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13. Old Bohm waldzither (712) @ 250 euros

Old Bohm Waldzither – Preston tuners

This is an old Waldzither, made in Germany with Preston tuners. It has a Bohm label inside with the Alster phone number, so probably dates from the 1920s...

C. H. Bohm

Hamburg 5 Steintorweg 2

Bohm Waldzither Alster 6825

It has the original rosewood finger-board with 17 re-levelled brass frets. The spruce top is now sound with 2 shrinkage repairs. The flat back is sound with 2 shrinkage repairs, re-enforced inside. The tuners, tail and bridge are originals. I have now fitted strap buttons at the tail and heel. The instrument top has been refinished throughout with Tru-oil. It has been strung as a trad waldzither in open C, (CGCEG) and is now playing well with a full, ringing, sonorous sound and a light action.

The waldzither will be supplied with a tuning key. A string winder is available for creating replacement double loop-end strings if required…

Other than cleaning, I have carried out the following work on this instrument: 1) repaired 2 shrinkage cracks in the top; 2) repaired 2 shrinkage cracks in the back; 3) levelled and dressed the original frets; 4) restained and varnished throughout; 5) strap buttons fitted; and 6) strung and set up.

NB. the instrument can be retuned in a variety of different ways.

In the German region of Thüringen, the cittern seems to have existed in a time warp throughout the 17th and 18th Century. While citterns elsewhere went through a number of changes, the Thüringer remained very much the same. There were a number of variants with more strings, but the basic nine-stringed early 19th Century Thüringer Zither was very similar to the "standard" renaissance cittern. During the 19th Century the instrument became known as the Thüringer Waldzither and eventually the reference to Thüringen faded out and the instrument became known simply as the Waldzither, literally ‘forest cittern’. Around 1900 Hamburg mandolin manufacturer C. H. Böhm picked up the Waldzither idea and started manufacturing it in large quantities. For more about Waldzithers, follow these links…



Waldzither Specifications (In Millimetres)

Overall Length of waldzither


Width at widest point


Approx. Depth of waldzither

95mm at bridge.


Refinished throughout with shellac and tru-oil varnish.

Belly wood

Good quality, book-matched, spruce top. 2 long shrinkage repairs.

Sound hole

Round, approx. 77mm. diameter.




Single-piece, flat back in stained maple.

Neck and Head

Single-piece, stained, neck and head, probably maple.


Maple, perfect.


Original in rosewood. 17 re-levelled brass frets. MOP position markers at frets 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12. Original nut.

Machine heads

Original steel Preston tuners, all working.


Original with 9 string hooks. New strap button fitted.


Original glass

Scale Length Bridge to nut

Scale of 470mm

G string height at bridge


E string height at bridge


12th fret to bottom string (Action)


12th fret to top string (Action)


Width of fretboard at nut


Width of fretboard at widest point



Larger photos are available on request.