Saturday, 26 June 2010

What's with the weird frets?

This lute-like round-backed instrument is an interesting one (the seller suggests it may be called a "prim").

Obviously it has a few parts missing such as the bridge and tailpiece, and it isn't strung up, but it appears it would be a 4-string instrument.

What is rather intriguing is the bizarre arrangement of the frets. Does anyone out there know how this would be tuned and/or played?

Thanks to David Brown for bringing this instrument to my attention.

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 9th year!


  1. The frets are, I believe, in an eastern European 'fargas' or 'farkas' scale, which was commonly used on all Tamburitza instruments until the 20th century, when the western chromatic frets became more popular.

  2. I've seen dulcimers with half-frets like that. In that case the frets would be for the melody strings, but not needed for the drone strings.

  3. both string pairs s are tuned to the same pitch

  4. Both pairs of strings are tuned to the same pitch in that system.



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