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Author Topic: tambora  (Read 4936 times)

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Offline patheslip

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tambora
« on: Nov 18, 2007, 08:52:23 PM »
I've been given a rather nice North African instrument which could  be a Tamboura; long narrow keck, round back like a slightly elongated mandolin. However it has a different number of pegs to the grooves in the bridge and may have been mucked about with.  Anyone know how to string it?

Offline madmat

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Re: tambora
« Reply #1 on: Nov 18, 2007, 11:53:27 PM »
The tambura is a great big mandolin... or more properly, an (Eastern European) octave mandolin. I've seen six- and eight-stringed ones, on the six string ones the lowest strings are not doubled up on courses. A "tamburzita" is a more conventional mandolin (scale around 14" or so) with a flat-backed, lute-like body.

If the scale is around 18-22", octave mandolin strings should word, you can tune GDAE or a modal tuning like GDAD. The John McGann "Guide to Octave Mandolin" is great way to learn to play Western-European/American folk style musics on it.
http://www.johnmcgann.com/om.html
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Offline madmat

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Re: tambora
« Reply #2 on: Nov 19, 2007, 01:28:21 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tambura
Looks like there is also an Indian tambura, related to the sitar and vina (veena):
A tambura (South India) or tanpura (North India) is a long-necked Indian lute, unfretted and round-bodied. The neck is hollow, and it has four or five (rarely, six) wire strings, which are plucked one after another in a regular pattern to create a tonic resonance field (bourdon or drone function). The name 'tanpura' is probably derived from tana, referring to a musical phrase, and pura which means "full" or "complete". The special overtone-rich sound is achieved by applying the principle of jivari which creates a sustained, "buzzing" sound in which particular harmonics will resonate with focused clarity.

Edit: Can you post some pictures? Googling "tambura" ("tamburzita") or "tamboura" brings up pictures of all kinds of musical instruments, which are similar but differ in lots of details. What is the scale length? (distance from nut to bridge) How many tuners does it have? Are they geared or friction tuners? Does it have frets? Bowl-backed or flat-backed?

Edit2: Note to mods... I think this actually belongs in the "Mando-Banjo Pickers" area.
« Last Edit: Nov 19, 2007, 01:39:24 AM by madmat »
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Offline patheslip

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Re: tambora
« Reply #3 on: Nov 22, 2007, 02:11:10 PM »
madmat: sorry if i've put this in the wrong place.

I'm confused too about the object.  There are whole overlapping families of instruments out there sharing varied sets of names.

This thing isn't a long necked mandolin or anything like it, except the round back reminds me of a neopolitan mandolin I had long time ago (since stolen by gypsies).

The fingerboard is 3cm wide, with gut frets tied along in a non western scale.  The scale length is 79cm, there are seven friction pegs, looking straight at the fingerboard there are four pointing towards you and three to the right.

_"_"_"_
o o o o

The bridge has six grooves and the strings are hung from three hooks at the butt of the instrument.

I hope this helps.  When I find out how I'll try attaching photos to queries like this.

Pat


Offline swarbrules

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Re: tambora
« Reply #4 on: Nov 22, 2007, 03:06:27 PM »
I thought it was Japanese batter.

Offline beeswing

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Re: tambora
« Reply #5 on: Nov 22, 2007, 03:24:43 PM »
mmm, fluffy fried food. skip the carrots, I prefer the shrimp and cauliflower. Lacking that, broccoli will do.

Pat, is the back planked or one block? Is there a sound hole on the front or the tail? What sort of frets, how many, and are they evenly spaced?

edit: unevenly spaced frets found on instruments such as saz or tanbur or bağlama... if it's possible to generalize. I think they're strung a bit fine and slack compared to say, a guitar.
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Offline madmat

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Re: tambora
« Reply #6 on: Nov 22, 2007, 04:19:44 PM »
I thought it was Japanese batter.
That's tempura... Kentucky Fried Japanese, as it were...
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Offline Alan Kroeger

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Re: tambora
« Reply #7 on: Nov 22, 2007, 04:35:44 PM »
Some of those unusual African stringed instruments are variations on guitars. Homemade or locally made instruments are subject to many variations due to limitations on available materials, knowledge, and money.
Could be a variation on an Oud too, Ouds come with and without frets. Tied frets would seem to go with ancient styled instruments, lots of possibilities here.
Oud/guitar are likely good starting points for figuring out what kind of strings to use. You might want to think about using low tension strings since instruments like that can tend to make use of light weight/fragile construction techniques and could be harmed by modern high tension strings. Gut doesn't mean low tension either so that won't unnecessarily be an automatic solution, modern nylon might be better.
Too bad about not being able to get a picture of it even if it wasn't your own picture... could tell you more... maybe ;D
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Offline fidla

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Re: tambora
« Reply #8 on: Nov 22, 2007, 05:42:36 PM »
is that what that is?  I've seen one or two at a local session periodically...I thought it was a long-necked bouzouki

Offline soundboot

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Re: tambora
« Reply #9 on: Jan 31, 2008, 04:05:41 PM »
Sounds like it could be a Saz from Turkey.

Offline patheslip

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Re: tambora
« Reply #10 on: Feb 01, 2008, 05:13:27 PM »
The frets are gut and not spaced as a western instrument.

I've not heard of a Saz. I'll look it up.

Thanks for all the ideas, apart from the strange references to foreign food. >:D

Offline patheslip

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Re: tambora
« Reply #11 on: Feb 01, 2008, 05:23:28 PM »
I've checked via google images.  It's a saz, not a tambora.

Thanks guys, now to learn to string, tune and learn to play it. see you next week, month, year, decade or so.

Offline beeswing

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Re: tambora
« Reply #12 on: Feb 01, 2008, 05:57:04 PM »
If the soundhole is at the tail, very likely it's a saz or one of its cousins.
I want to be a musician when I grow up.
Sorry, son, you can't do both.

 




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