There are three different tailpieces to be found on Boehm instruments. It is a bit more difficult to date them, for a) there are quite a few Waldzithers which have replacement tailpieces (much more than replacement tuners), and b) it seems as if Boehm had used at least two of these tailpieces parallel to each other.

1897 until ca. 1905

The first tailpiece has a “winged” form and 9 hooks. It is used on all early Boehm instruments until ca. 1905, and even on some early standard models that have tuners with a hump in the middle.

1906 until ca. 1920

Together with his tuners with two asymmetrically arranged humps, Boehm seems to have introduced a new tailpiece (which also has a “winged” form). Surprisingly, this new tailpiece has not 9 hooks, but 10. This astonishing fact can be understood if it is known that the tuners with the two humps were originally built with 10 slots (there are some Boehm Waldzithers with 10 strings!) and then later reduced to 9 slots by cutting off one slot on the left side (what gave them their asymmetrical form). In the case of the tailpiece, to cut off one hook was neither easily possible nor necessary so that Boehm simply left one of the hooks unused. On this tailpiece, Boehm engraved the exact sting length always by hand.

While Boehm introduced a new form of tuners in ca. 1913, he kept on using the winged tailpiece with 10 hooks until ca. 1920. There are at least some Waldzithers with the “Alster 6825” label without black bars (from after 1918) which still display them.

Ca. 1916 until 1942

The earliest Waldzithers of the Nr. 1A type (= Model Nr. 1 without the outer ring around the sound hole), as well as the earliest instruments Nr. 1B, are already supplied with the standard tailpiece that came to be used on all subsequent Boehm instruments until 1942. Both of these types of instrument wear the “GR. 4. 6825” label with black bars that dates from the time after 1914. As it is not precisely known when these types of instrument were introduced (it must have been at least before 1918), it is also impossible to precisely say when Boehm started to use these tailpieces. The other models are of no help here, for until about 1920 Boehm kept on supplying them with the old winged tailpieces with 10 hooks.

This tailpiece has the standard string length of 650 mm mechanically engraved. It is also used on the Walddoline, where Boehm again left one hook unused and noted the string length of 505 mm by hand.

After 1945 GEWA tailpieces

The GEWA Waldzithers keep on using the standard Boehm tailpieces for quite some time. But around the time that the late GEWA label (without the Walddoline) is introduced, these tailpieces also vanish. This new tailpiece is also known from non-GEWA string instruments and was probably not produced specially for the Waldzither: It has only 8 hooks what suggests that it was originally designed for the mandolin (or mandola).

Further GEWA tailpieces

The tailpiece on the left can be found on several GEWA Waldzithers, even on some early specimens. It is a genuine Waldzither tailpiece with 9 hooks, which is also known form many other Waldzithers built in the 1930s in the Vogtland region (e.g. the “Plueckthun” instruments). It cannot be said with certainty that the GEWA Company actually supplied their instruments with this tailpiece, for it seems also possible that it was only used by Waldzither owners in order to replace a damaged tailpiece on their instrument or to replace one of the tailpieces with 8 hooks (which GEWA had used for some time) by a genuine Waldzither tailpiece.

The tailpiece to the right is also documented in Martina Rosenberger’s Waldzither Puzzle, it can be found on a few late GEWA instruments.