Foley bouzouki worths it?

Foley bouzouki worths it?

I’ve been recently given the opportunity of buying a second hand Foley bouzouki for a good price (I think). However, I’m currently playing a Tom Buchanan, and I’m happy with it, but the legendary fame of Foley’s zouks is really tempting. I’d like to know if by any chance someone has played instruments from both makers and could tell me their differences, and if it would be an actual upgrade from the Buchanan (which I think it’s a really nice instrument anyway).

Cheers!

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

Haven’t played Buchanan but I have a Foley and I can say it’s a masterpiece. Im considering buying a second one even if I don’t need it just because these instruments are worth it. So I wouldn’t hesitate much, if you don’t like it you can always resell it very easily.

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

I agree with Michel V. No downside to buying a top-quality used instrument. Its value won’t decrease and you’ll have fun with it— you could tune one GDAD for backing and the other GDAE for melody! I have played a Floey— stunning.

Chris

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

How many things can you play at once? Will another instrument make you a better player? are you just spending cash on kit because you want to be seen as a proper player or because you will have a genuine benefit from the acquisition? How can a bunch of strangers on an internet forum ever be any help in deciding if you, an experienced player, apparently, will benefit from a different instrument that you are physically able to inspect and compare?

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

Thomas Buchanan’s instruments are of a consistent high quality. Whether you are considering; materials/hardwoods in construction, sound projection, tone, sustain, play-ability, attention to detail, or cosmetics/finish. Owning one of his bouzouki’s, you are obviously aware of this. For the benefit of those unfamiliar as yet with his instruments, it’s all there at a very competitive price range. The only other maker I can bring to mind, who’s instruments I’ve tried that better these are made by Fylde, and of course you are paying around double the price for the privilege, without getting anywhere close to twice the return.

I have not played one of Joe Foley’s, although his reputation is well known, so cannot comment or make comparison. For price on used examples, there have been a couple of his up for auction on ebay uk recently. ( look under completed listings ) One for £1,500 and the other at £1,350. Ultimately, as has been mentioned, when it comes to buying another bouzouki, I assume only you can make that informed decision. My personal quest for bouzouki sonic nirvana stopped firmly with Tom Buchanan. :)

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

Thanks for all your replies. I have to drive like 3 or 4 hours to try that Foley, so I was just looking for opinions of people who maybe have played bouzoukis from both makers before making my mind up.

As I don’t live in Ireland right now (currently based in Spain), these instruments come up here very rarely (in fact, I never saw any zouks or OMs from any maker for sale around here, just the typical mass produced romanian ones), that’s why I’m thinking of getting it despite being satisfied with my current instrument. I don’t think I will have the chance of getting my hands on a Foley again. I would consider it an investment.

If I finally get to try it I’ll let you know my impressions! I think I’ll only buy it if its sound is remarkably different from the Buchanan. I’ll maybe post a review-comparison of both.

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

In my experience instruments are rarely an investment unless they are played with pleasure. High end gear seems to fetch premium prices but in reality the second hand value rarely exceeds the purchase price, after inflation. The return an instrument can produce is in facilitating the act of playing it, with all the joys and frustrations that brings.

http://www.aberforth.co.uk/risk-warnings/

Due diligence is the name of the game, enjoy the drive.

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

I bought a well used Joe Foley mandolin a few years ago. Not sight-unseen as this particular one was the mandolin played by Dave Curley when he was in the band Runa. I did not however, get to play it prior to purchase. Had I been able to do so, I might have waited until another one became available. It’s a very sweet, mellow sounding instrument that is very quiet in overall volume (it does have a pickup but I never plug in). The action was very high (Dave has strong fast fingers - I do not) and the soundboard has sunken quite a bit since the instrument was constructed in 1996. My local luthiers have told me to just live with it as the instrument is playable. I’m not complaining, that isn’t why I’m mentioning what I have with this particular instrument, just be aware that when you examine that bouzouki to look for signs that all may not be to your eventual satisfaction. I’ve heard that Joe Foley will fix any problems with his instruments and if you’re on the same continent with him that may allow for resolution if you find a problem. I’m an ocean and a continent away with an instrument of eloquent beauty that’s still playable if not exactly optimum. I don’t play mandolin often enough anymore to feel a need to see if it could be made any better than it is. I will owe up to ditching the original tailpiece in favor of a T.R. Allen which I feel is a better tailpiece overall. Still, there is a sort of positive karma effect to owning an instrument made by any of the well-known craftsmen producing instruments of this level of quality. Even if the JF isn’t dramatically better than the Buchanan, you may find that owning and playing it will give a specific kind of pleasure not found with some of more commonly available instruments.

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

I am lucky enough to have a Foley zouk (amongst many others from very good makers) although I haven’t played a Buchanan. The Foley is right up with the best I have and on that basis, I would not hesitate to recommend Foley zouks as very fine instruments indeed.

If I were you, I’d grab it pronto: As Michel Vermeulen says above, if you don’t like it you will have no difficulty in selling it on, likely for what you paid for it.

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

BEST BOUZOUKI I EVER HAD WAS MADE BY PICKARD OF HASTINGS (ENGLAND) AND THE BEST MANDOLIN BY FAR WAS A WHITE IBANEZ FLATBACK PLAYED BY GUY CALL MICK DORGAN WHO WAS A DRAUGHTSMAN IN CORK BACK IN THE 80’S. DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ANY OF THE THREE.????
BARRY O’KANE

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

Another shout for Pickard - very well made and good value. More upmarket and equivalent to Foley in my opinion, is Andy Tobin of Bristol, England. However none of them may significantly improve on the Buchanan you already have. I have visited Buchanan’s workshop and am impressed by his quality and attention to detail.
Kevin

Re: Foley bouzouki worths it?

I’ve tried Buchanan bouzoukis in Charles Byrne’s music shop in Dublin and was very impressed. For the price, they were astounding and I’ve often been tempted to buy one as a backup. However, I don’t play the bouzouki regularly enough to warrant owning two of them. Tempting though….

I’m very familiar with Joe Foley bouzoukis, I’ve owned at least one since 1991 and they are obviously up there with the best. The real question is - how much you are prepared to pay for that incremental improvement in quality that you may or may not detect?

Also - as with all hand-made instruments, they vary. A good Foley is amazing but depending on the tonewoods and construction, overall tone and volume will be different. Also, the instruments are made with different neck profiles depending on the preferences of the original owner. Don’t underestimate overall playability as a major factor in your overall satisfaction with a bouzouki. More than once, I’ve passed on bouzoukis which sounded great but had necks which were too difficult to play comfortably.