Around two years ago, Shahab Tolouie began the fulfillment of his long-term idea to assemble the diverse elements of Persian, jazz and flamenco together in a manner that incorporates modern technologies in one instrument to attain the precise timbres that are optimal for live performance of his original style, a fusion of Persian music and Flamenco.
The name of this new instrument is derived from “fuse” – English for “fusion” and “tar” – Farsi for “strings”; hence ‘fusion of strings’. The nickname Lucifer is that of the mythological morning star, the bearer of light.
It took a year and half for two luthiers Mehr & Owrang (Crimson Oath) to build the FuseTar. It is made of thirteen different types of wood and weighs 2.1 kg. With an acoustic chamber approximately 2cm larger than that on a regular guitar, the FuseTar possesses three necks.
The uppermost segment is a fretless neck, which makes possible to play the quarter-tones peculiar to eastern music. The middle neck is the ‘guitar neck’, a combination flamenco/jazz guitar configured with the “true temperament” fretting technology, which produces more accurate intonations and longer sustain than a normal guitar and is used, for example, by John McLaughlin and Steve Vai.
The third neck is a Persian ‘setar neck’ with four strings fretted for quartertones, a traditional instrument whose roots stretch back 2,000 years. This is the first time a traditional Persian instrument has been modernized with the fixed, “true temperament” fretting system.
At the same time FuseTar is a unique work of art – carefully decorated by elements from three the most significant historical periods of the Persian Empire: Achaemenid: the Lion-griffin – a protector from evil; Parthian & Sassanid: Derafsh Kaviani – symbol of independence and freedom. Lion and Sun – always been associated with Persian royalty. And Faravahar – the best-known symbol of Zoroastrianism.