Saturday, March 24, 2012

The ChromAHarp Electric Autoharp

The autoharp is typically looked at as a folk instrument and often is set in the context of elementary school sing-a-longs.  But an electric autoharp (like this one) can add a lush textured chord to any style of music. This one is from the 1960's and made by Sekova.  It is called the ChromAHarp.    
The ChromAHarp has a single coil pickup that is physically wide enough to span all of the strings. There is a volume and tone knob for the pickup, along with a 1/4" output.  This is an electric autoharp with a solid body, much like an electric guitar.  Other than the pickup and pots, there are no electronics inside so it is not like a Suzuki Omnichord.

It is easy to get some of the most beautiful shoegazey washes of chords from this when you run it through simple effects such as reverb, chorus, and delay.  My favorite thing to run this through is a Roland Microcube amp - the modern one with COSM modelling effects on it.  Sometimes I will first put it through a MXR Phase100 or EH Small Stone, then pass the direct output of the amp to a reverb rack unit.  The Boss Pitch-Shift delay PS-2 is also a great pedal to use which can give a reversed octave down and create more atmosphere.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jon,

    I just got this exact model today from a music store in Greeneville, TN. Do you have any other information on it? I've tried looking for pictures online for this unique looking chromaharp and all I've seen that matches mine is the picture of yours.