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The amazing bass balalaika and contrabass balalaikas.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BrandenSteele, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. BrandenSteele


    Nov 25, 2012
    Hello fellow bassists! I come to talk about two amazing bass instruments that are either unheard of or unappreciated in the Western World.

    The Bass Balalaika!
    This is the Russian equivalent to an acoustic bass guitar. This is not me in the picture, it is from a guy from a website selling them
    These beauties are much larger than the alto balalaika but much much smaller than the contrabass balalaika. They can be slapped, and played like a regular bass guitar but have that awesome Russian folk sound.
    They can compete with acoustic guitars in jam sessions and in my experience have overpowered them a bit. They are tuned to EAD but can be tuned to alto-balalaika tuning as well.

    Here is a video of a bass balalaika http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkpBuz5yAL4


    The super duper awesome contrabass balalaika:bassist:
    These are the Russian equivalent to a stand up bass. They are loud, dorito shaped (they do not taste like a dorito, trust me!) and stand out in a music group.
    They are tuned to EAD. I was once in a metal band where I played the contrabass balalaika and tuned it to DAD. It was fun, the eyes were always on my giant dorito bass.

    Here is a video of someone playing the contrabass balalaika: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBT7OFQP1tY
    Here's one more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXw__w-YdAw


    Playing techniques
    Many people will strum bass and contrabass balalaikas when they are doing solos the same way you strum a guitar. Many people play these as supporting instruments to keep the beat going or just doing a solo. This is demonstrated in each of the videos. Also you can slap these both. They are so punchy and percussive when they are slapped, but most of the time they will be played like a normal bass guitar. The contrabass however is often played with a leather pick.

    I am advertising these basses just because they are so fun and unique to play. I really would like to see other bassists playing them
  2. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Is there any advantage to them being triangular in shape?
  3. BrandenSteele


    Nov 25, 2012
    Yes. The entire shape it designed to give it a louder sound. Here is a picture of the back. All of the sound is directed to the sound hole with the curved back. The bottoms are not flat, they are curved to direct even more sound to the center. I think it also gives it a different sound than the stand up bass too to make it stand out from it.

  4. OtisRocks


    Oct 28, 2009
    Would love to join your club but I just don't have any room left in my apartment :bawl:

    I heard one of these in a Russian restaurant in Helsinki, Finland. Awesome sounding instrument. :bassist:
  5. BrandenSteele


    Nov 25, 2012
    Its size if a pretty big problem. I remember playing in a metal band and having to play behind the guitarist. Transportation is also pretty tough considering it's heavy, and it's hard to fit into a car or onto public transit.

  6. the bassist in the Red Elvises (surf/alt?) uses one, and its AWESOME! p.s. everyone should see Six String Samurai its a great film!
    bholder likes this.
  7. jbossolo


    Sep 22, 2011
    Well, I guess that ends the "best bass as a weapon" argument! Cool axe! I'd rock the дерьмо out of it!!!
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Going to revive this thread and see if anyone has any more experience or input on these, or any recommendations about buying one. I've been thinking of the trend towards more acoustic/folk/americana elements in popular music lately and about going for a more acoustic sound myself, and this seems like a smoother possible transition from BG than learning DB. Plus I got really stoked about Katzenjammer lately. Thoughts?
  9. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama

    Contrabass Balalaika... Should I? | TalkBass.com
    TalkBass.com › Forums › Bass Guitar › General Forums [BG] › Basses [BG]
    Jan 5, 2017 - 20 posts - ‎14 authors
    I live in Moscow and though they aren't the most common (or cheap) I have the option of getting a Contrabass Balalaika instead of a Double ...
    Contra-bass Balalaika?
    15 posts
    Nov 23, 2015
    The amazing bass balalaika and contrabass balalaikas.
    7 posts
    Dec 30, 2012
    The contrabass balalaika, oh yeah!
    20 posts
    Dec 7, 2012
    Where to get Contrabass Balalaika?
    20 posts
    Jun 27, 2010
    More results from www.talkbass.com

    Me personally, I would prefer the contrabass domra.

    "contrabass domra" - Google Search
    bholder, hrodbert696 and HaphAsSard like this.
  10. Seeing as the 2018 World Cup kicked off today in Moscow, I see this as an opportunity to share one of my all-time favourite YouTube clips:

    hrodbert696 likes this.
  11. VicJ


    Feb 3, 2018
  12. Product Discontinued. :(
  13. VicJ


    Feb 3, 2018
    That one's not a contrabass, just a bass. I think it's an octave higher.

    Search google for балалайка контрабас :

    балалайка контрабас - Google Search

    Several of the links on the first page are merchants, and they are for sale from around $1-3.5K. Plus some prohibitive shipping, I'm sure!
  14. Yuri Halay

    Yuri Halay

    Feb 6, 2019
    Purchased a Doff BBM balalaika recently....brilliant

    Attached Files:

    HaphAsSard likes this.
  15. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 8, 2021

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