Melody string tuners

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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NutmegCT
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Melody string tuners

Post by NutmegCT » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:14 am

Good morning all.

On my Schuster zither I can tune all the accompaniment strings easily with the tuning key.

But the five melody string tuners are *really* hard to turn. Difficult just to get my fingers on the ivory/bone "buttons" on the inner three tuner heads, and all five tuners are tight and difficult to raise or lower. I've even resorted to using pliers lined with leather just to grip the ivory. It may be just an issue with not having sufficient leverage, due to the closeness of the heads.

Is this a common problem? Is there a way to improve the situation?

Thanks.
Tom in Connecticut

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Dave
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by Dave » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:29 pm

Hi Tom,

It's possible that the tuning mechanism may just need a good cleaning and oiling. Forcing it will likely cause bigger problems. This tip and others for maintaining your zither can be found at the following link, just posted to the web site this weekend. Hope this helps.

http://www.zither.us/?q=node/135

Dave
We do not take humor seriously enough. —Konrad Lorenz

NutmegCT
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by NutmegCT » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:06 am

Thanks Dave. Is there any help posted on exactly how to remove, clean, and lubricate those five melody string tuners?

I'm guessing there is some sort of gear mechanism under the nickel plate cover - but I don't want to damage something just randomly removing screws. And those five ivory (?) tuner heads go directly through the side of the cover; I don't know how to handle that aspect. Photo attached.

Thanks.
Tom in Connecticut
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IMG_0470.JPG
tuner box cover
IMG_0470.JPG (501.77 KiB) Viewed 332 times

kenbloom
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by kenbloom » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:21 am

HI Tom,

To remove the machines, you unscrew the screws that hold the plate to the body. Do not unscrew the screws that hold the machines to the plate. These two screws are the ones next to the C post and the inside A post. Once the screws holding the plate are removed, the machines should lift out but do it carefully. They may be a bit reluctant at first.
Once they are out, inspect the whole assembly carefully. Now you can remove the machines from the plate. If the worm and gear are really dirty, you can use a good cleaner to get the gunk out and then lubricate liberally. Once the excess oil is removed, just replace everything. You will most likely have to clean the inside of the plate as well as the cavity in the zither itself. Do the cavity cleaning carefully. Be sure everything works freely and easily and then replace the whole assembly. Screw things down firmly but don't over tighten. Now replace the strings and you should be ready to go. If you play your instrument everyday and tune frequently, you should have no further problem with the machines.

Ken Bloom

NutmegCT
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by NutmegCT » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:49 pm

Thanks Ken. That's exactly what I needed. What a difference after cleaning and oiling - and a little polishing of the plate. Also spurred me to clean and polish the frets (0000 steel wool) and fingerboard.

Tom in Connecticut
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IMG_0472.JPG
After cleaning and oiling.
IMG_0472.JPG (501.58 KiB) Viewed 324 times

kenbloom
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by kenbloom » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:57 pm

A clean fingerboard is a happy fingerboard! It's also a good idea to SPARINGLY apply a little mineral oil to the fingerboard to keep it from drying out and cracking. You only need to do this maybe once a year if that. A little goes a long way. I've seen too many old zithers with cracked fingerboards. An once of prevention and all that. Glad I was able to help.

Ken

Rudy Mueller
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by Rudy Mueller » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:59 pm

Similar to what's routinely done in our kitchen on cutting boards...but I never had enough sense to transfer that to other hardwood working surfaces. Here in the northern midwest, all hardwood objects are subject to humidity extremes....and cracking/splitting.

To shift the subject, how does one check for, and remove, "dust kitties" from inside the instrument? My Förg is approaching 80 y, and probably is home to at least a few of these un-invited guests; surely these affect acoustics.

Ken, thanks x 10^6

NutmegCT
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Re: Melody string tuners

Post by NutmegCT » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:09 pm

One technique I use when rebuilding clavichords (which have an enclosed sound box) - I use aerosol compressed air, sold as "computer keyboard dust remover".

Image

I just aim the small plastic tube through the sound hole, press the button on the can, and voila! Dust flies out of the case (and all over me).

Tom in Connecticut

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