Category: stringed instruments

stringed instruments

Grandpa Banana and his Five String Tenor-Guitar by Corrado…

Recently I have downloaded the song Old Woman by Grandpa Banana from the Acoustic Oasis website – one of the free daily Acoustic Oasis downloads. When I listened to this song I liked it immediately and I had to search for information about this artist.

You can find some information about Grandpa Banana on the Acoustic Oasis website, but more interesting is the interview he gave to Mandolin Cafe last year.

Mandolin Cafe interview – 10 Questions for Lowell Levinger:

I think it was the sound of Grandpa Bananas five string tenor-guitar made by Corrado Giacomel that impressed me immediately. Grandpa Banana played the first Giacomel mandolin when David Grisman had just brought it with him from a trip to Italy. Grandpa Banana was impressed by the sound of this instrument and bought his own mandolin and a mandola that he has converted to a five string tenor-guitar.  In the Mandolin Cafe interview you can read about his favorite instruments:

I guess my favorite one right now has to be my Giacomel J-5. Dawg introduced me to the Giacomel when he returned from Italy with his first one and I was blown away. After playing it as his house (and then hearing him play it in concert and on record!) I couldn’t resist. Now it’s the mandolin that sounds best when I play it. I also have a Giacomel octave mandolin that I have converted to a 5 string tenor guitar (all it took was replacing the bridge top and the nut) – it is also one of my very favorite instruments.

In the following video you can see and hear Grandpa Banana with his five string tenor-guitar by Giacomel:

Grandpa Banana 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

More video clips with Grandpa Banana:

Playlist Grandpa Banana

Additional Information

youtube channel Grandpa Banana:

Used instruments sold by Grandpa Banana: Players Vintage Instruments

Pictures of the Giacomel instrumens owned by Grandpa Banana:

Homepage Grandpa Banana: Grandpa Banana

Acoustic Oasis – Grandpa Banana – Just Trying To Break Even:

Homepage Corrado Giacomel:

Giacomel instruments sold in the USA by David Grisman:

Grandpa Banana – Even Grandpas Get The Blues

stringed instruments

Music from Persia – The Homay and Mastan Ensemble

When I searched for videos of the Persian Tar I have found a set of interesting videos by the Homay and Mastan Ensemble, a Persian Ensemble that plays the different Persian instruments. Those videos are very interesting and show the different Persian instruments and the Persian music very well.

This is my playlist of the Homay and Mastan Ensemble:

Another playlist with the Homay and Mastan Ensemble:

Addtional Informationen


Wikipedia about the Mastan Ensemble:

Videos at

stringed instruments

The Tar – An Important Long Neck Lute from…

If you need a break from the holiday music at the moment, maybe it is a good idea to listen to some music of a completely different culture.

I have collected some videos with an instrument that is used in Persia, Azerbaijan and Armenia – the tar. There are many more interesting videos, including some lessons on how to play the tar. You can use the youtube search links I have added at the end to find more!

In the Atlas of Plucked Instruments we can find the basic information about the tar:

The body of the Azeri tar has a double-bowl (figure-of-eight) shape, carved from one piece of mulberry wood. It lacks the slanting sides of the Iranian tar, and the top half is rounded. The front is a thin membrane of stretched bladder.

The neck is glued to the body (which has a strengthening stick through it) and a separate (quite large) square pegbox. The friction pegs (with big round knobs) are on both sides of the open pegbox. The frets are tied-on nylon (4 windings), with some in 1/4 note intervals (based on 17 intervals in an octave). These fret intervals differ from the Iranian tar.

Ramiz Guliyev – Tar

Ramiz Guliyev playing “Tar ” Azerbaijan’s national instrument

“Eshkhemet” – Sayat Nova by the virtuoso Tar-Player Rafik – Rafael Vardanyan Հայաստան

“Eshkhemet” – Sayat Nova by the virtuoso Tar-Player Rafik Rafael Vardanyan – prize winner of “Best Armenian Tar-Player” in Armenia.

Sahba Motallebi – Tar Improvisation

Sahba Motallei was born in 1978 in Tehran, Iran, and started playing traditional Persian music very early on. she is a graduate of Tehran Conservatory where she mastered playing Tar and Setar (traditional Persian instruments) under the instructions of master Fariborz Azizi.
She further enhanced her performance of the renowned capabilities by enjoying the direct guidance of the renowned master of traditional Persian music, Hossein alizadeh, and the respected music theoretician, Dr Mehran Rouhani. She continued her formal music studies in composition at St Petersburgh Conservatory, Russia. Sahba has recorded several CDs and composed numerous theatrical peaces. For more information on Sahba’s work please visit

Finally another solo on the tar played by Sahba Motallebi

Solo Tar – Sahba

Sahba Motallebi playing solo tar.

Additional information

Atlas of Plucked Instruments:

Wikipedia about the lute tar:

More videos with Armenian tar:

More videos with a persian tar:

Youtube channel of Sahba Motallebi:

Persian instruments / download free Persian music:

The Tar School:

stringed instruments

The Grupo Ayate – Joyfull Plucked Strings from the…

During the last days I have watched many videos with music of the Canary Islands – Gran Canaria or Tenerife. On the Canary Islands they have a tradition of mixed ensembles with plucked instruments – guitar, bandurria, laud and the typical instrument named timple. In most cases the ensemble is used to accompany one or more singers, and not for pure instrumental music like it is typical for the German mandolin orchestras.

Very often the music is joyfull, the players and the audience enjoy the music very much. Some of the pieces reminded me to the music that is played in Venezuela that is based on the same tradition as this music on the Canary Islands.

Have fun with the Grupo Ayate!

El burro de orejas largas grupo ayate

villancico en directo del grupo ayate en navidad fue uno de los programas mas visto en canarias diciembre 09

Polkas.parranda el peral

polkas de la escuela de folklore de los paperos y grupo ayate actuacion en directo cantan varios


There is one video in the youtube channel of the Grupo Ayate of a piece for the 5-string timple of the Canary Islands and guitar. I have already watched many videos with music played by a timple and I have planned to write one of my next post especially about the timple of the Canary Islands.


actuacion de abraham ramos y gamaliel alonso

Additional information

youtube channel of the Grupo Ayate

Information about the instruments of Gran Canaria

Atlas of plucked Instruments with some information about the timple and other Spanish instruments: