An autoharp is basically a zither with buttons you can depress the make chords. A staple of elementary-school teachers, autoharps allow even the most non-musical among us to lead a singalong, although the instrument has also been played by numerous members of the Carter family, John Sebastian, and Joni Mitchell.

Like the harmonica, the autoharp was patented by someone who is generally not considered to be its real inventor. In the case of the autoharp, a Philadelphia inventor named George Zimmermann filed a patent for an autoharp in 1882, but his design was inferior to one by a German named Karl August Gütter, whose Volkszither was patented in 1883. Indeed, when Zimmermann started manufacturing autoharps in 1885, he kept his invention’s name but incorporated Gütter’s design, which allowed users to play multiple chords at the same time.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Music Museum

National Music Museum

The National Music Museum, which is located at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, features 15,000 instru… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare 1970s Oscar Schmidt 45bh Spruce Appalachian Sunburst Autoharp Oscar Schmidt Os21c AutoharpAutoharp Preowned Old Oscar Schmidt With Hard Case # Os-100-21 Beautiful Archie Smith Custom Walnut & Quilted Maple Bowed Psaltery W/case-bowRare Vintage Oscar Schmidt Autoharp Model 21c (os21c) String Instrument + ExtrasInteresting Antique Metzler & Co London Zither Instrument In Original Case Suzuki Q Chord Qc-1 Digital Song Card Guitar Cartridge Ac Adaptor Omni AutoharpOscar Schmidt Brand Autoharp!!!Vintage Oscar Schmidt 15 Chord Silver Tone Autoharp W/ Case ExtrasVintage Oscar Schmidt Autoharp 15 Chord W/ Manual, Tuner, Music Books + CaseBowed Psaltery With Padded Nylon Case, Bow, Resin And Tuning Wrench Oscar Schmidt Autoharp MandolinVintage Oscar Schmidt AutoharpOscar Schmidt Ebh R 15 AutoharpFolk Style Autoharp Taussig Old Time Mountain Banjo Rosenbaum 2 Songbooks  vintage Hand-painted Beautiful Couple Play Zither Porcelain Plate Painting Oscar Schmidt Appalachian Autoharp - Model 45 C/rOscar Schmidt Os21c 21-chord Autoharp With Free Gig Bag And Built-in TunerNice Vintage Autoharp By Oscar Schmict With Case, Tuning Tool, And BookRhythm Band Inc. Rbi Caroler Bar Autoharp Made In JapanAntique Zither Franz Schwarzer Autoharp ,case & Tuning Tools,1980's Oscar Schmidt Os-6 Easychord AutoharpVintage Autoharp Musical Instrument. Red Colour With Chord System. Antique 1800's Guitar The Phonoharp Co. No. 2 Zither Musical Instrument - FolRare Vintage Oscar Schmidt Golden Autoharp By NationalBeginning Autoharp With Catol StoberZither Played By Carmelite Nun Of Lucon ...milan Cd