"tinney" sounding "a" strings

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Rudy Mueller
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

"tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:03 am

The "a" griff strings on my F Seith zither have started to sound "tinney", sort of like a cracked bell, but only in the area of c# through eb.

Is it the griffbrett, or the strings?

Any hints?

Rudi

NutmegCT
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 pm
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Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by NutmegCT » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:30 pm

Gruss Rudi.

Lay a steel straight edge across the frets and see if some are higher than others. Straight edge should touch all the frets at once, without some being too high or low.

Back when I was a cellist, I'd find instruments with fingerboards that had slightly changed shape due to time, wear, temperature, and/or humidity. There would be small areas slightly lower or higher, causing the string to touch the wood at specific points. This would result in a tinny or fuzzy sound only on certain notes.

Just a thought.
Tom M.

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

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by Rudy Mueller » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:27 pm

Thanks Tom, will do.

How is your journey with the zither going?

Rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by kenbloom » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:27 pm

levelling frets is a fairly simple procedure. For my zither I use the 4" ruler that is part of a small combination square I use in the shop. You simply lay it on an area of the fingerboard and see if it rocks. If it does, the rocking is cause by a high fret. You will often find a high fret several frets higher than the problem area. To level the frets I use a diamond honing plate but a perfectly level sharpening stone works just fine. You simply gently rub the high fret area with the stone until you see that all the frets have a small shiny area indicating they have been touched by the level stone. You will then have to crown the frets, rounding their tops. This is most easily done with a tool that is meant for this job which you can get from Stewart-MacDonald. Go to www.stewmac.com and look under fretting tools. After the frets have been rounded, poish the them with 600 sandpaper and 0000 steel wool. If you have questions about this, just ask.

Ken Bloom
http://www.bowedducimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by Rudy Mueller » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:58 am

Thanks Ken,

I'll check with both NAPA and Ace hardware for a good straight edge this morning, retrieve my Förg from the cottage this weekend, and start the process next week.

I'm still enjoying Dondl's "Heimgarten" series, and into volume 2. Lots of nice music, incrementally challenging; summer's over, and there will be more time to practice. Almost time to start with the Christmas pieces. Wendlstoana music group keeps chugging along, but still sounds like a sixth grade band; hopefully we'll be in good enough shape to try the Weihnachts Minuet by December.

Rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 133
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Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by kenbloom » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:03 am

Hi Rudi,

For finding problems on short length fingerboards like the zither, a four inch long straight edge is the most useful. Stewart-MacDonald makes a nice little tool called the rocker which has three different short lengths for finding high frets in small areas. If I didn't have my ittle four inch square I would get one of those. If you need more info on doing fret dressing you can go to www.frets.com where there is ahuge amount of detailed info on how to do this like a professional. It's very straightforward and should make it possible for you to keep your zither "humming" smoothly for years. Good luck with the new repertoire. Let me know if I can help you further.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by Rudy Mueller » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:05 am

Thanks Ken,

I bought a 6 inch straight edge, but will get a 4".

However....

Running the 6" straight edge over the frets from left to right, there is a decided "click" as one passes over the first 6-8 frets. running from right to left, there is a decided "stop" when getting to the 6-8 left hand frets.

When holding a 24" straight edge ?up to the bottom of the zither at the edge of the fretboard, here is a "bow" or curve on the zither.

When manufactured, are zithers flat? do they become "bowed" on aging?

Rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by kenbloom » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:02 am

Hi Rudi,

The bow that you seen in the fretboard is fairly common. The instrument was not built that way but the tension of all those strings will do that to the body over time. If you are getting the click sound, you definitely have a high fret or two and that needs to be addressed. As you rock your straightedge over the area, you should be able to see and locate which is the high fret and then take your sharpening stone and work on that area. Don't try to just lower one fret. That is a recipe for disaster. Work on the problem area and check your progress frequently. Once there is no more click, you can go ahead and round off the tops of the affected frets and then polish them. If the bow in the body is severe, that is aproblem to be addressed by a serious professional. If it's not too bad, just go with it. It can be a real can of worms trying to balance a low action with good intonation.
I have two zithers that I play regularly, the perfekta by Meinel Sr. and normal zither by Meinel Jr. The older perfekta does have a bit of bow to it but is still very playable. The Meinel Jr. has other problems but the fretboard is fine. Some bow in the body will make it possible to play with kind of forceful deliberate thumb stroke that you hear Rudi Knabl use. that's the tone I go for. I hope this is helpful.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 376
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon Sep 11, 2017 4:38 pm

We had quite an invasion of family this summer, and the Seith ended up in front of a window...about 2 miles away from lake michigan. Advice from Ludwig: "move it to its usual spot, and let it "dry out" for a few weeks, don't rush, and take a second look. more later.

rudi

kenbloom
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: "tinney" sounding "a" strings

Post by kenbloom » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:19 am

Good advice! Some problems just solve themselves. Let us know how it goes.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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