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Building a Bulgarian Tambura   You are logged in as Guest
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estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

Building a Bulgarian Tambura 

I'm at the beginning of a commission for a Bulgarian instrument called a Tambura.
I'll show it as I build it, this will be fun.
This is especially interesting to me now because I have been reading about Bela Bartok collecting folk music from Eastern Europe in the early twentieth century.

A few pictures now and I'll update it as I carve more, the form will be revealed.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2011 19:44:34
 
estebanana

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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

The body is made of planks of Cherry glued together. The neck is integral to the body.

This instrument has four double courses of steel strings, and a solid carved out body with a spruce top. More later...I'll answer any questions if I can.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2011 19:48:10
 
estebanana

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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

An afternoon of mallet and gouge work really clears the mind.

I was thinking about how Carl Jung wrote that he used to cut stone and carve stone when he was on holiday. Glad these things are not made of stone.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 28 2011 23:20:03
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Really interesting, I've never seen one before, I think I'll skip the google search and just watch and wait for it to take shape here.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 0:53:46
 
KMMI77

Posts: 1821
Joined: Jul. 26 2009
From: The land down under

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Looking good!

quote:

The neck is integral to the body.


does that mean that the centre piece of the body is one long continuous solid piece including the neck?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 9:18:28
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to KMMI77

quote:

does that mean that the centre piece of the body is one long continuous solid piece including the neck?


Yes, that will soon become evident.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 19:09:35
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3309
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Stephen,

I will be interested in following your progress in building the Bulgarian tambura. Many years ago (1974-1976) I was posted to the American Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria as a young Foreign Service Officer. It was my first assignment after entering the U.S. Foreign Service, and to make matters more interesting, it was at the height of the Cold War, with a hard-line, totalitarian communist government in charge and Todor Zhivkov at its head. The American, British, West German, French, and other Western diplomatic missions were deliberately kept isolated from the Bulgarian people by their own government. We dare not have casually approached ordinary Bulgarian citizens, since to have done so would have put them in danger of the "midnight knock on the door" from the Bulgarian secret police. All inter-action with Bulgarians had to be carefully choreographed. If you have ever read the British espionage novelist Eric Ambler, particularly his book "Judgment on Deltchev," you will have a good idea of how it was.

Your order to build a tambura revived pleasant memories of the instrument and Bulgarian music. Although the communist government of Bulgaria discouraged any experimental music, opera, theater, and other arts, it did underwrite traditional culture. I particularly remember a visit to the town of Koprivshtitsa, located due east of Sofia, in which there were well-preserved, traditional Bulgarian houses and buildings, as well as musicians. I remember sitting for a couple of hours in a traditional cafe, drinking good Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon (which was very good indeed!), and listening to a Bulgarian group play traditional music in which the tambura played the main role. Very good music, and for a moment one could forget that one was living in what amounted to a prison for most Bulgarians. Of course, all that has changed now. I hope, though, that there are still musical groups playing the tambura, and that Bulgarian society has not been overtaken by "rap" and "hip hop."

Cheers,

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 22:35:52
 
Escribano

Posts: 6322
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Tulgarian Bambura has a nicer ring to it

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 22:49:47
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Bambura, is that an obscure flamenco palo?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 23:55:10
 
odinz

Posts: 407
Joined: May 26 2010
From: Sarpsborg,Norway

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Nice, it will be interesting to see what happens next!

carving stuff is so fun, i love it too, uaually just patterns and designs that arent used on anything though



I hope you are going to show us what it sounds like as well man!

Looks really fun, im waiting in pain

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 30 2011 0:08:33
 
Gimar Yestra

 

Posts: 298
Joined: Jan. 19 2011
From: The Netherlands

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

cool project, so many unknown instruments (to me).
cant wait to see more pictures :D

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 30 2011 9:23:46
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Here's the Update on my Tulgarian Bambura, which sounds very Game of Thrones-ish.

Just a needs fingerboard and some set up.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 0:09:09
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

And zee backside.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 0:16:03
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

I did not have the faintest idea how to officially brace a Tulgarian Lute so I pulled this out of my head:
It's little bit mando, a little bit flamenco, and a bit of who knows what....hope it works!



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 0:24:01
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2556
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Dude! To start off with a body of planks and then start carving and shaping to end up with that is true art my friend. It's looking good. Can't wait to see the end result. I'm not familiar with this instrument but I love "ethnic" instruments. Right now I'm digging the Portuguese guitar. May attempt to build one later on down the line. Excellent work.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 0:26:19
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Thank god. something interesting.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 1:32:22
 
HemeolaMan

Posts: 1514
Joined: Jul. 13 2007
From: Chicago

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

I like the streaks in that spruce.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 1:36:34
 
erictjie

 

Posts: 163
Joined: Apr. 11 2011
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

How bout building a beautiful charango too?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 9:56:21
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to TANúñez

Portuguese guitars are the stiffest string instruments that Ive ever played. They're also prone to crack if you're not careful with humidity changes.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 12:06:09
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2556
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to erictjie

quote:

How bout building a beautiful charango too?


I second this!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 13:43:32
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2556
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to Sr. Martins

quote:

Portuguese guitars are the stiffest string instruments that Ive ever played. They're also prone to crack if you're not careful with humidity changes.


I love the sound that comes out of these things. Been searching for some good Fado to listen to.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 13:46:15
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Usually those guitars sound too shrill to my ears, like mandolin but worse.

There's some "fusion" fado that I much prefer, see if you dig this:

http://youtu.be/rzOQ7QrUFuM
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 14:52:29
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2556
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to Sr. Martins

That was very good. I liked it. What instrument is that? looks like a cross between guitar and portuguese guitar.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 17:24:18
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3077
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

It was custom made by a portuguese luthier. Its a cross between classical/flamenco/portuguese guitar.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 17:49:41
 
Estevan

Posts: 1891
Joined: Dec. 20 2006
From: Torontolucía

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Wow that looks beautiful Estebananov. Back in ancient history (not quite as ancient as Bill's) I played one for a school year in two groups, one Bulgarian and the other Macedonian. The instrument I had was a standard Bulgarian factory job and not nearly as nice as yours.

Here's what they sound like in one typical context - playing melodically, the principle is like Appalachian dulcimer, playing the melody by running up and down the top string, with the others as drones:



The gent on the gaida (bagpipes) in this clip was our artist-in-residence for that year, it was a real treat playing with him. At 1:06 they get out the tamburas to accompany a song with the typical harmonies of what has become the modern 'tradition'.



In the faster dance-band pieces it's just a matter of bashing out the rhythm - what the guy with the mandolin is doing here. Apart from the fact that he should be playing a tambura - and didn't know he could get one from you - , they do a good job:



Some nice solo work:



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 5 2012 19:47:52
 
RTC

Posts: 667
Joined: Aug. 20 2008
From: DFW Area, Texas

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to Estevan

Estevan:
Thanks for posting, I was not familiar with this instrument so know I get it.


Stephen:
Like always great work.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2012 19:00:59
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Its a very interesting build. And a great change from building all those guitars.

I want strange commissions to.
I would like to build and own one of each in the mandolin family. And I will start building a violin very soon. I need one.

Estevan. Great videos there. Thanks. I really like that bagpipe singing video.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2012 7:39:08
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

So here is how it tuned out. Still tweaking the action and figuring out which string gauges are best, but pretty much ready for pick up this week.

Curious sound, banjoie/oudie like but woody. A lot like those tamburas in the videos Estevan posted.





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 18:32:38
 
estebanana

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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

Its cute little Cherry wood backside.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 18:35:56
 
estebanana

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RE: Building a Bulgarian Tambura (in reply to estebanana

My advice if you ever make one of these, X brace the top. I will if I make another one.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 18:38:42
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