All About Cumbus


Cumbus is a recently invented and developed instrument in Turkish instruments. Invented by Zeynel Abidin, born in Skopje, the cumbus has contributed greatly to the music culture of our country with its different tone and other features.


Composed of an aluminum body and a wooden handle, this stringed instrument can be transformed into different musical instruments by changing its wires. The father of this musical instrument is M. Kemal Atatürk. Inspired by Zeynel Abidin's introduction to the pasha, Ataturk, who was inspired by his reed spreading the joy of him, found this name appropriate for this musical instrument.


Abidin, who made 2 of these instruments invented in 1930, gave one to Atatürk and the other to Iran Shah Rıza Pehlevi. After all this, Zeynel Abidin received the official patent for Cumbus in 1931.


Although it is not very popular in our country, it is a local instrument that has received many awards abroad. When the surname law came, Zeynel Abidin took the surname "Cümbüş" and has now identified himself with this stringed musical instrument. Spread around the world, this instrument was used by a famous Pink Floyd in 2006 at a concert. In this regard, a musical instrument born from our country was introduced by a world-famous group and gained value.


What is Cumbus?

As explained above, the cumbus, which is different from all stringed instruments, has a unique voice. It is structurally similar to the oud and drum and has a metallic body. It is also played with plectrum. It is covered with leather on the chest board. It can be summarized as joy and fun as a word meaning.


What is cumbus? A musical instrument with a metal body and long wooden handle comes to mind. The fact that it has a low cost and easily transportable structure is among its advantages. The fact that there is a handle change forces him to use it in different ways.


Considering its history, the cumbus, which is seen as a string instrument that is not where it deserves, is also suitable for different music. this unique musical instrument is in demand today by some enthusiasts. The musical instrument, which is easy to learn and enjoyable to play, has taken its place in stringed instruments.


Types of Cumbus

The change of stalk will cause the cumbus to have differences. For this reason, various types of cumbus can be created and processed with different sounds and chords.


  1. Standard cumbus; Fretless, tuned like uda.
  2. Cura cumbus; It has a long handle and is tuned in the form of binding.
  3. Drum cumbus; it is quite long and tuned like a tanbur.
  4. Spring tanbur cumbus; is the type played with bow.
  5. Guitar cumbus; it is fretted and tuned like a guitar.
  6. Mando cumbus; the curtains are the rumors tuned in the form of mandolin.
  7. Harmonic cumbus; It has a body made of wood.



Thanks to these different stems, it is possible to use cumbus in many kinds of music as desired, in a unique way. Although it has such advantages, it could not get the place he deserves in Turkish music. It was mostly used as a folk instrument. Perhaps the fact that Turkish music was heavier and more musically dominated at that time caused the cumbus instrument to be in demand.


Differences Between Tanbur and Cumbus

The cumbus, which is among the Turkish stringed instruments, has not been used much in music, but has managed to be quite effective in some works in general. However, the sound differences between the tanbur and the cumbus separated them significantly.


The tanbur gives more ud-like sound. On the other hand, Cumbus gives a more vibrant and resonating sound due to its metal body. Although the cumbus can achieve a tanbur-like sound using a long handle, it does not give the tanbur sound directly.

 You can also like: All About Yaylı Tanbur

Handle and body differences create serious differences in terms of playing, sound and timbre. The metal body of the cumbus has a unique sound. In contrast, the tanbur, which has a tougher and oud-like sound, was preferred more in music.


Perhaps, in the conditions of that day, the more palace-specific structure of the music and the presence of the cumbus in the taverns among the people may have determined the value of the cumbus. While offering a more complex and effective use in music, the cumbus appealed to a slightly lower class in this sense.

You can also like: What Is Difference And Similarities Between Turkish, Arabic And Persian Music?


  • Figen A.

    This post is very beneficial. Thank you :)

  • Oğuzhan

    it is a beneficial content about cumbus, thank you

  • Hakan G.

    Thank you 🥳

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