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FAQ Main Menu > Other Fretted Instruments

Other Fretted Instrument Information and FAQs


Aud | Baglama | Bajo Sexto | Balalaika | Bandola | Bandurria | Barbat | Cavaquinho | Charango | Chonguri | Cobza | Cuatro | Cuatro De Puerto Rico | Cura | Divan | Domra | Dotar | Dotra | Dumbra | Guimbri | Guitar-Charango | Guitarra | Guitarron | Gyterne | Jarana | Kobsa | Laud | Lute | Machete | Oud | Panduri | Pipa | Rabab | Ruan | Sarod | Saz | Shamisen | Sitar | Surbahar | Tambura | Tamburitza | Tambutica | Tanbur | Tanpura | Tar | Tenor Guitar | Tiple | Tres | Tzoura | Ud | Vihuela | Yue Qin


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Definition: long-necked turkish lute, about 1m, member of the saz family. Also used in Greece.

Bajo Sexto

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Definition: Bajo Sexto is the bass instrument used in Norteno and Tex-Mex music.
Introduction: It has 12 strings tuned strictly in fourths EADGCF one ocatave lower than a 12 string guitar. It usually has a deep cutaway.


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Definition: Lute-type; triangle shape; national instrument of Russia. Really a family of instruments, including Piccolo, Prima, Secunda, Alto, Bass and Contra-bass.
Introduction: The Balalaika is a triangular bowl backed lute from Russia. The Balalaika is a family of instruments, the soprano one here is the lead instrument. The family includes six sizes of instrument; Piccolo, Prima, Sekunda, Alto. Bass and Contrabass- the Prima being the most common. They are either 3 string EAA or six string DAE. Sometimes strung with 2 nylon As and a 0.10 plain steel E
Read the full Balalaika FAQ Page.


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Definition: modern lute of Colombia; tear-drop shape, flat or concave back.


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Definition: Small 12 string mandolin type instrument with a very short wide neck, popular in Spain.
Introduction: Bandurria, a short necked pear shaped flat backed lute not unlike a flat backed mandolin. It has 12 strings and takes parts in Spanish music that would be taken by Mandolin in Italy.

The Laud is very much the same having 12 strings but with a longer neck and bigger body and could be compared to a Mandola.


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Definition: Iranian name for the Ud


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Definition: Cavaquinho - a small 4 string Portuguese guitar family instrument well known in Brazil (also known as Cavaco) where it is used in Choro and Samba music. was exported by the Portuguese across the world including to Hawaii, where it developed into the ukelele. Commonly tuned D,G,B,D but other tunings are used.


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Definition: Ten string instrument, made from the shell of an armadillo; an Amerindian version of the imported European mandolin; found in Andean region.
Introduction: The Charango has a carved wooden or Armadillo shell back, and 10 nylon strings,
Read the full Charango FAQ Page.


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Definition: Georgian fretless long neck bowl back lute. Three strings from the peg head and a banjo-like 4th string peg halfway up the neck.


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Definition: short-necked lute of Romania; pear-shaped with 8 to 12 strings, 5-7-sectioned resonator.


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Definition: of the guitar family; found in South America and the West Indies. The Venezualan Cuatro has 4 strings, looks like a ukelele. The Puerto Rican Cuatro has 10 strings and looks more like a Cuban Tres.

Cuatro De Puerto Rico

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Definition: Of the guitar family; found in South America and the West Indies. The Venezuelan Cuatro has 4 strings, looks like a ukelele. The Puerto Rican Cuatro has 10 strings and looks more like a Cuban Tres.
Introduction: The modern Puerto Rican Cuatro is a flat top instrument with a violin profile body. It has 10 metal strings in 5 courses, tuned: B E A D G
Read the full Cuatro De Puerto Rico FAQ Page.


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Definition: smallest of the saz family, about 75cm.


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Definition: largest member of the saz family, about 140cm.


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Definition: Russian and Ukranian lute with a rounded pear shaped body and a bowl back. Three stringed usually but four stings are preferred in Ukraine. Domras come in several sizes, Piccolo, Primo (normal), Alto, Tenor and Bass (and occasionally Contrabass).


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Definition: Iranian two stringed long neck lute related to the Tanbur. Similar construction to the Turkish Saz.


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Definition: a four string instrument found in the Northern part of Bangladesh. It is the main accompaniment of "Vaoaiya" the mainstream folk song of Northern Bangladesh. Played with a small wooden peg. related to the Sorod or Sarod.


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Definition: lute of the Tartar people.


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Definition: Bass lute used by the Gnawa musicians of Morocco; it has 3 strings and a goat skin soundboard, sometimes it has rattles or jingles on the head.


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Definition: based on the European guitar and mandolin, this intrument with 10 strings has a "sound body" made from the armour of the armadillo.


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Definition: Portuguese guitar, usually 12 strings in 6 courses. curved fingerboard and fan type tuners. Closely associated with traditional Fado music. Directly related to mediaeval citterns and the English guitar.
Introduction: The Guitarra or Portuguese Guitar shares the fan tuners and shape of the English Guitar or Gittar which was popular across the British Isles in the 1700s. The modern Portuguese instrument has 12 strings on a strongly curved fingerboard, a teardrop shaped body with a slight bowl to the back. It is used primarily played as a duo with Guitar to accompany Fado songs. The thumb picks the bottom three strings with an Unha/Fado pick and the top three are picked with the fingers.
Read the full Guitarra FAQ Page.


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Definition: Large bass guitar of Chile and Mexico. The Mexican version is a 6 string Mariachi bass guitar, while the Chilean is a 26 string troubadour's instrument related to the Cuatro.
Introduction: The Guitarron we sell is a Mexican style large 6 string bass guitar tuned A, D, G, C, E, A. Commonly used in Mariachi music. It has an arched back similar in construction to the Vihuela.


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Definition: short necked lute.


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Definition: five course guitar of Mexico, smaller than the normal guitar.


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Definition: plucked lute or guitar from the Ukraine, also a Hungarian bowed instrument.


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Definition: A flat back lute from Spain, with 12 metal strings in 6 courses and pear shaped body.


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Definition: Class of instruments related to the violin and guitar; plucked or bowed; many types, usually with a bowl back. Originated from the Arabic Ud (Al Ud = A Lute).
Introduction: Lute is a generic term for stringed instruments with a body and a neck. The modern lute has a bowl back, a wide neck with gut frets, an angled peg head and usually a carved soundhole rosette. The lute is a descendant of the Arabic Ud, the addition of gut frets being the main difference.
Read the full Lute FAQ Page.


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Definition: Known from the early 19th century in Madeira. An ancestor of the Ukulele with four gut strings and a small guitar shaped body.


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Definition: A Georgian three fretted stringed lute. Usually with a diamond shaped body and bowl back.


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Definition: 4 stringed guitar-like plucked instrument from China with a pear shaped body. In the literature as far back as 2000BC. The name refers to the forward and back picking technique.
Introduction: The Pipa is a Chinese lute with four stings which can be tuned to GDAE. The body is pear shaped with scalloped frets and a shallow carved bowl back. Like a lute the frets continue over the body of the instrument. Fingerpicks are usually used, and the instrument is held verticaly in the lap.
Read the full Pipa FAQ Page.


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Definition: The Afghan national instrument (Kabuli rebab) has 3 plucked strings and a number of additional sympathetic strings. The body has a skin stretched over hollowed wood. Also known in Pakistan and Kashmir, it is the precursor of the Sarod. Bowed Rababs are known fron North Africa to Indonesia also.


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Definition: 4 string Chinese fretted instrument which has a round hollow body with f holes. Descended from the Pipa.
Introduction: The Ruan is very popular in China and has a round moon shaped body and again four strings and scalloped frets. This one has a floating mandolin type bridge with tailpiece.
It is a descendant of the Pipa used in both folk and classical music and is seen in various sizes. The ones we have are around the size of a mandola. Tunings to GDAE and ADAE can be used.


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Definition: The Sarod is a short-necked, fretless waisted lute carved from a block of teak, with a goat skin sound table. This instrument is said to date from the 19th C.


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Definition: Turkish bowl backed lute type instrument. Usually carved from solid wood and with three strings, or three pairs of strings. Ancestor of the Greek Bouzouki


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Definition: Japanese 3-string lute, like a long-necked, fretless banjo with parchment stretched across the front; plucked with a heavy ivory plectrum.


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Definition: North Indian Classical instrument. The sitar has 7 plucked strings (the upper few of which can be fretted), and around 13 sympathetic strings below the frets which resonate along with the plucked strings.
Introduction: The sitar is a long-necked lute with a large pumpkin gourd body, and is one of the more common melody instruments in northern India. Some have detachable resonator gourds at the back of the neck. The frets are moveable for optimising tuning toward particular ragas (Indian modes)
Read the full Sitar FAQ Page.


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Definition: cousin of the sitar but longer at 5 ft 5ins.


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Definition: long-necked fretted lute from Bulgaria, especially seen in Pirin. Has 2, 3, 6, 8 or 12 metal strings, 6 strings in 3 pairs is a common variety. Similar to the Greek Baglama.


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Definition: main instrument of Slavonic music; an instrument of the Tanbur-lute family, which originally came from Asia.


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Definition: plucked lute of Yugoslavia; wire strings; several soundholes.


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Definition: name applied to various long-necked lutes of the Middle East, Iran and Central Asia. The Iranian instrument has a body traditionally carved from solid mulberry wood, and 3 strings.


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Definition: long-necked ancient lute of India; four strings; provides the reference point for melodic improvisations by performers of the other instruments.


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Definition: double bowl shaped lute with sheep skin vellum, three double courses of strings, played with a plectrum.
Introduction: The Tar is an Iranian instrument

Tenor Guitar

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Definition: A 20th century version of the guitar having four strings and a shorter scale.
Introduction: A Tenor Guitar has 4 strings tuned as a tenor banjo CGDA, sometimes tuned down to GDAE for celtic music using thicker strings. It usually has the same scale length as a 19 ftret tenor banjo.
Read the full Tenor Guitar FAQ Page.


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Definition: in Spain, Colombia, Puerto Rico, etc., a small type of guitar; 12 metal strings in four courses. Also refers to treble pitched (F) double reeded woodwind instruments in catalunya. (Tiple means treble in Spanish, and is therefore applied to various types of instrument)
Introduction: The Tiple is like a ukelele but with double strings top and bottom, and triple strings on the middle 2 courses.


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Definition: type of guitar with 3 single or double courses of strings. Found in Cuba.


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Definition: Greek 6 string long-necked lute, Similar to, but smaller than a bouzouki, the middle one out of the Baglama, Tzoura, Bouzouki family.


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Definition: (also spelt aud or oud) short necked, bowl back plucked lute of the Arab world, the direct ancestor of the European lute; principal instrument of the Arab world.
Introduction: The Oud or Ud is the premier instrument of the Arab world, still played widely and is the ancestor of the Lute and hence many modern Western instruments. It is a fretless Lute with a bowl back and angled peg head. The word Ud means wood. The name of several instruments come from the Ud too. Al Ud = A Lute, also the Laud from Spain.
Read the full Ud FAQ Page.


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Definition: Plucked chordophone of the guitar family. Now popular in Central America, it is very similar to the Spanish renaissance vihuela.
Introduction: The Vihuela is a fretted instrument popular in Mexico, usually used for simple rhytmic accompaniment. It has only four frets usually and an arched back like the guitarron. It is around the size of a half size classical and has 5 strings tuned ADGBE usually in re-entrant tuning with the bottom string one octave higher.
Read the full Vihuela FAQ Page.

Yue Qin

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Definition: Chinese moon guitar, circular body, 4 strings.