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The barbiton, or barbitos (Gr: βάρβιτον or βάρβιτος; Lat. barbitus), is an ancient stringed instrument known from Greece related to the lyre.

It was a stringed instrument which accompanied symposiums and Dionysian rituals.

The soundbox was of tortoise shell as the lyre. The arms, however, were much longer with longer strings (5 until 7) and consequently had a deeper pitch and a softer tone than that of the lyre. Its straight wooden arms rose outward from its base and curved inward at the top with a bent end which carried the cross-bar.The elasticity of the arms allowed them imperceptible vertical motion thus creating a wave-like resonance. The player balanced the barbitos upright against the left side of his body pressing it leterally against his belly (with the help of a sling which went through the left arm of the instrument and his left wrist). The free fingers pressed or plucked its strings while the right hand struck them with the "plectrum".

Anacreon, Sappho and Alcaeus established the barbitos ("varmos") between the 6th and 5th century B.C.

SOURCES: "M.L. West, Ancient Greek Music", "Athenaeus of Naucratis, Deipnosophistai".

Technical characteristics


Model: BarBitos 

Brand: Merko 


Serial number: ——


Merkos Guitars is proud to present our latest addition the BarBitos, an Electric Acoustic with a modern twist. This model is unique, while not technically an acoustic guitar the sound and tone quality takes you to another level. . 


You have the sound quality of an electric acoustic while standing out from the crowd with this stunning instrument. 


No Amp? No problem! Unplugged it stands up to even the top of the range models for a fraction of the price. And you know it has been master built and set up professionally here in Australia


Weight: one kilo

Body : Australian Birch 

Colour is Oak and old baltic (stain colour) with oil finish

3mm birch wood anchor design on  top of the body

Bridge is rosewood with buffalo bone

Neck : Canadian hard rock Maple 

It is bolt on neck.

Machine Head: Black

Nut: Ivory Tusk, increases harmonic and richness . Increases sustain.

Nut Width:42mm

Profile: C

Fret Width: 2.7

Frets: 22 Nickel Frets –  jumbo.

Fretboard is from rosewood.

2 Wooden knobs walnut colour.

The Barbitos guitar is setup with 12 string gauge


Excellent quality Alpha pots 1x A500K and 1x B500K, 1 Jack Socket.

The heart of this beautiful instrument are Single Coil Alnico Magnet Pickup TL style.

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