Instrument Price Lists
Useful Links
3d Chat Room Gazebo Garden

Thai Saw U


The Saw U is a two stringed instrument. The head is made of a rather large coconut shell without lumps and more of an oval shape. One of the small ends of the oval is cut off, and a piece of goat or calfskin is stretched across the opening which is 13 - 15 cm in diameter. Two holes are cut through the body at opposite sides, and the neck is inserted though the sound box and fastened in place. The back of the oval shell sound box is often carved in an intricate pattern which pierces the shell, making many small holes through which the tone can escape, making it louder.The neck is made of solid hardwood or solid ivory, 64 cm. in length above the body. the instrument is 80 cm. in overall length. There are two strings made of gut. They are fastened to the short , protruding lower end of the neck. These tuning pegs are 17 - 18 cm. in length and are inserted through holes in the neck, one above the other. To help make the strings tighter, a cord is fastened around them and the upper part of the neck and pulled tight, drawing the strings in somewhat toward the neck. This called rat ok, the same as with the Phin (Indian instrments). The bridge is made of tightly rolled cloth and is placed between the strings and the skin head at approximately the middle of the head. The bow is inseparably attached to the instrument, the hairs of the bow pass between the two strings and are then fastened to each end of the bow. The wood or ivory is shaped like the bow used to shoot arrows, not like the S-shaped bow of the Saw Sam Sai.

The Saw U is very similar to a two stringed Chinese instrument called the hu hu , but the Chinese instrument has frets along the neck which the Thai instrument does not. Also the tuning pegs of the hu hu are to the right of the player. At the place where the tuning pegs are inserted in the neck of the instrument. a long groove is cut in the beck and the strings fit into these grooves and are tied to the tuning pegs after passing through the groove. The name of the Saw U comes from the characteristic sound that the Thai hear when the instrument is played, just as the Chinese gave their instrument a name according to the sound they heard it produce. The pattern or model for the Saw U was probably taken from the Chinese instrument. As far there is reliable evidence, it is known that the Saw U has been used by the Thai in the string and Maho-ri ( string and percussion) ensembles since the first part of the present Bangkok period (c. 1782) or perhaps from the end of the preceding Ayudya period (c.1700 - 1767). In the latter part of the 19th century, the instrument was added to the pi - phat - mai nuam ensemble ( which uses padded playing sticks) and the pi phat derk dam ban ( a special pe phat ensemble for use with a particular form of theater) In performances at the sin la pa gawn ( theater of the Department of Fine Arts , the Saw U is frequently used with the accompanying pe phat ensemble, if the circumstances permit.

Email This Page to your friend!
 is a division of
Chiangmai Central Trading Co.,Ltd.