information on an old zither

Is your zither in need of repair? Do you have questions on how to best maintain your zither, or have advice? Post your questions and advice here.

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Curt
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:30 pm

information on an old zither

Post by Curt » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:19 am

I am interested in restoring this alpine concert zither I recently obtained while traveling in Ansbach, Germany. As far as I can tell, It was made by a Martin Zimmer in Nurnburg, probably around the beginning of the 20th century. I need a new set of strings, but believe the tuners and body to be sound and without cracks or major defects. The fretboard is approximately 14 1/2 inches long. I will try to post pictures.

Curt
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:30 pm

Re: information on an old zither

Post by Curt » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:33 am

Posting photos of the Zither and the maker's label
Attachments
Zither5 Back.jpg
Zither5 Back.jpg (36.99 KiB) Viewed 264 times
Zither4 Label.jpg
Zither4 Label.jpg (85.66 KiB) Viewed 264 times
Zither3 headstock.jpg
Zither3 headstock.jpg (66.87 KiB) Viewed 264 times
Zither2.jpg
Zither2.jpg (53.08 KiB) Viewed 264 times

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: information on an old zither

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:36 am

WOW! WHAT A BEAUTY!

Curt, I would NOT do to much. The bottom looks totally sound. Is there a case with it? There are a few sources for strings, and recommendations for string types mentioned on this site.

Curt, are you a player? If not, start looking for players near you. Others on this site will provide a wealth of information.

Rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: information on an old zither

Post by kenbloom » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:05 am

Beautiful old zither! Be careful with those tuning machines for the fingerboard. I would carefully remove them and clean and oil the gears so they work freely. Those ivory knobs can crack fairly easily if not afforded some care. With that string length you will want "concert zither" strings rather than "harfenzither" strings. They will be for the shorter string length. I would recommend BergFe green strings. They sound good and last a long time. You can get them from Ann Prinz. You'll find her e-mail elsewhere on this site. It may take a day or two to get an answer from her but she is great. Good luck with a fine instrument.
Ken bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Evelyn
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:23 am

Re: information on an old zither

Post by Evelyn » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:27 am

Hello Curt

Max (not Martin) Albin Zimmer (born 29 March 1874 in Großzöbern/Vogtland) was apprenticed to his brother Otto Zimmer, who built zithers, guitars and violins, and he later worked for Johann Haslwanter in Munich, as well as in Worms and in Switzerland. Together with August Strohmer he then worked for August Schulz in Nurenberg. He set up his own business in 1898 in Roßbach (Lower Bavaria) and moved to Nurenberg in 1906, where he commenced building guitars and violins, and occasionally also zithers. He is said to soon have become well known for his excellent craftsmanship and the outstanding sound quality of his instruments.

My recommendation would be to take off all the strings and give the instrument a good clean and oil the fingerboard --> http://www.zither.us/node/135.

Also, when all the strings are off, remove, clean and oil the tuning gears --> see http://www.roncookstudios.com/assets/jo ... ir-log.pdf - scroll down to page 5 - Franz Schwarzer Zither, Day 2: String and Hardware Removal about how to do this.

Evelyn

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 466
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: information on an old zither

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:16 pm

Hey Curt,

First of all, a Merry and Blessed Christmas to you and yours, and all.

Curt, if you take off all of the strings,, try to shake out as much detritus (carefully) as you can. All manner of "dust kitties" are alive and well, and living in old zithers in Germany....and in Wisconsin...

If you take off the Griff machine, you may want to replace the "kind of rusty" screws that made this beauties' 100+ year journey. Save these screws, some restorer may really want them later......but your local hardware (ACE??) can probably supply some really nice stainless steel replacements.

Did you purchase this gem off of ebay.de ?? or from a private seller? Was there a case?

Ansbach?? did you visit with Andi Waldschütz in Miesbach?

Rudi

for some of you having a difficult time dealing with the logic and mentality of us in the American Midwest, check out the "Manitowoc Minute" on the net...and

keep 'er movin"

Curt
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 4:30 pm

Re: information on an old zither

Post by Curt » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:18 pm

Thanks everyone for the information and the replies. The instrument did not have a case with it when I got it. I actually came across it in an antique shop in Ansbach that had been a family business in operation there for several generations (since at least the mid 1800s according to the son / grandson of the two previous owners). He had shown it to me while I was in there going through some old English-language books that he was more than happy to sell, since there are far fewer American Service-members in that region of Germany than there used to be. I mentioned that I was also a musician, and when he showed me the Zither, I was so impressed with the craftsmanship and obvious quality of the work that I knew I should not pass up an opportunity to purchase it, even though I was not entirely sure what it was and assumed I'd have my work cut out for me learning about it. I am glad to have changed across others who pointed me toward your community of interest.
I'm not too far from Nashville, and will hopefully be able to find a dependable luthier to help with any work I am smart enough to know is beyond my limited talents. I am also eager to get a set of strings ordered, begin the undertaking of carefully cleaning her up and restrung.

Regards - Curt

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