US2975666A - Stringed musical instruments having a plastic housing - Google Patents

Stringed musical instruments having a plastic housing Download PDF

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US2975666A
US2975666A US682656A US68265657A US2975666A US 2975666 A US2975666 A US 2975666A US 682656 A US682656 A US 682656A US 68265657 A US68265657 A US 68265657A US 2975666 A US2975666 A US 2975666A
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strings
stringed musical
housing
instrument
instruments
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US682656A
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Musser Clair Omar
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Musser Clair Omar
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10DSTRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; WIND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACCORDIONS OR CONCERTINAS; PERCUSSION MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; AEOLIAN HARPS; SINGING-FLAME MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G10D3/00Details of, or accessories for, stringed musical instruments, e.g. slide-bars
    • G10D3/06Necks; Fingerboards, e.g. fret boards
    • G10D3/08Fingerboards in the form of keyboards
    • G10D3/09Fingerboards in the form of keyboards for zithers

Description

USING March 21, 1961 c, o. MUSSER STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HAVING A PLASTIC HO Filed Sept. 9, 1957 CZA/Q OMHQ Jul/5.9542,
INVENTOR Unite States Patent nice Patented Mar. 21, 1961 STRINGED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS HAVING A PLASTIC HOUSING Clair Omar Musser, 12997 Blairwood Drive,
Studio City, Calif.
Filed Sept. 9, 1957, Ser. No. 682,656 7 Claims. (Cl. 84-285) This invention relates to new and improved stringed musical instruments, and more particularly to instruments such as zithers, autoharps and the like, although the principal features of this invention may be applied to a wide variety of other related instruments.
Stringed musical instruments have conventionally been manufactured so as to include a wood base or housing which is frequently shaped in such a manner as to constitute a sounding board and/or a resonating chamber. Within such instruments pins or other similar means have conventionally been mounted on the wood used in creating these frames or housings. When a string used in producing sounds is stretched under tension between such pins, or similar means, some stress is placed on the wood frame or housing employed. Such stress will tend to result in a comparatively small distortion of such a frame or housing, and this distortion in turn tends to result in a change in the tension upon the strings employed. Such a change in tension obviously affects the tune of the individual strings involved.
In addition prior instruments such as zithers, autoharps or the like are often thrown out of tune by the inherent expansion and contractionof wood under normal conditions. All of these factors tend to limit the application or use of these musical instruments. It is obviously inconvenient to have to tune any sort of a stringed instrument each time it is used because of elfects of the type broadly indicated in the preceding discussion.
It is a broad object of the present invention to provide new and improved stringed musical instruments which are not subject to the inherent disadvantages and limita tions of prior instruments such as zithers, autoharps or the like. A more specific object of the present invention isto provide stringed musical instruments which stay in tune for a prolonged period, even when they are sub jected to extremely rough handling, such as may be encountered as they are moved from one location to another. A related object of the invention is to provide stringed musical instruments which are capable of withstanding the movement and the treatment normally ac corded such instruments by children without getting out of tune.
, Although an object of the present invention is to provide stringed musical instruments which stay in tune, it is considered inevitable that any musical instrument will on occasion require tuning. This is considered to be a comparatively difiicult task for most untrained musicians, such as, for example, children. Even many professional or many experienced musicians in order to tune various instruments of the type to which this invention pertains resort to the use of completely separate means such as, for example, a series of tuning forks,v a so-called pitchpipe or the like for tuning purposes. Such separate means are considered inconvenient for the purpose intended.
Another basic object of the present invention is to provide stringed musical instruments in which tuning means as hereinafter described are incorporated as an having a closed bottom 2 integral part of such instruments. Another object of a related category is to provide stringed musical instruments in which the tuning means are conveniently mounted in a location where they may not be readily damaged and in which they may be conveniently used.
Because of the nature of this invention it is not considered necessary to set forth in this specification a further long list of other specific objects and advantages of it. Many of the details of the present invention not specifically indicated in the preceding discussion are considered to be of an inventive character. The nature and purpose of these various details or parts will be fully apparent to those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains from a consideration of the remainder of this specification including the appended claims and the accompanying drawing in which:
Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a stringed musical instrument or Zither formed in accordance with this invention;
Fig. 2 is a top plan view of this instrument;
ig. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken at line 3 3 of Fig. 2;
Fig. 4 is partial cross-sectional view, greatly enlarged, taken at line 4-4 of Fig. 2;
Fig. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view taken at line 55 of Fig. 3; and
Fig. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view pertaining to the use of tuning means as herein described.
In all figures of the drawing like numerals are used to designate like parts. Those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains will realize that what has been shown in the drawing is a presently preferred embodistruments may be constructed so as to utilize the basic principles or features of this invention.
As an aid to understanding this invention, it may be stated in essentially summary form that it involves stringed musical instruments, each of which incorporates a housing and a frame. This frame is employed to hold the individual strings of such instruments in such a manner that these strings cannot get out of tune by factors such as warp-age or expansion or contraction of the housing employed. Further, the invention also concerns In order to describe or explain the invention more fully, it is considered necessary to refer directly to the accompanying drawing. In Fig. 1 there is shown a stringed musical instrument 10 formed as a zither. instrument includes a housing or support member 12 14 and a top 16 within which there is formed a centrally located opening 18. The entire housing 12 may, in accordance with the teachings of this invention, be constructed out of a wide variety of materials. At the present time it is preferred to form this housing by known injection molding techniques out of plastic materials such as, for example, high impact polystyrene. Inasmuch as the housing 12 serves primarily as a resonating chamber for notes produced with the entire instrument 10, it need not be of the massive type of heavy construction commonly used with various related stringed instruments.
Within the housing 12 on the undersurface of the top 16 there is located a frame 20 having curved ends 22 and 24 connected by side bars 26. This frame 20 may be attached to the top 16 by any type of convenient means such as screws 28. Preferably it should have a flat surface fitting tightly against the top 16 in order to provide for effective transfer of vibration to the housing 12. This frame 20 may be formed out of a wide variety of dilferent metals, such as, for example, diecast aluminum or the like. Preferably, it is of such a nature as to be capable of vibrating during the use of the instrument so as to reinforce the sounds produced. Thus, it may, if desired, be termed a sounding frame or board.
Upon the top 16 of the housing 12 there is mounted a bracket 3%) which is used in holding the ends of strings 32 as will hereinafter be described. This bracket Si) is preferably provided with a flat surface fitting against the top 16 of the housing 12 and is secured immediately above the end 22 of the frame by the screws 28 serving to hold the frame 20 in place. In the preferred embodiment of this invention the bracket 30 is provided with a ridge-like serpentine edge 34 which is adapted to support the strings 32 as indicated in Fig. 3. This bracket 30 is also provided with a plurality of pairs of undercut slots 36 which are adapted to retain the central areas of the strings 32 employed with the instrument by a hooking type of action.
From an examination of Fig. 2 of the drawing it will be seen that the top 16 of the housing 12 is also provided with a curved ridge 3? placed on the side of this top on the side of the opening 18 remote from the bracket 30. This ridge may be formed integrally with the top 16 or may consist of a separate member attached to the frame 20 and the top 16 by convenient means such as, for example, screws 25.
The ridge 38 is located generally above the end 24 of the frame 20', this end of the frame also serves to support a plurality of adjusting pins 4t used in tuning the entire instrument 10. Each of these pins is adapted to hold an end of one of the strings 32, and for this purpose is provided with a top groove 42 of enlarged character located above the top 16 of the housing 12, below the level of the ridge 38. Each of the adjusting pins also preferably includes a top part 44 which is adapted to receive a wrench used in tuning the instrument 1 If desired, this top part 44 can, of course, be formed so as to receive a screwdriver or the like or so as to be turned by hand. Upon each of the pins 4% adjacent to the top 16 there is provided a flange 46 which is adapted. to hold this pin in the position shown by the engagement with the top 16. The remainder of each of the pins it? extends through an opening 48 in the top 16 and through a corresponding opening 50 in the end 24 of the frame 20 so as to extend into the interior of the housing 12 past this frame.
The individual adjusting pins 40 are held in place upon the instrument 10 through the use of coil springs 52 held around these pins so as to bear against washers 53 located around the pins 41) against the end 24 of the frame 20 and so as to bear against Washers 54 located around these pins. The individual washers 54- rnay be conveniently secured in place by means of retaining washers 56 which are provided with fingers 58 which resiliently engage the exterior of the pins 40 so as to dig into these pins in such a manner that they cannot be moved from the pins. Such retaining Washers 56 are considered extremely important for commercial and production reasons inasmuch as they may easily be pushed into place. When the retaining washers 56 are located as shown, the springs 52 not only serve to hold the adjusting pins 40 in position with respect to the housing 12, but hold these adjusting pins in such a manner that they cannot rotate readily except when the top parts 44 are rotated through the use of an adjusting tool. 7
In stringing the instrument -10 of the present invention, in essence pairs of strings are employed since each of the strings 32 used is employed so as to obtain two different musical notes. Any one of the strings 32 used with the instrument 10 has its ends attached to adjacent adjusting pins 40 by winding these ends around these pins or other equivalent means while the center portion of any one of the strings 32 is held so as to extend through two of the slots 36 in the bracket 30. When an individual string 32 has been located in this manner, it may be conveniently tuned as desired by rotating the adjusting pins 40.
The amount of such rotation required may, in accordance with the broad teachings of this invention, be determined by car through the use of tuning means 6i) incorporated with the instrument 10. These tuning means consist of a fiat plate 62 having a plurality of slots 64 formed therein. Over each of these slots 64- reeds 66 which are preferably of the common harmonica type are mounted so as to be capable of vibration. Immediately above each of the slots 64 in the top 16 there is provided an opening 63 surrounded by a small boss 70. The plate 62 may be conveniently attached to the top 16 by screws 28 or other equivalent means. If desired, it may be mounted directly upon the frame 2% although this is not considered necessary.
In tuning the instrument It) a small flexible tube 72 carrying a projecting coil spring 74 is preferably entwined between the individual strings 32 so as to fit over one of the bosses 70 in the top 16. As air is blown through the tube 72 the corresponding one of the reeds 66 is actuated; this reed is preferably formed so as to correspond to the note to which a particular string 32 in the instrument is being tuned. As this one of the reeds 66 is caused to vibrate the note produced by this reed may be directly compared with a note produced by plucking the string 32 on the instrument 10 as the corresponding one of the pins 40 is rotated as may be required. As is apparent from an examination of Fig. 2 of the drawings each of the bosses 7t} and each of the corresponding reeds 66 is preferably located adjacent to and beneath the part of one of the strings 32 in the instrument 10 which is caused to vibrate at the same frequency as each of these reeds 66. This facilitates the use of the tuning means employed.
It is also possible, if desired, to incorporate within the instrument 10 a small bridge 76 which is attached to the top 16 soas to extend across all of the strings 32. This bridge may contain, in accordance with the conventional techniques, dampers 78 which are adapted to be depressed by buttons 80 extending from the bridge 76 so as to deaden certain of the strings 32 in order to leave other strings free to vibrate in order to form a chord. Preferably the dampers 7-8 are spring loaded in order to return them to the initial position after they have been depressed.
It will be realized that the type of frame construction herein described may be employed advantageously with a wide variety of different types of stringed instruments.
Thus, this type of frame construction may be employed with instruments where ends of the individual strings utilized are located so as to extend from or be spaced from a sound reinforcing chamber or housing. Similarly the tuning means herein described may be employed with such other instruments with a minimum of ditliculty. Because of the nature of this invention and that fact that it is capable of wide modification, it is to be considered as being limited only by the appended claims.
I claim:
1. A stringed musical instrument comprising a plastic housing having a top with a sound opening therein, a metallic frame attached to the inside of said top, at least two spaced anchor means on said top connected through said top to said frame, a plurality of tunable strings attached to said anchor means respectively, and a bridge on said top having operative engagement with said strings.
2. A stringed musical instrument as defined in claim 1 including a plurality of tuning means, each of said tuning means corresponding to one of. said strings and being capable of being used to indicate when said one of said strings is in tune, each of said tuning means being mounted adjacent to the corresponding one of said strings on said top of said housing.
3. A stringed musical instrument as defined in claim 2 wherein each of'said tuning means is mounted directly beneath the corresponding one of said strings on said top of said housing.
4. A stringed musical instrument as defined in claim 2 wherein each of said tuning means comprises reed means capable of vibration.
5. A stringed musical instrument as defined in claim 4 including means located on said top of said housing for conveying air to each of said reed means so as to actuate the same.
6. A stringed musical instrument as defined in claim 1 wherein said frame serves as a sounding board and is in direct contact with said housing.
7. A stringed musical instrument as defined in claim 1 including bridge means mounted on said top of said housin; so as to extend across said strings and a plurality of damper means movably mounted on said bridge means, each of said damper means being capable of being moved from a normal position spaced from said strings to a position in contact with some of said strings.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS D. 21,275 Iudkins Jan. 5, 1892 614,755 Pedersen Nov. 22, 1898 694,094 Duerst Feb. 25, 1902 1,401,158 Kent .4 Dec. 27, 1921 FOREIGN PATENTS 31,013 Germany Aug. 26, 1884 301,607 Great Britain Dec. 6, 1928
US682656A 1957-09-09 1957-09-09 Stringed musical instruments having a plastic housing Expired - Lifetime US2975666A (en)

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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3499357A (en) * 1967-07-21 1970-03-10 Oscar Schmidt Intern Inc Multi-stringed musical instrument
FR2611073A1 (en) * 1987-02-13 1988-08-19 Boucaret Gerard Zither
US20140051322A1 (en) * 2012-08-15 2014-02-20 Wildgame Innovations, Llc Game call extension apparatus and method
US9630058B2 (en) * 2012-12-31 2017-04-25 Sarah Elizabeth Betts Hand exercise device

Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE31013C (en) *
US614755A (en) * 1898-11-22 Musical instrument
US694094A (en) * 1901-01-30 1902-02-25 Joseph A Duerst Zither support and sounding device.
US1401158A (en) * 1920-07-15 1921-12-27 Franklin P Kent Harp
GB301607A (en) * 1927-10-21 1928-12-06 Ernst Schoenfelder An improved tuning pin for pianos

Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE31013C (en) *
US614755A (en) * 1898-11-22 Musical instrument
US694094A (en) * 1901-01-30 1902-02-25 Joseph A Duerst Zither support and sounding device.
US1401158A (en) * 1920-07-15 1921-12-27 Franklin P Kent Harp
GB301607A (en) * 1927-10-21 1928-12-06 Ernst Schoenfelder An improved tuning pin for pianos

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3499357A (en) * 1967-07-21 1970-03-10 Oscar Schmidt Intern Inc Multi-stringed musical instrument
FR2611073A1 (en) * 1987-02-13 1988-08-19 Boucaret Gerard Zither
US20140051322A1 (en) * 2012-08-15 2014-02-20 Wildgame Innovations, Llc Game call extension apparatus and method
US9630058B2 (en) * 2012-12-31 2017-04-25 Sarah Elizabeth Betts Hand exercise device

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