Taking on a new instrument

Posted by in articles | June 19, 2015

I’ve been looking to get my hands on a gimbri/guembri for years now, and recently I’ve finally managed to get one. The Gimbri, or Sintir, is a Moroccan Gnawa bass like instrument. It’s actually somewhere between a banjo and a bass. It has three strings: D, another D one octave above (used as a drone) and a G. The Gimbri is played often along with singing. I’ve always loved it’s soulful sound.

I’m having a lot of fun learning this instrument. It’s simplicity in comparison to a bass makes it really interesting to play. You have to work within the few notes and limitations that the Gimbri has and create melodies and grooves. Much of them are pentatonic and the keys are almost always D or G. I like these constraints and they make me think creatively about how to work with so little.

Here’s a little sample. I’ll add more videos as I get better, I hope ; )