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Tamburitzas

Tamburitzas

by Nick Hayden

Originally published as Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #18, 1975



This is a run down on the Tamburitza family. This instrument came first from Yugoslavia, mostly from Croatia. In the past 25 years there has been hundreds of children’s junior groups formed in the U.S., from New York to California. Most of the Tamburitzas are made in this country by men like me. Some people order from Europe, but those are factory made.

There is a university here in Pittsburg which has had a Tamburitza group for over 30 years. They travel all over the world.

I know they travel out your way to perform, so watch the paper, and you can see them.

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The Portuguese Guitarra: A Modern Cittern

The Portuguese Guitarra: A Modern Cittern

by Ronald Louis Fernández

Originally published in American Lutherie #27, 1991 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004



In Portugal, the word guitarra refers to a present-day cittern similar in appearance to and directly derived from the 18th-century English guitar. This instrument, typically accompanied by a Spanish-type guitar called viola or violão in Portuguese, is used in performing musical variations and in accompanying the fado, an urban Portuguese song form. Consequently, it is also known in Portuguese as the guitarra de fado.

While these instruments are not abundant in North America, luthiers do encounter them here, especially where Portuguese fishermen have come ashore or emigrants have settled — New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts; the Hawaiian Islands; Providence, Rhode Island; San Diego, San Jose, Tulare, Visalia, Artesia, and Chino, California; Newark, New Jersey; Seattle, Washington; Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Commercial Graphite Acoustic Guitars

Commercial Graphite Acoustic Guitars

by John A. Decker, Jr.

Originally published in American Lutherie #31, 1992 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume Three, 2004



Why would anyone want to build an acoustic guitar of graphite? The primary reason is that wooden acoustic guitars (particularly good ones) are fragile. They are especially prone to cracking, warping, and joint separation due to heat, humidity, and water. Graphite/epoxy technology — properly employed, which isn’t easy — can maintain the sound quality of a wooden guitar while completely removing its susceptibility to heat and moisture.

During the past seven years Kuau Technology has been working with luthiers at the firm of Pimentel & Sons, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the development of acoustic guitar technology employing fiber-reinforced resins, particularly graphite/epoxy. Our approach has been to duplicate as closely as possible, panel by panel, the acoustic properties of fine wooden classical guitars, rather than attempt to reinvent the guitar de nova. This work has resulted in the development of the RainSong® Graphite Acoustic Guitars,* which we believe to be the first commercially available all-graphite acoustic guitars.

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It’s a Kabosy

It’s a Kabosy

by Paul Hostetter

Originally published in American Lutherie #35, 1993 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004



Madagascar is a huge island about the size of Washington, Oregon, and California combined. Situated 180° around the earth in any direction from these three states, this single-language country lies in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. I shall probably recount more about music from Madagascar than about construction details of this delightful little instrument for this simple reason: the kabosy’s musical raison d’être exceeds in interest the technical complexity of the instrument itself. Nonetheless, it’s worth a long look because, like most things Malagasy, there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else.

Despite obvious superficial appearances, Malagasy culture is not particularly African at all, but is an extraordinary mélange of Polynesian, Southeast Asian, Arabic, African, and, more recently, European influences. (Madagascar was a French colony until 1972.) Like the legendary flora and fauna of that far-away island, Malagasy culture and music bear but a passing resemblance to culture elsewhere on the planet. Fortunately there are numerous recordings now available of just about every stripe of this remarkable musical culture. A discography follows.

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6-Course Ivory Lute labeled Magno dieffopruchar a venetia, ca. 1550 in the collection of J. & A. Beare Ltd.

6-Course Ivory Lute labeled Magno dieffopruchar a venetia, ca. 1550 in the collection of J. & A. Beare Ltd.

by Ken Sribnick and Gayle Miller

Originally published in American Lutherie #32, 1992 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004

see also,
Ivory Lute: Picture This by Ken Sribnick and Gayle Miller
Ivory Lute: Questions Remain by Robert Lundberg

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This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page.

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