Tenor Waldzither: scale length around 460mms
| Tuning: Essentially, a
waldzither looks like a bigger mandolin, with 4 double courses of strings, but
extra bottom string, though it comes from a different instrumental
The tenor version most often seen is
traditionally tuned C gg c'c' e'e' g'g', from bottom up.
When ordering strings it is important to note the size if you have a 'Bohm type', which has double-loop strings. Typically these strings are 650mm, so are too short for the longest scale lengths, and too long for the shortest.
|Romana Thuringer||String gauges: typically .012 .015 023w .032w .045w silver wound. To suit scale length 450-460mm.|
|Romana Bohm||String gauges : .010 .013 .020 .030w(.013core) .042w(.018core) bronze wound. To suit scale length 655 mm.|
|Pluckthorn Waldzither||String gauges: typically .012 .015 .018 .026w .038w wound. To suit scale length 500mm in trad. open C tuning.|
| There are, as with most
instruments, a whole family of waldzithers of different sizes, though
there seems to no standardisation about the tuning of each, different old
tutor books suggesting different alternatives.
14 string Heym Waldzither: scale length around 408mm
|Tuning: Essentially, a 14 string waldzither is triple course instrument, with 2 free bases. Traditionally in the C instrument tuned g'g' e'e' c'c' gg C, from top down.|
|I tuned this as a C instrument even though the scale length suggested it may have been a D version, mainly because of its age and fragility. It wasn't really clear whether the lower of each triple course was an octave down or not, and in the end I chose to tune simply, with triples the same octave, using a set and a half of thuringer strings.|
Alternative Waldzither Tuning
Many waldzithers are bought either to use as citterns, or as bouzouki style instruments in Irish music. The original German open C tuning of the tenor waldzither is fine for chordal accompaniment, but not good for tunes. Thus much restringing is done, and I receive requests for ideas on what string gauges and tuning to use. So, here are a few thoughts....
The table below shows a few possible re-stringing choices, with relevant string gauges that I have used.....
There is a choice of string gauges shown, as different players have a preference for heavier or lighter strings. Some flexibility is possible. This is only a general guide, though I would not advise straying too far from recommended gauges, or you risk damaging the instrument.
|Some simple waldzither chords, assuming an open C tuning of c gg c'c' e'e' g'g'.|
|For those of you who know more about musical theory than me, this site may provide extra insights into chording: http://www.waldzither.de/dat/noten.htm (but it is mostly in German)|