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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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,


Wow, nice Guitars!.

A 24" neck...That almost calls for binoculars to monitor what the left-hand is up to (unless you're left handed).  My Banjo is that length, it's a stretch with GDAD....What a ridiculous tuning for a Banjo, I might go back to standard.

54 is a mighty gauge indeed,  when it's old you could remove it and use it for construction of a small suspension bridge.  My heaviest is 47 I think, I can certainly see how you would be looking forward to the OX10, Mine's an OB10, not quite so rich in the bass end.  

 DADAD....Intriguing..I'd never thought of that, I'll give it a try, I imagine it would be really nice for chords, It's also a palindrome which it just a nice bonus.

I do feel very fortunate to have tried so many bouzoukis. I try to get to a few folk festivals each year and bouzouki players seem to sniff one another out, then it's  the traditional exchange of instruments, It's great, Unfortunately, I did a lot of my testing after I'd bought my first bouzouki.  I'm getting a pretty good idea now of which sound I like most,  it's taken a few years. 

It's funny I've been listening to Alan Kelly and learning some of his tunes for almost a year now,  I finally saw him at  the National folk fest (Canberra),  I was amazed to see that it wasn't a button box he was playing!!, swimming against the tide!.    It's strange, I must not have even  looked at the cd cover, which I'm sure would have informed me of this fact.   On the recordings I couldn't even hear the difference, I just assumed it was a wet tuned buttonbox.  He is very good, I think I saw every one of his performances at the National,  a highlight for me.

I'd imagine Alan would be a great contribution to a session, he's such a sensitive player!   I Know a guy who plays Irish tunes on an English concertina, he once talked about it saying "If you listen to the music,  especially emphasis,  you can get this concertina sounding pretty similar to an Anglo".  Without looking at the instrument I really don't think I could have heard  the difference.

I hope the gig went nicely!,


Hey Danny,

Very Astute of you in pointing out the different acoustic environments, I'm a bit dizzy sometimes.   When I read your observations, a flood of very important information arrived from the nooks.  Regarding the two recordings done in the same room,  the Moon had quite new strings while the Stewart's strings were around 6 months  old, that was a very important bit of Info, a bit remiss of me.  Also the room was carpeted.

The recording I made recently, of the Stewart,was with the same camera as the older recordings, but done in a sparsely furnished, uncarpeted room. 

I should also add that in this recording, the strings are only a little over a month old and they're Elixir strings (with a "nanoweb" coating,  developed by  spiderman in his secret laboratry I think).  Elixir's claims are true, the strings still sound pretty fresh but one of them has just gone entirely muted...I can't figure it out.  The cause  doesn't seem to be at the nut, bridge or frets...confusing,  I'm beginning to think it may be spidermans fault.

I'll give the Elixir strings the benefit of the doubt.....for just a little  bit longer.

Anyway,  the second, twangier recording of the Stewart is a more accurate representation of  it's overall  sound. The Moon would not have sounded so vibrant if the strings were as grimy at the Stewart's at that time.

Your poor, poor Ovation!


Hi Mick,

6 months....not too long. 

The rolling of eyes.........I know exactly what you mean!!


Hey Andy,

Thanks for the explanation. Yep,....the Stewarts the one (so far).

I love and swear by the Elixer strings (for my Taylor 12). Didn't know they made zouk/cittern strings (true or compatible???). They stay true tuned and I like the feel of them.

You've really piqued my interest in a Cittern (don't have to climb the neck as high on the upper D for some runs). And the fuller sound/resonance with that extra A string,......oooooohhh, gives me goosebumps. I'll have to hunt down somewhere where I can check one out.

I like the idea of ordering (from D. Stewart) with a price LOCKED,....and the inclusions are cool. The waiting list gives me a (possible) time factor for raising the money. Just a bit scary making a commitment with someone on the other side of the world, not to mention just going with my gut and YOUR word/recommendation (and Mick's)!!!

Do you go electric with yours (included pickup)???? How is it???? None of my acoustic instruments have a pickup (although was tempted to order installation with my Taylor: their pickup is supposed to be very good). I use a high end/professional Sennheiser shotgun mic if & when I go electric. I can move in or away from it for different volumes/sounds, kind of learned/developed a technique to fully use the mic. The idea of using a pickup seems bothersome (one volume level unless you're using a volume pedal, or reach for and turn up the volume knob while playing, or have a mixing engineer on a sound board) although in my "younger electric days" that's the way it was.

Anyway, I really appreciate your active responses to my queries. Cheers, mate,.....and have a great day/weekend. Hope to hear from you soon.


Is there any good bouzouki players in Connaught at all?

Hi Mick,

I was just reading through danny's last post (sounds like a tune name, a variation on THE "last post"?)....Anyway, I noticed my response to your post above, had escaped and become part of  another discussion. I actually must have clicked on the wrong "reply", blue clicky.  So my reply to this post of yours, lives over at Danny's now, sorry about the confusion!.


Hey Andy,

The Tuesday gig in Mcgettigan's was great , although we did have to drive a bit hard which caused the unthinkable. I broke a string! I never break strings!! We did the Polo Club in Dubai on Friday night for some lad's 40th. Wasn't quite sure how we'd go down but they really got into it. But the highlight was the quite session we had afterwards where we got to sit back and bring out the subtleties in the tunes. They're always the best! The ZX10 zouk loves to be played gently. The wood responds with full rich sound helped with the resonance from the bass strings.

Speaking of which I also use Elixir. For the ZX10 I buy two sets and leave out the B strings. They're pricey but you get what you pay for...

I'm not giving up on buying instruments yet. I had a hiatus for 20 years between the Taylor and Takamine. These days I try to save the gig money for music! The OX10 isnext and afterward...? Dunno yet but I'll think of something when I get the pot up to a decent level again!  ;)


I cannot understand why there are not lots of bouzouki players in Connaught.  Maybe they dont want to be listed.

Hi Carmel,

Sorry I can't help on this as I'm out of country for the last 10 years...

I was home in November and met a lad who was very good. He was tall, slim red haired, clean shaven and played a Sobell 8-string...

I don't recall his name but he played with Mary Shannon on the night. Perhaps Mary can give you a "heads up" on him?

You could also try talking to Paul Doyle, luthier about town.


Hi Dhomhnaill, I have three pickups installed by Davy Stuart in mine. They're K&K and have an require no preamplification... The response is amazing but you need to balance well it with the other instruments on the board as it is strong out front.


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