Marc Gunn, Bard Autoharpist of Mage Network Marc Gunn, Bard Autoharpist of Mage Network


The Beginner's Guide to Purchasing an Autoharp

Hi Marc-----I've wanted an autoharp since I was 12; I'm now 44! I'm looking to try to purchase one, probably a used one, and wondered what you played, and what you would recommend. I am chronically ill and have arthritis too, so it would have to be simple to play, one that could accommodate that, and not cost a fortune. Praise and worship is my absolute lifeline, but I love Celtic and folk as well. Any suggestions? Thanks for your time and info. God bless---:0)

I play an Oscar Schmidt 21 chord. I started on the 15 chord though which works just as well and probably would be fine for you.

There's nothing more frustrating than getting an autoharp that doesn't work or suit your needs, so I'd suggest a new one. Oscar Schimdt autoharps start around $250 and Chromaharps start around $190. If that's too high, then used is probably your route.

You an also find a great assortment of new autoharps at decent prices through

There are a few options for purchasing autoharps

Find an Autoharp distributor near you

One, visit Call customer service and find out where the closest autoharp distributor is near you. That person may have an extra autoharp for sale for a better price, or maybe one on consignment. Then you can try it out and hope for the best.

Call your local elementary schools, churchs, or check the Estate Sales for used autoharps

Another option is call your local elementary schools. There are countless AHs located in school storage rooms. Most never intend to use them. That gives you the perfect opportunity to find one for as little as nothing or as much as $100. Then take it to your local OS dealer and get it fixed it up and working.

You can also find AHs in the homes of the elderly. Contact your local church and see if you can put up an announcement that you are looking for a used autoharp. You'd be surprised by people saying, "Oh, I have one my Grandma used to play". They may or may not be in working order, but it's worth a try. Then take it to be
cleaned up. It may or may not be useable.

Buy a used autoharp through eBay

If those options fail, try eBay. I bought two autoharps on eBay for around $100 each. Both were 15-chord OS in great condition. I feel fortunate though. But it can be difficult to find what you need.

Here's what I suggest looking for. Don't buy an old Black Box. Those are more than likely not in decent playing condition and will only frustrate you. Look for one that might've been made in the 70s or later. And check out as many pictures as you can. Look for any warping or cracks. Those are more common in older models. See what others are bidding on and aim for those. Make sure you set a max bid that you're willing to pay and be patient when finding the right AH. Ask lots of questions of the seller.

If you're still having a bit of trouble, email me the link and I'll give it look over and see what I think.

Final Tip for Used Autoharps

Finally, make sure you get a copy of the "Autoharp Owner's Manual'. You can find info on it on my site. It is the ultimate resource. And signup for the Cyberplucker's mailing list. It's a great way to learn more about the instrument and find all the advice you could ever need!

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