Jo Ann Smith

You will never see an autoharp the same way again.


About Jo Ann


Jo Ann Smith is a three-time Autoharp Champion, having won the International Autoharp Championship in 1999 and again in 2013, as well as the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Championship in 2003.

Jo Ann is well-known for her expertise with the diatonic autoharp.  Her unique, melodic and expressive playing style has won her legions of followers on YouTube with over a million views to date.  She performs regularly, both as a solo instrumentalist and as a lead member of local acoustic bands.  Jo Ann is a passionate promoter of the autoharp, and uses her skills not only to enlighten but also to teach others about the untapped potential of this unique instrument.


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About the Autoharp 

The autoharp is a zither-like instrument with a hollow body and 36-37 strings tuned to cover a dynamic range of approximately 2 1/2 octaves.  A set of damping bars (chord bars) is mounted above the string bed and allows the player to selectively mute specific strings by applying pressure to a chord bar.  The autoharp is held upright against the body of the player and is strummed or plucked with the right hand while the left hand is used to press down on a chord bar. This produces chords and notes with harp-like tones and a ringing, bell-like quality.  

The autoharp began its life as an early twentieth-century adaptation of the zither.  While there is some debate as to its origin, it is generally accepted that Karl August Gutter of Germany developed the mechanism that most closely resembles today's autoharp.  Charles F. Zimmerman is credited with promoting the instrument in the United States, where the autoharp became quite popular as a parlor instrument.  In the decades that followed, the autoharp continued to gain popularity and has developed a large following of admirers and musicians who utilize the instrument in a variety of settings, from bluegrass to pop, folk, jazz and beyond.   



A collection of beautifully crafted instrumentals that are timeless, yet contemporary.  Accompanied by local Tulsa artists on guitar, mandolin, violin, cello and more, this is an album you'll listen to again and again.

Buy it on CD Baby


Jenny Dear

A beautiful song written by Doug Elrick (used by permission)

It all started When...

...I received my first autoharp as a Christmas gift from my Husband in 1994.
Since then I have learned a lot about the autoharp, mostly through trial and error.  What you will find here are articles covering all sorts of autoharp-related topics that I have written over the years.  All are based on my personal experience, and are designed to enlighten, educate and entertain.  I hope you enjoy them.
Whether you have a factory made OS or a hand-crafted luthier 'harp, Tom Fladmark and Greg Schreiber cover all you will ever need to know about changing strings on an autoharp