Let's talk about the history and music of the American Heartland

Visit our Sister Sites
CreekDontRise.com Home Page Visit our sister site, School of the Rock
Visit our Classic Train Songs Page
A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.
 

It is currently Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:57 pm


To ask any question about the content on this site please use our Site Contact Page.

To sign up for this discussion forum, please use our Forum Signup Page.

Either way, we'll be very glad to hear from you - Paul Click to see Paul's music home page Click to contact Paul through this page. Click to see Paul's music page on Facebook Click to see Paul's music blog page Click to hear Paul's music on SoundCloud. Click to sign up for this discussion forum. Click to learn about our Momma Don't Low Newsletter. Click to see Paul's YouTube Channel. Click to see Paul's Twitter Page

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:07 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 3:39 pm
Posts: 962
A reader writes:

I have a R.S.Williams and Son autoharp. It is old but in very good condition I think. Would you know who I can send a picture to in order to find out the value if any for this instrument.

Thank you for your help

----------------------------------

Thanks for getting in touch. While I would love to compare photos of your instrument to photos I already have of a "Rex" model from the same company, I don't know how to assign a value to it. To the best of my knowledge, these were made in Canada, and very few found their way across the border to the US. And relatively few have survived (versus hundreds of thousands of Chromaharps and Oscar Schmidts).

The instrument would be more interesting to a collector than someone wanting to play it. Unfortunately there are very few autoharp collectors, and I don't know any personally.

Here's an article about the company that might help:
https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/ ... -sons-emc/

Hope this helps. If you can reply to this e-mail and attach a few clear photos, I might be able to be a little more specific.

- Paul


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:08 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 3:39 pm
Posts: 962
The Reader replied:
Here are a few photos of the autoharp.
Thank you
-----------------------------------------------
[Unfortunately, I lost the photos of this reader's autoharp. I have included two photos of R.S. Williams and Son Autoharps, sometimes called REX because that was the model name on the label.

The beautiful part of this autoharp was the arrangement of the buttons so it was easy to find the chords in any of the keys it played in. In addition, the chord bar cover listed all the notes in the chord, which is a nicety that the early Zimmerman messed up by numbering the notes oddly instead of just naming them, and which no USA or Asian autoharps since have even attempted.

One photo is of a restored autoharp. One photo is of the chord bar cover of an old one I saw some time back. Sorry again about losing this reader's photos. Long story. ]
Attachment:
williams_cleaned_up.jpg
williams_cleaned_up.jpg [ 42.26 KiB | Viewed 1555 times ]


Attachment:
16258962893655lB.jpg
16258962893655lB.jpg [ 116.32 KiB | Viewed 1555 times ]





-------------------------------------------------

Your autoharp is in much better condition than the last Williams and Sons autoharp I saw.

Sadly, the only other Williams and Sons autoharp I saw sold for about $11 on auction, but it was in bad shape, and I'm sure nobody knew what it was.

If yours can be tuned and played, it might be worth $100 or so (US) to an autoharp player looking for something "different." To a real autoharp fan or collector, it might be worth more. It's a part of Canadian History that doesn't show up very often. R.S. Williams and Son(s) sold many kinds of musical instruments, including mandolins and pianos, but this may be the most unique instrument they sold. NOBODY else made autoharps with the buttons arranged this way. It might belong in a museum. Maybe the Royal Ontario Museum: https://www.rom.on.ca/en/blog/origins-o ... nstruments

Again, so few of them have survived and so few of them change hands, I can't say specifically what yours is worth. It's a collector's item but unfortunately there aren't many autoharp collectors, so you may have trouble finding a buyer who's willing to pay you what it's worth on a collectibles scale.

Hope this makes sense. Thanks again for the photos.

Have a great day,

- Paul


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:26 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 3:39 pm
Posts: 962
Ooops - just found the reader's photos.

Attachment:
36550985_10104501143329970_1783517317494210560_n.jpg
36550985_10104501143329970_1783517317494210560_n.jpg [ 102.66 KiB | Viewed 1554 times ]


Attachment:
36488673_10104501143599430_348188510445895680_n.jpg
36488673_10104501143599430_348188510445895680_n.jpg [ 99.55 KiB | Viewed 1554 times ]


Attachment:
36466319_10104501143344940_6606239380099039232_n.jpg
36466319_10104501143344940_6606239380099039232_n.jpg [ 122.52 KiB | Viewed 1554 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:03 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 3:39 pm
Posts: 962
Okay, it may be time to explain the goofy numbering system on the R.S. Williams and Sons autoharps, which is slightly different from the numbering system on the Zimmerman and early Oscar Schmidt autoharps.

The number in a circle or square is meaningless, except for C, D, F, and G7, which are indicated by 1, 2, 4, and 5, respectively. You think you've got it figured out, then you realize that A7 is indicated by a 3 which makes no sense. G is indicated by #7, D7 is indicated by #8, and there is a second C chord at the opposite point of #1, labeled #9. To add to the confusion for people not used to Bb being called A#, the #6 chord is actually a Bb chord.

A circle indicates a major chord. A square indicates a seventh chord (what a music theorist would call a "flatted seventh"). Adjacent to the chord number is a list of notes in the chord; adjacent to the list of notes is a list of the NUMBERS of those notes. Why is this important? Because natural and flat notes in the note list look the same, but in the list of note numbers the sharps are shown in a bold, but grayer, font.

So:
(1) = C. Notes: C, E, G. Note Numbers 1, 3 5.
[1] = C7. Notes: C, E, G, A#. Note Numbers, 1, 3, 5, 6.
(2) = D. Notes: D, F#, A. Note Numbers 2, 4, 6.
[2] = D7. Notes: D, F#, A, C. Note Numbers 2, 4, 6, 1.
And so on.

Zimmerman's autoharps used a similar, though slightly less confusing, numbering system. But Zimmerman's autoharps were to some extent an afterthought, a way to promote what he considered a radical new approach to notation that wouldn't require anyone to read music. He even commissioned composers to write songs he could publish using his numbers-based system.

Since the Williams and Sons Autoharps used a different - and even more confusing - numbering system, I can't help but wonder if they had their own notation system. At any rate, this autoharp and the rare Zimmerman Model 6 1/2 were the only consumer-oriented autoharps that could play three-chord songs in the key of D before about 1967. So if they'd come to light during the Folk Revival (which relied heavily on songs in the key of D) they may have found some use.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron




To ask any question about the content on this site please use our Site Contact Page.

To sign up for this discussion forum, please use our Forum Signup Page.


Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you enjoy your music and figure out how to make enjoyable music for those around you as well.

And please stay in touch!

    - Paul Race Click to see Paul's music home page Click to contact Paul through this page. Click to see Paul's music page on Facebook Click to see Paul's music blog page Click to hear Paul's music on SoundCloud. Click to sign up for the Creek Don't Rise discussion forum. Click to learn about our Momma Don't Low Newsletter. Click to see Paul's Twitter Page Click to see Paul's YouTube Channel.



All material, illustrations, and content of this web site is copyrighted 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Paul D. Race. All rights reserved.

Note: Creek Don't Rise (tm) is Paul Race's name for his resources supporting the history and
music of the North American Heartland as well as additional kinds of acoustic and traditional music.

Creek Dont' Rise(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising
program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.



Visit related pages and affiliated sites:
- Music -
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Visit musings about music on our sister site, School of the Rock With a few tools and an hour or two of work, you can make your guitar, banjo, or mandolin much more responsive.  Instruments with movable bridges can have better-than-new intonation as well. The Independent Christian Musician. Check out our article on finding good used guitars.
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs. X and Y-generation Christians take Contemporary Christian music, including worship, for granted, but the first generation of Contemporary Christian musicians faced strong, and often bitter resistance. Different kinds of music call for different kinds of banjos.  Just trying to steer you in the right direction. New, used, or vintage - tips for whatever your needs and preferences. Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album. Explains the various kinds of acoustic guitar and what to look for in each.
Look to Riverboat Music buyers' guide for descriptions of musical instruments by people who play musical instruments. Learn 5-string banjo at your own speed, with many examples and user-friendly explanations. Explains the various kinds of banjos and what each is good for. Learn more about our newsletter for roots-based and acoustic music. Folks with Bb or Eb instruments can contribute to worship services, but the WAY they do depends on the way the worship leader approaches the music. A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.
- Trains and Hobbies -
Free building projects for your vintage railroad or Christmas village.
Visit Lionel Trains. Click to see Thomas Kinkaded-inspired Holiday Trains and Villages. Big Christmas Train Primer: Choosing and using model trains with holiday themes Building temporary and permanent railroads with big model trains Click to see HO scale trains with your favorite team's colors.
- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -
Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site. Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions. Click to return to the Old Christmas Tree Lights Table of Contents Page Click to sign up for Maria Cudequest's craft and collectibles blog.
Click to visit Fred's Noel-Kat store.
Visit the largest and most complete cardboard Christmas 'Putz' house resource on the Internet.
- Family Activities and Crafts -
Click to see reviews of our favorite family-friendly Christmas movies. Free, Family-Friendly Christmas Stories Decorate your tree the old-fashioned way with these kid-friendly projects. Free plans and instructions for starting a hobby building vintage-style cardboard Christmas houses. Click to find free, family-friendly Christmas poems and - in some cases - their stories. Traditional Home-Made Ornaments



Click to trains that commemorate your team!

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group