c.1920s Bohm Waldzither Restoration (Completed)

Finally! This is Mr. Mark's German Bohm waldzither finished and ready to play, make people smile, whatnot. Work included some crack repair, finish touchup/resto, parts polish, some replacement inlay, new black lacquer for the neck, and a new rosewood bridge with bone saddle. It's also got a fresh new K&K pickup installed (passive, high-output). Sounds awesome! Listen in on this video:

Strutting its stuff...

Pretty watch-key tuners all cleaned up.

As are the frets and fretboard. The replacement inlay is my 10-petal flower on the 3rd fret.

Soundhole label.

Here's my new compensated rosewood bridge with a big whopping bone saddle. It's "adjustable" via insertion of spacers underneath the ends of the bone saddle. I have two bone spacers in it now setup for a little under 1/8" string height at the 12th fret. It would be interesting to test different materials out under the saddle to see how they effect tone on this bridge design. I made an earlier, smaller bridge, which gave this thing plenty of kick, but was a little too "bright." This design retains the kick but gives the instrument a prettier tone, sweeter and more complex.


Here's one of the three spliced cracks.

The blue is the pickup wires taped together so they don't rattle.


The finish on the sides and back was pretty beat up with a bunch of scratches. I've color-matched and minimized most of them and then applied two topcoats (very, very thin) of rubbed-in varnish to bring back luster on the top, back, sides.

Scroll was previously marked-up all over with wood-colored scratches. It and the neck are now a more uniform, vintagey-looking black lacquer.


Back again.

Nice ornamentation.

Scroll back.

Neck back.

Other side.

Pickup jack and tailpiece. I had to move this tailpiece slightly left as it was not originally installed on-center with the rest of the instrument.



Josh said…
Beautiful instrument, as always. How is a Waldzither tuned?
Traditionally it's tuned CGCEG but Mark has it tuned GDAEB like an octave mandolin with a high B.