Creek Don't Rise

"Professional Series OS?"
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Author:  paulrace [ Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  "Professional Series OS?"

A reader writes:

Oscar Schmidt "Professional Series" autoharp. I'm considering buying a used one but I cannot learn anything about that pro model designation. Can u help? Please rsvp to the email above


Do you play autoharp now?

There is no one "professional series" autoharp. Do you have a model number.

The OS 15 and OS 21 series are the entry level autoharps for 15 and 21-chorders respectively. Other numbers indicate different models. OS 45, OS 100, etc.

The OS15 and OS21 have plywood tops. As you move further up the line, you get into solid tops, which are supposed to produce more sound. You may also get "fine tuners," which you can use to tweak an autoharp that is already basically in tune, though some autoharp luthiers consider the OS fine tuners as relatively weak and prone to failure.

The "Americana" line (OS110) is a fairly nice line that has an alternate tuning setup that works better for Rock, Folk, and Bluegrass than the standard 21-chord setup. Who really needs Ab or Bb7 anyway? That said, you can change any old 21-chorder to Americana tuning for about $30 in replacement chord bars.

A big problem is that OS has used the same names and model numbers for autoharps that are really pretty different from each other. At least four different Autoharps called "The Appalachian" have been produced. I have three, and they couldn't be more different if they were made by other companies.

If you can send me a link or photo of the one you're looking at, as well as the model number, I may be able to help you with more specific information.

Generally, you'll benefit from a solid top and fine tuners. The Chord bar mechanisms are the same no matter what the model, with the only difference in chord setups being the OS110 (and an obsolete 15-chord "Americana" that you would have trouble tracking down).

Best of luck,

- Paul

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