Refurbishing a Hermann Doelling Junior Alpine zither

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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Andrea
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:30 pm

Refurbishing a Hermann Doelling Junior Alpine zither

Post by Andrea » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:21 pm

Hello, thanks for adding me to your group. Your group is very interesting, I'm often in the US for job (I'm from Venice, Italy), and I heard about big groups like yours keeping alive old traditions from their Countries of origin.
Even if I'm a (self-made...) organist, playing in my village church for 30+ years, I have, mainly for curiosity, bought and are refurbishing an old Alpine Zither, with 5+27 strings, made by Hermann Doelling Junior about 100 years ago.
Now I need to replace all the 5+27 strings.
Before buying a professional set in Germany, I'd like to test the instrument making the strings with standard armonic steel wires.
Do you know what are the notes of the different strings (the original ones were very damaged, impossible to get information), and their diameter?
Thanks in advance. Andrea

Evelyn
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:23 am

Re: Refurbishing a Hermann Doelling Junior Alpine zither

Post by Evelyn » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:53 pm

Hello Andrea, and welcome.

I hope this helps: http://www.pamelasmusic.co.uk/pages/con ... tuning.htm. What you want is the Munich Tuning, which is used on most zithers nowadays. There's also this page: https://www.zither.us/zither.tuning

See also:

Saiten 1.jpg
Saiten 1.jpg (268.33 KiB) Viewed 359 times

Good luck!

kenbloom
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Refurbishing a Hermann Doelling Junior Alpine zither

Post by kenbloom » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:03 am

Hi Andrea,

Zithers are not made to withstand the tension of regular metal strings. One of the reasons that zither strings are so expensive is that they are specially designed to give a nice clear note at low tension and a very short string length. Your instrument sounds like a typical zither of the Turn-of-the-Century with a shorter string length and rather light construction. The good news about zither strings is they last a very long time. I change my fingerboard strings more frequently but the bass and accompaniment strings can last several years even with a lot of playing.
I have seen some very nice old zithers literally pulled apart by having metal strings put on them. The repair is then very expensive or not worth doing. Proper zither strings can be had from a variety of sources. Please don't put all steel wire strings on an old zither or any zither for that matter.

Ken Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 437
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Refurbishing a Hermann Doelling Junior Alpine zither

Post by Rudy Mueller » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:34 am

Welcome Andrea,

You say "replace". Do you sill have the "old" strings? Are they at all serviceable?

Before investing in a full set of strings, could you possibly use some of the old, and replace just those which are needed or missing?

Years ago when beginning, I received a zither which had been used with a magnetic pick-up and steel core strings (ouch!! **) specifically designed for zither. The strings were replaced in "sections" as the my lessons progressed. First the Griff, then the first 12 accompaniment, then the 12 bass, and finally the F, C, and E contra strings, spreading the cost.

Rudi

** I find the Bergfee "green" strings easy on the fingers.

kenbloom
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:50 am

Re: Refurbishing a Hermann Doelling Junior Alpine zither

Post by kenbloom » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:57 am

I concur! The Bergfe green are also easiest on the instrument while still sounding very good.

Kewn Bloom
http://www.boweddulcimer.org

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