Just in! Great VINTAGE balalaika Russian instrument made by legendary luthier

A big hello to all the Russian folk music lovers who are viewing my eBay auction!

We’ve been asked many times if we are going to sell vintage instruments in our store. This is the first time I have posted a really valuable vintage instrument.Here’s your chance to obtain a great quality, vintage instrument made by a legendary luthier who is unfortunately no longer with us. 

This concert-level instrument was made by A.I Starikhov, a member of the Starikhov luthiers dynasty. He was building exceptional high-quality balalaikas during the 1970s and 80s and was a member of the renowned “Shikhovo” luthiers team. This instrument was made in November 1983. Both the luthier's name and the date of manufacture can be seen inside the instrument. 

The instrument has a highly flamed maple back, an ebony fretboard, and a spruce top. The neck is made from a combination of woods and has the same cherry back/maple headstock wood construction that luthier Pavlov uses on all his balalaikas. (Pavlov is still living in Shikhovo). The only difference is that this instrument has a maple strip installed at the back of the neck for extra stability, and the neck is straight as an arrow.  

Despite its age, this balalaika is not a toy or an old souvenir, it’s a pro-level instrument that was recently reviewed by Gorbachev (a professor at the Gnesins Academy of Music and a virtuoso balalaika player), who liked this instrument a lot.  

The timbre of this instrument is smooth and silky. The tone is very “woody,” and has some vintage sound qualities due to the balalaika's age. It does not sound weak or thin, like half of vintage instruments tend to sound; instead, it sounds rounder and smoother, like loud modern concert level balalaikas. The bass strings are very full and responsive. 

There are no cracks or repairs anywhere on the body or the neck except for a tiny 4mm (millimeters) hole glued with wood near the string peg holders on the side of the body. Please look at the pictures before you bid—I marked this spot with an arrow. This repair does not affect playability, and the whole construction is rock solid. 

This instrument is 36 years old, but using EMS, I can freely send it almost anywhere in the world, as Russian export restrictions apply only to instruments that are more than 50 years old. Let me know if you’re looking for a great sounding vintage balalaika made by one of the best balalaika luthiers from the Shikhovo luthiers team. The case is not included to an auction but I'll pack very well. If you'd like a hard case - I can get you a high-quality AMC case at manufacturers price of 150$. 


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Anton Tsygankov