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Chake or jhake

The chake is the three-stringed floor zither of central Thailand and Kampuchea, often called the alligator zither. No longer made to look like an alligator, the modern chake has a long deep body that stands on small legs on the floor. The chake has raised frets, two thick nylon strings and one brass string that pass over a flattened metal bridge that gives the instrument a characteristic buzzing sound similar to the sitar. The chake is played with a large ivory or shark tooth plectrum that is tied to the index finger of the right hand. The chake is considered a part of the Thai classical or court tradition, and it is used as both a solo and an ensemble instrument. It has a seven-tone equidistant scale, which does not include a perfect fifth or other intervals found in the western scales.

Country: Thailand
Region: Asia
Type: zither

Thai chake
©  R. Raine-Reusch, May 2002