How to Choose the Best Balalaika for You

Your Guide to buying the best Balalaika


The Balalaika is a traditional Russian stringed instrument with a long, distinguished history. This buying guide is designed to provide an overview of the different types of Balalaika available and the key features and considerations to keep in mind when selecting the right one for your needs. We will cover the different sizes, styles, and materials used in the construction of the Balalaika, as well as tips on buying a quality instrument and getting the most out of your purchase. With this guide, you will be ready to purchase the perfect Balalaika for your playing style and needs.

Key features

  1. Size and Action: Balalaikas come in different sizes, and depending on the type of music a player is looking to produce, they should consider the size, action, and strings that best match their playing style.
  2. Material: Balalaikas are commonly made of various wood types, such as spruce, pine, cedar, and maple. Different woods have different tonal qualities, so players should consider which material best fits their sound.
  3. Number of Strings: Traditional Balalaikas typically have three strings, but some modern variants can have up to six strings. Players should consider the number of strings and tuning that best fits their desired sound.
  4. Frets: Some Balalaikas have frets, which can greatly enhance the playability and accuracy of the instrument. Frets also offer the opportunity to play in different keys and modes.
  5. Glue: The quality of the glue used to construct a Balalaika is important for producing good sound. Poor quality glue can produce bad sound, so players should make sure the glue used is of good quality.
  6. Pickups: Some Balalaikas come equipped with pickups, which allow the instrument to be amplified. This can be useful when playing in a larger setting, or when recording.

See the most popular Balalaika on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Versatile: Balalaika is a multi-stringed Russian instrument that comes in a variety of sizes and can be played as a solo instrument, as part of a larger ensemble, or as an accompaniment to Russian folk music.
  • Unique Sound: The unique design of the Balalaika creates a distinctive and powerful sound, making it an ideal accompaniment for traditional Russian folk music.
  • Easy to Learn: With its relatively small size and simple design, it is easy to learn and even master the basics of the Balalaika.


  • Price: The Balalaika can be quite pricey, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the make, model, and condition.
  • Size: The body of the Balalaika is large and may be difficult to transport or fit in small spaces.
  • Availability: Balalaikas can be hard to find in some areas, and online retailers may not always have the desired model in stock.
  • Maintenance: Balalaikas require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition, like tuning and repairs.

Best alternatives

  1. Accordion - An instrument similar to the balalaika with a rectangular shape and keyboard-style keys
  2. Bouzouki - A Greek stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and a long neck
  3. Domra - A three-stringed, folk Russian lute with a round body
  4. Garmon - A small, button-accordion-like instrument of the Russian folk or church music
  5. Kantele - A Finnish zither-type instrument with a flat soundboard and usually 5-15 strings
  6. Saz - A Turkish lute-type instrument with a long neck and a round body
  7. Sitar - A North Indian stringed instrument with a long, fretted neck and a gourd-shaped body

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

    Strings - The strings for a balalaika are traditionally made of gut or nylon. Tuning key - A tuning key is used to adjust the strings and tune the balalaika. Plectrums - Plectrums are used to pluck the strings of the balalaika. Gig bag - A gig bag is used to store and transport the balalaika. Pickup - A pickup is an electronic device that can be attached to the balalaika to amplify the sound. Strap - A strap is used to hold the balalaika in place while playing. Accessories - Accessories such as spare strings, tuners, and amplifiers can be used to enhance the playing experience.

Common questions

  1. What are the different types of Balalaika? The types of Balalaika are categorized into three types: prima, alto, and bass. Prima Balalaikas are the smallest and typically have three strings. Alto Balalaikas are larger and usually have four strings. Bass Balalaikas are the largest and have five to six strings.
  2. What are the components of a Balalaika? A Balalaika consists of a wooden body, a neck, a headstock, a fingerboard, strings, and tuning pegs.
  3. What is the best type of wood to use for a Balalaika? Different types of wood are used for Balalaikas, such as fir, linden, and maple. Fir is the most common, as it is light and resonates well.
  4. What is the best type of strings to use for a Balalaika? Balalaikas usually use nylon strings, as they are more durable and will last longer than metal strings.
  5. What is the best way to tune a Balalaika? Balalaikas can be tuned in standard tuning or in Russian tuning. Standard tuning is typically used for the prima and alto Balalaikas, while Russian tuning is used for bass Balalaikas.
  6. What accessories are needed for a Balalaika? Accessories for a Balalaika include a pick, a tuning wrench, a shoulder strap, and a carrying case.


An interesting fact about Balalaika is that it is the world's largest stringed instrument. Measuring over 6 feet long and weighing up to 22 pounds, this unique guitar-like instrument is a true showstopper. The balalaika originated in Russia and is traditionally used in Russian folk music. It typically has three strings, which are arranged in a triangular fashion across the instrument's neck. It is played by plucking the strings with the thumb and index finger. Due to its size, the balalaika is often used in orchestras for special effects and to add depth and range to a musical performance. Source: Lark in the Morning

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.