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String length?

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 11:49 am
by NutmegCT
Good morning all.

I see that Dr. Zither offers full sets of strings (melody, accompaniment, bass, contrabass), but for "harp zither only". A full set is around $175, which sounds ok with me.

But I don't have a harp zither. Here's mine (photo from 2014):


String lengths on my zither are as follows:

Melody strings (sounding length, nut to bridge) is 15.25".

First accompaniment string: 15.25"

Lowest string bass: 17.25"

Am I going to have to chop off the tuning end of the new strings? If so, is there a better option? Most of my current strings are "well beyond sell date"!

Tom M.

Re: String length?

Posted: Sat May 05, 2018 7:22 am
by kenbloom
Hi Tom,

You have an older instrument with the shorter string length. The strings you get in "harp zither" length will work perfectly well on your instrument and you certainly don't have to cut anything off. I would in fact advise against doing that as you risk having the winding let go on you if you do. What the difference will mean is that your instrument will have less tension on it and thus not be quite as loud as it otherwise would be. Strings are designed with a particular note and length in mind. Since your length is shorter than the modern standard, the strings will have less tension and thus, less stress on the body. The price paid for that lessening of tension is less volume and maybe some intonation problems on the fingerboard. You most likely won't notice anything like that since you will be mostly playing on the seventh fret and below. In other words, "no worries, mate."

Ken Bloom