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New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!

25 Jun 01 - 07:21 PM (#491786)
Subject: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: katlaughing

I was lucky enough, the night that Bill, Sam, and Ian were on Mudcat Radio, at one of those very moments when they were playing, we were all stomping and chatting away, to get the high bid on an old psaltery in eBay. $18.49 + $10 for shipping! Just received it and wanted to share some info and ask some questions.

The wood is old looking, but in pretty good condition, no cracks, nicks or anything. The label inside says

Mfg. by
International Musical Corp.
15th & Bloomfiled Sts. Hoboken, N.J.

PSALTERY


Made from the design of
Satis N. Coleman
Music Investigator
Lincoln School of Teachers College
Columbia University
N.Y.C.
and
Author of
THE PSALTERY BOOK

It sounds a little dull right now, but not with every string, mainly the lower register ones. The strings look very old and the ones which are duller are wrapped. Still, I was able to tune it up. It's even got the handy-dandy paper-pasted-on chart at the bottom of the keyboard to correspond with what notes are supposed to be where. It is 15 string, so I've got two octaves to work with. Better than my little 10 string.

Question 1: Does anyone know what kind of wire to use for the strings? Would just piano wire work, or should I look specifically for psaltery strings?

2: Does anyone know of this company, designer and/or his book? I'd like to see if I can find the book, plus date the whole thing.

3: What's the best thing I can do for the wood? I like the patina, it just seems to need a tiny bit of cleaning here and there.

Thanks! I am really pleased with this and look forward to learning more tunes than I've been able to squeeze out of the little 10 string.

kat


26 Jun 01 - 01:05 AM (#491962)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: Mudlark

Lucky you, Kat! How exciting....all that pleasure for $28.50....what a bargain! Have fun...


26 Jun 01 - 01:15 PM (#492297)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: katlaughing

Thanks! Spaw says banjo strings should work, so that's a later in the week project. He said he'd also seen the book before, so I am off to go look for it.

kat


26 Jun 01 - 02:40 PM (#492371)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: wysiwyg

Kat,

Mine are all wound, for a nice full bell-like tone, and I believe mandolin strings were used. I had our best local repair guru do them and he chose beautifully. I believe he got two strings out of each mandolin string. The hard part is the gauge for the lowest strings-- they get real mushy and dull sounding with the wrong ones. If you like, ask Barry Finn to take it to a good repair person and apply calipers to see what the gauges were-- he still has my good one.

Let's discuss movable do. Instead of the card under the strings, I use a narrow strip of paper wound all the way around the thing, with letter names marked (no accidentals), and they slide to make the lowest string (and scale from there) read as any note name I want it to read.... this means that I can read any diatonioc music in its range and instantly transpose.... the paper thinks I am in the key the piece is written in, and my eye thinks so too, but the psaltery knows perfectly well it's in D all the time.

I use D so I can play most of the Carolan literature, altho it's as low as this seems to be able to go, without mushing out on the low end. The key of A is too high for the tone.... F & G also work well but if your strings can work for D, you will be able to play with lots of folks, as you know, for fiddle music.

I'm also learning to pluck two-string chordal accompaniment for someone playing melody...

You will have SO MUCH fun with this-- and be aware of its deep healing properties as well.

~Susan

The other one also is all wound, and the gauges are all nuts-- it does not sound nearly as nice.


26 Jun 01 - 10:55 PM (#492694)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: fox4zero

The Lincoln School of Columbia University Teachers College was an experimental progressive scool, which experiment was concluded in the late 1940's. How's that for a non sequitor? Larry


26 Jun 01 - 10:55 PM (#492695)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: fox4zero

The Lincoln School of Columbia University Teachers College was an experimental progressive scool, which experiment was concluded in the late 1940's. How's that for a non sequitor? Larry


26 Jun 01 - 10:57 PM (#492696)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: fox4zero

Sorry, once was more than enough! Larry


26 Jun 01 - 11:31 PM (#492714)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: katlaughing

That was great, Larry, thanks!

Susan, thanks, taking some time to study and Bert is sending me wire.

kat


27 Jun 01 - 07:01 PM (#493475)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: WickedLad

strings for a psaltry are steel with a balled end heres a site on them http://www.musikit.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=MK&Category_Code=Ps

satis also wrote NEW SINGING TIME, by Satis Coleman...(1950), A collection of songs for little children from three to eight years old. All lie within the range of children's voices. They may be sung without the piano or with accompaniement. Many of the songs are good for dramatization and rhythms. "Creative Music" (Volk), May 96


27 Jun 01 - 07:54 PM (#493514)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: katlaughing

Thanks, WL, but mine is not a hognose psaltery. It has a piece I have to remove with screws to get to the end pieces of the strings, so I don't know if it will take the same kind of strings or not. I'll get to it, tomorrow and look. In the meantime, Spaw has said a couple of sets of banjo strings will probably work well.

I had seen reference in a search to that book by Coleman, but have been unsuccessful in finding any of the books. Thanks for the info.

kat


27 Feb 11 - 08:23 PM (#3103938)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: GUEST,lrh

Satis Coleman was a teacher and an author and I have yet to be able to find any of her books. We just found the psaltery in my grandfather's basement. Very beautiful but needs some work as it is missing a string.


27 Feb 11 - 08:37 PM (#3103945)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: katlaughing

Wow, this was awhile ago. Guest,lrh, what a wonderful find!

I now know about www.addall.com-book search. If you click on the link and scroll down the books listed, you will see several, every inexpensive copies Singing Time.

Welcome to the Mudcat


28 Feb 11 - 12:30 AM (#3104002)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: JohnB

Try getting hold of a micrometer or a vernier and measure the diameter of the existing strings, or someone with one.
Then take taht info to your local music store.
JohnB.


02 Sep 11 - 07:43 AM (#3216979)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: GUEST,David

Hello,could i use mandolin strings to restring a 24 stringed psaltery?cheers,David.


03 Sep 11 - 10:12 AM (#3217566)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: GUEST,myvtmusic

I just found in my attic a psaltery that matches your description exactly. Saltis N. Coleman's "The Psaltery Book" was published in 1928, and there is one used copy available on Amazon. I would like to sell the instrument, and I don't know how to go about it.


03 Sep 11 - 10:37 AM (#3217576)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: Bonnie Shaljean

David, you don't mention the size or range of your psaltery, but mandolin strings are probably going to be too restricted gauge-wise. Wire-strung harps & psalteries are often strung with harpsichord/fortepiano wire, and a good USA-based website for sourcing them is:

http://www.fortepiano.com/thewireplace/index.htm

In Britain you could try the harpsichord maker Malcolm Rose, but he may only deal in large quantities:

http://www.malcolm-rose.com/Strings/strings.html


Re Amazon: Remember everybody, if you're ordering from either their .com or .co.uk sites, to go through the Mudcat links so it gets a cut. Click the blue banjo logo at the top of the screen, or else this link, and scroll down to the bottom of the page:

http://mudcat.org/support.cfm


03 Sep 11 - 10:49 AM (#3217584)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: Bonnie Shaljean

@ myvtmusic: Re selling your old psaltery, how about the Mudcat Auction? Or failing that, start a new thread (giving as much info about the instrument as you can, plus maybe some links to photos)? That should generate some interest. Or take a look at some dedicated psaltery websites. A great one is:

http://www.fretlesszithers.com/intro.html


03 Sep 11 - 10:52 AM (#3217585)
Subject: RE: New OLD plucked psaltery just arrived!
From: Bonnie Shaljean

... which has this page on stringing:

http://www.fretlesszithers.com/guides.html