Scratch & Dent Strings
The Balalaika strings are tuned above middle C to: A, E, E (1st-3rd). The 1st string is the thinnest, and lays over more frets than the 2nd and 3rd strings. Use a piano or electronic tuner as a reference for tuning. The tension on each tuning peg can be adjusted by tightening or loosing the screw on the top of the peg. To play, the left hand notes the strings while the index finger of the right hand strums high on the soundboard near the neck. The dark sheesham on the soundboard is decorative but also protects the soundboard from the strumming.
The Balalaika most likely evolved from the Oriental dombra, which is still played in present-day Kazakhstan. Knowledge of the dombra most likely spread to Russia by Mongol trade and conquest. After undergoing structural changes, the Balalaika was embraced by Russians. It is said that the Balalaika embodies the Russian people's character, with its ability to switch from happiness to sadness with ease. It was common for the peasant ballads, composed for the Balalaika, to irreverently poke fun at the authority of the times. For this reason there were times when the Balalaika was banned by both the Orthodox Church and the State. The instrument enjoyed its greatest folk popularity in the early 18th century.
In the later 19th century the instrument underwent a number of changes, including the adoption of the classic triangular shape. Reportedly, in the late 19th century, Vassily Vassilievich Andreyev, was responsible for the transition from a folk instrument to a concert instrument. Andreyev's chamber ensemble, renamed The Great Russian Imperial Balalaika Orchestra, introduced the instrument to cultures outside of Russia. The Instrument was also carried by the common people when they fled Russia at times of war.
The Wildwood has four string courses which are loop end strings: a wound string at the top, an unwound center string, and two unwound strings tuned in unison, at the bottom. Many tunings will work, but we recommend the traditional DADD to make it easy to pick up and play. The frets are arranged in a diatonic scale, just like an Appalachian mountain dulcimer, but added is the infamous 6 1/2" fret just below the octave position allowing play in Ionian mode. The Bridge to nut is 24 1/2". The possibilities are many, playing the Wildwood Dulcimer can be as easy or as complicated as you care to make it. Explore!
Actual wood color and decorations may vary from photo. Strings may be missing or broken. Accessories not included.
The Bowed Psaltery is a beautiful sounding melody instrument producing a clear and ethereal sound. The psaltery is also a very easy to play. The psaltery bow is held in the dominate hand and only one string is played at a time, being bowed between the Hitch Pins. You may choose to play your psaltery with two bows, one in each hand. With that technique, each bow plays one side of the instrument.
Playing the Psaltery may seem daunting until you understand the placement of the notes. Look at the psaltery and you will see the Hitch Pins along one side are evenly spaced (like white keys on a piano). On the opposite side the Hitch Pins are arranged in groups of 3 and 2 with spaces between (like the black keys on a piano). Bowing the evenly spaced strings plays the natural notes. Sharps and flats are played by reaching the bow over to the opposite side of the instrument. A Right-Handed Psaltery has the natural notes on the right side, the Left-Handed Psaltery has the natural notes are on the left side.
The Bow must be rosined before it can play the strings. To rosin up the bow, rough up the surface of the new rosin, a key or nail file works will. Rosin the ends of the hairs first, in short fast strokes, then rosin the full length from end to end. Rotate the rosin cake under the hairs as you drag the bow across. This rotation will maintain a flat surface and prevent a deeply grooved rosin which can damage bow hairs. A properly rosined bow will have rosin powder evenly distributed throughout the hair. Never handle the hair of the bow with your hands. Oils from your skin will leave permanent slick spots that will inhibit retention of the rosin powder.
Clean your bow with a soft dry cloth after each use. Occasionally, wipe the playing area of the strings. Rosin which is allowed to accumulate too heavily, especially on the undersides of the strings, will adversely affect the tone and playability of the instrument. The Roosebeck Microfiber Polishing Cloth is sold separately, and is perfect for cleaning the bow (item code RBSMFPI).
Broken or loose hairs are not uncommon and will not affect the playing characteristics of the bow. If a hair breaks do not to pluck it out. Carefully cut the hair, leaving a little bit at both ends.
Tuning: C3 - C6
Longest String Length: 25.6"
Overall Dimensions: 10.6" in width by 29.4" in length
Traditionally, mountain dulcimers had three, equally spaced, strings: a melody string, a middle string, and a bass string. Later developments created a 4-string dulcimer by changing the string spacing and doubling the melody string. Doubling the melody string created greater volume to the melody line. Contemporary dulcimers, such as ours, include extra notches on the nut to allow more personalized string patterns. The inside doubled melody string can be removed completely to revert to the traditional 3-string set-up. Or the Inside melody string and the middle string can both be moved over one notch to create an equal spacing between all four strings. Find the set-up that works best for you.Important Specifications:
Body/Bowl: 28.5 inches LX2 inches HX7.5 inchesW
Neck at Nut: 1.5 inches in width
Neck at Body Joint: 1.5 inches in width
Nut: 1.5 inches in width, made from sheesham
Strings at the Nut: 1 inches in width
Strings at Bridge: 1 inches in width
Scale Length: 25.5 inches
5 tuning pegs/levers
18 Metal Frets
The approximate inside dimensions are:
Overall Length: 50.5 inches (1282.7 mm); Depth: 12.52 inches (317.5 mm); Width for Bottom Toomba: 14.5 (368.3 mm).
Neck width for the sympathetic pegs area is 5 ¼”
Neck width for the main peg area is 6 ½”
The Trail Dulcimer has three string courses: a wound string at the top, an unwound center string, and two unwound strings tuned in unison, at the bottom. Many tunings will work, but we recommend the traditional DAD to makes it easy to pick up and play. The frets are arranged in a diatonic scale, just like an Appalachian mountain dulcimer, but added is the infamous "6 1/2" fret just below the octave position allowing play in Ionian mode. The possibilities are many, playing the Trail Dulcimer can be as easy or as complicated as your care to make it. Explore!
This design offers a compact size with the full tanpura sound. This 4-string wooden box style tanpura made of toon wood. There are 4 mechanical geared right angle tuning pegs/levers with a 1:11 ratio.
The item's overall dimensions are 34 x 3.5 x 5 inches.
Strings: There are 4 strings that are bronze on steel and are metal wound, producing a rich tone. The strings act as drones and the diameter of each string is (left to right): .047" w, .023 w, .023" w, .026" w. Each string has a ball end and is 36" long. The Scale Length: 26"
Accessories Included: Nylon soft gig bag