I have an Afghani stringed instrument. It has 3 main strings (nylon) along with drone and sympathetic strings. 20 in total.

I feel that my rabab is not creating enough sound, especially the echo a rabab needs to produce. I have had other rababs so I can tell the difference. Would making the sound box thinner and the rabab lighter overall help create more vibrations and essentially make it sound louder? BTW the sound board is made out of sheep skin.

Picture of a rebab

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    Hi, perhaps list the exact differences - materials, dimensions, etc. of those other rababs. Are they all strung with nylon, or did the others use some stronger material? As it stands we can't advise much. Sound-box dimensions can be important to overtone amplitude ratios; how do the dimensions here compare w/ the others? Apr 26 at 17:38
  • Thanks for the response, Carl. The size of the rabab ranges from 27 to 30 inches length-wise. The material used for the rabab is mulberry. Although my rabab is 27" in size, compared to other rababs of the same size, I feel there isn't enough echo and volume of sound overall. I don't have exact measures but my rabab is slightly heavier than others. Thats, why I thought maybe carving off some wood from the inner side of the soundbox, might make it lighter and maybe create more vibrations. Strings are nylon in all rababs. Apr 27 at 10:11

Changing the sound box walls is unlikely to affect the instrument's volume. Thinning the walls may help with resonance and feedback to the sympathetic strings, depending on how thick the walls are. The back plate of hand made violins are often tuned to specific resonant frequencies to help the sound of the instrument.

The loudness of a skin head instrument is mostly going to be made at the face of the instrument. String tension, skin weight, skin thickness, and bridge height can affect how much volume the instrument produces. It may be possible that your skin head is thicker than normal, or may have natural thick spots that is affecting the volume.

Since replacing the head is a major operation, some things you might try first is changing out the bridge, selecting one made of a lighter wood. A taller bridge will offer more down pressure which can help with volume also. It may be possible to get larger gauge or heavier tension strings for the instrument as well. The higher tension will transfer more sound into the skin potentially helping with the echo that you are looking for.

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