These are undeniably super cool. I am grateful that you shared these, but I would think the best person to tell you what they are would be your grandfather himself? The first instrument is very cool to me due to its fret layout. It is interesting to think about why the second string would be chromatic and not the first. Maybe it would allow the second string to be tuned to a major 3rd and still play diatonically.
Would love to know if anyone knows more about the bizarre fret layout on the first photo. It reminds me of a citera.
The frets and offset strings were what set me off and confused me! He gave me a standar 4 string dulcimer last year and I figured that one out fairly quickly but the fret lay out is different. I’m wondering if they are just additional half steps that an eppinete has vs a dulcimer? But I’m not expert in that!
I’ll take some time later to take some pictures of the other instruments he has made me, I have a few acoustics and electric guitars that I’ve had and played the heck out of over the years. The first one he built me cracked on the side and it spread all the way to the strap nut, I brought it to him to ask him to fix it and he said “sure bring it out to the shop”.
He then proceeded to cut the thing in half on his bandsaw and handed me a new dreadnaught he built me, has old growth Brazilian rose wood sides and back with a Sitka spruce top and that sucker stays in its case and gets wiped down after every play! (I was still mad and a bit traumatized seeing him cut my first guitar in half!)
Here's my take. The triangle is, as John sez, a Russian balalaiki. The light topped round body is a bouzouki (either Greek or Irish). The light rectangle is a "cigar box" style guitar. The two hourglass instrument are indeed variations on the epinette/Applachian dulcimer. The two electric instruments are a bouzouki and a mandolin (short neck).
Thanks for the info, from you and everyone! It’s been a busy week at work so sorry for the delay in response here. The bouzouki you mentioned, he told me the acoustic one is just a hybrid he made and set it as a 4 string banjo, and the electric one is a 5 string banjo.
Do you know what the tuning on the balalaiki would be?