Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

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DonHurd
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:29 am

Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by DonHurd » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:21 pm

It all started with my wanting some variety in the accompaniment for the Kolping Saengerchor, here in Cincinnati. I bought a zither on ebay, and started watching YouTube to see how it's played. Well, the advice about not buying a zither without a tuning device is good: my zither #1 has oblong tuning pins and did not come with a wrench, and I would appreciate any leads/sources of a solution. I bought an "adjustable" T-shaped tuner, designed for use on antique harp pins, but the "drill-bit" chuck is too big to fit between the pins, and also grips too tightly to remove without un-tuning at the same time! (I did follow the directions for "backing off" the tightness, but it's always on the borderline of too loose or too tight!)

My zither #2 is on loan from a friend whose father played the zither for the Backerei-Verein here in Cincinnati. It works, and tunes, just fine, but I really needed a zither of my own. I bought #3 on Craigslist: made by Rudolph K. Haselwanter, Mittenwald, Ober-Bayern, for Prof. S. J. Osswald, Teacher of Music. (5 fretboard, and 32 accompaniment strings.) It is beautiful, and tunes easily, but I have encountered another problem: I am "assuming" that it uses Munich tuning, in that it has two A strings, but it arrived missing a D and G string, so it's a guess that it has never been Vienna-tuned. It is also missing the first two accompaniment strings, and the third string is a substantial wound copper string that I don't expect would tune to F alt. And some of the other strings also don't look as they should. (I'm a violinist by profession.) I can see where, with the large number of strings on a zither, that one could be tempted to replace a string with something "close" to what is called for. I have purchased a complete set of replacement strings, but what's on now are not at all in poor condition. Any suggestions?

Our zither club has only met once, and I'm the one with the most answers! And I'm a real novice! But we're tuned, and are all accomplished pianists and can play by ear. We've examined printed zither music, practiced scales, and compared table heights and hand positions. We've yet to put it all together smoothly, but are having fun with a beautiful new sound, for us, that once had many Cincinnati practitioners! Don in Cincinnati

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

Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:38 pm

hi don,

do you have any instructions books? these usually have instructions on stringing and tuning. strings are specific for a given location on the instrument, to maintain a designed load on the frame.

i have two instructrion books, a. darr and a. kabatek. if you would like to see what they look like, i could get the first several pages copied and mailed out.

greetings to harry schwietering and the cincinnati kolping schützen.

rudy mueller

DonHurd
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:29 am

Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by DonHurd » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:52 pm

Hello, Rudy!

Thank you for writing! I do have the Darr book, and various tuning charts, all of which are very helpful. I didn't want to change any strings until I was certain that what is on the zither now is, indeed, incorrect. (That copper wound F alt is not going to make it if I try to get it that high in pitch.) The Viennese tuning system seems to have a pattern where the third string is the lowest (actually 0, 1, then 2) and would be a comfortable B flat for the copper string! But the fretboard is set for Munich tuning, at least it has two A strings, but is missing D & G, plus the first two accompaniment strings. The instrument is very well cared for, so I don't want to cause a problem by my ignorance of what I've got. Luckily, my zither #2 is all properly set up.
I'll pass your greetings to the Kolping Schuetzengrup!
Don

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

Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:45 pm

hi don,

concerning "oblong" tuning pegs, the schwarzer zither i currently have also has "oblong" pegs, but fortunately, it also came with the proper wrench. this is schwarzer #10833, one of the later ones. an earlier schwarzer i had, had square pegs.

was this a characteristic of later schwarzers??? perhaps the curator at the schwarzer museum in washington mo could help. dave kyger may have his address.

tuning keys do turn up on www.ebay.de , under zither. perhaps zither schlüssel or zither stimmschlüssel would be better search words. however, i have never seen a non-square key listed. the actual measurements would also be an issue.

any tool-makers in the cincinnati kolping societies? my dad made up one several years ago (square), which i still have.

gut klang

rudy

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Dave
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Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by Dave » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:59 pm

Hi Don, Rudy,

If you're still looking for a proper tuning key, the following web site may be a good resource for you. They sell pins, tuning hammers and other accessories. I received a confirmation that they carry tuning hammers that will fit rectangular pins. Maybe a replacement key for your mechanic too?

http://rubner-markneukirchen.de/onlineshop/index.php

Although rectangular tuning pins are most often found on early zithers, it's possible that older stock could have been used. This may explain Rudy's "newer" Schwarzer having the old style rectangular pins.

best,

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

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 437
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Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Fri May 04, 2012 5:14 pm

hey don,

it sounds like you're with a sänger group. will you be coming to the sängerfest in milwaukee next year??

rudy

DonHurd
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Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by DonHurd » Fri May 04, 2012 10:59 pm

Hi, Rudy!

I certainly hope to get to Milwaukee for the National conference. I wasn't able to attend Peoria this year.

I haven't spend much time at the zither, lately--too many other concerts and students. I'm playing a piano recital for a local music club on Monday, and singing as a bass soloist in a performance of Israel in Egypt in a couple of weeks. But my FOUR zithers are ready to go! And I'm looking forward to getting back to the zither.

Thank you for writing!

Don

awrichmond
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Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:53 pm

Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by awrichmond » Sat May 30, 2015 9:43 am

Hello Don. I live near Ccincinnati and have a Schwarzer #2374. I'm getting ready to put new strings on it. Tell me more about group. Still meeting? Where and when?

Alice Richmond

DonHurd
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:29 am

Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by DonHurd » Sun May 31, 2015 8:49 pm

Hi, Alice!

Thanks for writing! Sorry to report that we haven't zither grouped for a couple of years--couldn't get any committed learners, and have gone on to other projects. But, since you've brought it up, now, I'll see if I can get any summer zither fun organized. (I could use a new project!) Will keep you in mind! Best wishes!

Don Hurd, Cincinnati

awrichmond
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 9:53 pm

Re: Zither group forming in Cincinnati!

Post by awrichmond » Sun May 31, 2015 9:28 pm

That's great! My email is awrichmond2@frontier.com. please keep me informed.

Thanks.

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