Model Nr. 1/Nr. 1A

Model Nr. 1/Nr. 1A

It looks as if the development of the Boehm Models Nr. 1-4 had been finished around 1905. In later years, instruments with a different basic design are very rare indeed, and they seem rather to be custom made models which Boehm built according to the wishes of his customers. The four Boehm standard models are also presented in the 1912 catalogue, but the photos (especially the tuners with a hump in the middle and screws with two rings) actually suggest that the instruments displayed must have been built around 1905/06 (the label also points to this date). After 1912, Boehm developed two more models which he called Nr. 1B and Nr. 1C (so that the old Model Nr. 1 changed its name to Nr. 1A).

While it is possible to recognize a development among the early Boehm instruments that finally led to Model Nr. 2, a similar development leading to Model Nr. 1 can yet not be recognized. But there are at least two Waldzithers from about 1900 and 1904 which could be seen as a precursors.


From 1905 on, the design of Model Nr. 1/Nr. 1A remains mainly constant, although Boehm simplified it with the change from Nr. 1 to Nr. 1A by omitting the twofold outer ring around the sound hole. In the catalogues of the 1920s, Model Nr. 1A is nevertheless still pictured with the outer ring, which again suggests that Boehm kept on using old photos. From about 1910 on, Boehm slightly varies the design by putting two dots on the fingerboard between fret 2 and 3, where only one dot had been before. The same change can be observed on Model Nr. 2; in both cases, the two dots vanish again after 1920.

It is impossible at present to discern a simple transition from the early Model Nr. 1 (with a twofold outer ring) around the sound hole to the later Model Nr. 1A (without this ring), for there are some more design variations between 1914 and 1920 which cannot be out into a clear sequence. There are for example some Waldzithers from after 1918 which have only a single ring around the sound hole, but there are also instruments from before 1918 without the outer ring which already display the exact design of the later Model Nr. 1A (with the standard tuners and the standard tailpiece). Again, other instruments with the “Alster 6825” label without black bars from after 1918 still have the twofold outer ring, the old tailpiece and two dots between fret 2 and 3 (as it was characteristic for the old Model Nr. 1 after 1910). It could of course be the case that Boehm sometimes used older labels on newer instruments, but it seems even more likely that he produced different variants of the same Model at the same time, at least for a couple of years.

Another variation of Model Nr. 1/Nr. 1A is a different purfling at the edge of the top instead of the usual  herringbone pattern ; it can be found on a few instruments from after 1918 (and else on the Walddoline Nr. 1A and 1C). Here also, an exact chronological fixation with regard to the other design variants is not possible.

Early in the 1920s, the design seems to have become fixed again, for from now on only instruments with standard tuners, standard tailpiece, herringbone pattern at the edge of the top and without the outer rim around the sound hole can be found.