A buying guide for types of Setar

Setaar is one of the original Iranian instruments that have a soft and low volume range and is mostly used in solo or duet playing. The instrument has a pear-shaped body with a long handle attached to it, and despite having four strings, it is called Setar. The instrument originally had three strings; But about 150 years ago, a person named Mushtaq Ali Shah added a fourth string to make the resonator better. It is interesting to know that this seemingly simple instrument has different types and each model has its own characteristics. In this article, we review three types of Setar.


  1. Setar one-piece bowl

Setar one-piece bowl

As the name of this type of Setar suggests, to make it you need a piece of wood, preferably a mulberry tree. Setar one-piece bowl is made from only one piece of wood, so if your wood is too dry, your wood will crack during operation. In this case, there will be a problem when making Setar and the piece of wood will be wasted. Setar one-piece bowl have a beautiful sound, and the construction is of high quality and consistency.

The wood of this type of Setaپلاar is very high quality and light, and the musician feels very comfortable while playing. Setar one-piece bowl have 25 to 28 curtains, which are made of synthetic yarns and animal intestines. This makes the musician play the strings well. Be careful that Setar one-piece bowl are more expensive than other types of Setaar; Because making them requires more precision and time. Of course, this type of Setaar is worth buying with its high quality. Therefore, if you are a professional musician and want to buy a high-quality and durable Setar, choose this type of instrument.

  1. Setar Laterk Bowl

Setar Laterk Bowl

A Setaar laterk bowl is a type of Setaar in which several pieces of wood are glued together. These woods have different shapes and are cut into three strands before making. The price of this instrument is more affordable than Setar one-piece bowl, and it is very suitable for beginners. This instrument is also made of mulberry tree and is very resistant. There are Bakhtiari and Azimi Setar types whose bowls are latrek.


  1. Setar small bowl

Setar small bowl

A Setaar small bowl are based on the pattern of Master Hashemi, and its sound is sharp and clear. The diameter of the opening of the bowl of the small bowl is 14 to 14.5 cm. Masters like Jalal Zulfanun and Behdad Babaei used Setaar small bowl to play. It is recommended that beginners choose the Setaar to play; Because it is hard to practice with this instrument and its loud sound tires the ear after some time of practice.


  1. Setar large bowl

Setar large bowl

A Setaar large bowl are made based on the pattern of master Mehdi Kamalian, and among the types of Setaar, its sound is more bass. The aperture diameter of this Setaar is 16 to 16.5 cm. Master Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Master Ahmad Ebadi played this type of Setar. As you can see, the difference between the size of Setar large bowl and Setar small bowl is not much.

  1. Setar Ketabi, under a robe or flat bowl

Setar Ketabi, under a robe or flat bowl

You may be interested in the name of this type of Setaar and the history of its construction. Setar ketabi or flat bowl is a type of Setar, in which the Setaar bowl is made flat and its handle is shorter than other types of Setar. This instrument was created during the times when music was banned and musicians had problems transporting the instrument. This instrument was easily carried under the robe, and because of this, the musicians did not have any problems while carrying this instrument. After the music restrictions were reduced, Setar ketabi still remained; But it was rarely used. Due to its special appearance, these Setar have a dry and muffled sound, and its sound is not similar to the real sound of Setaar.


  1. Skinned Setar

Skinned Setaar

This type has a box larger than Setaar types, and there is a heart-shaped hole on the board. The skin is stretched over the hole in the shape of a heart and the bridge is placed on the skin. Skinned Setaar is made by Mohammad Navaei, known as Eshgh, who is one of the famous makers of Setaar. Of course, in some types of skinned Setar, the hole is not heart-shaped.


  1. Setar peacock head (Sarpanjeh Tavosi)

Setaar peacock head (Sarpanjeh Tavosi)

This type of Setaar was invented by Ostad Ghanbari Mehr and has other names such as new sarpanjeh and piggy sarpanjeh. In the 1360s, master Ebrahim Qanbari Mehr changed the head of instruments such as tar and Setaar. The previous claws were not beautiful in appearance and the tension angle of the wires was a problem in them. Also, it took a long time to replace the Setar’s string with the old claws. For this reason, this type of claw was especially welcomed.

Some musicians think that regular claw are better than peacock sarpanjeh; But it is easier to tune with the innovative head of master Ghanbari Mehr. For example, master Hossein Alizadeh used instruments with peacock heads in his performances.



The article, we tried to introduce you to the types of Setar and to know the best and highest quality three strings in Iran. Keep in mind that the quality of a structure whose wood was cut two years ago is not comparable to a structure that is made from wood cut twenty years ago. In simpler words, the older the instrument’s wood is, the higher its quality and the more pleasant the sound it produces. Wood is also the most important material used in the construction of Setaar’s bowl, and you should pay special attention to its type when buying.