Zithers and Other Stringed Things

From time to time at Stanton’s, we get calls for method books to go with instruments we rarely see.  One of these is a guitar, or concert, zither.  We have a method book that Carl Fischer publishes for that instrument.  It is fretted like a guitar, and tuned like a viola (A, D, G, C), but with a doubled A string.  With your right thumb, you pluck the melody strings, ( seen at the bottom of this image)and with the right fingers  you pluck the chords, (seen at the top of this image.) The chords are all open strings, with the “C” strings red and the “F” strings blue, like a harp’s. Fingering the fretted strings is like playing a dulcimer- ring finger is “1”, middle finger “2”, etc.  The little finger isn’t used at all. It’s too weak.

People have called about, and sometimes walked in with, a funny “hybrid” instrument called a ukelin“.  It is half bowed psaltery (violin), half plucked chords (ukulele), hence “ukelin”.  This is a two-fisted instrument, played purely for fun. You bow with the right hand and pluck with the left-at the same time. For more on this strange beastie, check out the link.

Did you find a 4 stringed baby banjo in the closet or attic?  We bet you have found a banjo ukulele. We have books for ukuleles of any stripe. One of the funnest books to learn ukulele is “Jumpin’ Jim’s Tips ‘n’ Tunes”  by Jim Beloff.  A chord chart is in the back of the book, and there are plenty of fun songs to learn, including the most most serious ukulele rendition of  “The Star Spangled Banner”  we may have ever seen (or played).  Contact us at keyboard@stantons.com,  visit our website at http://www.stantons. com,  or call 1-800-42-MUSIC. No matter what you bought at the flea market or found in the closet, give us a call and we will  see whether we can get you a method book so you can play your newest acquisition. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Categories: Folk Music, Staff Picks

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