Anybody play the balalaika?

I have a beautiful balalaika which I am teaching myself to play. Does anybody have tips or good songs to play?

Also:a slight issue that probably anybody good with a stringed instrument could answer. I suspect that the frets aren’t quiiiite one semitone apart. Is this a strings issue or a problem with the instrument itself? Is it possible/easy to fix?

Anything Ukrainian for the Christmas season is beautifully rendered on the balalaika. There are entire orchestras that focus on Ukrainian genre, in particular. You will easily find many great examples on YouTube.

I’m embarrassed. I never heard of the instrument.:confused:

a “strange”, triangular three-stringed guitar

Does it sound like a ukelele or a guitar or something else entirely?

Best to listen - here’s a very good sample: Russian Folk Song - Balalaika

sounds like a small harpsichord / mandolin cross

I was a member of the Defense Language Institute Balalaika Ensemble in '75 when I was going thru the Intermediate Russian course there. (The director was a 70-something from Kiev, a nephew of Igor Sikorsky, and remembered playing on Uncle Igor’s early helicopter attempts in the back yard, before the 1917 revolution.)

Anyway, I was able to transfer some of my guitar skills to the balalaika. It was a lot of fun, until the director discovered that I could accurately do afterbeats (boom-CHUK-boom-CHUK) and assigned me the segunda part. That was no fun, and I quit.

Do you guys know what might be causing my tuning problem?

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