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Guitaro Autoharp.jpg

A Guitaro is an autoharp constructed to be held like a guitar.

Oscar Schmidt manufactured Guitaros in the 50s through the early 70s, attempting to take advantage of the guitar's popularity in the folk music revival of that era. Other sellers commonly sold them with their own brand names but most or all resellers still called them a Guitaro.

The Guitaro design allows use of a shoulder strap, much like a guitar. Note that finger picks are used by this player.

The Guitaro's strings are longer than used on medium-sized or larger autoharps, resulting in a lower tone than usual. The instruments have 15 chord bars, and have fewer strings than most medium or larger sized autoharps, all of which somewhat limits their versatility. Like other autoharps, either fingerpicks or a flatpick can be used. Sara Carter played a Guitaro in some performances, and videos can still be found online showing her playing one.

In 1964, the "Guitaro" was introduced by Oscar Schmidt-International. Designed by Glen Peterson and Henry Ruckner, the instrument came in two models. One sported a resonator and had a soundhole in its back; the other had the soundhole in the front and no resonator. The resonator model was dropped in the early 70s.[1]


  1. ^ [U.S. Patent #3,237,503. Issued March 1, 1966]. Source: The Autoharp Book by Becky Blackley i.a.d. Publications; Brisbane, California. First published in 1983.