New bouzouki strings

New bouzouki strings

I’ve just received my new Goldtone bouzouki and the G and D string pairs have one wound string and one normal string, tuned an octave higher than the wound ones. Is this ok for ITM, or should I purchase two more wound strings tuned the same?

Re: New bouzouki strings

Yes! It’s an octave mandolin. Sounds lush!

Re: New bouzouki strings

Do what sounds best for you!

"In the early 1970s, Andy Irvine gave his Greek bouzouki to Dónal Lunny, who replaced the octave strings on the two lower G and D courses with unison strings, thus reinforcing their lower frequencies.
[…]
With a few exceptions, bouzouki players playing Irish music tend to use the instrument less for virtuoso melodic work and more for the chordal or contrapuntal accompaniment of melodies played on other instruments, such as the flute or fiddle. Because of this, it is common to use matched strings on the two bass courses, tuning to unison pairs in order to enhance the bass response of the instrument."

Wikipedia

Re: New bouzouki strings

Michelle, you might need to adjust the slots in the nut and bridge saddle if you are replacing the octave strings with unison strings. Personally, I wouldnt bother, my short scale zouk works just fine for accompaniment or melody playing but its an individual choice.

Re: New bouzouki strings

Unison strings will maybe behave better when capoed. If using octave stringing, the thicker string can prevent the capo pressing down properly on the thinner string. As does mine!
Alex.

Re: New bouzouki strings

The octave lower pairs are quite "normal" and naturally give a brighter tone.

If you’ve only just got it, play it and enjoy it as it is for a while then decide whether you want to change anything.
As Christy says, the nut and bridge saddle might need adjusting for the larger diameter of unison strings but either way it should be a two way road, you can change back.

Re: New bouzouki strings

Alexander, I ordered a custom made capo from G7 for that purpose, its compensated so that the thick and thin strings get equal pressure. Having said that I try to avoid using it unless someone wants to sing a song in an obscure key like C# or Eb……………….

Re: New bouzouki strings

I started out with a long-scale bouzouki in the octave configuration. It never sounded right to my ear so I went to unison and never looked back. I do favor phosphor-bronze strings for their sound. I play melody almost all of the time and frequently capo at the 7th fret (poor mans mandolin tuned DAEA). Everything is subject to personal choice, you just need to determine what suits your purpose best.

Re: New bouzouki strings

I know that some people like the octave strings on octave mandolins to give them more of the jangly sound that you get out of longer scale bouzoukis. Some of the jangle in bouzoukis can actually come from the two strings touching each other as they vibrate, but that’s less likely on a shorter scale instrument. So the octave strings can give you similar overtones. And then some people like the higher octave string on the top, and some on the bottom which can also change some of the character of the tones… I tend to prefer unison strings for playing, but I like the sound of octave strings.

Re: New bouzouki strings

As mentioned earlier, use what you have. Later, once you have got to grips with it, and you’ve a good few tunes under your fingers, you might want to experiment when the originals need replacing.

Re: New bouzouki strings

Thanks for the replies, I think I’ll order some in and play around with what I’ve got currently. I’ll have the unison strings in hand for when I’m ready to change. Do they have to be bouzouki strings or can I use guitar strings, as I’ve seen on another thread?

Re: New bouzouki strings

I use these: https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/dirphbrwobos.html
Search around but I would skip the chain guitar or music stores that have no idea what a bouzouki is. If you want to source your strings individually, the ad listed has the gauges on the image of the back of the package.

Re: New bouzouki strings

Thanks Callison

Re: New bouzouki strings

also guitar strings have ball ends , unlikely to fit the tailpiece of most zouks - well all the ones I ever had anyway.

Re: New bouzouki strings

I once out of necessity used a couple of guitar strings on my bouzouki. It’s not too hard to take the ball out. It’s the string gauge that matters. I agree with Christy’s earlier comment though Michelle, …. I wouldn’t bother! At least get well used to it as it is before you start experimenting with it.

Posted by .

Re: New bouzouki strings

Allen tailpieces accept loop or ball end strings. If you have a tailpiece that’s bugging you, these tailpieces are a pretty good upgrade. They can be a tad difficult with the ball ends but if you’ve ever strung up a Rickenbacker 12-string then they don’t seem difficult at all. Both of my PW Crump instruments have the Allen tailpieces and I ditched the stamped metal tailpiece on my Joe Foley mandolin in favor of an Allen tailpiece. No regrets.

http://www.allenguitar.com/tpcs.htm

Re: New bouzouki strings

I started out with octave strings because that’s what my first bouzouki came with, but I didn’t really like the way they worked with countermelodies. I use the standard D’Addario unison bouzouki strings now.

Re: New bouzouki strings

Ernie Ball Individual Strings are available with either ball or loop end. They are a Phos-Bronze string if you can find a store that sells strings that way. We’ve got 7 music stores in a town of 130,000, and only one of those stores sells strings individually. I had to have both the nut and bridge redone to accept the G and D unison strings. It’s delicate and critical work, requiring some special tools (gauged files), so I recommend you have it done, rather than attempting it yourself.