Setar Instrument

Setar is one of the Iranian plectrum-type string instruments, which is plucked by the player's forefinger's nail. Setar or Setouyeh is a three-cord instrument, which was converted into a four-cord instrument under the reign of the Qajars. It is, in general, an ancient and gnostic instrument usually played at the gathering of dervishes most often held at Khaneqahs (monasteries or houses of dervishes), which makes the listener feel high.

                              Setar instrument iranian

In view of its special vocal features, Setar is known as the instrument appealing to the listener's heart and the Iranian musical instrument ranking second among Iranian musicians. It is simpler than other instruments both in appearance and the method of playing. Its low tune, compactness and tenderness are the main reason for its great appeal in the course of the past centuries. It is made in various types and sizes including large, small, flat and zir-abai.

Setars are made in two methods: Turkish (in many pieces) and scraped kasdani (in one piece). Setar is generally made from cherry wood, while at some occasions that of pear or walnut wood might be used as well. Its bowl is a pear-shaped semi-sphere, while its thin and delicate handle is tenderer than that of other instruments.


Setar is a plucked instrument and has 3 strings and is played with player’s nail.

The main parts are:

1. Body mostly made of mulberry wood and rarely of walnut or rosewood

2. Neck made of walnut wood

3. Soundboard made of  mulberry and sometimes of spruce

4. Bridge made of areca wood or boxwood

5. Tuningpegs made of walnut or rosewood or ebony

The numbers of frets of Setar are from 25 to 28 frets and its sound scale is 2.5 octave.

Setars are made in five different sizes:


Sizes By Millimetre

                                  A      B      C      D

The bass setar         660   170   452   850

Jumbo setar             660   160   452   845

Classic setar             660   150   452   845

3/4 setar                   605   140   415   780

1/2 setar                   535   130   365   695

Ordering options:

1. Fret sort including traditional or the permanent frets

2.Inlay-on-woods decorations on the fingerboard and the body as you can see in the pictures


1. Hardcase

2. One set of strings