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date: 13 November 2019


  • David Morton
  • , revised by Terry E. Miller


A generic term for fiddles of Thailand, all of which are spike fiddles. The saw sam sai, similar to the two-stringed Indonesian and Malaysian rebab, is a three-string, unfretted spike fiddle. It has been in use at least since the mid-14th century. Its body is made of half of a special type of coconut shell in the shape of a rounded inverted triangle with three bulges on the back. The open part of the shell is covered with goat- or calfskin. The total length of the instrument is 100 to 125 cm, depending on the size of the shell. The neck, of hardwood or ivory, passes through the soundbox, ending in a long spike (about 30 cm) that rests on the ground. Both ends of the neck are hollow and have holes through which the strings emerge to pass over the soundbox. The strings, of gut, are fastened to tuning pegs 14 to 15 cm long, two to the player’s left and one to his right. A bridge, usually of wood, rests under the strings near the top of the soundbox. An important feature of the ...

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