Here are some examples of typical questions I have been asked about the autoharp over the years. If you don't find what you're looking for send me an email and maybe I can help you.

Q. Where can I buy an autoharp?
A. Folk music stores, music stores, pawn shops, web sites or custom autoharp makers. Prices can vary from $350 to $1000. Examples are Denver Folklore Center and Elderly Instruments. For manufacturers I prefer "Autoharp" over "Chromaharp".

Q. What is the difference between a chromatic autoharp and a diatonic autoharp?

A. Most stores sell chromatic autoharps. Custom makers sell both types. A chromatic autoharp usually has between 12 and 21 chord bars and all 36 of the strings are a half note different from each other. These autoharps can play in many different keys. A diatonic autoharp only has about 8 chord bars and can only play in 2 or 3 keys. A number of the strings are doubled giving the instrument a fuller sound. I have to carry two autoharps to have all the keys I play in available.

Q. Where can I buy tuners, strings, picks or
instruction books for the autoharp?

A. Most music stores will have what you need but to save time I would call the Denver Folklore Center in Denver at
303-777-4786 or email them at They can answer all your questions and send you what you need.

Q. How do I tune the autoharp?
A. You will need a chromatic tuner and a small clip on pickup that plugs into the tuner to make it easier for the tuner to hear the note. Unless your autoharp comes with fine tuners at the bottom end of the harp you will have to use the tuning pegs at the top. Be sure to pick up an 8 point tuner tool. Pluck a string and tune the peg until the string is in tune. I should tell you that fine tuners added to any autoharp will give you more precise tuning and save hours of tuning time.

Q. What's my autoharp worth?

A. Its been my experience that autoharps don't increase in value much with age like guitars and other instruments. Antique shops may be able to help you with this matter however they seem to sell for a lot less than we paid for them. Old ones are nice to hang on the wall or donate to museums for displays.

Q. How do you amplify your autoharps?
A. I use a small Audio-Technica ATR35s clip on microphone which costs about $40. There are more expensive brands that also work well if you want to spend the money. I clip the microphone on my shirt close to my heart and hold the autoharp snugly against my chest. Plug the microphone into any amplifier. You can also play the autoharp into a standard vocal microphone but I find it hard to play without hitting the microphone with my fingers.

Q. Where do I find music for the autoharp?

A. You don't need specific music for the autoharp. Try to find song books that have the chords printed above the music. You may have
to find a transposing chart and change all the chords to another key
that is easier for you to sing in.

Q. How do I learn to play the autoharp?
A. I taught myself however there are several good instruction books on the subject available at the Denver Folklore Center. If you live in the Denver area I would advise taking lessons from the Swallow Hill Music Association. You will have to check with music stores in your area to see if they know of anyone giving lessons.

Q. How and where did you record your CD's and cassette recordings?
A. I use a studio here in Denver owned by Jim Ratts by the name of Raven Records. His number is 303-781-3314 should you want some assistance making an album. I send the master off to Oasis CD Duplication in Virginia and they manufacture and assemble the finished products.