One of three principal families (with winds and percussion) in European classification. Sound is produced by plucking or drawing a bow across one or more strings held in tension. Pitch is adjusted by changing the length of strings, the tension, or both. Volume is increased by the use of a resonant air chamber, electronic amplification, or both.
Submit sites to an appropriate subcategory rather than the parent family.
Stringed instrument musicians/artists.
Please submit artist sites to the appropriate category for the primary instrument played.

If there is not a sub category for artists of the primary instrument played, please submit to the general category for that instrument.

Information about autoharps and autoharp makers.
This category is for general information about autoharps. Sites for autoharp makers (even if they sell the instruments online) may be submitted to the subcategory Makers.

Otherwise, online stores that sell autoharps should be submitted to Shopping: Music: Instruments: Ethnic and Regional: Autoharp.

Please submit sites dealing with banjo-music-related products, such as accessories, instructional materials, book, ebooks, tablature, DVDs and audio downloads.
Sites focusing on online sales of actual banjos should be submitted to Shopping/Music/Instruments/Stringed/Banjo.
String bass instruments including electric and acoustic bass guitars. For bowed bass sites, see Arts/Music/Instruments/Stringed/Bowed_Strings/Bass.
Please submit only sites which have the primary intention of supplying information about the Bass.

For sites about the bowed string instrument, the double or upright bass, see Arts/Music/Instruments/Stringed/Bowed_Strings/Bass.

Manufacturers of bass guitars should submit to Arts/Music/Instruments/Stringed/Bass/Manufacturers.

Sites with the primary focus of selling the instrument to the user at home should submit to Shopping/Music/Instruments/Stringed/Bass.

Retail sites without the option to purchase online, should be submitted to the appropriate locality for the store in Regional.

A member of the 'long neck lute' family now closely associated with Greece. During the first half of the 20th century the bouzouki was used principally for virtuoso improvisation and for accompanying the Rebetika (urban folk songs associated with the criminal underworld).

With the half-pear body of the lute and long neck, it is closely related to several similar 'long-necks' in Turkey, Iran, and Central Asia. The traditional three-course instrument suits an improvization style derived from the traditional musics of Asia Minor, using Turkish modes (makam).

Since the 1940s, the bouzouki with four courses has widened the possibility of introducing Western-style chords. Western major and minor scales have displaced the oriental makam as the framework.

The bouzouki has become the Greek urban instrument par excellence and is played throughout the Greek-speaking world. Greek composers trained in Western music, such as Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis, have used the bouzouki in their works, drawing on the old repertory of the instrument for melodic and rhythmic inspiration.

Please submit sites about artists to the most appropriate sub category for the primary instrument played.
The charango is a small ten string lute that originated in South America. The back of the instrument is traditionally fashioned from an armadillo.
Sites focused on this instrument.
A large and complex family of stringed instruments which developed from the 16th through to the 18th centuries. While the lute and guitar families were strung with gut, the citterns were wire-strung and played with a plectrum.

Two members of the cittern family have retained their importance - the Spanish Bandurria and the Portuguese Guitar (the latter particularly associated with Fado).

In the latter years of the 20th century, the word "cittern" came to be applied to a bewildering range of instruments of the mandolin family, and, in Celtic music, to the Irish bouzouki.

A trapezoidal instrument of the zither family. Strings, which are stretched over a soundboard, may be hit by hammers (Hammered dulcimer) or plucked (Mountain or Appalachian dulcimer). The name dulcimer is derived from latin and translated means "sweet sounds".
Please submit informational sites about dulcimers. If the site is mostly about one type of dulcimer, please submit to the appropriate sub category for that instrument. If no category exists, or the site is about more than one type of dulcimer please submit here.

Sites with the main intention of selling the instruments online should be submitted to Shopping.

Sites with walk in stores should be submitted to the appropriate locality in Regional.

Sites providing free stringed instrument education, or about stringed instrument education. Teachers can be found in the Regional part of the directory listed according to where they teach. Commercial sites can be found in the Shopping branch.
Submit to this category sites containing free, online/downloadable stringed instrument education. If your site is only about one type of stringed instrument, please submit to the appropriate sub category for that instrument.

If you are a tutor with a site about the lessons that you offer, please submit your site to the appropriate locality in Regional.

If your site primarily advertises commercial stringed instrument education which can be accessed from home, then please submit to Stringed Instrument Education category within Shopping.

At its simplest, a guitar is "a stringed instrument of the lute family, plucked or strummed, as the instrument sits upright in one's lap." However, the guitar family has proved particularly adaptable to different cultures, musical genres, and to technological developments.
  • The modern Classical Guitar has six strings, usually of nylon (once of gut), a wooden resonating chamber with incurved sidewalls and a flat back, and is nowadays normally tuned to standard tuning (EADGBE).
    • The Flamenco Guitar is very similar, but of lighter construction.
  • The Acoustic Guitar is similar to the modern classical guitar; however, it has steel strings, which involves building a stronger and larger resonating chamber, and a stronger but narrower neck. Standard tuning (EADGBE) is the commonest tuning. However, a wide variety of alternative tunings is available, some of them particularly associated with certain musical styles. The acoustic guitar has proved particularly flexible and some of the variations include
    • Resonator Guitars - where the sound box's function is replaced by metal resonators;
    • Guitars with varying numbers of strings; 6 courses of 2 strings (12 strings) is relatively common, but there are also 7, 8, and 10 string guitars;
    • Guitars with different shaped bodies - with flat tops or arched tops.
    • Semi-acoustic guitars are designed to combine the physical construction of a sound-box to transmit and amplify sound, with inbuilt electronics to facilitate use as an electric guitar.
  • The Electric Guitar generally has a solid body, as electronic amplification replaces the function of the acoustic guitar's sound-box. It generally (but not necessarily) has 6 strings, tuned to standard tuning (EADGBE).
    • Bass Guitars are a particularly flexible development of the electric guitar; they generally have 4 strings.
There are two major caveats:
  1. These definitions reflect a somewhat simplistic view of the commonest guitars as played by most players in major genres of western musics. Beyond that, the guitar family includes
    • Adaptations of the classic model in Iberia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere; these vary considerably in size, number of strings, tunings, and method of playing;
    • Adaptations which considerably change the structure of the guitar - Steel Guitars (Lap Steel or Pedal Steel), which bear some resemblance to zithers.
  2. The physical description of the "guitar box, strings, and neck" has little connection to musical styles/genres in which the guitar has become irreplaceable. It would be very hard to imagine some musical styles without the guitar, played in particular styles, with a particular range of chords/fingerings, or with specific tunings. These genres require very specific skills and understanding of the instrument. A few examples:
    • Bluegrass
    • Blues
    • Classical
    • Country and Western
    • Flamenco
    • Hawaiian Slack Key
    • Jazz
    • Rock
    • Soukous
Please submit only informational sites, in English, about the guitar. Sites selling products which can be purchased from home should be submitted to Shopping. Sites for walk-in stores should be submitted to the appropriate locality in Regional.
The harp is an ancient string-percussion instrument, with many varieties today. This category contains informational sites about harps, including harpists, builders, historical information, photo galleries, and events.
Online stores featuring harps for sale should be submitted to Shopping: Harp.
The kantele is the national instrument of Finland. It may have from 5 to 30 strings and is classified as a cordophone.
Please submit sites about the kantele.
The koto is a stringed instrument with a long hollow body and movable bridges. The instrument originated in China and was brought to Japan in the 7th or 8th century.
Sites about the koto in Japan may also be submitted to the Japanese Traditional Instruments category in Regional.

Online stores offering kotos for sale should be submitted to the appropriate category in Shopping: Music: Instruments.

The French word lutherie, now used also in English, refers to the art of constructing string instruments. The name luthier harkens back to early lute-makers.
This category is for informational sites about the craft of stringed instrument building.
Please submit sites about luthiers to the respective instrument category.
A string instrument whose strings are attached to a yoke which consists of two arms and a crossbar. The yoke lies in the same plane as the soundtable (unlike a harp, whose strings are at right angles to the soundtable).

The earliest known lyres, dating from the 3rd millennium BCE, were found in Mesopotamia (Iraq). Lyres appeared in several ancient Mediterranean cultures and spread throughout medieval Europe.

Lyres were also played in the East African kingdoms of Kush (c650 BCE–325 CE) and Aksum (c100–350 CE), a tradition which has survived unbroken in modern Ethiopia.

Makers, manufacturers and builders of stringed instruments.
For sites dedicated primarily to instruments of the mandolin family. Subjects include musical range and tone, technical specifications, history, and instrument making, manufacture and repair.
Mandolin websites for Organizations and Education may be submitted here if no other subcategory exists elsewhere on the Open Directory Project.

For bands and artists, please check other possible categories before submitting to the Mandolin/Bands_and_Artists subcategory here. For example, sites about Bill Monroe should NOT be submitted here, but instead should go to: Arts/Music/Styles/Bluegrass/Bands_and_Artists/Monroe,_Bill. If in doubt, please go ahead and submit the site here. These guidelines will help make submittal and review as efficient as possible.

As a final check before submitting here, please review whether your site falls under one of the following categories. Sites for walk-in stores belong in the Regional category relevant to the store location(s). Online retail shopping sites belong in the Shopping category Shopping/Music/Instruments/Stringed/Mandolin/. Sites that are not in English belong under the World category. Thank you.

Sites of manufacturers of stringed instruments.
Organizations, associations, societies, and clubs focusing on stringed instruments.
Organizations focusing on one specific instrument should be submitted to that instrument''s category.


This category includes sites pertaining to the playing, history, construction, and performers of the stringed instrument known as the oud. The oud is a Middle Eastern and North African fretless lute. Originally from the region of present-day Baghdad and Tehran, it once had four strings that were tuned in fourths. Modern-day ouds have between 10 and 13 strings and are played with a plectrum known as a risha, mezrab, or mezrap. Some famous players of the oud have included: Greek: Yorgo Barcanos Armenian: Udi Hrant Kenouklian, Udi Marko Melkon Turkish: Cinuçen Tanrikorur, Necati Çelik, Yurdal Tokcan, Udi Nevres Bey, Targan Lebanese: Farid al-Atrach Egyptian: Mohammed abd al-Wahab, Riyad as-Sinbati Nubian: Hamza al-Din Iraqi: Munir Bachir, Omar Bachir, Nasser Shamma Scandanavian: Anouar Brahen Armenian-American: Ara Dinkjan, John Bilezekian, Haig Manoukian ++++ In Persian music (and the Farsi language), the oud is also known as the barbat. The oud/barbat is commonly believed to be the ancestor of the European lute and guitar, and in the Arab world is definitively considered the ancestor of the tanbur, saz, and buzuq (bazouki).
This category is for sites primarily focussed on the sitar or other similar Indian stringed instruments.
Informational sites about the ukulele, including comprehensive sites, online communities, chats and forums, photo galleries, and organizations.
Sites that focus on online sales of ukuleles should be submitted to Shopping: Music: Instruments: Stringed: Ukulele.
The veena is a stringed instrument with a large hollowed out body and a gourd positioned under the neck. There are several varieties, including the Mahanataka veena, Saraswati veena, Rudra veena, and Vichitra veena. The latter is played with a slide.