| Lists |

Five Interesting String Instruments Found Around Town

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Sure, strings create intriguing sounds, but sometimes simply the sight of them are enough to induce awe.

After coming across an out-of-place full-sized zither that looked like it belonged at the Musical Instrument Museum instead of the thrift store it landed in, we couldn't help but wonder what other treasures were hanging around town. After taking a quick look, and here's what we found.

5. A vintage Martin ukelele from the 1920s ($1200).

Perhaps it's the semi-recent fad of YouTube darlings like Zooey Deschanel sporting these cute little stringed things, but according to the clerks at Music Brokers (420 North Central Avenue; 602-230-7777), ukeleles have been selling like crazy lately.

We can't guarantee that you'll suddenly go over a friggin' rainbow with magical, charismatic crooning skills after dropping the massive dime on this little beauty, but the tone and looks alone will certainly gain you plenty of hipster points in our book.

'Cuz we're keeping count.

Watch out.

4. A Bajo Quinto ($700).

This is the friendliest guitar we've ever seen.

Thanks to this Craigslist ad, we've met this little thing.

It appears to have a friendly little mustache, a wide open grin and even looks like it's giving us a whimsical little wave, as if to say, "Hola! Come play!"

3. A guzheng, or Chinese zither ($699).

Ah, yes.

This is the surprising find that started it all. Initially, this awesome fight scene from Kung Fu Hustle using one as a deadly weapon came to mind.

This wood-based instrument with something like twenty strings sat on top of a table directly next to the entrance of the Salvation Army Thrift Store (725 West Indian School Road; 602-788-9355) in a snug fitting case.

Almost every passerby stopped to oggle it.

A sign taped to the green felt on the interior of the case read, "Please Don't touch. Please Ask for Assistants," so we did. A store clerk mentioned that it had been in for more than two weeks, with plenty of lookers but no buyers yet.

2. An Indian sitar ($1000).

This beauty from this Tolleson Craigslist ad comes with a soft case, extra strings, bone tuning slides and a book on how to play.

We doubt the book could really help us figure it all out, but unfortunately, not all of us are cool enough to take lessons from Ravi Shankar.

With enough practice and determination though, you too could be Norweigian Woodin' it up in no time.

1. A Dobro Mandolin ($2500).

When we first called Bizarre Guitar & Drum (4322 North 7th Avenue; 602-248-9297) to inquire about what kinds of rarities and oddities were in store for our visit, the response was not as exciting as we imagined.

Sure enough, upon arrival, vintage guitars stretched as far as the eye -- some even signed by stars like Peter Frampton and Ted Nugent. Disappointed, we prepared to leave without really seeing anything truly "bizarre."

Luckily, sticking around a few more minutes to explore the back room landed us next to a wall of mandolin spliced mini instruments like this Mandobird. The dobro mandolin, however, stole the show with its tiny frets and resonating glow.

Follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.