Thai sueng

Karen sok gwae

Played by Lanna and several minority groups including Akha, Karen, Wa, Eng, Lua, Shan and Palaung

The sueng is a four string fretted lute with a long neck and from four to seven frets.  The body is made from single piece of hard wood. The sounding board is of a hard wood attached with metal nails. The pegs, bridge and fretsare in a soft wood, the strings wire (often bicycle brake wires).

The Karen tune the strings in pairs, a fifth apart. The Palaung use it in processions to the temple or to accompany dancing and, in contrast with the ding, make frequent use of harmonies. In this respect it is played differently from Thai music, in which a musician will only pluck one pair of strings at a time producing monophonic melodies.

Wa variant

Palaung sueng

Akha sueng

Akha 3 string round bodied sueng

Eng sueng

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