I've learned a lot about my autoharp over the last couple days. Mostly just by reading about them online, but also by spending time getting to know my way around the instrument.
We had a check-up at Lightning Joe's today, where I was given the good news that not only is it in good playing condition, it actually needs no work (other than tuning) before it can be played! I was a little worried because some of the tuning pins have a bit of rust on them, and the strings look old and like they've not been played in ages. I should be able to get by with it how it is now, and I know what maintenance to expect soon. Another plus -- a full set of strings doesn't cost anything near what I expected -- so in case that's my first related expense, it shouldn't stop me from playing.
Autoharp, meet Lighting Joe's shop.
Lightning Joe seemed to imply that tuning one of these things is quite a challenge, in an effort to get me to not ask him to tune it. I don't care! Part of learning a new instrument includes readying it for play, so I had better start practicing. My autoharp has 36 strings and 15 chords. It took me about two hours to successfully tune it, and I still feel like the tuning could use some work in a few places. I'll tune it more before I play it tomorrow.
Now I have to find some beginner instruction... I have no idea if that will be simple or difficult.
My friend Phil is a pretty interesting fellow. He's got this brave new project going on over at TheBraveNew.com and I'm going to do my darndest to participate even more this month.
February's challenge is to learn a new skill, and Phil has chosen to learn to play the accordion. I expect to hear some awesome accordion covers next month.
I've been going through a bit of my own personal challenge to reduce my possessions, and yet somehow, I still have an autoharp. That's right, autoharp. So for the month of February, I will try to learn something new about playing the autoharp every day, and hopefully end the month with a budding new skill!
Glorious autoharp funtimes ahead
I'm also taking a crack at a second new skill -- puppy training. Some friends have a few more little pups on their hands right now than expected, and they are just hitting the unruly age of puppyhood where they need the most guidance. What better time to make my first attempt at puppy training? It'll be good for both of us. :)