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.
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
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
2. One set of strings