did a search for bouzouki & was supprised when nothing came up so thought i'd start it off.

If there are any bouzouki or GDAD octave mandolin players out there it would be great to start a thread.


Plays Oakwood Bouzouki 

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Hey Andy,

 Nicely done, Mr. Muir!!!! I've actually added that to my "favorites drop down menu" in my YouTube stuff. I especially like the long sustain at the end. Clean, baby,....real sweet and clean!!!! So that's a cittern,....10 strings and all. I can't remember if you said you tuned GDADA, and I'm wondering how I'd apply my fingerings to accomodate the extra string,.....not undo-able as far as chords are concerned,....probably more bar chords (yes????). Thank you so much for the upload from down-under. Now you got me thinking, "HMMMMMM!!!! CITTERN!!!!!!"

Hey Mick!!!! Waiting to hear your tune!!!!! What's taking so long????? };^)

Hey Lawrie!!!! Glad you were able to connect with Andy. Who knows,.....maybe an uploaded duet at some time in the future????

Cheers, mates.


Hey guys,

Oh man!!! Just checked out the Davy Stuart site. You've got me all excited!!!! And extremely sad!!!!! I've got to win the lottery,.....soon (or rob a bank)!!! Otherwise, I'm going to have to wait a very long time to get the money up. The conversion rate isn't bad right now (NZD>USD). Who knows,....maybe I could call in some favors and try to get some freelance work. Besides, retirement isn't all that's it's cracked up to be (wifey to-do lists, gardening, more wifey to-do lists, laundry, wifey "forgotten" to-do lists, cooking, servant to my cats, etc.,...with maybe some time to play a little music). Wish me luck,.....I'm off to see the Wizard!!!!

Cheers, Danny

Ooooooooh, Lawrie,.......pretty!!! Pretty pictures!!! Thanks much for the link!!!


Hi all,

OK!!! These are the "zouk builder/makes" references I pulled from this dicussion group: SOBELL; PAUL DOYLE; JOE FOLEY; MICHAEL SANDEN; FYLDE; PAUL HATHWAY; LAWRENCE NYBERG; TRINITY COLLEGE; MATS NORDWALL; OAKWOOD; DAVY STEWART; JIMMY MOON; PHIL CRUMP; and ABNETT. Aside from the quotes in the previous comments, would any of you care to comment on any or all of the list above,....or add to it. I'll be checking the websites of as many as I can, but not being able to play/hear any of them I'm relying on your recommendations. I'm kinda new to the Zouk World so please bear with my ignorance. Thanks to all who respond. Cheers,


Just did a little look around and found that the Hans Speek website is a good reference/resource. Many of you may already know this stuff, but for me (and maybe others) it was good to look at. http://hspeek.home.xs4all.nl/bouzouki/session  offers a written comparison/critique on some of the bouzoukis listed in the previous comment (alas, no audio) Note: best reviews on the SOBELL and DAVY STEWART. If you examine the website, they've listed luthiers from around the world on many of the bouzoukis listed in the previous comment. My quest continues....... (hope I'm not annoying anyone!!!!)


Definitely boomy; has a deep body with a depth of 4 inches.  Doesn't sound like a Greek bouzouki or a lute from Medieval Times for that matter.  It's a strong instrument and loud if you want it to be which is good in large sessions.  Great texture backing a fiddle for rhythm and its a lovely sound when picking as well.  I love it.  Dennis Cahill has one as well but it has has a cut out - more like a guitar.

Hi Danny,

I'm so happy you enjoyed the clip!

Launching straight into the bouzouki talk! ( I get a bit starved for it, often  having to withhold talking on the topic, for fear of creating boredom attacks on a localised but not insignificant scale).

before Cittern, i played GDAD bouzouki, and now tune the Cittern GDADA As far as chords go, that extra A will fit in to a lot of stuff, and it just sounds wonderful in chords,  they sound so full.  there are a couple of bar chord shapes but there are so many beautiful open chords, and a few of those can be moved up and down the neck, much like a bar chord (wihout the barring).  

Over the years I have picked up from ebay both a jimmy moon and a Sobell, so I can try to describe the sound of these (it often ends up sounding so abstract when I try this.."the sound is fruitful with a delicate but persuasive rumour of oak, underpinned by robust meanderings of teacake"  ).

The Moon -  A tricky one.  A very,very clear sound, lots of treble with a bass which seems to growl along with the treble like a disgruntled lion, actually don't worry about the lion part, it was just an afterthought. This Cittern is EXTREMELY loud and I've had a bit of ambivalent relationship with it. When It first arrived, I liked it a lot, then I wasn't so sure...it was hard to get used to the unusual sound, now I'm really staring to think it's a great sounding instrument and that I really should give it more attention.

I think the strongest impression I get with the moon is that it has the sound of a Cittern being played in a small cave (a lava tube perhaps), which is lined with corrugated iron  (or Zincalum these days I suppose). It's an unusual sound, very un-guitar like.

The Sobell  perfection in construction, sound, playability. Strangely enough, It doesn't get nearly as much use as the stewart.   It has an incredibly driving, humming chord sound, very gutsy, gentle guts though, chords really do sound special on this one.  Then there's melody.. Pretty and fairy-princessy, very nice but a way too delicate for a session environment, unless the session consists of you, one other and the pub is empty.  A treat to play in the lounge room. 

The stewart a chunkier sound than the other two, great for tunes, strong chords, I love it.

I tried a woman's Abnett at a california folk fest last year, beautiful, somewhere between a Sobell and a fylde, which almost describes a stewart.  The Abnett produced a very clear and rich sound.

A friend has a Foley, which could fall into the same tonal characteristic family as the Stewart and Abnett, out of these three,  I prefer the Abnett and the Stewart equally, quite similar.

I've only heard a Crump on the Dervish recordings, sounds lovely. A really good example of the Crump is on the Dervish song  "an spailpin fanach". I've attached the file to this post, if it works.

I tried a Fylde at a folk fest last year,  It had quite similar characteristics to the Stewart with a touch of the reverb-reminiscent  sound of the Jimmy Moon, really nice. So nice that I ordered one, thinking that by the time it's finished I'll have the money.  It should be ready in a month or so now.

It may seem like I have endless money for instruments, It's not that..I'm trying to find the ultimate Cittern and Australia doesn't really have an abundance of Cittern shops, so I've had a bit of a "buy one sell one" instrument history.

The Hans Speek website is great!, I particularly liked his "double-stop run" chord charts.

The so called double stop runs are a very useful resource, a good way of getting to know the instrument and how to get a lot of nice sounding chord runs and combinations.

I just looked through some music files and found two more clips from last year.

I was considering selling the Moon at that point and I tried a video comparison between the Moon and the Stewart. The moon whilst not being quite as easy to play as Stewart (due to longer scale, 23" so more tension at the same tuning as the Stewart which is 21". Also, the Moon has a radiused fretboard, which I don't really like much), just sounds so nice!, I couldn't bear to part with it.






I know it's not the same as picking them up and having a try but it's a start.

To add to  Lawrie's post:   Jack Spira's instruments have never had the sound  for me until I tried one last year,  it was at the same festival I tried the Abnett and side by side with Jack's....they were SO close. 

My theory is that the difference was in the sides and back. Every Spira zouk I've tried was Blackwood back and sides and just sounded muddy to me, Jack makes exquisitely attractive instruments but, the sound never spoke much to me, or if it did I wasn't paying attention . This one, I think had rosewood back/sides, an amazing instrument, after playing that I would  heartily recommend one of those as well.

I could be wrong about the Blackwood but it seemed like the only major difference.

Having waffled on and on (and on), My three favourites for clarity of sound and tonal characteristics which are very distinctly removed from a guitar-like sound (nothing wrong with guitars, It's just the Irish Bouzouki sound I like is edging more toward a greek bouzouki than guitar)  are  Fylde,Davy Stewart and Abnett.

Annoying people Danny?, I think I'm doing a better job of that after this epic ramble.

Andy  (I think I hear murmurs of "finally" ).


Hi Lawrie,

I love the sound of  "genteel hillbilly and potato growing country"!

Yes, the strictly trad ones are a bit scary, people see a bouzouki and their expressions reads  "look, another one's crawled out of the woodwork".

The Celtic southern Cross school sounds good, I'll have a look at the website!

I'll let you know if I'm down that way as well, and do let me know if you're around Sydney, there's a friendly little session I go to, Bouzoukis most welcome.



Hi Mick,

It's an Alan Kelly tune I think?

I remember the excitement of opening that box and tuning it up for the first time....It was undeniably love.  How long have you been waiting so far?


Hi Andy, For the cittern, only 6 months... Hopefully by year's end.

The ZX10 was a year and a half coming but defintiely worth the wait. I had the guys haunted over the expected arrival and reintroduced them to her at every turn!! There was a lot of rolling of eyes!

But yes, I understand the notion fo love at first sight and sound!


Andy, that's a tome right enough but made great reading. Like yourself, I'm not minted and have sold various instruments over the years to buy others. I started with guitar working through Ovations and Takamines but finally got to a Guild D25 which I have had since '88 and a Taylor CE414.

It's been only 3 years since I branched into bouzouki, I used a friend's 8 string Sobell for the first year and a half and then got my Davy Stuart ZX10. With rosewood back and sides and spruce top, it's the full monty having a 24" neck, making it a bit of a stretch.

Also the base course are 54s and though the sound is amazing you need to play everyday to maintain the stamina in the left hand. It's fantastic on chords with great projection and sustain. I haven't yet found a suitable capo which, while used sparingly, does add something special, particularly for delicate backing on A/Amin tunes. Tuning wise I use DADGD which is adapted from my DADGAD tuning on guitar making the cross-over easier.

Playing tunes can be a bit of a challenge due to the stretch for the C# and I am considering amending the tuning to DADAD. I haven't tried it yet though. It's a bit like the first time you jump from a 20ft height into water...

I'm really looking forward to the new OX10 as playing tunes shold be easier. Thanks for the source of the tune. I used to play sessions with Alan Kelly years ago around Galway and he is a great player. It couldn't have been easy breaking through in Ireland as a piano accordion player. The button version holds the high ground but he persevered and a good job too. He's deadly! 

If any of ye are around the UAE tonight, we're playing a ceili in the polo club in Dubai... Drop in and and get yer knees up!


Hey Andy,

Thanks for the YouTube links. I listened to all 3 (2 Davy Stewarts, 1 Jimmy Moon,...also added to my "favorites drop down menu of YouTube stuff"). Aside from the fact that they were not tuned the same I found the viewing/listening enjoyable and informative. Two recordings (1 Stewart, 1 Moon) were done at the same time (???), same room and were easier to compare. The second Stewart recording was done in a different room, different time. I don't know if it was the ambient acoustics, different strings, or mic placement, but it sounded more on the high end,....more twangy (I liked it!!) It just gave me a harder way to judge the sound of the instrument (Stewart to Stewart). I think I like the Stewart better. (Also, I'll attempt to play along with your stuff,.....kinda like I'm there with ye!!!)

By the way, I enjoyed your poetic yet abstract descriptions throughout your comment. As Mick put it, "great reading",...with a dash of nutmeg to tantalize the pallete. };^)

 Also, I'm amazed (and jealous) that you had the opportunities to hear and play so many various instruments. I have to rely on recordings with so many x factors to consider. Nothing like "live" music up close & personal & "hands-on".

Hey Mick, I also enjoyed reading your comment. I had a Glen Campbell Limited Edtion 12 String Ovation for many years (always kept it in the case, and always wiped it down after playing it). Loved that guitar!!! Like you, I had to sell it (need of cash). Funny thing was, the friend I sold it to threw it away after only owning it for three months. It seems he kept it out of the case on a guitar stand (during the winter with dry heat for his apartment) and the top separated from the fiber glass body. He deemed it unfixable and threw it in the rubbish. (I still mourn for that guitar!!!) You mentioned the "base course are 54s". Are you refer to the Gauge???? Also, what types of capos have you tried (I love using the capoed high end for certain songs)???? What's the OX10 that you're referring to????

Thanks to both of you guys. Your input gives me much food for thought. Cheers,


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