Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

When I first got it the strings were silk wound, maybe from Greece? as the seller is a Greek person.
Later when I got a setup done the Tech fitted RotoSound Strings to it. I found them not as easy to play on as the original strings.

Before I waste money on something that is no use, what are folks out there using?

My second problem is tuning/s. I tried the Greek tuning first and did not like it for Irtrad, so I migrated to Fiddle tuning. Kept at that since and have no regrets except string tension is really sloppy on the G ( lowest pitch string ) Any suggestions are most welcome! Perhaps I should try 12 string Guitar low E?

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

I thought that Greek bouzouki’s just had three courses? I play mine (Irish one) in GDAE, but many don’t. Whatever I usually string mine from any combination of 12 string guitar and bouzouki strings. I’m still working on it.

Posted by .

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

@Gobby: There are 3-course and 4-course Greek bouzoukis. The 3-course version is the older of the two, the 4-th course being added in the mid C20th, along with the guitar-influenced tuning, to facilitate a new style of playing.

@Sorefingers: A good place to start would be to look at some branded string sets for ‘Irish Bouzouki’ and use the string gauges as a guide (or buy a set). If you find it necessary, you can then adjust the gauges to your taste next time round. (Bear in mind that flat-backed bouzoukis usually have slightly shorter scale length than a Greek instrument)

For example this set http://www.amazon.co.uk/DAddario-J81-Irish-Bouzouki-Strings/dp/B0006IQNI4 comprises: 0.011"- 0.016" - 0.028"w - 0.040"w.

The Rotosound bouzouki set http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rotosound-Phosphor-Bronze-String-Bouzouki/dp/B001QGPE6C is specifically intended for Greek tuning, as is the D’Aquisto Light Silver set http://www.heat.net/store/Bouzouki-Strings-10-Sets-Light-Silver-d-aquisto_321197367867.html

Are you using unison or octave tuning on your D and G strings?

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

Strings - I use Newtones - handmade with an amazing tone, stay in tune well and last a long time (or maybe I shouldn’t say that…) http://www.newtonestrings.com/. You can get individual sets from http://www.stringsdirect.co.uk/bc/109/776/newtone-strings-strings/ or http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/

Tuning wise, why not tune the low G up to A and play ADae? Not the most common tuning but it’s a good compromise for playing accomp and tunes and if it’s good enough for Joe Foley it’s good enough for me! It works especially well if you keep the octave strings on the lower courses.

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

Personally I would look at the standard "Irish ‘zouk" strings supplied, and go for a gauge lighter - Greek bouzoukis, by and large, are not designed to be strung as tight as Irish bouzoukis, particularly in the soundboard strutting, which has to bear the bulk of the tension.
Greek bouzouki strings are not designed for Irish tuning, as you have found.

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

Just back from the Peloponnese and my local bouzouki player of the trichordo told me the tuning was DAD.

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

"Tuning wise, why not tune the low G up to A and play ADae?"

GDad is also a popular tuning. Some like to use ADad. They’re all worth experimenting with.

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

Thank you ! These links save me searching, and the expert input is excellent! I did not know about the trichord tunings! And I imagined I knew a lot.

I will be trying one of these sets above as soon as I can get one from the store.

Again thanks a bunch everybody :0)

Re: Greek Bouzuki - strings and tuning

I play Greek bouzouki tuned DAD. The gauges I use are 22, 14, 11.
For a 4 course instrument I would have a G on the bass pair but wouldn’t go heavier than 34 possibly even 32.
I definitely would advise against buying Irish bouzouki strings, they will be too heavy and could destroy your instrument!
A Greek bouzouki has a much lighter construction than an Irish one and doesn’t have a truss rod in the neck.
I also would recommend getting silver wound Greek bouzouki strings.
They sound much better than phosphor bronze or bronze however they don’t last as long as I find the wound strings wear out.
They are cheap to buy though.
I get mine from matsikas.gr there website is in English and my strings have usually only taken about a week to arrive.