This is one of the most interesting instruments in my collection. By its appearance, I'd guess that it predates the big 1890's rush of chord zithers. And yet it has 3 numbered chords, and there are numbers to assist in playing the melody. In this case, however, the melody is played on a tiny reed organ.

As usual, we find 2 octaves of diatonic melody notes, numbered 1-15. Some artfully applied black paint indicates where the black keys would be. The gray disk on the left is the top of a pin which is inserted through a hole in the body and contacts a lever connected to the bellows. It's positioned in such a way that one could (presumably) press on the pumping pin with the palm of the hand and play chords with a finger of the same hand. I haven't mastered it yet... And there's the drawback of only being able to reach the chords at the bottom of a pumping stroke. On the positive side, the pin is removable and can be inserted into a similar hole at the opposite end of the keyboard - if you're a strong left-handed melody player, you can shift the pumping and accompaniment duties to your right hand.

This photo shows the bellows protruding from underneath, and gives a different view of the removable pumping pin.

I have no details on time or place of manufacture. I'd love to know more.


Drop me a line.

Go back to the Guitar-Zither Clearinghouse, or home.

This page was banged out with Word 97, 14 Oct 01.