Self Instructor for the Mandolin Guitar Harp

(editorial comments look like this)

and 12 Pieces with numbers, notes, and words.


Arranged by B. L. UMBERGER

Published and sold only by



Price 25c

(circa 1908)


This is an age of hustle and many business men and women will not take the time to learn to play classical music and unfamiliar tunes, but they enjoy music and want to play the catchy and familiar pieces they hear every day. By following instructions laid down in this book and elsewhere with our harp and the chart system, anyone can, with but little application, soon learn to play these and the jovial, rollicking college songs, or patriotic airs, waltzes, etc.




Because the harp did not cost as much as the piano, or organ, is no reason why it should not be dusted and protected. It gives better service compared to the investment of time or money made, therefore should be cared for. The best way to care for it, is to have an agent's case, (see price list of supplies) to keep it in. You should also protect and keep your music or charts in this with other supplies. It has a place for all of them. When you take the harp out of the room, or away from home, carry it in the case. When you play, have clean, dry hands. Charts are easily soiled and sweaty hands soon rust the strings on the harp. Keep the harp out of damp places. When dusting, use chamois skin or cantonflannel cloth. In removing a string, unscrew the arm-rest carefully, place the key on pin at the other end of the string and run down and off the pin at both ends. (Low marks for clarity on that sentence!) Reverse this in replacing a string. Be careful to never run a string higher than the note above it. They will seldom ever break unless this is done. If strings get rusty, sand-paper crosswise. (I'm not sure about the crosswise part - running a Scotchbrite pad along the length of the string seems to work ok.) If very rusty, order new strings. Don't discard the harp and pronounce it a fake, because one or more strings got out of tune and would not walk back. Study instructions until you can get and keep it in shape. It is not human, but can almost be tuned mechanically. Remember it is one of the most popular instruments on the market and is a wonderful success.




If you wish to learn, and you can if you can "count your fingers and toes." Begin at the beginning. Follow instructions as you read them and put each clause in action by trying it. Study with your harp in your lap, or on a table before you. Don't try difficult pieces with chart or any music, but a simple, slow piece on the chart, or card board and follow step by step. Master one subject before taking up another.

In this harp, both hands are used to get the best result and several fingers of the right hand are some times used as in playing a piano. (Seems difficult when you hold the instrument like he suggests.) The air (melody) can be carried however, with the right hand, without the chords of the left and a beautiful accompaniment for voice or instrument can be played with one hand on the right hand, the chord side. The best and most used way is to use both hands, as in cut (referring to a picture) playing the leading part with a pick on the thumb of right hand and striking the chords with thumb nail on left hand. Place the pick well up on thumb, (you can make it fit by placing for a short while in hot water) placing the harp on a table or hold it in your lap with the arm rest next to you, as in cut. The vibration is better when harp is placed on a table, piano, machine, or agent's case. Place your open hand against each side of harp, as if you were going to pick it up. The playing from charts is done only with thumbs. (I don't quite get these last two sentences - if your fingers were against the side, your right thumb couldn't reach all of the melody notes.)

Remember the strings of the harp are divided into two sections. The 16 in four groups on the left is the bass, or chords, sometimes called accompaniment and written acc. The other 15 strings constitute the treble and begin with middle C No. 1. Take chart number three. "NEARER MY GOD TO THEE," read printed instructions or directions in red on the left side. Place chart under strings of harp, entering from the left side. Read the big, black print line on chart and place the mark under the first treble string, which is middle C and the only wrapped one in treble. Now notice that instead of the "do, ray, me," used in other music, we use the figures and every one represents a note. Strike slowly with the right thumb (I presume he means "pick"), the strings immediately above the black numbers as they come. (Be careful to have the chart in place.) Strike 1, 2, 3, then as 4 is on the same string as 3, strike it again. Skip one to 5, again for 6. 7 below and to the right for 8, out to 9 and 10 below, etc. This will give you the tune to "NEARER MY GOD TO THEE." Practice this till you can strike readily the string you wish without striking others and then at the same time you hit the black ones, strike with the left thumb, the chord that compares with the little red figure to the right of the black one. Thus in this chart, when you strike black with right hand, also strike all four of the strings in number one chord with left hand. You will not have any other chord until you come to 4 in treble, when you see red 3, so strike all four strings in number 3 chord. (If you can imagine that song, played this way, you can hear that the chord accompaniment is very plain. Not ugly, but just very simple.) Follow this all through the piece.

Learn to strike all the chords regularly, beginning with the small string and run through, hitting the large string a little louder.

A LONG THUMB NAIL ON LEFT HAND is much better than a pick. Don't be satisfied until you can play everything you know without looking on left side of harp.

(The instructions go on to indicate that the charts are for initial training, but normally music would be played from a numbered sheet. I'll eventually include an image of the "NEARER…" chart, and the picture of the girl playing.)


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This page was banged out with Word 97, 21 Oct 98.