A Psaltery’s Weight

All other things being equal, the lighter the psaltery, the better. Better playability, and better sound.

Here’s some of my own measurements, to help you get a perspective on things:

  • 60 tuning/hitch pins – 1 pound, 1.4 ounces
  • 30 wound strings – roughly 2.5 ounces
  • Bridge – between .5 and .9 ounces depending on the wood used
  • Saddle – .1 to .3 ounces

So, you can clearly see, just the “extras” alone are responsible for about 1 pound, 5 ounces of weight. So, even an ultralight psaltery will weigh over 2 pounds when finished. I think it would be quite difficult to get below this number on a 30-string psaltery! (Assuming the sides are at least 1 1/2″ tall, and the length is over 23″.)

Being at the low end of the spectrum, it becomes very hard to achieve even a 5% reduction in overall weight. It is, however, very easy to make things heavier, and by much more than a 5% increase!