Zither tables?

Have you constructed a zither, case, table or other zither accessory? Share your photos and lessons learned here.

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Musicmaker
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Zither tables?

Post by Musicmaker » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:41 pm

Hello,
I am reading through the Kingsbury Keys tutor available on this forum and particularly on the subject of Zither tables.
My Zither is yet to arrive but i am doing all the preparations.
Th thought of a dedicated table the right height and with the function as a resonator had not occured to me but having an appreciation of acoustics i have noticed that with certain instruments when laid on a table, the volume increaes almost double and makes the instrument sound fuller.
The book recommended 27" high but i think that is a little low.
Depends on how high you and your seat is i reckon?
It also mentions using a solid wood loke Fir which has resonance properties.
The question is...how thick?
Will a board 6mm thick vibrate better than a board 25mm thick?
I think scientifically that it would.
I have seen two nice tables on the forum.
They give mention of building it with sides and ends like a drawer to give more sound.
This also rings true acoustically.
I would like please to hear any feedback on the subject, what you use, how high, materials and top board thicknesses please.
I commend Americans on their thoroughness in every thing they do or make so i am expecting some rocket science now.
Please be gentle as my brain can only accomodate so much!

Andy
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Re: Zither tables?

Post by Andy » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:25 am

Good morning!

I think you may find that a lot of the Zither tables are a bit low. I’ll let one of the experts here speak more to it, but I’ve found when playing, it is beneficial to have the instrument lower, closer to your lap. You want gravity on your side, arms sloping slightly downwards towards the Zither.

There is a great example of a Zither table that Dave posted, and stands 25” high. It has a resonance chamber built into the top.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=55

- Andy

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Zither tables?

Post by Rudy Mueller » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:16 pm

My home built open top is a comfortable 23.5 inches high.

rudi

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Re: Zither tables?

Post by Musicmaker » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:18 pm

Thanks Rudi and Andy.
Seems like 27" is not too low then if yours is 25".
I assume your knees tuck under the table?
I like the resonating chamber.
There is a picture on the forum of another table and i lije that one too.
It has its own music stand which is also important.
I have had a look at the Kings Keys scales availabls here and will definafely learn a few.
I generally dont like playing in any key that has more than three flats or sharps in ghe piece.
That still gives me plenty of scope though including minor keys.

NutmegCT
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Re: Zither tables?

Post by NutmegCT » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:04 am

Various heights are given for zither tables.

But isn't the important factor the actual height of the strings of the zither itself? Mine zither is relatively thin, with strings at almost exactly 2 inches above table surface.

In other words, shouldn't the height of the table be based on where the strings lie? Method books, and many zitherists, emphasize proper hand position at the strings. Seems that hand position at the strings is determined by (1) height of the table, (2) height (distance between table and string level) of the zither itself, and position of the zitherist (seat height, etc.).

So, wouldn't the table surface height be determined by where the zitherist wants the string level to be?

Thanks.
Tom M.

kenbloom
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Re: Zither tables?

Post by kenbloom » Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:40 am

As far as height goes, the more relaxed you can be, the better you will play. If the table is too high your arms will get tired. There is no set height that works for everyone. I would do some experimenting and see what works for you. As far as thickness goes, I found that thicker tables sound better and give you more bass. This may seem counterintuitive but the best zither table I ever had was an old mahogany dining room table. It was quite large and heavy and was a joy to play a zither on. The one I regularly use is the traveling case for my zither in its case. The top is 3/4" thick and sounds much better than the other one I had with a thinner top. The zither has a rather small sound chest which is great for trebly sounds but not so good for the low end. You need to get all the bass you can out of your table to compensate. YMMV.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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Re: Zither tables?

Post by Musicmaker » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:03 pm

Hi folks.
I have accomplished the first stage of playing the Zither.
I have just bought a nice old cedar wood hall table which is 30" high 36" long and 18" wide.
I liked Rudi's table with the turned legs so went for that design.
The top is cedar and 3/4" thick.
Now i dont want to be dumb here but ,
Do we sit with our legs UNDER the table or sit AT the table?
I can easily cut the legs to get it 27" high or even 25" high but if i go for the latter i will not get my knees under the table.
Unless of course i jig saw out a knee cavity if you know what i mean.
So hopefully i can post pictures of the table and good solid chair i got this morning.
Then i will post again when i have made it look nicer than it does.
So.....knees under?
Pete

https://flic.kr/p/251JiD2

Sorry i have done this BBCode before but i have forgotten how to do it.
I will get there....be patient.
The above image is of the table as bought a few hours ago.

https://flic.kr/p/JeV4su

This is the table with the legs cut down to 25" top to bottom.
I can just about get my knees under the table but may have to make a " Knee cut out ".
I am toying with the idea of using the existing sides and fronts and adding a piece of 6mm thick ply to the bottom to form a resonator. Of course i will then cut sound holes to the front.
25" is about as low as i can get comfortably.
Tom!.....i take your point about string heights but i think when people talk about table heights, the string height is already considered as i would assume most Zithers would be roughly the same height unless a specially deep one has been ordered?
Does the table top look really cag?
I also sew and could make a thin table cloth for it?
Opinions please dear folks?
Pete

NutmegCT
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Re: Zither tables?

Post by NutmegCT » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:02 am

Hi Pete -

I don't use a table, but ... if your knees are not under the table, you'd have to be reaching straight out with your arms just to play the instrument. Many folk zitherists just rested the instrument on their laps, which gives you an idea of body/instrument placement.

I'd still recommend not cutting your table legs until you have the instrument. Zithers aren't all the same "thickness".

That dulcimer you've got is beautiful. Did you build that? and are you playing it? Seems similar to zither, but a much simpler technique.

Also really like your model railroad setup. Do you also make the steam engines? That's quite impressive!

Tom M.

kenbloom
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Re: Zither tables?

Post by kenbloom » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:03 am

Hi Pete,

I do sit with my legs under the table. Cutting out a place in the apron so this can happen is certainly fine. You do what you can to be as comfortable as possible. Playing the zither is challenging enough. I like to have my zither at a height that permits my arms to be relatively level and my wrists only slightly arched. Getting the table to be right is a very personal ting. No solution is right for everyone.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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Re: Zither tables?

Post by Musicmaker » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:55 pm

NutmegCT wrote:Hi Pete -

I don't use a table, but ... if your knees are not under the table, you'd have to be reaching straight out with your arms just to play the instrument. Many folk zitherists just rested the instrument on their laps, which gives you an idea of body/instrument placement.

I'd still recommend not cutting your table legs until you have the instrument. Zithers aren't all the same "thickness".

That dulcimer you've got is beautiful. Did you build that? and are you playing it? Seems similar to zither, but a much simpler technique.

Also really like your model railroad setup. Do you also make the steam engines? That's quite impressive!

Tom M.
Hi Tom,
I think i have the table right now and fhanks for your input.
Yes i did make the dulcimer. I am pleased that you liked it.
Depending on which model railway you looked.
If it was the narrow gauge variety then yes, i made all locomotives, steam and diesel, rolling stock, buildings, scenery, the whole nine yards really. I dont do it any more as i have turned my hand back to musical instrument making.
Pete

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