Special offer for the 165th birthday of
Jeudakim Ramanau —
a replica of Belarusan gusli from the collection of famous Belarusan scientist
9-stringed wing-shaped gusli
(available, you can take them right now)
Contact the maker and buy the instrument
Wing-shaped gusli [gusli with a wing element] is one of the most common types of traditional gusli in Latvia and Russia, can be found in Estonia,
and it is also the only traditional type of gusli in Belarus. Although the tradition of playing the gusli in Belarus was interrupted,
the instruments played by Belarusians can be found in museums and essays by ethnographers from early 20th century.
Jeudakim Ramanau wrote about the original instrument these words:
"Gusli of triangular shape from a thick alder plank, that are hollowed out under the strings.
This deepening is covered by the resonator board with five drilled holes, the length is 14 viershoks
(61.6 cm; 24.25 in), width 5,5 viershoks (24.2 sm; 9.53 in). The strings are metal, 9 ones, tensed by
pegs. Should be plucked with fingers for playing. Gusli was a musical instrument belowed by
priesthood, landlords, and gentry. Now they are going out of use. The obtained exemplar
built primitive... According to story, it is about 100 years old (from Sweeden times — 1703—1708 )".
Spruce, alder and
pine are the most traditional materials for gusli bodies of all types and kinds. First gusli I ever held in my hands was from spruce.
Spruce gusli sounds bright and warm. Pleasant middle tones close to human voice in their sound are rised.
Spruce instruments are lightweight, with beautiful wooden texture.
Coating: wood stain and waxing.
Spruce is the most tratidion wood for soundboards.
The correct selection of musical qualities of a specific soundboard made from spruce
and adherence to technology when glued — allows the instrument to expand timbre,
adds warmth to the sound. And also the loudness of the instrument directly depends on a good soundboard.
Cherry, as the most European garden trees is a good matirial for the pegs. Cherrywood is hard enough, unevenly colored, with a beautiful texture, and a slight red tinge.
Strings: plain steel strings, hard tension.
Metal strings could have been already installed on the gusli of the 11th century,
and are most satisfying for a modern musician.
The tickness of the strings range is 0.022" да 0.012".
The tuning is: d-e-g-a-b-c-d-e-f. The 9th string can be retuned into g. And then we will get the tuning without septa (the tuning described in ealy 20th century by Nikolaj Privalov),
that is really good for Belarusan folk dances and tunes. A hard tension makes the sound of the instument very high and piercing.
This gusli in good for sessions with Belarusan bagpipes in G major and A minor tuning.
The variant of strings and tuning that I propose is the best for this gusli type.