Beyond the Guitar: String Instruments from Around the Globe

Toubab's, Justin Perkins on Kora

This infographic, made by contributor Katie Murphy, outlines a few string instruments originating from Spain, Great Britain, China, India, South America and West Africa. There are so many different type of instruments from around the world that most people will never come into contact with. It is up to you, as a music enthusiast, to seek out multicultural musical experiences. Hopefully this illustration will help to expand your string instrument horizons.

Instrument Infographic

If you want to check out a few modern popular artists that use unique and/or string instruments, here are a few that I would suggest:

Harp Guitarist, Andy Mckee
Harp Guitarist, Andy Mckee
  • Leftover Salmon “Looking back over the past 25 years of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers took their form of aggressive bluegrass to rock and roll bars at a time when it wasn’t so common, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jamgrass genre.” [1]
    • Leftover Salmon’s line-up consists of some of Colorado’s best musicians including: Vince Herman (vocals, acoustic guitar, washboard); Drew Emmitt (vocals, acoustic and electric mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle); Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo); Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass); Alwyn Robinson (drums); Bill Payne (vocals, keyboards).
Leftover Salmon
Original members of Leftover Salmon include: Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt and the deceased, Mark Vann

  • Toubab Krewe– “A vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more.” [3]
    • Toubab’s multicultural style is inspired by their international musical journeys and includes instruments such as: the Kora, Kamelngoni, guitar, fiddle, Djembe, and Congas.
Toubab's, Justin Perkins on Kora
Toubab Krewe’s, Justin Perkins on Kora
  • Medeski, Martin and Wood “The trio’s amalgam of jazz, funk, “avant-noise” and a million other musical currents and impulses is nearly impossible to classify, which is just how they like it.” [4]

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  1. Very interesting! Can’t wait to see Bela Fleck in concert one of these days. Check out Joe Bonamassa at Red Rocks Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters tribute. Keep up the good work! 

  2. Your infographic at the beginning of this article is awesome!! I’m a visual person so this helps put things into perspective! Great job!

  3. Great infographic! The color scheme really helps the information pop. I really enjoyed all of the links and videos too!

  4. Cool article, I can appreciate the sick infographic and the integration of local Colorado bands! I think this so fun and interactive to read. Nice job!

  5. WOW! This article had it all! Thanks for sharing such an interesting and expressive piece with us. I really liked the integration of local Fort Collins music into this huge plethora of music world wide! Really good piece, I will definitely pass this on to my music loving friends! 

  6. I am really impressed with this article.  Mainly because I had no idea how much strings could actually do.  The article was very engaging.  Thank you for sharing! 

  7. I loved seeing a video featuring each of the instruments after you explained them! I had no idea so many string instruments were played around the world.

  8. This was really neat to see, I remember listening to many of these instruments as a kid, especially the Guzheng.

  9. I love leftover salmon! I like that you took the story farther than just showing the infographic. All the added media is really great, and strong!

  10. This is such an interesting article! The added infographic really drives home the point of where the different string instruments are originated from. I can honestly say I didn’t know about most of the instruments mentioned but you learn something new every day, right? Great article topic!

  11. I loved this article as a guitarist! But that first harp guitar… have fun bringing that to parties.

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