Trembita K-58 12 string Kobza

My 12 string fretted Kobza

x Top x Back x Under


Trembita K-58 Kobza

Thats a funny looking Guitar, even for a 12 string; but that's how the auction house listed it; mind you they did list a Bouzouki and a Mandola as Guitars too and this at least had 6 courses like a Guitar. It was listed as a Trembita Guitar, which I at first thought was the name of the design, but of course they got the word Trembita from the sound hole label and it is the maker not the make. There were a number of other Guitars as lots that I would like to invite, (and the Bouzouki and the Mandola), so other than seeing it as a curio I didn't look much further into what it was before the auction. All of the other Chordophones had better invitations than mine though so this was the only thing I won, so I thought I would look into it some more and this is what I found out.

Trembita is an acoustic Guitar and Folk Instrument maker in Lviv, Ukraine. They say they have been in business for over 60 years making guitars and that they are currently the only commercial manufacturer of Ukrainian Bandura, (so they probably made mine as well, though I couldn't see it in the current catalogue? But there were a number of production instruments mentioned that I couldn't see in the catalogue?) Reading their history I found that in 2003 they expanded their range of eastern European Folk Instruments to include Balalaika, Domra and some Ukrainian Instruments called Kobza. When I looked at the catalogue, low and behold there was my 12 string Guitar not as a Guitar but as a 12 string 6 course fretted Kobza! So knowing nothing about the Kobza I looked that up and found that it was a lute like instrument dating back to the 4th century. Being a bit fluid at the time it had between 4 and 9 strings as 1 string courses and that it was usually fretless though did sometimes have gut frets tied around the neck. the tuning was fairly fluid too and it's popularity waxed and waned over the centuries. About 100 years ago the most popular player at the time switched to playing a flat backed version with proper metal frets on the neck. This wasn't, and still isn't approved of by the Kobza purists but all of Trembita's Kobza are fretted and are made to be tuned like a standard Guitar, (I don't know with this 12 string though if any of the courses are suppose to be octaved?)

It's arrived now and that curley scroll is very impressive. What isn't so impressive though is the amount the bridge is lifting! and the very high action!! On the inner label it says that it was made in 2013, (so not that long for the bridge to lift), and there are no fret markers, at the front or on the side; I may have to dig out the sticker fret markers and put a couple on both the front and side. There is plenty of room on the side as it has quite the thickest fretboard I think I have seen