Just bought my first saz

topic posted Mon, January 7, 2008 - 9:45 AM by  Mark
hey everyone. I am to this tribe and brand new to the saz. Any pointers on where to get some good instructional material/resources (in English) would be great.

Step one...tune it. Is it correct that G-D-A is the standard tuning now days? If I am not mistaken, the G is doubled with the G below middle C and one octave up. The rest are all set to the same note ( 2 D's and 3 A's). Is that correct?

thanks for the help!

posted by:
  • Re: Just bought my first saz

    Tue, January 8, 2008 - 6:44 AM
    Hi Mark and welcome!

    You didn't say if your saz is a shortneck or longneck. The shortneck will generally
    have 19 frets, the longneck 23.

    Longneck tuning (one of many, probably the most prevalent) is GDA, also known
    as Bozuk or Kara or "black" tuning. Most players tune up at least a whole step
    to AEB but not necessarily. You will see longneck referred to as "uzun sap"

    Shortneck tuning (again one of many, but the most prevalent ) is EDA, also known
    as 'baglama tuning". Shortneck is referred to as "kisa sap".
    • Re: Just bought my first saz

      Tue, January 8, 2008 - 9:14 AM
      I believe it is a long neck, although I am not at home to check.

      Out of curiosity, if the standard tuning is GDA, why would most folks tend to tune up a step?
      • Unsu...

        Re: Just bought my first saz

        Tue, January 8, 2008 - 9:21 AM
        For my part, the additional tension improves the action and reduces the buzziness. However, GDA works well for playing in an ensemble with other instruments playing in most common makamlar (those based in C & D). Some tunes I play in E, F and G, and for those I have begun using a capo. Banjo/mandolin capos work pretty well on the saz.
        • Re: Just bought my first saz

          Tue, January 8, 2008 - 3:55 PM
          as it turns out, I have 19 frets. By your standards, this would be a short neck saz. I've got it tuned to EDA at the moment, so I'll give it a try and see how it feels. I may end up taking it up to G to see the difference. thanks for the suggestions
      • Re: Just bought my first saz

        Fri, January 18, 2008 - 3:37 PM
        As Jerry says: down at G the long neck strings are very loose - so more tension gives you a little more control.

        The Turkish guys I've met all seem very casual about what the tonic of the tuning is... but obviously you have to agree if you are playing with others; and if you want all the extra frets in the convenient places for the non-western modes then that is an additional complication (it makes using a capo more challenging). For the keys/modes and tonics that seem common on other instruments: GDA(long neck) or CGD(short neck) seem to be the most versatile and that is why they are probably "standard".

        Traditionally (or so I've been told) the saz was more "bardic" instrument than "ensemble" - so the player-singer would have just tuned it to wherever was comfortable for their vocal range.
  • Re: Just bought my first saz

    Sat, January 19, 2008 - 8:43 PM

    can some one have a look at my saz and help me how to tune this thing!!!

    • Unsu...

      Re: Just bought my first saz

      Sat, January 19, 2008 - 10:27 PM
      Hi Denize,

      You have a short-neck (kisa sap) baglama saz. You can use a lot of different tunings. One of the most popular is Cc GG Ddd. That would be the low course (closest to your face when holding it in playing position) would have the wound string tuned to C and the next one (in the same course) tuned an octave above that. The middle two strings tuned to G above the C in unision and the last course to D for the closest, wound string, and the last two an octave above that (dd)

      Next, you need to check the spacing of the frets to make sure that when you fret strings you are getting the desired note on pitch. You'll want to make sure that the spacing includes B half-flat, E half-flat and F half-sharp. Those are the most important notes for playing most common makamlar (maqamat). I find that the easiest way to tune is using a chromatic electronic tuner. For the half-flats position the fret where it will give you a note that causes the tuner's needle or indicator lights to bounce back and forth between the flat and the natural. Or, find a friendly oud player and tune to them!

      One other piece of advice, go to a shop that sells violins and such (unless you have a middle eastern music store nearby) and get some peg dope. Apply it carefully and evenly to the section of the tuning pegs that fits in the holes. It makes the pegs turn more smoothly but also stay in place. Be careful not to apply too much though, you don't want to make the pegs too slippery!

      That should get you started.

      • Re: Just bought my first saz

        Sun, January 20, 2008 - 8:30 AM
        ok thanks so much Jerry for your help!!! I should have asked before thinking that i could tune it myself.... but silly me I popped a string while tuning:(..... do you where i can get an extra pair of strings for my type of baglama?

        • Unsu...

          Re: Just bought my first saz

          Sun, January 20, 2008 - 8:40 AM
          You will have to go online. They come in sets and I would suggest ordering at least a couple of sets at a time. Mid East Manufacturing, Lark in the Morning, Touch the Earth, and Just Strings all sell them.

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