure if I'm quite sensitive enough

to that but having a reason either the

middle the metal on the middle pick is

that it supposedly gives me option for

playing leads better

[Music]

as opposed to I'm not sure I heard a

difference but hey nevertheless that's

what I do so usually I'll use the middle

finger for that you can do what everyone

if you're doing a 3/4 time

you can do one pluck up pluck up down

pluck up like up or you can do down

pluck down pluck down or down look now

look up so lots of variations each one

is gonna give you a slightly different

sound so

you can do the same thing with the four

time

[Music]

and then they'd start burying up you

know when when I first started

experimenting with the autoharp I didn't

know what it was supposed to sound like

so I just kind of winged it I think I

did

[Music]

you can do whole bunch someone that went

to an autoharp festival though and they

said oh well you don't you don't do that

if you don't you play very simply when

you're singing and I now see that that

has a little bit of Merit but it's not

necessary either you can do whatever you

want when I play name of my soul for

instance

during the breaks I play a little louder

[Music]

and then I soften up I walk down the

dusty old

you can control the volume how long loud

you want to play I didn't know what I

find the way I goo

so it's very simple to you know play

harder or

[Music]

and you can make you know make do with

what works so those are your different

options now I'm gonna go through how to

play prettiest Hobbit again it's a very

simple instrument so three chords which

is key of C so C F and G the one four

and five so and all I do is

[Music]

is down one up are you actually for me I

used both both pics

[Music]

now the other thing I didn't mention is

that you can play different parts of the

auto heart we're going to have a

different sound as I climb down

low and eyes

low and medium right in the middle area

let him say that closed down here

[Music]

and each one's gonna give you a

different sound depending on what you

want so playing the the pretties habit

all is I'll tell belladonna meet the

party tree let's have fun come dance

with me so from the CD to the F to the G

or C to the G thank you so much Greg

appreciate that so very simply

I'll tell Bella Dunham is a party tree

let's have fun come dance with me she

won't dance then our last days he will

speak to the Sun comes up over the tree

so just basically C f/c G C f/c

G pretty simple I'll tell the party tree

let's have fun compared to me if she

won't dance I last days he will skip to

the Sun comes up over the trees CCC F F

F F F cccc GGG cccc at cccc GC GC

pretty simple I'll tell a belladonna's

the party tree let's have fun come with

me she won't mix than alas these evil

skip to the Sun comes up over that

Street looks like actually that f GC

tough chiefly jump up and down let's

deeply jump your love now one two three

there's a CC to the G Singlish son

bailed on one knee she the prettiest

Hobbit here better seat prettiest Hobbit

you've ever seen CCP's

cccccc

easy-easy at MVCC fgc jump up and down

let's t please chuckle of now one two

three

Cygnus some down on one nice the

prettiest of you've ever seen the

prettiest Hobbit you've ever seen it's a

very simple um to play so again let's go

through the the song if you haven't if

you have your autoharp out feel free to

play along I'll start it a little bit

slower if I can there's the tough thing

about teaching my I don't do this too

often

I'll tell belladonna the party tree

let's have fun come dance with me if she

won't dance last Daisy we'll skip to the

Sun comes up over the trees jump up and

down let's teeth lean Chuck your love

now one two three sing the song now on

one beach the prettiest Hobbit you've

ever seen the prettiest Hobbit you've

ever seen si si si si si si si si GGG

c FF c f CC C F G C

si si si si si si si GGG cccc a Pepsi

si si si si fgc cccc fgc yes it is

easier said the gun

[Music]

all right so it slowed down a little bit

tell belladonna Neath the party tree

let's have fun come dance with me if she

won't dance our last Daisy we'll skip to

the Sun comes up over the trees jump up

and down let you teeth clean shop your

love now one two three sing the song

down on one knee she prettiest Hobbit

you ever see the prettiest Hobbit you

ever see the moon looks down on a hungry

cheer let's raid old Mungo's mushroom

fields if we lose our way the starry sky

will chase young Cody's to the broad

daylight jump up and down let your teeth

leave chop your love now one two three

sing the song down on one knee to the

prettiest topic you've ever seen the

prettiest pabich you ever seen that

looks like when I play that one two

three is he it's the thumb day

one two three one two three sickness

some down on one knee to the prettiest

pabich you've ever seen the prettiest

Hobbit you've ever seen

we'll laugh and we'll eat our honey

kicks as a roll in the grass down by the

lake The Swan calls out go home my

friend to the party tree we'll start

again jump up and down let you keep lean

shout your love now one two three

Cigna sunk down on one nice the

prettiest Abba give ever seen the

prettiest how that you've ever seen

there you go that is pretty sahabat I'm

gonna drink out of my coffee with the

Celt father mug it's coming up at 11:00

I can't believe already been 35 minutes

so awesome I hope you enjoyed this if

you did come on back and watch my show

at 11:00 and also become a patron over

on patreon because Garret is one of one

of my wonderful patrons over there and

he asked about this and I'm like you

know I need to do this anyways but you

want to learn how to play the autoharp

I'll do it he's been a generous

supporter of me for so long and I really

appreciate it yeah thank you so much and

many of you I think all of you I think

are patients so thank you all so much

for supporting my music mmm yummy this

is such good water I shouldn't need to

get some coffee for the next year I

think if you have any questions you can

post them right now or you can post them

in the comments below I will be happy to

put something together maybe I'll do

this again oh man is my coffee oh the

coffee the Celt father things should

probably reverse properly yeah I thought

I had it proper but maybe not darn it

oh well I have other mug around here

somewhere all right well good to know

I'll keep it in mind for the next show

if you have any questions that I would

love your comment love to hear them

maybe I'll do another one of these if

you enjoy it and that's about it all

right I'll see you at 11:00 for an

actual show we're doing sci-fi drinks

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it's not you all right here we go

Cheers