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CLAVIERS BAROQUES -- Library of Stringing Schedules

The Zuckerman "Z-box" Harpsichord and similar

Wolfgang Zuckerman's design for a small harpsichord was so popular when it was introduced in the early 1960's that he could not keep up with the demand. When a customer asked if he could buy the parts and put it together himself, the harpsichord kit was born. Approximately 15,000 Z-box kits were sold. In addition to the thousands of owner-built Z-boxes scattered around the world, many other early revival builders, such as Sperrhake, Wittmayer, Neupert, LeSage and Albarda, used similar dimensions and scaling for their small instruments.

'Classic' -- schedule using the replacement wire supplied with the kit

String number*

Notes (Helmholtz)

Material

Diameter

37 to 57 (21 wires) a' to f''' steel .009" / 0.23mm
24 to 36 (13 wires) g# to g#' steel .011" / 0.27mm
16 to 23 (8 wires) c to g steel .013" / 0.330mm
11 to 15 (5 wires) G to B yellow brass .016" / 0.36mm
5 to 10 (6 wires) C# to F# yellow brass .020" / 0.44mm
1 to 4 (4 wires) AA to C yellow brass .025" / 0.65mm

 

"New improved" schedule using soft iron music wire (less tension, more tone) -- 8 foot register

String number*

Notes (Helmholtz)

Material

Diameter

56 to 57 (optional) e''' and f''' soft iron .008" (use if .009 breaks in the extreme treble)
37 to 57 (21 wires) a' to f''' soft iron .009" / 0.23mm
24 to 36 (13 wires) g# to g#' soft iron .011" / 0.27mm
20 to 23 (4 wires) e to g soft iron .012" / 0.315mm
16 to 19 (4 wires) c to d# soft iron .014" / 0.355mm
11 to 15 (5 wires) G to B yellow brass .016" / 0.36mm
5 to 10 (6 wires) C# to F# yellow brass .020" / 0.44mm
1 to 4 (4 wires) AA to C red brass .025" / 0.65mm

 

most Z-box types are single-strung 8', a few are 2 x 8' but occasionally you will find one which is 8' and 4'. We have never seen an 'original wire' schedule for a 4', but here is our suggested schedule for the 4' in the "New improved" style.

String number*

Notes (Helmholtz)

Material

Diameter

47 to 57 (11 wires) g'' to f''' soft iron .008" / 0.23mm
37 to 46 (10 wires) a' to f#'' soft iron .009" / 0.23mm
24 to 36 (13 wires) g# to g#' soft iron .010" / 0.24mm
20 to 23 (4 wires) e to g soft iron .011" / 0.27mm
16 to 19 (4 wires) c to d# soft iron .012" / 0.315mm
11 to 15 (5 wires) G to B yellow brass .014" / 0.355mm
5 to 10 (6 wires) C# to F# yellow brass .016" / 0.36mm
1 to 4 (4 wires) AA to C red or yellow brass .018" / 0.40mm

*strings, keys and jacks are traditionally counted from the left (lowest note), although stringing schedules traditionally list wire from the highest note to the lowest, probably because most builders string the treble first. It is confusing, I know; sorry.

C+L+A+V+I+E+R+S B+A+R+O+Q+U+E+S

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last updated October 17, 2011