Always looking for that next instrument to grace our household, the story caught our attention when it told of the unique quality of this handmade beauty - a cross between a dulcimer and a guitar.
Add to that, the fact that Zithers were handcrafted just up the road, in Brenham, Texas and we knew we would own one - one day.
Why it took us several years to get there, I can't say, but it was something we talked about often and the word Zither never left the back of our minds.
But, last week, while on a school field trip, we finally made good on our promise to find the Zither Music Company and I believe, it was perfect timing.
We had no idea that you needed an appointment to visit the shop. We just knew we had a certain amount of time on our way to the next destination, so we wanted to stop by and see the Zithers before our day got too busy.
When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw the owner, Tony Meeks, working in the shop.
To say he was gracious enough to let us interrupt him, would be an understatement. Tony was great, right from the start! He welcomed us in and from the first few minutes, we felt like we were old friends! In fact, we almost were friends, considering we discovered that we knew many of the same people and that he and David even worked at the same company, at one time! Divine appointment, I'm telling you!
Tony began sharing his story about why and how and all the details that have led him to this point in time, and we were fascinated from the start.
We loved this wall of "Firsts" that he has displayed right inside the building. He even has a copy of his old report card that proudly shows that he received a "D" in wood working in school. That just goes to prove that God can use, what the world calls your weakest talent, to do mighty things!
Tony has been able to get ahead in production, to a certain extent, but most of the Zithers are custom made, as people call in or visit his shop.
He makes Acoustic, Electric, Acoustic/Electric and too many to name here and I wouldn't do it justice to even try to explain all of the options, so you can click on this link HERE to find the one you want.
While giving us the tour of his shop, he explained all the different types of wood he uses to build the instruments. Anywhere from Cherry to Maple, to names I can't pronounce - different colors of natural wood, as well as the natural patterns that each piece has. The options are many!
Tony explained why some of the Zithers have an extra fret, why some have holes, why he adds certain elements and then gave us a great demonstration of how they sound and how easy they are to play.
Of course, Collin had to get in on the action!
And......of course, we couldn't leave there without letting him choose one of his own! You can't go to the Zither store and not buy one! Especially after waiting all these years!
Collin holding his very own Zither body that will
be custom crafted by Tony.
Overall, we learned a lot on our visit with Tony. He has waited many years for his dream to come to reality and he is loving what he's doing. He puts much effort and care into each instrument and the wait time is worth it when your handcrafted Zither arrives at your door.
No, you can't just walk into Guitar Center and grab one off the shelf, but that's what makes this experience so special.
And, the fact that you get to visit with Tony and see his heart and his passion for what he does, is a true blessing.
So now we're waiting on Collin's Zither to come, but Tony gives us updates via Facebook every so often. He is so meticulous in the process, so it makes the wait bearable because we know that the quality will be outstanding, once it arrives.
In the meantime, Collin is dreaming of taking it with him wherever he goes and will probably be great advertisement for Tony and the Zither company!
So, if you're ever in Brenham, be sure to put this place on your list of places to go.
But, you might want to call ahead for an appointment.
Or at least you're supposed to.....