Hello All! I purchased a bowed psaltery from Jon Williams who was at the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival last year in October, 2021. I know a little bit about music, but I confess that I purchased it without realizing that the design was flawed, and have just discovered that this instrument is missing a note!  It is supposed to be two octaves, but there are only nine sets of tuning pegs on the left (chromatic) side of the instrument as you are facing it instead of ten. For two complete octaves, there needs to be 25 sets of tuning pegs, and this instrument only has 24.  To conceal this flaw, the tuning chart Mr. Williams gave me (pictured), the first note at the apex is G, while the first note on the left (chromatic) side is A# (rather than G#), the latter note being omitted altogether. From that point (A#), the note progression continues correctly, with the high note on the left side being F#, but if if I tune my instrument correctly, that is, with the G# included, then the pattern sequence is all out of whack, and I am still lacking a note, which is F# at the higher end of the scale (pictured).  I have gone to Mr. Williams' page through this site, and noticed that his soprano psaltery templates (pictured) appear to all be the same as mine.  I want to contact him about this, but find that the published links to him that I found were all dead. Why would anyone  who calls himself a luthier set an instrument up this way? It makes no sense. I feel I have been cheated out of a note.  Surely this is a known issue. Anybody else have feedback on Jon Williams or know how I can contact him? I think he needs to make this right.

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  • UPDATE: I have called Mr. Williams at the number listed here, 386-853-0944, and left a message today, 12/2/2022. Hopefully he will call me back.


Mr. Jon Williams did call me back promptly. He explained to me that the method he uses in his design supports "scientific pitch," a concept I am unfamiliar with that, I discovered, involves frequencies, physics, mathematics and that is fascinating, but way over my head and well beyond my understanding. He also correctly pointed out that there are twelve notes in an octave, and that 24 notes, as are present on my instrument do, theoretically, comprise two octaves.  It is the placement of the intervals rather than the actual number of strings (notes) that still befuddles me, but I am a newbie when it comes to mountain instruments, and I am guessing that the tuning scheme that omits a note is not unusual among them.  In any case, Jon was very willing to offer various methods to address my issue with my instrument, and we had a very cordial and constructive conversation. I feel confident that Jon will provide me with a prompt and satisfactory solution.


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