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How Long It Takes To Learn Playing Baglama (Saz)

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For those of you are here by a mistake let us start with the definition of Baglama. It is a traditional Turkish stringed instrument which has a very important role on Turkish folklore and music. Apart from Turkey, the instrument is also used in Balkan Countries, some Asian Countries and apparently various avant-garde music groups across the world. On the bright side, being an almost exotic instrument does not make the learning progress harder.

If you want to learn Baglama and somehow managed to get your hands on one of them you are actually half way there. As you may have already noticed, there are a lot of completely different approaches to this instrument. Size of the instrument, tunings, finger movements and positions and strapping styles change dramatically. But this doesn’t necessarily mean chaos and difficulties. These varieties actually is the result of creativity of the bards that invented this instrument and will be your friend on your journey.

All you need to do is to tune your Baglama to a tuning that you like (There is of course a widely accepted tuning for it but don’t let this limit you) and start exploring the keyboard. Just press on the frets clearly, using the top of your fingers, and hit the strings! If you don’t have the special pick, which is usually called “tezene” or “mizrap” in Turkish, you may try to get a very soft guitar pick and shape it similar to the picture below.

Baglama Tezene

Since you may have some troubles finding the learning results in English, you may want to watch some videos in Turkish and try to mimic their movements. Yet, to repeat, there is nothing wrong with experimenting and finding your own sound. However, if you are still interested in the traditional style and song, you can most certainly find their sheet music online.

About the time commitment; it usually takes about 2 to 3 months to learn playing some intermediate songs with Baglama when you have an instructor to guide you. If you are pursuing your own sound, it should also take about the same time. However, if you want to learn the traditional way, you may need to spend a little bit more time due to the lack of resources.

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