New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Hi all! I’m a 21y.o. Multi-instrumentalist looking to buy a Bouzouki. I’m mostly a Bass player, but I play lots of Guitar and Mandolin as well. What would you recommend, as far as Wood, Luthiers, Scale, etc.? Please don’t mistake me for a kid, I’ve been playing for quite a while. ;) I’m not in an area where I would have access to any(I live in rural North East Pennsylvania, USA). I was considering having Paul Hathway build me one. The tone I’m going for is similar to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9JKoCtoox8 After hearing this, I couldn’t resist getting one, it’s such a different tone than anything I’ve ever heard before. Any info would be VERY appreciated. Thanks very much in advance! - MetzBlaze

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Hi Alex. What’s your budget? I’m not a bouzouki player, but I know that, whenever I’ve thought "Ooh, that’s a nice sound coming out of that bouzouki!" it’s tended to be a Fylde.

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Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Well I’d like to spend less than $1100 USD(680 Pounds). If it’s a little above that it’s o.k., I’d just like to limit my expenditures if at all possible. I was thinking about Fydle, but it seems a bit out of my price range.

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

You might want to check out the classifieds at Mandoline Cafe - I used to own the zouk in ad #38517 and loved it…there is also a nice Peterson advertised there…another great instrument, I am sure. Go to <http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/classifieds/classifieds.cgi>; and do a search on bouzouki…you might find some interesting options well under your budget.

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Yeah, there are a few things on there, but I’m more likely to get one straight from a luthier. Has anyone had any experience with this luthier? http://www.kennaquhair.com/
These look pretty promising….

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Yeah - the ad #38517 at Mandolin Cafe is a Kennaqhair that I used to own..traded it when I found myself playing guitar a lot ore than bouzouki after I moved to a new city. Doug’s instruments are really nice quality and have a solid sound. He responded to several email questions I had when I first bought my zouk (the one listed at MC - but I am no longer the owner…). His materials are very nice and the quality of his instruments are darn good.

The Peterson at MC is another good builder…a good friend has two of his instruments and loves them….but honestly, I prefer the sound of the Kennaqhair - they sound a bit more earthy to me and less like a guitar sound (sorry, Patrick…).

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Check out my friend Dave Shapiro’s work here: http://shapiroinstruments.com/index.php?option=com_oziogallery&Itemid=54

Dave is an excellent luthier operating out of Doolin, Co. Clare. I have played many of his instruments and am finally about to take delivery of one of my own any day now. Couldn’t come more highly recommended ;)

I have played a few of the lower level Petersons and wasn’t terribly impressed. Perhaps the higher end ones are a bit better. They come in levels so you can opt in for whatever degree of inlay/etc. you require.

Hathways are excellent. I have played a small body and a larger body and both were very nice. For the dosh they are a bargain. One of my favorite bouzouki players and friends, Michael Holmes of the band Dervish, played one of Paul’s instruments for years. Now he is playing Phil Crump B3’s. I had one of them but the spacing was too wide and the soundboard was too stiff. Sounded a bit muddy as well. If you’re going for that classic flatback tone, you’re going to want a standard depth…at 4.5 inches, Phil’s are a bit extreme.

Dude, have you considered a bowlback Greek bouzouki? That is what I currently play…gotta love that Alec Finn sound 🙂 They can be had pretty cheaply too: http://www.nvo.com/bouzouki/pictures/view.nhtml?profile=pictures&UID=10440

Don’t knock the Trinity Colleges until you’ve tried ‘em either. An associate of mine Eamon O’Leary from New York plays one and it sings. For the price they deserve a look. Now they are even making ‘pro’ models: http://elderly.com/new_instruments/items/TC675.htm At $1125, that’s just over your price range but worth some research.

Good luck man. I’m actually down near Harrisburg, PA so give a holler sometime if you want.

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Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

…to clarify: I previously owned a CRUMP and my subpar review was directed toward it, not Paul Hathway’s superb instruments.

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Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Well the real way to do it is to try as many as you can, but that isn’t really too easy when it comes to bouzoukis. I have to ditto the MC classifieds, I picked up a Fylde from off there a few weeks ago you never know what may pop up at a decent price. I am mainly a Flute player myself, but have been messing with the Zouk for a couple years on a Petersen Octave Mandolin which I was tuning GDAD and plying like a short scale zouk. I was never really that happy with the Petersen as I thought the sound lacked character and was too bass heavy. I also found it akward to play especially the left hand which always felt cramped. The binding on the body was also quite sharp and tended to dig into my right arm.

I am very happy with the Fylde though and I find it much more comfortable to play even though it has a much longer scale length. It is really opinion and my suggestion would be get what you can find for a good price and once you get more comfortable with the instrument go searching for something else if you are not satisfied.

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Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Go to Karl Nesbitt’s website and contact him - he’s brilliant on the bouzouki and has tutorials on there.
He just played with the Berne Symphony Orchestra

http://www.karlnesbitt.com/

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Richard Hess in Bellingham, WA makes octave mandos for around $1500— you can choose your wood etc etc. Nice thing about an octave mando is, you can more easily play melody on them cos the frets aren’t so huge. I had a TC zouk— loved it— but found it hard to play, even though I have big hands.

chris

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

Walt at Gypsy Music makes a really nice one, to your spec and can meet your price range. I have one in the design phase for a build in early 2011.

I’ll be up your way in March at the Banshee in Scranton if you want to check out my Trinity. It’s a ‘beginner’ but for pub playing and easy amplification (LR Baggs ParaDI) it’s a decent instrument.

I wouldn’t take a $1500 zouk in 95% of the places I play. 🙂

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

WOW! Thanks for all the help dudes! That’s WAY more responses than I thought I’d get!

The Greek ‘zouks ….I dunno. I KNOW I wouldn’t like a curved back. I think a flat back would be better for me.

The TC one’s don’t look all that promising either. I’ve read too many non-complementary reviews on them to even want to try one.

chris stolz: Is there an internet site for Richard Hess’s instruments? A Google site yielded not leads…

I also have one question about the Youtube link I posted in the original post. What instrument is being played there? It’s listed as a zouk in the liner notes, but I’ve heard some say it’s an Octave Mando. What say ye?

I do believe I’ll be going with a Paul Hathway model. Does anyone know if there’s a difference between the 3 models, besides the binding? http://www.paulhathway.com/06.html
I think it’s all cosmetic, but it’s not exactly listed very well. I E-Mailed him a week ago about it but haven’t heard back yet.

Again, thanks for ALL of the help y’all! - Alexander

Re: New to Bouzouki…. Reccomendations?

i’m christian deloraine ,hello everybody and good?! music!!!

bouzouki maker
now :http://deloraine.over-blog.com/
phone: 09 63 49 41 94 en france