A reader writes:
Hi Paul, according to the internet you know a lot about autoharps. Long story but I inherited one from my Dad 35 years ago and it just came into my possession. I want to put new strings on it and play it but I don't know what to buy. It has no make/model info on it. It's has 36 loop type strings and 12 chords. Attached a photo. I can provide more if you like.
bruces_brown_model_a.jpg [ 70.82 KiB | Viewed 33714 times ]
It looks like a version of the Model 73, OS's most popular 12-chorder for most of the 1900s up until about 1967. That makes it a "Type A," which should help you pick out the strings you want. Make certain there aren't any cracks in the soundboard and that the frame isn't splitting apart anywhere before you start. When you DO go to change the strings, make certain you unwind them by turning the tuning pegs, not jsut cutting the strings and pulling them out. That brings the tuning pegs out far enough to let you put new strings on. If you don't do that, when you try to tighten the new strings, you'll run the tuning pegs too deep and cause real problems. Finally, when you change the strings, consider removing the chord bars and giving it a good cleaning. Be sure not to lose any of the springs - never disassemble an autoharp over shag carpet. When you restring it, wear eye protection.
I hope you can get it playable again - it's a beautiful color.
Best of luck,