The Guembri – A Three Stringed Skin-covered Bass Plucked Lute Used by the Gnawa People – Morocco

The  guembri is a 3-stringed plucked instrument which is beeing played by the Gnawa people in Morocco and North-Africa. The playing technique is similar to the clawhammer style used with the American banjo. One of the 3 strings of the guembri is shorter and is used as a drone – this is another similarity to the American banjo.

The lower string is plucked with the thumb, the higher strings are plucked with the finger nail of the middle and index finger. The guembri is at the same time used like a drum, by hitting the leather-head of the instrument with the right hand. Very often little bells or metal rings are attached to the instrument to produce additional sound effects.

Playliste Guembri

At the end of the playlist you can find some instructional videos for playing the guembri.

A concert with music from Morocco:

Gnawa and Moroccan Mystical Musics at UCLA

Additional Information

Sintir (or Guembri) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The sintir (Arabic: سنتير‎), also known as the Guembri (Arabic: الكمبري‎), Gimbri or Hejhouj, is a three stringed skin-covered bass plucked lute used by the Gnawa people. It is approximately the size of a guitar, with a body carved from a log and covered on the playing side with camel skin. The camel skin has the same acoustic function as the membrane on a banjo. The neck is a simple stick with one short and two long goat strings that produce a percussive sound similar to a pizzicato cello or double bass.

Atlas of Plucked Instruments – Africa

Videos with tag “guembri” at vimeo

Guembri-Musik at

Instruments du monde

hajhouj in the Musical Instruments Museum

pictures of the making of a Guembri

If you are registerd tumblr user you can try the search for “guembri” at tumblr:

Suche “guembri” bei tumblr

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