Tuning; arrrgh.

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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Kennethpauls
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:45 pm

Tuning; arrrgh.

Post by Kennethpauls » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:20 pm

If I have not asked before: why is it- unlike with other stringed instruments- that we tune the Griffbrett on the 7th string instead of the open strings. And why do the strings get flatter/sharper further up the frets; some of my instruments more so than others. Is there some physics involved with the fact that the instrument's pitch does not stay true all the way up the fretboard? That isnt the case on a guitar, so what's the difference?

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Dave
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Re: Tuning; arrrgh.

Post by Dave » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:22 pm

The intonation of my Johann Jobst is pretty well right on at the open, 5th or 7th frets. Just curious, have you compared the string height of your instruments, at various frets along each fretboard?

The following tips are courtesy of Andreas Spohn.

PROBLEM - Tuning is not true to frets

POSSIBLE CAUSES - Fingrboard strings are worn out
SOLUTION BY - Yourself
ACTION - Change strings

POSSIBLE CAUSES - If the strings are relatively new, their undersides are dirty (verdigris etc.)
SOLUTION BY - Yourself
ACTION - Clean them with a cloth, wind the cloth around them, wipe lengthwise

POSSIBLE CAUSES - Placement and length of string do not agree
SOLUTION BY - Professional
ACTION - Adjust string position

POSSIBLE CAUSES - Fingerboard curve not correct
SOLUTION BY - Professional
ACTION - Adjust fingerboard and string placement

POSSIBLE CAUSES - Frets are placed wrong
SOLUTION BY - Professional
ACTION - Replace fingerboard and all related parts
We do not take humor seriously enough. —Konrad Lorenz

kenbloom
Posts: 168
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Tuning; arrrgh.

Post by kenbloom » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:37 am

The most common reason for faulty intonation on the fingerboard would usually be either high action or improper compensation. The zither has a relatively short string length and this makes intonation more delicate. A tiny change in string height or compensation makes a big difference. Guitars with their 25+" string lengths are more forgiving. Now for compensation. Theoretically, the distance from the nut to the 12th fret should be exactly the same as the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge. In the real world this is not true. You have to compensate for the height of the strings off the fingerboard and the thickness of the strings. Thus the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge should be a bit more than from the nut to the 12th fret. Zither strings for the fingerboard are designed differently than guitar strings. Zither strings have a relatively thin core and then a more complex winding so that they will be flexible at the short string length giving good tone. Again, the short string length makes all of this more delicate and fussy.
If your strings are old, intonation will not be good.Uneven thickness, dirt, corrosion, etc. all contribute to faulty intonation. The harmonic at the 12th fret should exactly match the fretted note at the same location. If the fretted note is higher than the harmonic then the string that made the note is too short and the bridge wire needs to move to lengthen the string a bit. The lower your action, the less this is a problem. High action means you are really stretching the string down to the fingerboard giving a pitch that will be too high. If it's flat the opposite is true. Usually changing your strings will help matteres a lot. If the compensation is off, then that should be attended to by a professional. Hope this helps.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Kennethpauls
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:45 pm

Re: Tuning; arrrgh.

Post by Kennethpauls » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:28 am

thank-you, Ken; that makes sense now to
me.

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