The ancestry of the Setar can be traced to the ancient Tanbur of pre-Islamic Persia. It is made from thin mulberry wood and its fingerboard has twenty-five or twenty-six adjustable gut frets.
Setar is literally translated as "three strings''. however, in its present form, it has four strings and it is suspected that Setar initially had only three strings. Because of its delicacy and intimate sonority, the Setar is the preferred instrument of Sufi mystic.