I know it not a cbg (and a bit communist) but I found a balalaika (Russian guitar)in a local charity shop that need a little TLC. Being curious with the look, 3 strings, new tuning and the refurbishment it needs I bought it.

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It is meant to be tuned as E3 , E3 and A4, but this one the tuners are stuck and someone has use steel instead of nylon/cat gut.

Great find!  What's that tuning, tho.  I don't understand. EEa?

Great! Now you can move to the Washington, DC area and join this group!

Apparently there are 2 strings that are tuned to the same tone, typically strings 1 and 2 tuned to E in the 3 octave and the 3rd string is tuned to A in the 4 octave (5 semitones up) between middle C and high C,or as Keni Lee would explain and 1, 1 and 4 on the major scale . if that helps explain it.

Diane in Chicago said:

Great find!  What's that tuning, tho.  I don't understand. EEa?

Used to be the club we hung out at featured The Gravois Gypsies, which consisted primarily of the club owner (Frank Moskus, now departed) and Tommy Kellum, a balilaika player of considerable renown here in the Midwest.  Tommy led a Tamburitza orchestra for the local Serbo-Croatian society and was pretty well known.

He could play, too!

There is a whole family of such instruments common to middle Europe and Russia, much like the related mandolin they came in all sizes from tiny tenor instruments to big bass-type jobs

 

My one is a Prima Balalaika and is the common tenor one there is a higher one but this is quite rare. I have seen the larger bass Balalaikas  and they are hugh.

After looking at my one it need quite a bit of work. The body lacquer needs attention which I expected but it looks like the string tuners need replacing. I am not sure where I am going to get one of them from at the moment. 

The third photo attachment shows the wire strings cutting into the transom & soundboard. A small piece of metal around this corner should prevent the wires from cutting into the wood. Nice buy, never the less.

-Rand.

Oh, absolutely cool find. What did it cost you, If I may ask?

It looks like some tuner repair/salvage, (The long stems on the knob side are unusual.) and fresh strings, and the previously mentioned "saddle" modification to the tail, and you have a nice playable instrument!

BTW, I dont think I would laquer it or anything like that, maybe just clean it up. Common acoustic guitar type maint. products. Maybe a little lemon oil rub on the fingerboard before stringing it up. Keep it natural.

good find

i got one i need to string it

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