Folk & Acoustic Musical Instrument Specialists













Balalaika Information and FAQs



DEFINITION


Lute-type; triangle shape; national instrument of Russia. Really a family of instruments, including Piccolo, Prima, Secunda, Alto, Bass and Contra-bass.

INTRODUCTION


The Balalaika is a triangular bowl backed lute from Russia. The Balalaika is a family of instruments, the soprano one here is the lead instrument. The family includes six sizes of instrument; Piccolo, Prima, Sekunda, Alto. Bass and Contrabass- the Prima being the most common. They are either 3 string EAA or six string DAE. Sometimes strung with 2 nylon As and a 0.10 plain steel E

FURTHER INFORMATION

   Back to Top
Russia and many other Slavic speaking countries, Turkey and those in Europe once ruled by Turkey use instruments with similar tunings. Russian Domra, Croatian Brac, Baglama, Saz and many more.

TUNINGS AND FINGERING

   Back to Top
The Balalaika usually has 3 strings tuned E-E-A. Although this is the "classic" tuning, some players tune G-B-D, the same as the top three strings of a Russian Guitar, or E-A-D, like the Domra- A similar Russian instrument. Prior to the developments made by Vasily Vasilievich Andreyev (a 19th century Russian musician) Balalaika players used a "folk" tuning; D-F#-A, and it is likely that other tunings existed as well. Nowdays, although all of these tunings have been or are in use, it is generally agreed that E-E-A is the standard tuning for the Prima Balalaika.