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5-stringed lyre-shaped gusli "Slovisha"


(sold out, but you can order an instrument with a similar look)

(this one flies to England)

Contact the maker and order an instrument

Lyre-shaped gusli [gusli with a playing window] is the oldest kind of gusli. Two of the earliest archaeological finds of gusli date back to the 10th century (Opole, Poland) and 11th century (Novgorod, Russia). It was that Novgorodian gusli "Slovisha" that served as a source for creating, I'm not afraid to say: a fairly accurate reconstruction, which you can see on the photo. The instrument from Opole is unusually small in size and most probable it's a children's toy, although it accurately repeats all the principles of making lyre-shaped gusli, but yet in miniature. While the Novgorod find has every chance to be called a professional musical instrument for its time. Yes, the gusli "Slovisha" is not the earliest found gusli, but certainly, it is the earliest of the archaeological findings of Baltic psaltery, which will suit even the modern musician to perform with a serious repertoire for a rather critical audience.

Body: spruce.
Spruce is ideal for bodies of lyre-shaped gusli. Due to the unique construction of lyre-shaped gusli, the material of the body must have all the properties that the soundboard in later instruments has. Coating: waxing.

Soundboard: oak.
Oak is the only variant of the wood for the soundboard of lyre-shaped gusli.This is due to the unique design of lyre-shaped gusli, which can be traced in all archaeological finds.

Pegs: maple.
Maple — is interesting as a material for pegs, because of wood-fibres are not accentuated, maple is hard, but in the same time its surface is sotf enough for the pegs to be perfectly adjusted to the conic tuning hole, spin smoothly and hold the pitch perfectly.

Strings: plain steel strings,
light tension, A-key.

Metal strings could have been already installed on the gusli of the 11th century, and are most satisfying for a modern musician. The cross-sections of the strings in this set range from 0.018" to 0.014". This choice of tension and pitch is due to information about the 11th century wire made from an alloy with a high gold content and, as the researchers suggest, the tension of such strings would be relatively weak and the key should be rather low.

Festival bag:
This is a good option for Medieval festival participant. You can pack your gusli to your car in a hardcase, then you can leave a hardcase in a car and walk through the Fair without any modern things. This festival bag do not guarantee a 100% safety of your instrument, but it is a certain security of your beloved gusli. Put an eye to this option, the price is atractive. Undyed cotton or linen outside, soft lining, soft bottom, shoulder strap, ties at the top.

Contact the maker and order an instrument

Alieś Čumakoŭ (Ales Chumakou/Aliaksandr Chumakou). Minsk. 2024.