New instruments that I have no clue about!

itsmedant
@itsmedant
4 weeks ago
3 posts

NateBuildsToys:

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.
Thanks
Nate

 

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!)

Ken Hulme:

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?

NateBuildsToys
NateBuildsToys
@nate
one month ago
229 posts

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.
Thanks
Nate


updated by @nate: 02/01/24 03:47:49AM
Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one month ago
2,103 posts

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).

John C. Knopf
John C. Knopf
@john-c-knopf
one month ago
382 posts

That triangular one looks like a balalaika (Bal-al-LIKE-ah), a Russian instrument like a mandolin.

itsmedant
@itsmedant
one month ago
3 posts

Thanks for the quick response Ken! Makes total sense though, one definitely has 2 (seemingly) matching bass strings like you said!

I’ll try to get some clearer pictures tomorrow, I’m assuming there’s a better way to upload VS just attaching them to the post since I had to compress the image to 2mb.

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
one month ago
1,063 posts

It appears in the first photo that there are four strings over the fret board which would be tuned to any standard dulcimer tuning where the melody string is doubled, DAdd or DAAA. I can't see the strings that off the fret board very well, but they might be drones perhaps a bass version of the melody string an octave or two lower and the other a the same of the middle string. The second photo shows a doubled melody string which four equally distant placed drone strings. Again, you could use a standard dulcimer tuning with bass octaves on the other two strings if they are thick wound strings.

This is just my guess and others may provide better information.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

itsmedant
@itsmedant
one month ago
3 posts

Good evening everyone (or whatever time it is for you all!)

New to the forum here so a quick intro, I’ve been playing guitar and any other instrument I could get my hands on for a while now, all because of my Grandaddy, who started building instruments in the early 90s and gifted our family an acoustic guitar. Through out the years I’d get something new from him, and recently he gave me my first dulcimer. 

I went to visit this Christmas and he said “Grammys complaining that we need more closet space so come and see if you want any of these instruments” and then proceeded to blow my mind. 2 of them he said are based “eppinettes” but are pretty much dulcimers…..but they both have slightly different fretboards and 6 strings! I haven’t been able to figure what they actually are, what tuning they’d need to be in, or any examples of some music played on these things.

i ended up going home with 7 new stringed instruments and only really know 3 of them well enough to play (an electric mandolin, electric 5 string banjo, and a 4 string banjo that’s built like a guitar)

I wanted to find a place where I could ask what the heck these things are and get some direction on what to do with them! Thanks everyone!!

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