Bob Lewis of South Carolina has played autoharp since 1975, been asked to judge contests a number of times, and performed at several festivals. Most recently he has performed locally with a group called Heart Strings. At MLAG, Bob has been a featured performer in 1993 and 2009 and has also performed there with such luminaries as Carole Outwater, Bryan Bowers, Drew Smith, Lucille Reilly, and Patsy Stoneman. He was the Mountain Laurel Champion in 1992 and the Winfield Champion in 1996. However, he considers a greater accomplishment the fact that he has helped many people with their autoharps through 20 years of his online presence as Autoharp Works.  

Bob’s playing is centered on being a proponent of open note playing on both diatonic and chromatic autoharps and of practical tuning systems and string schedules for the best sound. He has supported a number of luthiers using string schedule software he developed in the late 1980s. A noteworthy accomplishment is happening upon a spring manufacturer who developed a light action spring for me and which is widely used today, now distributed by Greg Schreiber through a number of dealers. Lastly, Bob built two of the instruments with which he performs. The rest are Oscar Schmidt Festival or Centurion models from US production in 1979-83. Bob has enjoyed and respected a number of luthier-built autoharps but is continually drawn to the less stringy sound of the old classics in solid woods, admitting that luthier builds typically seem to project and record better than the model B instruments.

Bob’s recordings include the 1990 Galax contest collection, duets with Carole Outwater on her “Faces” album, the three-CD Autoharp Legacy recording, MLAG collections, and his own YouTube channel.

In addition to his Gathering concert sets and workshops, Bob will be teaching the All Things Diatonic Pre-Gathering Class.