Where to find/buy unusual ethnic instruments?

I am looking to add more real instruments into my music, “simple” instruments that have a lot of character. But for some reason it’s hard to find online stores in Europe that ship the type of instruments I am looking for.

So my question is, where do I find unusual ethnic/world instruments like this?

For example: I would love to try “Viking” instruments like horns, drums, lyre, tagelharpa etc.

But also eastern ethnic instruments like Taiko/Daiko drums (not the biggest versions though). I even saw a really cool instrument on Andrew Huang’s channel, which I would love to try as well! :slight_smile:

Here’s a video on Viking Music and instruments that inspired me:

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Haven’t really looked around much for these kind of things, but what I have found has been either difficult to find without traveling to the regions of origin, or expensive, unless we’re talking barely playable “souvenirs.” But I’m curious about these instruments too! There are plenty of weird, interesting instruments out there…

Like this one - which is not terribly hard to build:

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As we say in Swedish (literarily translated into English): “I have the thumb in the middle of my hand”. Meaning: I suck at practical work like this, so I would NEVER be able to build one myself. :stuck_out_tongue:

Let’s say I want to start with something simple like a drum. But I want something that looks old/ancient, like the drum the guy used in Vikings at the beginning of the video I linked to.

Thomann is the store I bought most my gear from, but they only focus on new/modern products. I guess I am looking for someone that builds traditional instruments by hand.

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Thomann do some.

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Oh I somehow missed that section on Thomann, thanks Geoff. I’m still looking for more “ancient” type instruments, like traditional Viking instruments like Tagelharpa, Nyckelharpa etc. Also would prefer handmade instruments, which I doubt these ones are. :slight_smile:

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There are a bunch of luthiers (many Swedish ones, obviously) building nyckelharpa, and they don’t seem to be nearly expensive as (professional) violins, at least - but we’re still talking serious hand built instrument prices, obviously. I’ve seen ~$2k; don’t know if that’s representative.

I guess a big part of the problem with all of these instruments is that it’s a tiny niche market, so apart from the odd (more or less unplayable) souvenir, there are pretty much only professional level instruments, and none of these affordable but functional factory built student/intermediate/advanced instruments in between. I don’t think it’s realistically possible to build properly playable instruments of this general kind much below the thousands of dollars range, unless you shift large enough numbers to import complete or white instruments from China or Eastern Europe or something, the way it’s done with the classical instruments these days.

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I always wanted a nyckelharpa since I come from Uppland and all my childhood have had them around me. Can’t afford it right now though. If you want something good it starts at 1000$ and goes upwards.

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Take a look at blocket.se


or facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/category/search/?query=nyckelharpa
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last summer I bought a Bansuri flute from thomann just to see if it was as fun to play as I imagined it to be.
Yes, it felt right for me. I googled and now I’ve ordered flutes 2 times from an instrument maker in India.
No problem with shipment.

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Ah cool! I actually found that for some reason when checing Etsy and other “handcraft” marketplaces, that even traditional Scandiavian instruments are easier to find in Russia or any of the of the former Soviet union states. I guess traditional handmade instruments is not that common of a trade/hobby in Scandivia these days? :stuck_out_tongue:

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I guess in some cultures, there is almost a hostility towards the traditional customs, music and all that, and everything else is soo much cooler, especially to the kids. We’re like “Oh no, they’re playing ‘folkmusik’ again…” while foreigners are like “Whoa, what’s that strange music!? Sounds amazing!” :smiley:

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Of course, many of these instruments work perfectly fine for classical repertoire as well. I posted an erhu video somewhere else, and here’s some Bach on nyckelharpa. I think they work really well for this kind of repertoire, with that clear, magical ring to the sound.

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Sorry about the spam, but here’s another one I really enjoyed:

Note the unconventional (?) accessories he’s using… Something similar to a voilin/viola shoulder rest, I assume to allow the back to vibrate more freely, and a “leg support” of some sort, instead of relying entirely on the strap.

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Update: So far I only found one good website to find handcrafted instruments. This one, which I am going to try ordering from:

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Oh yeah, I’ve bought from Etsy before. Lots of the artists I get visuals from sell there.

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