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Bouzouki - What brand is best?

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Branwen23 27 Dec 00 - 03:39 PM
Jed at Work 27 Dec 00 - 04:07 PM
Branwen23 27 Dec 00 - 04:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Dec 00 - 04:27 PM
Jon Freeman 27 Dec 00 - 05:22 PM
Jon Freeman 27 Dec 00 - 05:28 PM
Jon Freeman 27 Dec 00 - 05:51 PM
Jed at Work 28 Dec 00 - 11:24 AM
Brendy 28 Dec 00 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Sam Hudson 28 Dec 00 - 01:44 PM
GUEST,belfast bhoy 28 Dec 00 - 02:57 PM
Jed at Work 28 Dec 00 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,John of the Hill 28 Dec 00 - 07:06 PM
Sorcha 28 Dec 00 - 07:57 PM
Lady McMoo 28 Dec 00 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,John of the Hill 28 Dec 00 - 09:23 PM
John P 29 Dec 00 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Mark. West Sussex U.K. 29 Dec 00 - 08:57 AM
GUEST 29 Dec 00 - 11:36 AM
pastorpest 29 Dec 00 - 05:07 PM
Wesley S 29 Dec 00 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Kevin FitzGerald 02 Mar 01 - 05:42 AM
Will Fly 01 Sep 08 - 06:23 AM
Stu 01 Sep 08 - 06:41 AM
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Jim Lad 01 Sep 08 - 11:44 AM
Jayto 01 Sep 08 - 01:13 PM
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GUEST,Rob McGregor 18 Jul 09 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Nikos 20 Jul 09 - 04:44 AM
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PHJim 20 Jul 09 - 04:26 PM
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Subject: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Branwen23
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 03:39 PM

I'm thinking about learning to play bouzouki, and was wondering what you guys might suggest as far as brand names, styles, etc...

thanks...


-Branwen-


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jed at Work
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 04:07 PM

If you're lloking for a fine bouzouki go to Sobell. His are mostly custom, but he has a couple "off the shelf" models. They start at over $2500. Otherwise:

Freshwater looks very good.

Petersen makes some great instrumnets. I have played a few at NTIF. He is there nearly every year, and if you brinng cash, you may get a great deal at the festival.

Trinity College makes theirs off-shore in Korea and they sound pretty good. I've played one and was impressed with this low cost instrument's sound. (I believe this is the model that Steve of the Blarney's plays). Johnson, and Flatiron also make good models, and Weber will introduce one this year. I beleive you could find a good instrument by any of these guys. There are other custom shops, and small volume makers. The instruments may likely be very fine quality, and the price very high, as well.

Try the websites for each of the makers I listed above. Read up on what they say, then look on Ebay (you'll typically find 2 to 6 on there). And look also on Elderly Music. Good hunting!

I expect you'll pay as little as $500 and as much as $3000 (and more). You may do better looking for used ones, but they seem to be few and far between.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Branwen23
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 04:24 PM

Thanks, Jed...

I'm really at a loss as I'm not super-familiar with the instrument to begin with...

You've given me lots of great resources.


-Branwen-



by the way, I hope to see you at the YOBB session tonight... we've missed you.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 04:27 PM

Don't get a Greek-type bouzouki, unless it's Greek-type music you want to play.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 05:22 PM

Branwen, if you are considering quality UK makes like Sobell, who's website is http://www.sobellinstruments.com/, you may also like to look at Fylde Guitars and Halshaw Music" who sell Hullah intruments. I have played a Hullah bazouki and I liked it a lot. Terry Docherty is another maker who I belive makes excellent bazouki's but I can't find a web site. Maybe Bill Sables can help out.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 05:28 PM

I see Jed's link for Sobell displays the same pages as mine. I didn't check that before posting mine. I'm not sure which is the uptodate pages. I have always used one link and assumed Jed was pointing to an agent.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 27 Dec 00 - 05:51 PM

Also, check out Han's Irish Bouzouki. It has a lot of information.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jed at Work
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 11:24 AM

y'all gotta check out one more site. This instruments look great. Price looks 'in range' for low volume, or custom prices ... and instrument descriptions sound good ... andyone have any inside knowledge about these guys/instruments?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Brendy
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 11:55 AM

Without exception, the best bouzouki maker on this planet lives in Dublin, and his name is Joe Foley.

Everywhere you go, his instruments tend to turn up. And in some very discerning hands.

B.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Sam Hudson
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 01:44 PM

I've been very pleased with my Freshwater short-scale. Sounds lovely and reasonably priced, too.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,belfast bhoy
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 02:57 PM

Joe Foley is the man he lives somewhere in Rathfarnham in Dublin.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jed at Work
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 03:44 PM

Thanks very much Brendy. I'd heard the same thing about this maker from others, and had seen some good stuff on the web about his instruments, but I lost the info. Thanks for the post.

By the way, my wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and I tried to convince her that she really wanted a bouzouki for an anniversary gift. Seemed like a good idea to me!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,John of the Hill
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 07:06 PM

Branwen, I don't know the budget you are working with, but Davy Stuart has an excellent reputation on the cittern mailing list. I am a satisfied customer myself. Davy lives in New Zealand, and the favorable exchange rate makes his work even more of a deal. Davy was a delight to deal with. His web address is www.stuart.co.nz Good luck, John


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 07:57 PM

Ask Alec Finn--Irish bouzki player for DeDannan. Best I have ever seen/heard, and he is a nice guy to boot.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 08:33 PM

Would second all the above suggestions... they are fine instruments. For an additional lower-cost suggestion also check out Paul Hathway who work in East London. Good-sounding, no-frills instruments at an excellent price. If you're in the US, also check out Trillium octave mandolas. I've temporarily forgotten the makers's name but I think he works out of New Hampshire and his instruments are excellent.

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,John of the Hill
Date: 28 Dec 00 - 09:23 PM

I think Trilliums are made by Bob Abrams, (more sure about the last name than the first) John


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: John P
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 07:44 AM

My favorite instruments are made by Stephan Sobell, Steve Smith, and Fletcher Brock. These are high-end ($2500+) professional instruments. Mid-priced instruments I have seen that I like were made by Peterson, Laurence Nyberg, Graham McDonald. For low end instruments, Trinity College usually makes decent one, although I have seen some dogs. Be very leery of anything that costs less than $600 new.

The company I work for operates an acoustic music store that stocks several bouzoukis. Ron, the store manager, is a true bouzouki lover, knows a lot about the various makers and instruments, and loves to talk about them. The store is called Dusty Strings. Ron will answer your email, or call you if you give him your phone number.

The cittern email list is a great source of opinions and information. They are also a great bunch of people.

John


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Mark. West Sussex U.K.
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 08:57 AM

How long is a piece of string, Branwen? You can try Fylde or Hathaway and pay their prices. You can try people like Joe Foley or Rob Armstrong for superb top range hand-made but will be told of the long long waiting list because the whole world is knocking at their door. If you want a lovely, playable hand-made zouk at around £300 or $600 then you won't beat David Freshwater in Scotland. He has a web page and does mail order. You will find better, maybe, but not at his prices I reckon.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 11:36 AM

I am surprised that nobody has mentioned Peter Abnett bouzoukis yet - according to legend he invented the Irish style bouzouki (in conjunction with Donal Lunny). You can see a Peter Abnett web page on Hans bouzouki page given earlier.

Ian


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: pastorpest
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 05:07 PM

I have no idea what your budget is or where you are located but I do know that, Peter Cox, luthier near Orillia, Ontario, makes fine bouzoukis at prices that can not be beat. His web site is www.bconnex.net/~cox/ and he can also be reached through Hans Irish Bouzouki site. Last summer at a workshop on Bouzouki there were two of us with Cox instruments that others admired and had trouble believing how little we paid for them.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Wesley S
Date: 29 Dec 00 - 05:21 PM

Branwen - I know it's not what you are looking for but the Guitar Center across the street from The Ballpark in Arlington has a Weber octave mandolin in stock. You might try it out. My understanding is that a true bouzouki will have a longer scale than an octave mandolin by several inches. If I remember the size of your hands correctly you might find that the fingerings for bouzouki chords could be a big stretch for you. It's something to consider. I have. I've ordered an octave mandolin from Davy Stewart.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Kevin FitzGerald
Date: 02 Mar 01 - 05:42 AM

Sorry to come late to the party, but I play and love a Lathkilldale Octave Mandola by Alan Marshall of Northworthy. A close friend also has a guitar bodied model by the same maker, though you may find a full scale length off putting, it can be quite a stretch unless you are an accomplished player. Price range around £800 - £1200 GBP. Website http://www.northworthy.com.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 06:23 AM

As a rule, I usually give musical instruments a good workout before buying, and don't go for low-end priced instruments. However, very occasionally I'll buy a cheap fretted instrument - unseen (from eBay, for example) - sort out any kinks in it, play it for a bit and then pass it on. It helps me to practice some amateur luthier skills like setups and fret replacement, etc., without wreaking too much damage and, as long as I can sell it on at around the same price, I'm not out of pocket.

Recently, I was looking at a cheap Ozark bouzouki, around the £100 mark, on eBay and thought I'd have a bit of fun seeing what it was like and if it might be worth doing something with. I have no illusions about what you get for this price - particularly when I've paid much higher sums for the permanent instruments in my collection (Martin, G&L, etc.) - however...the bouzouki arrived and I unpacked it. A quick squint down the neck showed the most amazing inward curvature - it was totally unplayable as a quick tune-up and run up and down the neck confirmed.

This particular Ozark instrument was made in Roumania. A check on the label inside showed a very recent manufacture date - it was apparently badly made from the very outset. So - a word of warning to anyone who's tempted to buy an instrument at this price range online. Be careful. It's now wrapped up, ready for return to the shop. My view is that, even at this low price and basic quality, manufacturers and stores should ensure that the instrument is at least playable.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Stu
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 06:41 AM

John Hullah doesn't make bouzouki's anymore, but as it happens I'm selling mine as I've ordered a Foley for sometime next year. It's a Deluxe model from 1995 and very nice sounding, mahogany back. sides and neck and Applewood soundboard. A snip at £900!

In truth, I'd rather keep it but cash is short at hand at the moment and when I ordered the Foley I was anticipating a better year for my business : (

If it's a cheapie, then I'd have a look at Troubadour Instruments. David is a great guy and his instruments are excellent value for money, although benefit from a little setup work.

Alec Finn actually uses a 3-course bowl-backed Greek bouzouki so I would go with what you feel like!


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 06:54 AM

Thanks for the Troubadour link, Stigweard - the instruments, for the price, look excellent. Alas, my next £900 is already reserved for a custom-made tenor guitar being created for me by a luthier friend!


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Cats
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 08:29 AM

Jon has just got an Oakwood bouzouki which his friends bought him for his 60th birthday. Its a bit magic... you wave your hands near it and it makes stunning sounds and the ring goes on for ages.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: alex s
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 11:28 AM

Terry Docherty is a fine luthier and a great, great guitarist but I heard he's retired.
For a beginner, Celtic Star (Germany) are OK - very basic but playable and very cheap for solid wood + electrics - around $300 plus postage. They make a number of instruments of interest to budding folkies.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 11:44 AM

Leonel LeBlanc from Mabou, Cape Breton made mine.
Makes marvelous fiddles too.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Jayto
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 01:13 PM

I like my Trinity College. I know it is nowhere near the best but for $350 (US) I have had a blast and it doesn't have a bad tone either. I know this may not address the question exactley but I though that maybe some people may be wanting one but not wanting or able to pay the big prices. I am very happy with mine especially for the money spent.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 02:38 PM

If I won on the lottery - I'd head straight for Oakwood (Leeds) and buy every instrument they've made. They are gorgeous sounding and very beautiful hand made instruments.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: alex s
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 05:02 PM

Oakwood are excellent - we have one in the band and it is terrific. Just ordered a mandolin..........


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Cats
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 05:25 AM

So wasn't he a very lucky bunny to have most of an Oakwood paid for as a pressie by his friends!


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Mooh
Date: 02 Sep 08 - 07:59 AM

Josh House at www.houseguitars.com is making some nice guitars and guitar-shaped bouzoukis. He's worth a look, as folks at the Canadian Guitar Festival, the Montreal Guitar Festival, and the Celtic Roots Festival have discovered. I have one of his zouks and two of his guitars.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Dan.l
Date: 21 May 09 - 09:55 AM

I'm looking to buy a bouzouki for around £250...
Quite a few names and models have come up: Ozark 2243, Hudson DBZ100, Tonewood WCBZ, Ashbury AM325/AM375, Celtic Star

Can anyone suggest any nice models for around this price. Whether it is one of the models i have named, or another...

Some advice would be fantastic...

D


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Ghirotondo
Date: 22 May 09 - 05:30 AM

I have an octave mandolin and a bouzouki by Valerio Gorla (from a town near Milan, Italy). Both are cedar top, and the zouk has walnut back and sides, maple neck and ebony fretboard. Paid (each) little more than 1000€ equipped with Fishman Natural II piezo. I am completely satisfied, except for the resonances I seldom have when playing amplified. But you know, piezo have their drawbacks...
I think the price/quality ratio is very good. Also, the person is exquisite, ready to fix any problem on the spot (if time permits).
If you plan a holiday in northern Italy and need a zouk/mandola/mandolin, it is worth a detour, if only to have a look and a try.
Here is his address:
Valerio Gorla
Via Montegrappa, 53
20024 Garbagnate Milanese (MI)
Italia

Lanfranco.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Captain Farrell
Date: 23 May 09 - 05:09 AM

I know someone who has a Archtop Fylde for sale


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 09 - 05:35 AM

Captain Farrell.

Any idea as to what price they would want?!

If anyone could suggest a bouzouki for around the £250 mark, that would great.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Rob McGregor
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 09:40 AM

I've got an oldish Musikalia zouk I got cheap (£100!!) cos it has a few knocks. Nothing much to look at but a nice sound. Obviously doesn't compete with a Fylde or £1500 hand made jobbie - but thats not what you're asking for is it? Solid top, plays nicely, quite a wide flat neck, list price around £299 but I think you could get one cheaper than that. Have you got a Hobgoblin store near you? They seem to give a damn. I got some paired strings but I'm gonna go back to octave at my next restring as paired seems to make it sound a bit flat and guitarish...after all it's a zouk.

I also recently bought a Greek Sakis "Irish" Zouk which i tune GDAE, octave strings, doesn't cause any problems and I got a LOT cheaper than the list price of around £600 as it had a repaired soundboard crack which spoils the appearance a bit, but doesn't hurt the sound that I can tell (again on a whim - I swear they have spies out who tell them I'm on my way, and then they just leave tempting deals lying around...it always goes the same way:

Me: "Ooo. What's that?
Them: "Oh, that's an old Sakis Greek bouzouki we got in. It had a crack in the soundboard but we repaired it"
Me: Mmmm. Bowlback. That must be tricky
Them: Well, it takes some getting used to but you get the hang of it.
Me: Any good?
Them: I think so - here, have a go.
Me (plays for five minutes) God, that's a lovely sound. Shame I can't afford any new instruments. How much are you asking for it?.....)

I love it. Good luck with your search.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Nikos
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:44 AM

I'm not Greek but my name is. I make zouks and citterns in 3 body styles; been at it since 1967 and should know better but I can't help it. For prices, pics, sound clips , and testimonials write me guittern@gmail.com. located Rockport, Maine, US


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:50 AM

Apparently there are some great ex-Soviet models around. Take out a tank at 300 yards.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: PHJim
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 04:26 PM

These instruments are new enough that the names seem to overlap.
While the names bouzouki and cittern are often used to describe modern flat backed instruments, I'd rather see a new term used. The bouzouki is a Greek bowl backed instrument with three or four double courses. This was introduced to Irish music by Sweeny's Men. When Sobell and others started making flat backed instruments, some people started calling them bouzoukis or Irish bouzoukis. Sobell took the name of a flat backed Renaissance instrument and called his instruments Citterns. Although most players don't tune their long necked instruments exactly an octave below a mandolin, shorter necked instruments are often called octave mandolins. I've also heard the names Octophone and blarge used to describe these low pitched mandothings.
Although I've never heard the exact scale length where an octave mandolin becomes an Irish bouzouki, some folks say it's the scale length that differentiates them. Others say that a bouzouki's bottom two courses are tuned in octaves. Does this mean that you can restring your bouzouki and it becomes an octave mandolin? I've heard people say that a citern is a low pitched mandothing with more than four course, usually 5 or 6 and a has 3 or 4 (usually four unless you're using a Greek bouzouki)
Although Grit Laskin doesn't make them any more, I liked his terminology. He called 'em all "long necked mandolins" no matter how long the scale or how many courses.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Phil WilliaM
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:38 PM


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 05:40 PM

then theres www.gazuki.co.uk I have some to send on 2-week trial ;-)
Phil Williams N.Cornwall/Devon border


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: PHJim
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 10:41 AM

Sorry, I should have said,"and a bouzouki has 3 or 4 (usually four unless you're using a Greek bouzouki)"

My friend Ted often tells me to,"get out that monster mandolin."


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 05:28 PM

Well, I got a gazuki and it is great, just the sound I wanted. Needs a bit of setting up as the action is quite high and Phil hasn't sorted out the bridge yet.
Bit tricky to do it in Dubai but I'll manage. For a guitar bouzouki at that price, it's worth a shot peeple.

Al


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 05:43 PM

Thanks Al, yes I've been working on the Saddle and have engineered a solution, I can send you a replacement if you like f.o.c. phil@trehawsa.com
BTW sold 2 more since you were here! Its proving to be popular.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Dug
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:04 PM

I have a Fylde Octavius which I love.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:52 PM

If you are a low-talent, but exuberant hack like me, the Trinity College is perfect. I even play gigs (with my way-more-talented-daughters) on it.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: PHJim
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 12:23 PM

Tia,
I have heard wonderful music made on Trinity College octave mandolins and bouzoukis. These are fine mid-level instruments and I have seen them played by talented musicians. Rather that "low talent", you should have said "low budget". I have played mine in a group with a Sobell cittern and a Gibson mandolin.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Willie-O
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 01:09 PM

Yeah, Tia. TC's are perfectly useful instruments for professionals or anyone else. The cost-benefits are hard to miss!

The difference in scale length between a bouzouki and an octave mandolin is about 4", typically about 21" for an octave and 25" for a 'zook. The practical effect of this is that you can play fiddle tunes on the octave (with a bit of creative fingerstretching sometimes), in standard GDAE, that would be very difficult on the zook. (SL is 17" on a mandola, and about 14" on a standard mando.) As with other double-course fretted instruments, you can set any of them up with bass-treble combinations on the lower strings if you wish to.

I know someone with a Laskin long-neck, don't know what the scale length was but it seemed she could capo it and play like a standard mando any time she felt like it--it had a slim enough neck that it seemed very comfortable to do so and of course sounded great. For most octaves, mandolas, etc, this is not the case. You can capo them to good effect but its more like playing with a capo than it is like playing a mandolin.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 01:19 PM

Nikos from Rockport, Maine (above) is Nick Apollonio, and he makes some of the best citterns, bouzoukis, mandolas, lauds and guitars (both 6 and 12 string) you've ever seen or heard. And you probably have heard them, if you listen to folks like Gordon Bok or any of the others that have Nick's instruments.

Recently Nick built me a laud - a 12 string Spanish mandola - which sounds like a dream. You seriously can't do better than Nick's instruments.

I mean it. You really can't.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: PHJim
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 05:07 PM

I've heard that what folks in Europe call an octave mandola is actually an octave mandolin, tuned GDAE. To my way of thinking, an octave mandola would be tuned CGDA, an octave below a mandola, but to each his/her own.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 11:33 PM

Three years ago my wife gave me a Trinity College zook for Christmas. A great and unexpected gift. I have enjoyed every inch of it since. I have no more tuning issues than is expected of any instrument. It plays in tune up the neck with or with out capoes.

The body could be bigger, the neck could be wider, I could be thinner.
Somehow it and I work OK together. I suggest them as an affordable starter instrument.

Learn to play, save your pennies, keep the TC for Knock about and buy an Apollonio.

Don


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,TIA
Date: 27 Jul 09 - 11:42 PM

I switched from Irish tenor banjo, so if I tune the TC GDAE and sstrrretch, I can play some.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 04:44 AM

For Dan Schatz:

Interested to hear about the Laud. I have a cheap one I bought at a folk festival nearly 20 years ago. It still has the strings it had when I bought it. I haven't touched it for years but I'm starting to use it again recently.

How do you tune yours? At the moment I have mine in the equivalent of DADGAD, only a fourth up (ie G to G).


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: TIA
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:30 AM

OMG - 20 year-old strings! They must be black. How's the sound?


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 10:55 AM

GDAE tuning is mandolin tuning. Bouzoukis are usually GDAD or ADAD. Some tune them in fifths CGCG for example. That is the tuning that Pat Broaders (Uilleann Piper and Bouzouki player) uses.

I have a Freshwater Bouzouki made by David Freshwater in Scotland. The sound box is about an inch deeper and an inch longer than most. It has an amazing sound to it, very unique. When I, or Tom Verlin (plays in my band) use it, it jumps right out. Players usually come up and want to give it a whirl. I string it unison most of the time, octave occasionally.

My opinion (and just that) is that GDAE tuning is done purely to avoid new fingerings. It seems to me (and again this is just opinion) that most folks want to play the cool looking instrument without taking the time to learn it. Gosh, that sounds grumpy, and I don't mean it to. But the point of the "Irish bouzouki" (I hate that name - very disrespectful to the Greeks....LOL) is the different voicings one gets from the instrument and tunings. My friend Grit Laskin is right to say that they are all basically long neck mandolins only in so much as the term "bouzouki", to my understanding is simply Greek for the family of mandolin style instruments.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Stu
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 11:14 AM

I agree with Mick. For ITM GDAD or ADAD are the best choices, especially if accompaniment is your aim.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 11:47 AM

Mick writes:

"It seems to me (and again this is just opinion) that most folks want to play the cool looking instrument without taking the time to learn it."

Well, with the exception of the cool looking part (my laud is cool looking but I wanted it because it was cool SOUNDING), that's essentially what I did. Which is why I asked Nick to make me a laud instead of a cittern or a bouzouki. It's currently tuned just two frets above a normal guitar, with the low string dropped down a whole step (dropped E, if you will). It sounds FANTASTIC in DADGAD (EBEABE?) but I don't, yet. So it looks like I have to learn a new tuning after all.

Bet you'll want to play it at the Getaway, too....

But my point is not to talk about lauds, which would be another thread, but to extol the virtues of Nick's craftsmanship.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: TIA
Date: 28 Jul 09 - 03:21 PM

New fingerings not a problem. I switch around from 5 string banjo to cello to 4 string banjo on any given evening. The GDAE simply works better for melodies and counter melodies, and you can get the same accompaniment sound with some creative fingering.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Willie-O
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 08:40 AM

Mick is quite correct to say that GDAE is "mandolin tuning", obviously, and of course the reason that can only work so far as size and scale length increase, is that the mandolin's short scale length makes various chord fingerings--particularly four-note, closed position chords (no open strings)--playable that your fingers can't reach on a longer-scale fretboard.

But hey, I'm a mandolin player, so sue me, ya big galoot. That's why I got a "long-necked" octave mandolin.

What I'm wondering as all these tuning acronyms are bandied about, is: do REAL bouzouki players, who actually learn these different tunings, play fiddle tunes with them? Or is it mostly accompaniment? Who's particularly good? (Any youtube suggestions?) Because of course fiddle tunes are generally composed with GDAE in mind, and adapting them to other tunings is challenging.

I might give GDAD a shot. It is of course just a slight variation on the holy quartette of fifths, the peerless and unmatchable queen of tunings, GDAE.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: PHJim
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 10:56 AM

I use GDAD for melody playing, mostly in D and G and relative minors and I employ a capo for other keys.
Willie-O, I'd give Gerald Trimble a listen.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Phil Williams
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 12:05 PM

The guitar-bouzouki -'Gazuki' has its engineering issues sorted out and available on 2 weeks loan to mudcatters. John Tams bought one,
quote from Sally - 'It is fantastic. John is really enjoying playing the Gazuki. I crept down in the dead of night (3am) to find him playing it as gently as he could.
Thanks for your great service and for a really good product.'
phil@gazuki.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 10 Mar 10 - 03:06 PM

Just received a superb gazuki from Phil who is really helpful and has a genuine desire to 'keep the customer satisfied'. First thoughts : It has a wonderful resonance and sustain which keeps the chords 'ringing' for some considerable time and will allow for some interesting accompanying. I thought I was going to use GDAE (being a lazy mandolin player, of sorts) but some chords are a little tricky for me. I've had a quick go at GDAD and might try ADAD. What I really want are easy to play chords that sound good - I want to decide on one tuning - I can't overload the old brain cells. I've never played a bouzouki but this gazuki is going to keep me busy for a while.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Abdul sans cookie
Date: 11 Mar 10 - 08:38 AM

Yep I'm really happy with my Gazuki after having it set up by Brian Rogers our local wizard, and with a set of
Newtone strings. GDAD seems to work for me.

Al


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Folk Music Fan
Date: 13 Mar 10 - 11:45 AM

If you are looking for a hand-made Irish bouzouki (or a mandolin) of excellent quality, I can thoroughly recommend two excellent luthiers in the Bristol area.

Paul Shippey....Paulshippey@hotmail.com

John Barnes....jcb.cheddar@talktalk.net

I am the proud owner of bouzoukis from these two luthiers, and they are superb.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: Ian Hendrie
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 11:10 AM

"I'm really happy with my Gazuki after having it set up by Brian Rogers our local wizard, and with a set of
Newtone strings. GDAD seems to work for me."

The Newtone string set from Eagle Music is 34, 24, 15, 11 gauges.
The gauges given on the Gazuki web-site are 42, 27, 20, 11.

This seems to be quite a difference. How will using the thinner strings affect the tone. Will it be brighter/thinner?

If you regularly use GDAD rather than GDAE as specified for the Newtone set do you need to change the gauge of the first string?


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,abdul on the laptop
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 12:10 PM

Ian, the Newtone website has 4 Bouzouki string sets. None of which are the gauges you note from Eagle. I went for medium. 40. 26. 15. 11. and have no problems with GDAD.
Al


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Jon Penney
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 06:49 PM

Does anyone know much about these Johnson Bouzouki's: http://www.playmusic123.com/JOHNSON+DELUXE+BOUZOUKI,+MA-500~product~1342.htm

They seem to have a unique body shape, but I can't find much information on them.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 01:54 PM

a certain amount does depend on the player. i had a cheap as dirt greek bouzouki for years. it was the smaller body meant for six courses but i didn't know that than so i strung it for four and used adad or gdad tuning with octaves, it sounded great, so don't write off the greek instruments if you find a deal. the big bodies ones are a longer scale , like a guitar and thats demanding for a rookie to play fast tunes.

again the trinity college are find for the price. one of the best players i know has played one for years--he makes it sing.

there are a lot of hand makers out there as well. some not prohibitive. i love sawchyn instrumnets from saskatchewan canada.   both flat tops and carved tops. and his prices are still good as he's still little known--maybe i just changed that. lawrence nyberg in british columbia makes a grand instrument as well, but then the last time i was at hobgoblin london the hathaway instruments were very nice for the price and a flyde was $670 pounds, and it was a beaut.   the main thing is to get a good set up then learning will be easy and fun. i fought with nasty guitars all my youth, the first time i got one properly set up it changed my life.


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: olddude
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 01:59 PM

Isn't a Bouzouki one of those things they used in WWII to take out a tank??

To show my lack of knowledge, I don't know what it is honest

I learn something everyday ... :-)

Dan


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Bob Brooker
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 05:35 PM

Hi,
I've not read any replies to this question, but as the owner of 2 bouzoukis, my recomendation is 'Fylde'.
Like I said, - I have two, they're my babies!


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Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
From: GUEST,Glenzo
Date: 24 Aug 11 - 08:11 PM

I got a Celtic Star from Germany I am very pleased with 400 dollar range with pickup tryed GDAd at first vary nice tuning but I am now in ADAe land and i love it much nicer than the zook I built myselfso I am on the look out for Tonewoods Ashburys Trinity College or a Hora perhaps and coments on these brands oh yeah there is and irish maker whos name eascapes me with celtic knot work on the finger board??


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