US 3499357 A
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March 10, 1970 s. R. PETERSON. JR 3,499,357
MULTI-STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 21. 1967 RDA. J, E0 0 Wm Mm M w w r A m M M a, M
March 10, 1970 s. R. PETERSON, JR 3,499,357
MULTI-STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed July 21, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR 620V A. 76"?! 01V, JA.
BY a azrww r a AA v ATTORNEY;
March 10,1970 (5. R. PETERSON, JR 3,499,357
MULTI-STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed July 21, 1987 I 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 BY ray- 4, 9
ATTORNEY! 5 Sheets-Sheet 4.
INVENTOR ATTORNEY March 10, 1970 e. R. PETERSON, JR
MULTI-S TRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Filed July 21, 19s? March 10, 1970 e. R. PETERSON, JR 3,499,357
MULTI-STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed July 21, 1967 INVENTOR iii/V 19.25715? so/v, we.
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ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,499,357 MULTI-STRIN GED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Glen R. Peterson, In, Summit, N.J., assignor to Oscar Schmidt-International, Inc., Union, NJ. Filed July 21, 1967, Ser. No. 655,143 Int. Cl. Gd 1/12 US. Cl. 84285 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A zither designed to employ a large number of strings has a solid body, a removable pin block, a combined lower bridge and string anchor recessed in the face of the instrument, and a chord bar mechanism in which the chord bars may be easily interchanged.
This invention relates to entertainment and more particularly to a zither adapted to accommodate a large number of strings in a precision instrument, and has features making it more durable, easier to produce and assemble, and providing more flexibility for the artist.
Because of the fact that zithers customarily employ more strings than other easily portable stringed instruments, it has been necessary to provide a body of sufficient strength to resist adequately the combined tension of the strings. Ordinarily, structures such as used on guitars are unable to withstand such tension.
Furthermore, since zithers are by nature portable and relatively lightweight, it has been necessary heretofore to compromise so far as the material is concerned in-order that it may be sufficiently lightweight, resulting in a pin block of relatively limited life.
The manufacture of zithers has involved a multitude of operations in anchoring the lower ends of the strings. It has been customary heretofore to employ a separate anchoring pin for each string, the strings passing over a bridge attached to the body of the instrument. While other anchoring means have been suggested, these have not been suitable for securely resisting the force of a large number of strings.
' As is well known, the chords on a zither are formed by damping various strings. This is customarily done by a chord bar having spaced damping means. A number of chord bars are mounted side by side, and these have buttons or keys for actuation by the performer. This has required the performer to restrict himself to the sequence or arrangement of chords built into the instrument as these have not been interchangeable.
Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to overcome the shortcomings or restrictions to which reference has been made.
More particularly it is an object of the invention to provide a zither having a body adapted to resist the tension of a large number of strings, a removable pin block of a different material from the body and adapted to hold a large number of pins in a relatively small area in order to accommodate a large number of strings, a combined lower bridge and string anchor mounted in the body and adapted to withstand the tension of a large number of strings, and a chord bar mechanism especially adapted for a large number of strings and in which the chord bars may be easily and quickly interchanged by the artist.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of an instrument in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2, an elevation from the left end of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3, a side elevation;
3,499,357 Patented Mar. 10, 1970 FIG. 4, a bottom view;
FIG. 5, a fragmentary enlarged plan of the lower end of the instrument with portions removed for clarity and rotated from FIG. 1;
FIG. 6, a section on the line 6-6 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 7, an enlarged section on the line 7-7 of FIG. 1 with portions removed;
FIG. 8, an enlarged section illustrating the details of the lower bridge string anchor;
FIG. 9, an enlarged perspective of the pin block;
FIG. 10, an enlarged perspective of the lower bridge string anchor;
FIG. 11, an enlarged fragmentary perspective of a chord bar guide;
FIG. 12, an enlarged fragmentary perspective of a chord bar;
FIG. 13, a plan view of a modification with portions broken away for clarity;
FIG. 14, an enlarged section with portions removed on the line 1414 of FIG. 12;
FIG. 15, an enlarged fragmentary perspective of the chord bar guide assembly; and
FIG. 16, an enlarged perspective of the chord bar guide.
Briefly stated, the invention includes a zither having a relatively broad solid body of high strength with a large number of strings mounted thereon and a removable pin block of selected high density material, a lower combined bridge and anchor mounted in the body of the instrument to resist the tensile forces, and a chord bar mechanism having a removable cover in which chord bar depressing means are mounted, the chord bars being separable from the aligned depressing means and separable from the guide means so that they may be easily interchanged.
With further reference to the drawings, the instrument illustrated has a large number of strings, covering a range of approximately 5% octaves, with omission of a few notes at the lower end of the range. At its upper range there are four complete octaves, the instrument illustrated having 36 strings of which the lower 9 are wound. The combined tension of all of these strings amounts to approximately 875 pounds. In order to provide sufficient strength to resist bending which occurs in hollow wooden body instruments of this nature, the instrument has a body 10 of solid unitary construction of a material such as basswood which has adequate strength to withstand such force without bending.
The instrument has a relatively straight but slightly curved side 11 which is generally held next to the performer. At the left hand there is a relatively flat portion 12 for accommodating the longer bass strings and a sharply angled portion 13 for the strings of higher pitch. Beneath the portion 13 is an inwardly curved or recessed portion 14. The lower end 16 of the instrument follows a graceful curve from the portion 14 to the lower end of the side 11.
The removable pin block 20 is illustrated in detail in ,FIGS. 1, 6 and 9. The block is substantially L-shaped,
having a relatively short portion 21 for the longer strings and a long portion 22 for the shorter strings. The block is of a material well known to those skilled in the art, namely rock maple, which is very dense and especially selected for its ability to withstand the force of a multiplicity of closely mounted pins and which tightly holds the pins against inadvertent loosening over a long period of time. It would be impractical to make the entire instrument of such material because of excessive weight.
The block is mounted substantially flush with the face of the instrument by routing a depression 24 adapted to receive the block closely. The block is fastened through apertures 23 to the body by suitable means such as Allenhead bolts 26, the nuts 27 for which project from the underside of the instrument. It has been found that three of such fastening means are adequate to hold the block in the body of the instrument. A' faceplate 29 is preferably mounted on the upper surface of the block. The
tuning pins 30 extend through the faceplate into the block as do the bridge pins 31.
At the opposite end the strings are retained by a combined bridge and anchor 40 which is illustrated in detail in FIGS. 5, 6, 8 and 10. The retainer 40 has a substantially L-shaped main portion, with a main body 41 and a foot or base 42. From the side adjacent the lower end of the instrument the retainer has an L-shaped section 43 projecting which has a multiplicity of slots 44. The section 43 has a first portion 45 which projects at substantially right angles from the portion 41 and an offset foot 46 which extends substantially at right angles and downwardly therefrom, the lower end of the foot preferably being tapered as illustrated. It will be seen that there is a space 47 between the lower portion of the foot 46 and the adjacent area of the portion 41.
The retainer has a ledge portion 48 extending from the opposite side from the L-shaped section 43 and at a higher elevation on the portion 41. Above the ledge portion 48 the upper portion of 41 extends at 49 and preferably is tapered as shown.
The retainer is mounted in a space 50 routed in the body adjacent to its lower end, the space closely accommodating the retainer with a foot 42 in the bottom thereof, the rear wall of the portion 41 at the back of the grooves, and the lower surface of the ledge 48 on the surface of the body of the instrument. Fastening members 51 extend through the foot into the body to position the retainer. The strings 54 have a lug 55 fastening to their lower ends, the lug received in the space 47, and the string passing through the slots 44 and over the bridge portion 49.
A friction mounted cover 57 is preferably employed to cover the space over the lower end of the retainer.
Due to the construction and mounting of the retainer, the force of the strings tend to cause the free edge of its ledge portion 48 to dig into the surface of the instrument. the construction and arrangement resisting any slippage or dislodgement of the retainer.
The details of the chord bar mechanism are illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3, 5, 6, 7, 11 and 12.
Mounted just outside the outer strings and substantially parallel thereto are chord bar guide members 60, each having a base 61, with apertures 62 through which fastening means 63 extend into the upper face of the instrument. Upstanding from each base are a plurality of guide members or mounting pins 64, one for each chord bar. Resilient means such as compression springs 65 are mounted on each pin 64. The chord bar guide members are mounted parallel to each other on opposite sides of the instrument in order to line up pairs of pins 64 so that each pair may mount a chord bar 66.
The cord bars may be of extruded U-section stock and are accurately constructed in order that a substantial number may be mounted in closely spaced relation as illustrated in FIGS. and 6. The chord bars have an aperture 67 in their web at one end and a slot 67' at the other which receive the pins 64, the springs engaging the underside of the chord bar in order to hold the chord bar ordinarily in raised position out of engagement with the strings. Damping means such as felts 68 of appropriate size and spacing are attached to the undersides of the chord bars.
At each end of the base and extending upwardly therefrom is a post 69 having a threaded recess 69' for receiving a screw fastening member 70 which extends through an aperture at the side of chord bar cover 72.
The chord bars are operated by depressing keys or buttons 73 having finger engaging portions 74 extending through spaced openings in the chord bar cover 72, and broad thin portions 75 which are received between the sides of the chord bars and engage the webs. The lower end of a stem of each button is received between the sides of a chord bar as indicated in FIGS. 6 and 7, the
buttons being arranged so that there is one for each chord bar. The engagement between the keys and the chord bars is loose to permit separation of the keys from the chord bars when the cover is raised, permitting the chord bars to remain in their normal positions. The finger engaging portions 74 are preferably tapered, smaller at the tops, to facilitate repositioning of the cover over the keys.
The cover has a realtively fiat upper portion 76, side portions 77, and end portions 78. The cover is mounted at its ends on the posts 69 by the fastening members 70, thereby assuring accurate alignment of the cover and chord bars. When it is desired to expose the chord bars in order that they may be rearranged, for example, the fastening members 70 are disengaged from the posts 69 of one chord bar guide member, at one end of the cover, permitting the disengaged end of the cover to be raised, rotating about the fastening members 7 0 at the other end of the cover; or, both ends may be disengaged if preferred. Lifting the cover does not raise nor move the buttons out of alignment, thereby permitting easy rearrangement of the chord bars.
While the instrument may be arranged to function acoustically in various ways, it has been found that it is especially adapted for use with electronic pickups.
In the instrument illustrated, an electronic pickup is positioned under the bass strings and a pickup 91 under the treble strings. These are preferably mounted on cushions of resilient material such as foam rubber 92, which is recessed in the face of the instrument. Wires from the pickups are preferably concealed, such as by slots 93 carrying the wires 94 to an electrical control assembly 95 which is accessible at the lower end of the instrument. The electrical controls may be of conventional type and include control knobs 96 and a switch 97. Jacks 98 for outlets are preferably mounted on a faceplate 99 covering the lower portion of the instrument. A faceplate 100 over the side of the instrument is also used to improve appearance.
The instrument may, if desired, be supported on legs 101 which may be removably mounted in spaced fittings 102 attached to the bottom of the instrument, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4.
In the modification illustrated in FIGS. 13 to 16, the instrument is constructed of metal and includes a diecast base having internal ribs 111, 112, 113 and an exterior rib portion 114. These provide recesses including recess 116 for a removable pin block, a recess 117 for sound amplification means or to act as an acoustic chamber, recess 118 for the lower bridge and string anchor, and recess 119 for electronic controls if desired. A unitary soundboard or cover 120 is employed over portions of the instrument except for that housing the pin block and is connected thereto by suitable fastening means 121.
The chord bar mechanism may be like that previously described. Alternatively that illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 16 may be employed. Here the chord bar guide assembly includes a backing member 122 which receives a chord bar guide 123 shaped generally like a comb having a ridge portion 124 and a plurality of spaced upstanding teeth 125. Between the teeth adjacent to the roots are a plurality of resilient elements 126. The comb is held in contact with the backing 122 by a retainer plate 128 mounted across the lower portion thereof. As indicated in FIG. 15, the chord bars slide between the teeth of the chord bar guide member and engage the resilient members 126.
It will be obvious to one skilled in the art that various changes may be made in the invention without departing from the spirit and scope thereof and therefore the invention is not limited by that which is illustrated inthe drawings and described in the specification.
What is claimed is:
1. In a zither having a body, a multiplicity of strings,
and chord bar mechanism, the improvement comprising the strings at their lower ends engaging a retainer comprising a combined lower bridge and anchor of substantially L-section having an upright portion and a foot portion extending from its front part, an outwardly projecting slotted portion above the foot portion and extending from said front part, an outwardly projecting ledge above said slotted portion and extending from the rear side of said upright portion, said upright portion extending above said ledge, and its upper extremity forming a bridge, the retainer received in a slot in'the upper face of said body, the foot portion and upright portion of the L-section which is below the ledge engaging the bottom and back of said slot, the ledge engaging the face of the body, the slotted portion securing the strings, and the bridge engaging the strings.
2. The invention of claim 1, in which said outwardly projecting slotted portion has a downwardly extending foot spaced from the front of the upright portion.
3. In a zither having a body, a multiplicity of strings, and chord bar mechanism, the improvement comprising the body formed of a substantially solid piece of material strong enough to resist the string tension without bending but of relatively light weight, the strings connected to a separable pin block of denser material than the body, the strings at their lower ends engaging a retainer comprising a combined lower bridge and anchor of substantially L-section having an upright portion and a foot portion extending from its front part, an outwardly projecting slotted portion above the foot portion and extending from said front part, an outwardly projecting ledge above said slotted portion and extending from the rear side of said upright portion, said upright portion extending above said ledge, and its upper extremity forming a bridge, the retainer received in a slot in the upper face of said body, the foot portion and the upright portion of the L- section which is below the ledge engaging the bottom and back of said slot, the ledge engaging the face of the body, the slotted portion securing the strings, and the bridge engaging the strings, and
the chord bar mechanism comprising a pair of spaced .chord bar guide members, one mounted at each side of the instrument in opposing relation, spaced upright pins mounted on each guide member, one for each chord bar, a U-section chord bar mounted at each of its ends on a pin of each guide member, resilient means on each pin between the base thereof and the chord bar, a button for each chord bar, each button having a finger engaging upper portion and a chord bar engaging lower portion, the lower portion being relatively broad and thin for engagement in a chord bar, and a cover having a plurality of spaced openings, one for each button, each button extending upwardly through its respective opening, and means removably mounting the cover on the guide member.
4. In a zither having a body, a multiplicity of strings and chord bar mechanism, the improvement comprising a body formed of a first material strong enough to resist string tension without bending, a string retainer located adjacent to one end of said body and to which one end of each of said strings is attached, a common bridge means for said one end of said strings, an angular pin block of a second material more dense than said first material and located adjacent to the opposite end of said body, a first portion of said pin block being disposed substantially parallel with said string retainer and a second portion disposed at an angle thereto, a plurality of bridge pins fixed along one side of said first and second portions, a plurality of tuning pins rotatably mounted adjacent to the opposite side of said first and second por- 6 tions, and the upper surface of said pin block being substantially planar with the upper surface of said body.
5. The structure of claim 4 including an angular recess in the opposite end of said body, said pin block being snugly received Within said recess, and mounting means by which said pin block is removably mounted within said recess.
6. The structure of claim 4 including electronic pickup means mounted beneath said strings and connected to control mean carried by said body.
7. In a zither having a body, a multiplicity of strings and chord bar mechanism, the improvement comprising the chord bar mechanism having a pair of spaced chord bar guide members, each guide member including a base and a plurality of upstanding guide means, one guide member mounted at each side of the body in opposing relation and generally parallel to each other, a plurality of interchangeable open-topped U-shap'ed chord bars, at least one damping pad fixed to the bottom of each chord bar, each of said chord bars being mounted with one end on each of said guide members, resilient means located between the base of said guide members and the bottom of said chord bars, an operating button for each chord bar, each button having a finger engaging upper portion and a chord bar engaging lower portion, said lower portion being relatively broad and thin for removable sliding engagement in said U-shaped chord bar, a cover removably mounted on said body, said cover having a separate opening for each of said buttons, and each button extending upwardly through its respective opening.
8. The structure of claim 7 in which said guide means includes a plurality of generally upright spaced parallel pins, and said chord bars include openings adjacent to each end for the reception of the pins of opposed guide members.
9. In a zither having a body and a multiplicity of strings, that improvement comprising a body formed of a material strong enough to resist string tension without bending, string retainer means located adjacent to one end of said body and to which one end of said strings is attached, bridge means for said one end of said strings, a unitary angular pin block located adjacent to the opposite end of said body, the material of said pin block being of greater strength and rigidity than the material of said body, a first portion of said pin block being disposed substantially parallel with said string retainer means and a second portion disposed at an angle thereto, a plurality of bridge pins mounted along the first and second portions of said pin block, a plurality of tuning pins rotatably mounted on said pin block, one of said tuning pins being spaced from and cooperating with each of said bridge pins, and the upper surface of said pin block being substantially planar with the upper surface of said body.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 574,308 12/1896 Dolge 84-286 2,472,442 6/1949 Page 84-287 2,972,923 2/1961 Fender 84-267 2,975,666 3/ 1961 Musser 84285 3,072,007 1/ 1963 Burke 84267 FOREIGN PATENTS 364,772 12/ 1922 Germany.
481,810 8/1929 Germany.
RICHARD B. WILKINSON, Primary Examiner LAWRENCE R. FRANKLIN, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 84I.16, 287