Where do you find one?
1. The most economical way is to search flea markets. I'm fortunate enough to be in close proximity to Adamstown, PA, a major center of antique shops and flea markets. The majority of the ones in my collection came from there. Antique shops tend to be the next notch up in cost, for the standard reason - there's more overhead.
2. You can step up another notch, and buy a new one. Lark in the Morning sells a diatonic 4-chord instrument as well as simple plucked psalteries, a chromatic German instrument, and the "Macarthur" harp-zither. You can see their offerings on their web site, which they haven't yet given me permission to link to.
3. There's a manufacturer in Germany, today, that makes guitar-zithers and related instruments.
C. Robert Hopf
Their instruments are reminiscent of those which have the Musima label, but I have not yet been able to determine the connection.
4. Some instrument dealers also occasionally have old instruments for sale. Here are a couple of places to check:
Lark in the Morning also carries used instruments.
5. There's where you are right now - the Internet. There are many antique shops online, enough that I've never had the time to search through them all. And then there's the auction - eBay to be exact. There are other online auctions, but this one is the king of antique & collectible sales.
The drawback to buying this way is that you can't investigate the instrument yourself, and dealers aren't always knowledgeable about technical aspects of what they have. A picture won't show the glue joints, and if the thing makes any sound at all, some dealers are tempted to just say "It plays great!" My experience has been mixed. I've gotten some pieces I really needed and that were in excellent condition; others I felt I paid too much for and they weren't very nice.
And how much do you pay for an old one?
There's just no way to know. There aren't any established values for these instruments like there are for common collectibles. I have found that dealers are often confident that they can get some minmum price simply from someone interested in a wall hanging. I can point flaws and requirements for repair until I'm blue in the face, but they don't seem to affect the wall-hanging value. So I guess one point is - don't buy something like this as an investment. Get one because you enjoy looking at it or hearing or playing it - and spend what feels ok to you for such a purpose.
Drop me a line.
Go back to the Guitar-Zither Clearinghouse, or home.
This page banged out with Word 97, 17 Oct 99.