US 1847303 A
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March 1, 1932. H. G. FINNEY ET AL. 1,847,303-
STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed Aug. 50, 1929 Patented Mar. 1, 1932 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE HAROLD G. FINNEY, 'OF MAPLEWOOD, AND JOHN H. LAR'GE, OF CALDWELL, NEW JERSEY, ASSIGNORS TO INTERNATIONAL MUSICAL CORPORATION, OF HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY, A CORPORATION OF NEW JERSEY s'r-nI-nenn MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Application filed August :30, 1929. Serial No. 889,387.
This invention relates to astringed musical instrument of the zither type designed more es ecially for the use of persons whoare unskilled in the use of conventional instruments. According to the present invention, an instrument is provided which simulates closely the tonal effects of the so-called Hawaiian steel guitar. Various Sets of strings may be provided for playing an accompaniment,a single string being provided for the melody.
The typical whining effect of the steel guitar is simulated through the agency of a member which. bears against the melody string and which is slidable therealong. fThis'rnember maybe in the form of a block of metal of suitable weight held .in such a way that its weight is supported by the string. For the purpose of determining the pitchof the note issuing from the string when plucked the block of metal acts as azfret. The block, however, is preferably free to vibrate to some 7 extent with the string so that a distinctive ment embodying the invention.
timbre is given the note similar to. that of a steel guitar. .The effect of the steel guitar is further carried out by the freedom of the metal block to slide up and down the string, thus producing the customary swipe or variation of pitch.
For a, more complete disclosure of the invention, reference is had to the description thereof which follows and to the drawings, of whi ch i Figure 1 is a plan view ofa musical instru- Figure 2 is a section "on the line 22 of Figure 1.
Figure 3is a sectionon the line 3-3 of Figure 2.
' Figure 4 is a perspective view of adetail. Figure 5 is a fragmentary view of an instrument having a modified form of the invention. thereon. v Figure 6.illustrates .in perspective a further modification of the invention.
Figure 7 is a fragmentary plan view of another modification.
The instrument may include a body 10 which is preferably in the form of a hollow box with suitable openings 11 for resonance. A series of grouped strings 12 may be provided, these strings being tuned to sound certain musical chords when plucked together. A single melody string 13 may be provided,
of sufficient length. The string 13 is preferably fingered by a member 15 which may comprise a metal block adapted to bear on the length of the string 13 when plucked, so that by sliding the block 15 to suitable points of rest on the string 13 various notes may be played.
" The-block 15'may be supported in a variety of ways. As illustrated in Figures 1, 2 and 3, a rigid arm 16 maybe provided. As shown in Figure 1, the arm may be pivotally mounted on the body 10 to swing about a post 17 A spring 18 may beprov'ided to hold the end may be employed between the thumb-nut and the This washer may comprise the curved endportion of a wire which extends downwardly as at 183 and projects into a the body 10 having an extended portion 14, 7 if desired, so as to support a melody string string 13. i This block determines the effective hole in the body 10 to hold the washer 182 againstv rotation. The arrn16 may be con-' veniently made of metal bent into channel form as shown in Figure 3. The block 15 maybe rigidly attached to the arm 16, or may be resiliently attached thereto as by a flatv spring 19 which allows free up and down movementof the block 15, but maintains the block in an edgewise positionon the string,
shown in Figure 3. I Excessive vertical vibration of the block 15 may, however, be
damp-ed by a light spring secured to the arm 16 and having an end resting on the spring 19. ,Near the end of the arm 16 remote from the post 17, we may mount a suitable finger-piece 20 by which the arm 16 may conveniently be swung about its pivot. The
block 15 is preferably of such length as to maintain its lower edge in contact with the string 18 throughout the entire operating are of swingof the arm 16. 'l l'i-emagnit-udeofthis are may be determined by a pair of suitable stops 21 which, as shown, may be mounted on a guide rail 22 carried by the body 10. This guide rail. also helps to support the arm 16 above the strings 12 and to maintain it substantially parallel to the top of the body 10. As is evident from Figure 2, the arm :22 acts as a fulcrum on which the arm 16 may be adjustably rocked by the thumb-nut 181. If the thumb-nut is screwed down, the opposite end of the arm 16 is raised, causing the block 15 to rest more lightly on the string 18. This permits the block 15 to vibrate more rapidly when the string is plucked. Loosening the thumb-nut 181 causes the elevation of the adj aeent end of the arm 16 by the action of the spring 18, with the result that the weight of the arm bears more heavily on the block 15 and decreas .1. its rate of vibration. Adjustment of the thumb-nut 181 thus varies the rate and freedom of vibration of the block 15, and this in turn varies the quality of the note given out by the string. When the 11l111111l')1111t is in any position of adjustment, the non-rotatable washer 182 prevents the motion of the arm 16 from working the thumb-nut loose so as to necessitate readjustment. In order to assist the player in correctly positioning the block 15 for various notes of the scale, the arm 16 may be provided with a suitable index 23 to cooperate with an arcuate scale 24; on the upper surface of the body 10. The scale 24 may be marked with numbers as shown, or with letters to indicate the corresponding notes of the dia onic scale. A suitable holder 4.0 may be provided to prevent the arm 16 from swinging around on its pivot when the instrumentis picked up and tilted. This holder is preferably mounted in position to engage the block 15 when the index 23 is off the scale and to hold the arm 16 against swinging on its pivot.
To support the string 13 a pair of bridges 25 may be provided, these bridges each comprising a block of wood 26 surmounted by a rounded metal piece 27, as sh own in Figure 4. As shown, the upper end of the string 13 may be anchored as at 28, the lower end being wound around suitable tuning post 29. The anchor 28 is preferably placed close to the upper bridge 25 and is also constructed so that the end of the string 13 is nearly flush with the upper face of the body 10. this being for the purpose of causing the string to bend at a comparatively sharp angle over the metal piece 27 of the upper bridge so as to prevent vibration of the string on the bridge. Adjacent to the lower bridge. a guide member 30 may be provided for the same pu pose, this member being in the form of a round headed wood screw under the shoulder of which the string may pass, or in the form of any other convenient device. In order to damp out undesirable vibrations of the unplucked portion of the string 13, a suitable muting element 31, such as a block of felt or the like, may be wedged between the block 26 of the upper bridge and the string 13, as shown in Figure i.
In playing the instrument, the player may guide the arm 16 by inserting the end of his right fore finger in the finger-piece 20, a suitable plectrum being attached to the right thumb. The left hand may be employed in plucking the strings 12 as an accompaniment for the melody played on the string- 13. By swinging the arm 16 immediately after the string 13 is plucked, the whi ning effect of the steel guitar may be closely simulated.
Modified forms of supporting means for the block 15 are illustrated in Figures 6 and 7. As shown in Figure the spring 19 may be telescoped with a hollow arm 32. A plectrum 33 may also be permanently connected to the block 1.5 as by a flexible spring 34. In. operating this form of the invention, the operator holds the plectrum with the right hand and moves it up and down the string 13. The block 15 follows the motion of the plectrum since the two are connected through the spring 34:. By permitting the spring 19 to telescope into the arm 32 the block 15 may be shorter. if desired, the spring 19 moving in or out as the arm is swung on its pivot.
Instead of a pivotally supported arm. we may provide a sliding arm 35 suitably mounted above the string 13 in a support which, as shown, may bridge the strin 13. This arm may be provided with a suitable finger-piece 37 by which the arm is moved. As the arm is arranged parallel with the string 13. its motion is along its own axis. The function of the block 15 is identical with that prev ously described. As shown in the figure. the block 15 may be supported by a spiral or helical spring 191 instead of the leaf spring 1.9. Such a spring permits greater lateral. vibration of the block in addition to the vertical vibration. Springs of the spiral or helical type may be used, if desired. to connect the b ock 15 to the arm 16 shown in Figure 2.
The 35 may be mounted beside the string 13 instead of above it. this arrangement being illustrated in Figure 7. In such case. the block 15 engages the side of the string. and maybe attached by a spring 19 to arm 35 slidably mounted in a suitable support 360.
It is evident that many other modifications and changes may be made without departing from the invention defined in the following claims.
1. A musical instrument having a set of strings for accompaniments, a single melody string, and a member pressing against said melody string and slidable therealong.
2. A musical instrument having a body, a pair of bridges, a string stretched between said bridges, a member between said bridges pressing against said string and slidable along said string, and a mufiiing element engaging said string adjacent to one of said bridges.
3. A musical instrument comprising a resonator body, a pair of bridges on saidbody, a string stretched between said bridges, an arm mounted to swing on a fixed pivot on said body at a point laterally spaced from said string, and a weighted member resting on said string and resiliently connected to said arm to move therewith along said string when said arm is swung on its pivot.
4. A musical instrument comprising a resonator body, a. pair of bridges, a string stretched between said bridges, an arm pivotally mounted on said body, a guide rail mounted on said body to engage and support said arm, a block of hard material slidably bearing on said string and attached to said arm, and means for rockably adjusting said arm on said rail whereby the pressure of said block on said string is varied.
5. A musical instrument comprising a body, a string stretched above said body, a block bearing against said string and slidable therealong, and means for supporting said block, said means including an elongated spring attached to said block, and an auxiliary spring bearing against a side of said elongated spring.
6. A musical instrument comprising a body, a string stretched above said body, a block bearing on said string and slidable therealong, a supporting arm for said block movably mounted on said body, and means for releasably holding said arm and block against motion along said string.
7 A musical instrument having a string and a supporting body therefor, a member carried by said body to bear yieldingly on said string for oscillation therewith, and means for damping the oscillatory movements of said member in a direction away from said string.
8. A musical instrument having a set of strings for accompaniments, a single melody string, a member pressing against said melody string to oscillate therewith, and means for damping the oscillatory movements of said member in a direction away from said string.
9. A musical instrument having a string and a supporting body therefor, a member pressing on said string to oscillate'vertically therewith, and means for damping the upward oscillatory movements of said member.
10. A musical instrument comprising a body, a string stretched above said body, a
block bearing on said string and slidable therealong, a supporting arm for said block pivotally mounted on said body and resiliently connected to said block, and a holder adapted to engage said block to hold said arm resiliently against motion about its pivot.
11. A musical instrument having a resonator body, a set of strings for accompaniments, and a single melody string mounted on said body, and a pitch controlling member carried by said body and slidably pressing against said melody string.
12. A musical instrument having a set of strings for accompaniments, a single melody string, a member pressing against said melody string and slidable thereon, and a plectrum carried by said member.
13. A musical instrument having a body, a melody string supported by said body, a member pressing against said string and slid able thereon, and a plectrum carried by said member.
14. A musical instrument having a set of strings for accompaniments, a single melody string, a block of hard material pressing on said melody string and slidable thereon, and a plectrum projecting laterally from said block and movable therewith along said melody string. V
In testimony whereof we have aflixed our signatures.
HAROLD G. FINNEY. JOHN H. LARGE.