Name: Chin Chin (in Chinese) or Dan Tru (in Vietnamese).

Type: Plucked Lute > Chordophone.

Region: China & Vietnam > Far East Asia.

Dimensions: Scale Length 85 cm.

Specimen: Manufactured by Alice Guanzhou Romance Co., LTD, China.

Acquisition Date: 2007.10.09 Tuesday.

Acquisition Source: Close friends who went on a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Description: My specimen is made by a company Alice-Guangzhou Romance Musical Instruments Co Ltd. This instrument is a composite chordophone which resembles a four stringed banjo. Having an aluminum body, a cast aluminum arm rest affixed to the top of the body. Mechanical tuning gears, a neck and frets. This instrument is a close relative to the chin-chin a Chinese musical instrument of a similar construction both of these instruments do have python skin stretched over their bodies. The dan-tru does have a big resonant sound when played due to its construction.

Tunings and Observations: While experimenting with alternate tunings I found tunings in fourths and fifths to be the most suited for this instrument normally D A D A (in D) or E B E B (in E). I have experimented with G D A E or the same tuning a fifth below C G DA. Both these tunings did not work due to the incompatibilities of re-entrant tunings with frets placed in the following scale E F# G A B something close to a natural minor. The frets are quite wide and not based upon the chromatic semitones as you would encounter on a five stringed banjo.

A Personal foot note: When a friend of mine and his wife went to Vietnam for a vacation at the time he offered to bring back an instrument. I wanted to originally have a Dan-day (being a lute with a very long neck and body has no back. This is unique for both lutes along with other Vietnamese lutes). Purchased and brought back but they are very large lutes to ship back and the one located in the store was its self not such great quality so I was informed by my friend. I welcome this addition in my collection since I had not had a instrument in quite a while :).