Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Bill Raymond » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:31 pm

Look at YouTube for Alex Karas' playing the Theme from The Third Man. He plays melody with his thumb on the fretboard, and a bass note + rhythm with his fingers.
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:18 pm

Thanks, Listened to it. Never realized the old videos with music players existed anymore. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:46 pm

I decided to start practising tuning of this bugger. I thought it would be really difficult, but to my surprise, it was really easy with the tuning wrench and the Korg Tuning Meter. I got all the melody strings done. Still have the 4 chords of 4 strings to do. This should tell me if my substitute music wire is correct. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:53 am

I would definitely replace all the strings because there is a large difference between new and old strings in regards to tone and volume.

I recently replaced all the strings on my 40 year old hammered dulcimer and it sounds like new.
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:10 pm

Barry, Yes, I will be replacing all of the strings, but I will have to do it a size at a time. It all comes down to money. I purchased replacement tuning pins. I will be replacing the metal rod bridge pieces, as they just keep blackening after I clean them up. I already ordered 8 x D'Addario BW026 80/20 Bronze Wound .026 inches (.66 mm), Single String (BW026) from "Strings by Mail". This firm seems to have fairly reasonable prices. But I think these strings are just plain with no loop or anything. I will have to make my loops, which so far I have had no problem. I will also have to figure out how to cut wound strings down. Somehow I need to take the windings off to the point where I can get the center wire through the tuning pin hole, at least with the larger wound strings.

You said you changed the strings on you hammer Dulcimer. I just listened to several musical pieces on that instrument. They really sound great, and you don't have to scrunch your fingers to play the instrument. I wish I had the skill to make one. Can't afford $1200 for one, and that is apparently a cheap one. CaleyAnn

I did strum the melody strings last night, just to see how they sounded. To my ear they sounded great, but then I am a bit tone deaf.

I thought I would give it a try. I took a very thin red oak stick I cut last night, and gave my Zither melody strings a tap. I ended tapping out two lines of "Ode to Joy". The sound wasn't overwhelming, but the music was understandable. Wow! A hammered Zither. :-) A lot easier than trying to pluck those close together strings. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:27 pm

Building a hammered dulcimer might be a good first build project for you after you get the Zither done. There are construction plans for hammered dulcimers available from several sources.
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:44 pm

I got the strings into today, and found they have a ring inside the loop. Unfortunately the ring is too small for my, I believe they are called, hitch pins. So I managed to wiggle the ring out and just use the pre-made loop.

Per instructions on a video, I stretched the string out, and cut it about 2 inches above the tuning pin. I discovered a little tail from the windings, and started pulling, and was able to remove enough so that the wound part does not enter the tuning pin.

But I ran into another problem. This paticular tuning pin, and I would imagine others are the same, is loose. it actually just slides up and down inside the hole. It will take the string, and keep tension on it, but I do not think that is the way it is supposed to work.

So I went back to YouTube, and found a piano expert who talked about loose tuning pins. He uses super thin CA glue to tighten up the hole. He keeps the pin in the hole, and just wicks the CA around the pin. Apparently the CA expands the wood around the pin, making it fit tighter. And apparently the pin can still be turned. He said that piano tuning pins should have about 100-120 on a torque meter, but I douibt that is the same for this Zither. I think that is getting too technical. I just want the holes tightened so that the tuning I do sticks, at least until the string stretches, and requires a tweak to get it back in tune.

If I understand the string stretch, that happens several times for new strings before they finally stay pretty much in tune, but apparently always need checking.

Anyway, these strings are really pretty, a gold colour, and apparently corrosion resistent.

Now I have to find somwhere that sells super thin CA before I can finish installing the strings I just purchased. As I have said, I live in the boonies, and what stores we have generally do not sell anything but necessities. I doubt CA is considered a necessity. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:21 am

Ive a question about what strings will work with this instrument. For the most part I have been able to order bronze wound strings up to .064, but I have two strings, .080 and .082 that are needed. I cannot find a .082 string anywhere, and the only .080 strings are nickel wound electric guitar strings. Can you use an electric guitar string on an acoustic type instrument?

If I cannot obtain these two strings, I will have to just go with smaller sized strings, and hope I can hit the note in a higher octave.

The melody strings are just fine sounding, but the way the chord strings are grouped, it is really strange sounding. I'd almost prefer a guitar type Zither that only has strings above a fret bar and then melody strings. But then, those type of Zithers have a strange sounding melody set of strings. I bet it is just my poor hearing that is giving me problems, but I just need to discover those last two strings to complete a new set, and finally finish upgrading this Zither. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:32 am

You can find heavier gauge strings at Harpguitarmusic .com. They are not cheap and very long, so I would buy 1 and make two out of it.
Rather than wiggling the ball ends out of the strings I have found it easier to take pliers and crush the "balls" to remove them. I found this worked better and made it less likely to snap the loop, when I wanted a Loop end string.
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:59 am

Thanks, I just ordered 2 of the .080 strings. They will have to do for the .080 and .082 strings on this Zither. I get the feeling that my measurements are probably a bit weird. The .080 actually measured about .0805, and the .082 actually measured about .08105. I wonder if that is because of the poorer tolerances back in the 30's when making these strings, or that they are just stretched, causing them to be odd measurements, or maybe both. Anywho, thanks for the line on my last two strings It is just a maatter of waiting on them to arrive.

Nice thing is I found sellers who beat Amazon prices hands down, sometimes by almost half. I guess the behemoth Amazon has huge overheads they have to pay for. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Barry Daniels » Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:04 pm

You should be able to get CA glue at any local store that should work for this purpose. But be careful with technique. The pin could get stuck in the hole permanently. You might try putting a coat of wax on the pin so the glue won't stick to it.
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:17 pm

I purchased a bottle from Amazon. I have a lot of those little slip on nozzles with the long skinnt neck so t hat you can place the glue in harder to reach places. I will take the pin out and stick those in the hole, then squirt some CA on the sides. I had also thought about the pin sticking. CaleyAnn
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Re: Repair of Zither (Harp Mandolin) ??????

Postby Caley Hand » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:50 pm

The CA glue did the job of tightening up the hole. Only problem was I put too much in, and it pooled at the bottom of the hole. Couldn't see how the glue was going in with that little tube down in the hole.

But not to worry. I used a smaller drill bit than the hole diameter, and twisted it a lot, and eventually the glob of extra CA popped out with the drill bit.

The hole is still oversized at the top, but the lower half seems to be just right; actually it was a chore getting the tuning pin twisted in.

Thank goodness for the internet, and YouTube. If I have a thing I wish to do, I just check out the site, and usually there is something just exactly what I need, or at least close enough to help with the problem I am trying to solve.

Hopefully I will not have a lot of these oversized holes. CaleyAnn
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