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Thread: Just purchased Balalaika

  1. #1

    Default Just purchased Balalaika

    I purchased a Balalaika at an estate sale the other day. I didn't know what it was exactly but thought it looked pretty neat. I'm trying to find out who the maker is and what I have basically. it says 1976 on the inside and has a lot of Russian writing. It also has a emblem kind of like a octagon with 4 points inside of it and the letters CCCP. Any help in identifying what I have would be greatly appreciated. I have been listening to videos of people playing these and I am blown away. love this instrument. Thanks

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    It is probably made at the Lunacharsky factory in St. Petersburg/Leningrad. I have one from the 1960s, they made mandolins and other assorted instruments as well, and luckily usually stamped year of manufacture. Is your strung with all steel or a combo of steel and nylon? I used a Roosebeck string set with the steel/nylon combo, once the steel A string wore out though I bought an equivalent gauge single Elixir string from www.JustStrings.com

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  5. #3

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Its a combo 1 steel and 2 nylon. I really didn't know anything about these and now that I have been researching I love the music played with them amazing

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  7. #4
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    CCCP = SSSR (Soviet era). Can you post a photo of the label or any other branding. There are some of us here who can at least read the Russian alphabet.
    Jim

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  9. #5

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Here is a history of the Lunacharsky factory that is interesting reading, scroll down halfway if you don't read Russian: http://www.bostonbalalaika.com/lunac...toriya_ru.html Boston Balalaika is a good general resource for balalaika playing as well.

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  11. #6

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Let me see what I can do. Its tough because its on the inside of course. Thanks

  12. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Russian built instruments were built in government run factories to government specifications. One of the items on that label will be the specification number for the instrument. I'ts kind of hard for most of us to understand. I work with a young Russian lady that generally translates the labels for me when I run into them.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  14. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Quote Originally Posted by Seter View Post
    I used a Roosebeck string set with the steel/nylon combo, once the steel A string wore out though I bought an equivalent gauge single Elixir string from www.JustStrings.com
    Quote Originally Posted by grm View Post
    Its a combo 1 steel and 2 nylon. I really didn't know anything about these and now that I have been researching I love the music played with them amazing
    You can use a .010 inch plain loop end steel string for the high A, and for the 2 E's, use a classical guitar G.

    If you search the net there are a number of good free balalaika method books.

    I love the instrument.

    OP? does your have the full length fingerboard?

  15. #9
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Domra adds that 4th string..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  17. #10
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Domra adds that 4th string..
    And different tunings.

    Prima balalaika is tune EEA, a unison and a 4th.

    3 string domras are tuned in 4ths

    4 string domras are tuned in 5ths

  18. #11

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Quote Originally Posted by grm View Post
    Its a combo 1 steel and 2 nylon. I really didn't know anything about these and now that I have been researching I love the music played with them amazing
    Can you maybe help me?

  19. #12
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Deb70: what kind of help are you looking for?

    BTW juststrings.com carries two brands of balalaika strings.
    Jim

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  20. #13
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    CCCP = SSSR (Soviet era). Can you post a photo of the label or any other branding. There are some of us here who can at least read the Russian alphabet.
    Typo there. That should be "CCCP means USSR." (Every Canadian of a certain vintage knows that from international hockey tournaments.)
    "It's just music; you can't break it."

    Buffy Ste-Marie on experimenting with your sound.
    "On Reserve", CBC Radio.

  21. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Ranald: I think i was just transliterating the letters not the meaning. That is OK.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
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    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

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    Ranald 

  23. #15

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    I have one. Bought it for $50, thinking I could tune it up and fool with it.

    Wrong. Turns out there are two types of balalaikas: one for musicians, made to be played, and one for tourists, meant to be hung on the wall. The tourist ones look like real instruments but are unplayable. Grr.

    And yes, CCCP was the Soviet Union.

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  25. #16

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb70 View Post
    Can you maybe help me?
    I messaged you on Facebook I have photo of an engraved palate Iím hoping you can help me with. Will you check that out or even feel free to email me atbradshawrdkvs@yahoo.com

  26. #17

    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    https://share.icloud.com/photos/0ui4...BVydvay4yhopLg
    Iím new to this feed and not sure how to post a photo

  27. #18
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    Default Re: Just purchased Balalaika

    Never heard of one until the movie Dr Zhivago came out. Beautiful sound !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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