|Clearer Tone, Fuller Sound|
|Solving Sonic Problems|
|Possible Future Innovations|
But getting back to the zither: The cause of all its sound problems was, in his opinion, the bridge, which he believed to be located in the wrong place; for no other stringed instrument except the scheitholt had its bridge on the edge of the instrument. This is also obvious, since only when the bridge sits on the resonating surface can it transfer the vibrations directly to the resonating surface and onward into the air.
Thus the bridge had to be moved away from the edge and placed on the resonating surface. In addition the zither had to be designed large enough that a sensible string length could be achieved for the contrabasses. And of course this newly-to-be-designed instrument had to be playable and portable like a normal zither.
To ensure acceptance of the new zither, Kleitsch adopted the dimensions of the fretboard from Ernst Volkmann's zither in psalter form, which has been accepted as standard. After initial attempts with guitar fret wire, he now uses, like Franz Riedl, 3-millimeter extra hard astragal, which gives a height of 2.5 millimeters over the fretboard in order to guarantee depth of stroke as desired by the player. The result: a comfortably playable fretboard.
The size of the body, as with historic keyboard instruments, should be determined according to the proportions of the human body. It should be possible for one person to tune the instrument, for which reason the most distant tuning pin must not be farther than the distance between the point where the left hand turns the tuning pins and the location where the right hand strikes the strings.
In order to prevent the indirect creation of tones via the resonance table, it was necessary to attach the bridge to the resonance surface in such a way that it could vibrate freely. While on the fretboard only the righthand bridge could be "freed" [from the edge], the problem for the open strings took a much more difficult form. In the open strings both variants are theoretically feasible, and Kleitsch tried them both. Even though a freely vibrating bridge on the right side would be much easier to build, there are still two disadvantages. On the one hand, the bridges of fretboard and open strings would be the same, and the accompaniment strings would thereby sound like a piano without damping; and on the other hand, the bridge on the left side could be appreciably longer and thereby the pressure dispersed over a greater surface, which would be good for the zither. On the whole "the sound of the Zither would be much more beautiful if it had only ten accompaniment strings", groans this ambitious stickler for detail.
The form developed from these requirements should be not modernistic but functional, without any kind of unnecessary flourishes.
Another tedious problem was the question of stringing. Looking back, Kleitsch says: "My starting point was the hackbrett, and for purposes of sound I strung the zither with steel strings [Translator's Note: Apparently steel-core strings are meant here], thereby getting off onto the wrong track for a long time." For three problems arose with steel-core strings on the zither: The zither was very bright sounding, thus amplifying incidental noises in particular. Second, there were tuning problems because of the fairly long length of the front edge. And third, the string very soon produced "false" overtones. The problem was finally solved by using zither strings with nylon core-but correspondingly longer. The stringmaker Lenzner offered him complete support. All of the open strings are wound; the winding is set off from the thickness by one millimeter.