The Stringed Instrument Database The Stringed Instrument Database: A



Alternative names:
Origin: Turkey.
Tuning: A3 A3, B3 B3, E4 E4, A4 A4, D5 D5, G5 G5 or Oud tunings.
Strings/Courses: 12/6
Further notes: Played with a Mizrab (long thin plastic plectrum), like the Oud and Cumbus.
Scale Length: 540-560mm


Alternative names:
Origin: Chile, 2007. Invented by the luthier Eduardo Cornejo.
Tuning: A A, E E, A A, C# C# C#, F# F# F# or C C, G G, C C, E E E, A A A.
Strings/Courses: 12/5
Further notes: Steel strings.
Scale Length:


Alternative names: Akkordolia in Germany & Austria, Taishogoto in Japan, Bulbul tarang in India, Benju in Pakistan and Kottafoshi in the Maldives.
Origin: Germany, Austria, Japan, India and Pakistan around the start of the 20th century.
Tuning: F2 , A2 , C3 , F3 for the Akkordiola. The others vary, but there will often be some drone strings and some melody strings.
Strings/Courses: Wide variation.
Further notes: This instrument is fretted by pressing typewriter-like keys, which are numbered. Sometimes on the Indian version, called the Bulbul Tarang, it has piano-like keys instead of typewriter ones. Steel strings.
Scale Length: Varies. There is no accepted standard.


Alternative names: Ekonting, Bunchundo, Econtin, Konting.
Origin: Throughout Central and Western Africa. According to local traditions, it originated in southern Senegal.
Tuning: Two common tunings are D, G, F and C, F, E.
Strings/Courses: 3/3, 4/4 or sometimes more.
Further notes: Nylon strings, sometimes fishing wire. Probably the ancestor of the Banjo.
Scale Length: Huge variation.


Alternative names: Imzad
Origin: Niger, Mali and Algeria.
Tuning: No standard.
Strings/Courses: 1/1
Further notes: Horse hair string.
Scale Length: No standard.


- See Lute


Alternative names:
Origin: Cuba, 1924. Invented by the Cuban guitarist and tresero Compay Segundo as a hybrid between the two.
Tuning: E3, A3, D4, G4 G4, B3, E4.
Strings/Courses: 7/6
Further notes: Spanish for 'Harmonic'. Steel strings.
Scale Length: 650mm (the same as a guitar) or slightly shorter like a Tres.


Alternative names:
Origin: Invented by the guitar maker Johann Georg Stauffer in Vienna, Austria in 1823. Probably inspired by the Viola da gamba.
Tuning: E2, A2, D3, G3, B3, E4.
Strings/Courses: 6/6
Further notes: Now quite rare, although there are and have been many attempts to bring it back into popular use. Gut or steel strings.
Scale Length: