What have I got?

If it's not a guitar or a bass guitar discussion, and it's got strings, put it here.
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John L Young
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:49 am

What have I got?

Post by John L Young »

Greetings to all.

I have just acquired a new instrument that i am not sure what it is. It is about 1 m high (3 to 3 1/2 foot) tall, and has 3 strings with friction pegs (if it had any). The frets are quite raised as well (all two that are left :shock:). The headpiece is a carved bat, and there is a mother of pearl inlay around the sound hole.

If I had to make a guess, I would say it is a custom Balalaika, but would love anyones wisdom.

I am a pretend amateur instrument maker, I have made a number of Koauau and Putorino, and I am just having a go at a banjo ukulele, but this instrument has me stumped.

Thank you

John
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Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: What have I got?

Post by Steve Senseney »

Is that a bat on the Headstock?

Patrick Hanna
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:49 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by Patrick Hanna »

It beats me, but you have made me very curious. I'll be checking back in here, in hopes of finding out along with you.

Jens Poulsen
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:04 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by Jens Poulsen »

Those tall frets look oriental/far east.

Simon Magennis
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:51 am
Location: Menorca. Spain.

Re: What have I got?

Post by Simon Magennis »

I tried an internet search. Looks like a cross between a Russian domra and a Chinese yue qin. Domra for the shape and yue qin for the frets. My initial guess was something in the area of a Turkish oud but search didn't turn up any that look like that. The inlay is similar to guitars from central Europe from late 1800's to maybe 1920's

Yuri Terenyi
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:56 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by Yuri Terenyi »

Definitely nothing Russian. The whole concept is rather alien to Russia.
I'd look into something Cambodian or similar. Having said that, I'm fairly sure it isn't a "traditional" one, but some sort of modernized hybrid, based on some more traditional instrument. The high frets are definitely Eastern in concept. And so is the non-equal temperament placing of them.

John L Young
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:49 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by John L Young »

Thanks everyone for their input. The carving of the bat to me seems a bit more European rather than Asian, but the raised frets point in a different direction. I will try measuring the frets over the next few days to see what sort of scale it is.

John

Michael Lewis
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:22 am
Location: Northern California USA
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Re: What have I got?

Post by Michael Lewis »

A close up of the sound hole and the tail piece might help narrow the search. The headstock looks east Asian or Malaysian to me. Philippines?

John L Young
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:49 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by John L Young »

As requested
The quality is not too good, but if you need better detail, I can take some more tomorrow in the daylight.
Thanks

John
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Clay Schaeffer
Posts: 1556
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: What have I got?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Bats symbolize good fortune and happiness in many Asian cultures, so my guess is it would be of oriental origins.

It could be a 3 string ruan or a qinqin

John L Young
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:49 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by John L Young »

Thanks for all the comments. After reading and thinking about all the answers, my new best guess is a domra built by a Chinese luthier, hence the raised frets. You can get guitars with the raised frets as well, so the hybrids do exist. If the domra and balalaika were widespread through Russia, then it seems likely that it would also go over the border to china.


But I could be wrong...

John

John L Young
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:49 am

Re: What have I got?

Post by John L Young »

Looks very similar doesn't it. I liked the website, I never knew there were so many variations on a guitar.

moon guitar - I like it :)

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