Developed during the 1960's by celtic musicians, the irish bouzouki combined feature of the Greek bouzouki, the sparkle of the mandolin, and the longer scale length of a guitar. As such, it is perfectly suited for melodic and harmonic work from the tenor range all the way up through the soprano. Inspired by the history of the instrument, and a love for the music, I have retained the teardrop shape, and have chosen to emphasize a highly arched back, to mimic the bowl-nack of the Greek bouzouki that initially inspired the sound.
Although nothing is standardized with this instrument to any large extent, I call my long-scale design the bouzouki, and the short scale design the octave mandolin (see below). The bouzouki can accommodate scale lengths of approximately 24" through 26", 24.75" being preferred by most.
These instruments have a particularly beautiful resonance, which can further be refined by the choice of tonewood.
Includes custom fitted Ameritage case.
My octave mandolin utilizes a flat-top design, and is built for responsive and intimate musical expression. It is optimized for a shorter scale length, lending a deeper tone while retaining the associated shimmer and clarity of tone.
As with the bouzouki, I offer the heavily arched back as an option for this instrument. The effect it has on projection is desirable for both solo and group settings, and players have reported it has a tendency to enhance dynamics and nuances of playing.
This design is inspired by the Greek Bouzouki, the bowl-back inspiration for the Celtic bouzouki. With a body shape inspired by celtic instruments, the bowl-back lends a rich, reverberant aspect to the tone. Like the sound of an oud or lute, this instrument has full and complex bass tones, while the trebles sing with sweetness and sustain.
I have designed the bowl to be a comfortable 5" deep, retaining depth for acoustic purposes while keeping a comfortable profile. This versatile instrument can be tuned in a variety of ways, the most popular being GDAD and GDAE (lowest to highest). The four double courses are often tuned in unisons, but some prefer to tune the two bass courses in octaves. This gives a particularly ringy, shimmery effect, similar to a 12-string guitar. The action feels sweet with a zero fret, which I recommend, but the design can also accommodate a standard nut.
Currently, I'm building prototypes for a German style bowl-back concert mandolin. This instrument will be available in both steel-string versions, as is typical, and in nylon strings. Both styles will offer unmatched responsiveness, clarity and projection.
If you are interested in acquiring one of the prototypes, please contact me.