Franz Schwarzer Zither

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Mrays7945
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Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Mrays7945 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 2:43 pm

Responding to a Craigslist posting in Sherman, Texas, I was able to acquire a Franz Schwarzer concert zither No. 6917. It is in remarkable condition. No cracks, separations, delaminations, no corrosion of the tuning pegs, no wear signs on the frets or fretboard, etc., and only one light scratch on the front board under the last bass string. The instrument needs only a little cleaning/polishing and a complete restringing.

Is there a way to figure out the approximate year of construction from the number 6917?

kenbloom
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by kenbloom » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:45 am

If I recall correctly there is a website that has a complete history of the Schwazer factory and all. It might be under the Washington, Missouri Historical Society. It shouldn't take much of a web search to track this down. How fancy is your zither?

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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Dave
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Dave » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:31 am

Congrats on your find! Your Schwarzer serial number of 6917 dates it to 1897. Share some photos when you have an opportunity.
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Mrays7945
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Mrays7945 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:11 pm

I would like to send fotos. However, when I attempt to attach even one with Add Files, I receive a prompt that the attachment is too large.

NutmegCT
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by NutmegCT » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:18 pm

Easiest way to post photos is to put them on a public photo sharing site, like Google Photos, Flickr, etc.

Then just put the link to the photo into your Zither forum post.

Another way is to shrink the photo size using various editing apps. I use Windows Paint, which has a "resize" icon built right in. Remember, it's not the physical size of the photo that causes problems; it's the filesize.

If you go the "shrink size" route, you're probably safe to reduce the file size to under 300K, which should work in just about any public forum. For example, if the file size is 4.5 megabytes, reduce to 5%, so it becomes 225K.

Any questions, just ask away!
Tom M.

Mrays7945
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Mrays7945 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:52 am

Here is a link to pictures of my find. I’m awaiting delivery of a complete set of Bergfee Green Label strings. While I have got it completely unstrung, I’d like to clean it up. Is there a polish or finish renewer I can safely apply to such an antique instrument?

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zFkxcyMWtEVAceFL7

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:40 pm

Beautiful!

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:16 pm

On cleaning an olde zither.....

Caution, caution, caution.

Some of these old instruments have extremely fragile finishes and stains. Some of these may/are plant or animal based, and not tolerant of newer "restoring" or polishing materials. Does the Schwarzer museum in Washington Mo have any hints? The Schwarzer I have here needs a good cleaning, but I am hesitant to start. If you are compelled, try a small area on the back of the instrument.

And no sand paper, not even 3000 grit!!!!!

Any luthiers in your neighborhood?

While you have the strings off, you might want to consider cleaning, vacuuming, or blowing out the interior cavity. Hang on; have the instrument firmly situated to avoid unwanted movement! This is definitely a face mask/breathing mask chore; you will be surprised what comes flying out.

Check for "rattles" or items which might have been thrown into the sound chamber during its lifetime. Kids! I wondered for years what happened to my (very thin, solid state) metronome...until I cleaned my father's acoustic table....what is that rattle...there it was. :D

Rudi

Mrays7945
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by Mrays7945 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:07 pm

Thanks Rudi. Good thoughts. I’ll do some research.

DonO
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Re: Franz Schwarzer Zither

Post by DonO » Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:11 pm

As a suggestion, you might contact Sasha Radicic who is an expert luthier for all things Zither and guitar. Sasha lives in St Louis, MO; he did a wonderful job of repair and refinishing a very old alto zither that has been in my family for nearly 100 years, and similarly on a handsome Schwarzer zither I picked up on eBay a few years ago. The results are stunning, and photos of these are shown elsewhere on this website for all to enjoy. I highly recommend Sasha and his work. Talk with Sasha, you would be more than satisfied with the results he could achieve with your instrument. Incidentally, my alto zither is strung with Lenzner soloklang strings, but as the infrequent string breaks it is replaced with a Pyramid blue. The Schwarzer is strung with Pyramid blues, sound and tone are brilliant. Repair and refurbishment of an antique zither is not a weekend job, and definitely not for the un-skilled.

Don O.

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