PA German Zitter reproduction

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PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby kwl » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:31 am

A year and a half ago, my wife and I visited the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in Lancaster, PA to examine the instruments in the L. Allen Smith's A Catalogue of Pre-Revival Appalachian Dulcimers. The curator told me there was another similar instrument in the collection. She also made that one available for my examination. I decided to make a reproduction of his instrument with a few changes. The original instrument was made of pine while I used poplar. The original has a bent nail for a bridge. I made the bridge of oak after trying a nail and not liking the look or sound. It may have originally had harpsichord pins for tuning but for of them were replaced by wood screws. I choose to use zither pins for tuning. Here is a photo of the original and of my copy.

Ken
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby KenH » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:37 pm

Beautifully done, Ken.

What's interesting to me is that the original builder did not "break" the strings over the front edge and have the tuners installed at right angles to the sloping face, the way a modern builder would most likely do it. Instead he kept everything on the top surface...
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby danc9 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:00 pm

I know of at least one more like that! The boys in Hindman have this one....

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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby kwl » Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:54 pm

Yes, Ken, at least at the tuning end. The strings break over the other end. Dan, I need to look at my photo files. I may have taken a photo of that zither for Ralph.

Ken
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby Marc Mathieu » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:36 pm

Great job Ken ! Looks like a well-crafted replica.
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby kwl » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:56 pm

Thank you Marc.

Ken
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby dholeton » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:49 pm

Very Nice Ken
I'm getting ready to start a similar project. While researching the different styles of zitters I saw one that had one piece for the tail block, sides, and head block. It's been a while, but another zitter under discussion a while ago did not have a bottom and was mostly one piece of wood.

So, it appears your zitter is mostly one piece for the tail block, sides, top, and head block. Is that right? Maybe you used a router to hollow out the sound box? If so, did you start with a 4x4 piece of poplar?

Thanks
Dave
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby KenH » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:40 am

Dave -- I built a Norwegian Langeleik (zither) like that once -- bottomless Started with a birch 3x4, and gutted the inside with Forster bits in a drill press, then chiseled out the bits between. Added a fingerboard with short frets, autoharp tuners, and shazam! No soundholes, LOTS of volume, especially if you rested it on a couple 1/4" square sticks
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby kwl » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:56 pm

Dave, the top and the bottom of the prototype are separate pieces of wood. It looked like the head stock, sides, and end block were all one piece of wood hollowed out. I did not see a joint between the sides and the end block. The one built has a head stock, top, back, two sides and the end block. The sides are mortised in to the head and end block.

Ken
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby dholeton » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:47 pm

Thanks KenH
RIck Long makes his psalteries by using a solid piece of wood that he routers out from the top, then he installs a top usually of a wood different than the bottom.

Thanks Ken (kwl)
I was thinking of trying the one piece head block/sides/tailblock. I'm going shopping for wood next week and if a suitable piece of wood is available I still might try that option. Otherwise, I just need a head block and a tail block to go with some walnut that I have ready for the build.

Dave
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Re: PA German Zitter reproduction

Postby kwl » Tue May 30, 2017 5:40 pm

I finally found some time to go back through my photo files and found a photo of the tail end of the prototype. KenH, in this photo you can see that strings attached on the end block just below the surface. I gave mine a little more room to break over the edge.

Ken
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