Turkish Cumbus For ITM?

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TD997
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Turkish Cumbus For ITM?

Post by TD997 »

Does anyone play the Turkish Cumbus? i bought a standard 12 string fretless model on a whim, but i find it to be quite suitable for irish tunes! its very easy to play in the keys of D and G in its standard tuning (ABEADG). ADEADG is another tuning that might be well suited for it, though i havent messed around with that tuning much. The Cumbus is quite affordable (200-300ish USD) so I'd love to see more people playing it, especially in ITM!
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Re: Turkish Cumbus For ITM?

Post by PB+J »

fretless AND double coursed? That's an intonation/tuning disaster waiting to happen.
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Re: Turkish Cumbus For ITM?

Post by benhall.1 »

I don't remember hearing about this instrument before. I just watched The Hollies playing Stop! Stop! Stop! Fretted, but recognisably the same instrument. I wonder where they got the idea for using that from?
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Re: Turkish Cumbus For ITM?

Post by Nanohedron »

benhall.1 wrote:I don't remember hearing about this instrument before. I just watched The Hollies playing Stop! Stop! Stop! Fretted, but recognisably the same instrument. I wonder where they got the idea for using that from?
Looking at the vid of the Hollies, Ben, I have to disagree and say that that isn't a cümbüş. Rather, it's a 5-string banjo amped to alter the tone for special, "groovier" effect. Wiki says it's a cümbüş, but it's clearly not. Bad Wiki.

In comparison to any banjo, the cümbüş has a much deeper resonator - not unlike a cooking pot - and I am under the impression that this is a consistent feature in cümbüş construction, whereas banjo resonators are comparatively shallow, and optional. Cümbüş resonators are typically made of spun metal, but sometimes wood, too. Also, the skin of the head is held down differently from a banjo: on a cümbüş the metal rim covers a fraction of the head around the edge, whereas on a modern banjo it typically does not, or at least to that degree if at all.

The cümbüş was invented in the 1930s as an informal alternative to the Turkish oud. I first learned about them from Lark In The Morning catalogs, back before the internet made such publishing effectively obsolete. I don't remember which version LITM offered at the time, but the fretless, six double courses form is the standard, and the idea has expanded from there to variants derived from fretted instruments such as the saz, mandolin and ukelele, with all versions superficially resembling a banjo in front. One version is even played with a bow.

FWIW, "cümbüş" is pronounced "jümbüsh", the ü being the same as in German (English speakers could probably get by with "Jim Bush" :wink: ). It means something akin to "fun" or "revelry". It's also the original inventor's surname which, given the meaning, is rather interesting.
PB+J wrote:fretless AND double coursed? That's an intonation/tuning disaster waiting to happen.
You can always say you're using the Middle Eastern 24-tone scale when your fingering goes awry. :wink:
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