Reese Witherspoon - what instrument ?
Old 14th August 2006
  #1
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Reese Witherspoon - what instrument ?

Just watched the movie "Walk the line".

What is the instrument Reese Witherspoon, playing the role of June Carter, is playing ? The hand-held harp-looking instrument.

Where can I get one of them ? Gotta have one.

And then to the embarrassing part... Why do I after 20 years in the biz don't know this ? Is it a traditional southern american instrument and thereby a local thing ? I'm in Europe and never seen one of these before.
Old 14th August 2006
  #2
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doorknocker's Avatar
It's an Autoharp!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoharp


Play one here:

http://www.echonyc.com/~jhhl/aharp.html


Doing it for real is only marginally more difficult. It's like painting by numbers, push the right chord button and strum along.........


The Autoharp was/is also used to great effect by Lyle Mays with the Pat Metheny Group, he usually has a few lying atop his keyboards in live performances. 'Phase Dance' is a good example.
Old 14th August 2006
  #3
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

yep, the autoharp belongs to the "zither" family. Zither is sort of a generic and broad term, used to define all the instruments that incorporate strings that extend over a resonant chamber but do not extend beyond that chamber. Mountain Dulcimer, Autoharp, and, broadly speaking, piano and harpsichord are in the zither family....though the term has come to mean the one "without string dampening buttons to produce chords", whereas the autoharp does have chord producing/string dampening buttons. beautiful instrument.
Old 14th August 2006
  #4
Gear maniac
 

Also,

an autoharp is just about the easiest thing to play. Bitch to tune, though.........

The original Carter Family had Maybelle Guitar on guitar and backing vocal/harmony (she's my personal "guitar god"!!), Sara Carter lead vocal and autoharp, and A.P. Carter backing vocal. Late in her career Maybelle Carter was arthritic (sp?) and no longer able to play guitar, so she played autoharp and was very influential as well on that instrument....
Old 14th August 2006
  #5
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Back in the 60's John Sebastien of The Lovin' Spoonful also used the autoharp quite a lot.
Old 14th August 2006
  #6
Autoharp might be used on the obscure beachboys tune "Marcella".. (I think)
Old 14th August 2006
  #7
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Norman Lindsey's Avatar
a very cool instrument. has it got doubled up strings or something? like a twelve string guitar?
Old 14th August 2006
  #8
13030
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I've had one for years. Picked it up in a car boot for a few quid.

Never used it in seriousness tho'.
Old 14th August 2006
  #9
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gwailoh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PHILANDDON View Post
Also,

an autoharp is just about the easiest thing to play. Bitch to tune, though.........

.
Played correctly it should be fingerpicked, not strummed. Which is not so easy as it looks.

And it really is a bitch to tune!
Old 14th August 2006
  #10
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T.RayBullard's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman Lindsey View Post
a very cool instrument. has it got doubled up strings or something? like a twelve string guitar?
some of them do, yes.
Old 28th August 2006
  #11
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magnuspater's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.RayBullard View Post
yep, the autoharp belongs to the "zither" family. Zither is sort of a generic and broad term, used to define all the instruments that incorporate strings that extend over a resonant chamber but do not extend beyond that chamber. Mountain Dulcimer, Autoharp, and, broadly speaking, piano and harpsichord are in the zither family....though the term has come to mean the one "without string dampening buttons to produce chords", whereas the autoharp does have chord producing/string dampening buttons. beautiful instrument.
here's some information on asian long string zithers if anyone's interested (mainly the guzheng, the chinese zither, but also information about the koto, japanese zither, and kayagum, korean zither): http://www.chinesezither.net/forum/index.php
Old 28th August 2006
  #12
Gear nut
 

If you want to hear a real virtuoso on the instrument (of which there are very few), check out my friend Bryan Bowers at http://bryanbowers.com/
Old 28th August 2006
  #13
Banned
 

Another cool "feature" of an autoharp is that is you start on any white button, strum and progress to the next button you'll automatically play "Hey Joe" !!!!

The reason is that the buttons are arranged in fifths.
C / G / D / A / E

June Carter used to have a solo section where she played Hey Joe.
Plugged the autoharp into a set of three Marshalls.
Hendrix stole the whole thing.

DB
Old 14th September 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
im going to track a girl who plays autoharp. any hints on how to tune this bastard? im going to use a condensor mic on it i think..i have no experience tracking this thing, but it will be fun.
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