zither bridge

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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henrylrjr
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:25 pm

zither bridge

Post by henrylrjr » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:31 pm

Hi all

I use titebond for my guitar work and plan to use it to glue on the ebony bridge I am making. I was just wondering if early zither makers used hide glue because that would influence how I remove the existing bridge. The original bridge has holes for the strings. I planned on tilting the milling machine head to match the angle of the holes in the old bridge for drilling string holes in the new bridge. However, since learning some makers cut string slots in the bridge instead of drilling holes, I might do that and won't have to tilt the head. I am thinking the angle of the holes should be used for the angle of the bottom of the slots because that angle seems to be similar, in effect, to the string break angle on guitars. What do you think about that and an L shaped bottom profile of the bridge so it pushes both against the end face of the zither as well as down on the top surface?

Thanks,
Henry Rancourt

Rudy Mueller
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Re: zither bridge

Post by Rudy Mueller » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:26 pm

Thanks Henry,

For the rest of our multinational group, what is the composition of "Titebond"?

This is essentially a water based synthetic wood glue, and I can get it at Ace Hardware within walking distance here in Grafton, but a lot of people on the site are dealing with "Toom" or "Bauhaus"....yet these do sell essentially the same stuff....but you've got to read the labels

Rudi

NutmegCT
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Re: zither bridge

Post by NutmegCT » Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:29 pm

Henry - back in the Dark Ages I repaired stringed instruments. I learned very quickly that, altho' the original luthiers most often used hot hide glue, repairs done in the intervening years by various shops could be done with *any* kind of glue, including super glue.

So good luck on removing the original zither parts.

I would also second the earlier topic's comments on how the similar-named parts on zithers and violin family instruments often have different functions, and the "brittleness" of ebony for a bridge. I'd think maple would be a better choice. An interesting experiment would be to make two bridges, one of ebony and one of another wood, and see how/whether the sound changes.

Tom

kenbloom
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Re: zither bridge

Post by kenbloom » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:01 am

Virtually all the old instruments were made with hide glue as this was the most available glue to use. It has many benefits, one the best is the ease with which you can get pieces apart. A little steam and heat and things come apart very easily and cleanly. Titebond, sometimes called alphatic resin is a very common glue these days for plucked instrument makers including myself.
As far as whether to use holes or slots in your new bridge, I would go with holes. I have several zithers with slots and those thin pieces tend to break. My current Meintel perfekta has slots. It makes changing strings easy but there are a couple of those pieces that have broken off and were lost. AGain, just my 2p.

Ken Bloom

henrylrjr
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:25 pm

Re: zither tuning pin engagement

Post by henrylrjr » Sun May 17, 2015 5:15 pm

Hi all,

The repairs are done and its time to string it. I have a question about the tuning pins. How high above the top of the tuning block should they be before stringing. Asked another way, how much of the pin length should be engaged into the pin block after tuning is completed? I want enough engagement so pins do not bend or lean due to string tension and don’t want to turn them so tight they might crack the pin block. I can add pics if that will help.

Rudy Mueller
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: zither bridge

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sun May 17, 2015 5:36 pm

The F Seith is also starting to take shape. Strings have been ordered.

Before starting, the pegs, when the instrument was strung and tuned as well as could be, were 11-12 mm high. The windings seemed to have been done professionally, no overlaps, all in a nice smooth row. Does (can, please) anyone else have the heights of the pegs on a strung and tuned zither measured?

Most of the pegs on the Seith took 5 and 1/2 to 6 turns to unwind the strings. This would of course have been a function of the length of the string and bridge to bridge length to begin with. The strings may have been "cut to size".

The accompaniment string pegs, while still in place in place, and when "unstrung" were
# 1-18 27-28 mm
#18-29 30-31 mm high.

Henry, all of this depends on the geometry of the particular instrument you're dealing with. The heights on your instrument before and after stringing may well be different.

It always helps to have a properly tuned second zither around when re-stringing.....who among us has not "popped" a string or two? Take your time. The future enjoyment of this instrument will be doubled because of your efforts.

Rudi

Rudy Mueller
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Re: zither bridge

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon May 18, 2015 9:34 am

Hello again,

The pegs on the F Seith are 40 mm long.

The tops of the pins on the Förg zither here, strung and tuned, are 23-25 mm above the surface of the instrument. Quite a difference from the Sieth!

Now I do not know what to say. A range of 14 mm (Seith) to 25 mm (Förg) is remarkable. Take care and don't crack the bridge.

Anyone out there have any measurements you'd care to share????? Please comment.

Rudi

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Dave
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Re: zither bridge

Post by Dave » Mon May 25, 2015 9:49 pm

Hi Rudi,

I can provide measurements the next time I replace an open string. I can tell you that the pin block on my Wünsche was drilled to a depth to accommodate the threaded portion of the zither pin. Going deeper than that with the tuning pin risks serious trouble, but with pins coming over time in a variety of shapes and sizes I expect others may have a different point of reference. For me, knowing this has been useful guidepost.

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

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