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Old 11-12-2017, 07:18 AM
Greg Ballantyne Greg Ballantyne is offline
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Default Irish Bouzouki - Am I Crazy?

First, I am not a mandolin player.... I'm really some sort of troubadour who can accompany himself with a guitar, passably at times, so there is always a slight hesitation if I say I'm a guitar player.... but since I've been playing guitars for 40+ years, I've been exposed to all the variety if instruments, opinions, etc... when it comes to acoustic guitars.

But an order got placed yesterday for a Trinity College TM 375, an Irish Bouzouki. I've gotten hold of Irish Bouzouki chord charts (lots of variations!) and read about how these instruments are used, and listened to music in which they are being played. I've been considering one semi seriously for a couple of years, but now one will be delivered in a few weeks.

I would like to just get exposed to opinions, observations, etcetera of a wide variety, just to begin to develop some landscape upon which to learn this instrument. I am mainly a flatpicker, and will try to stretch the Bouzouki from is usual role I believe, but I want to also learn to play it as it is intended to some extent as well. Might be hard to do that solo, but I'll have some opportunity to play it in a group as well.

Please let me have it......
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:15 AM
HHP HHP is online now
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Probably easier if you start with a mandolin. Probably most used as a rhythm instrument but I have certainly heard them played solo. With the longer scale, not all mandolin techniques transfer very well and the use of octave strings makes you approach it differently.

Had a Trinity College octave mandolin for a while. Nice enough instrument but I just didn't find enough places to use it to keep it.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:38 AM
philjs philjs is offline
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I might have gone for the 325 OM (20" scale, unison pairs) rather than the 375 (26" scale, octave-strung) but I don't think you're crazy (per se), Greg. I have one of each (a Crosby "bouzar" which is a 23" scale tenor guitar with unison pairs and a 26" scale, octave-strung Gold Tone bouzouki) and they each have their better features but I find I play the shorter scale, unison-strung bouzar far more than I play the bouzouki.

That being said, I also don't really treat them as "different" from a guitar. I play in DADGAD tunings (both chord accompaniment and fingerstyle) so both my bouzar and bouzouki are tuned GDGC (same intervals as DADG) and I can pretty much play anything on them that I can play on a guitar. The usual tuning for Irish bouzouki is GDAD (but for me that's just upside-down and is just a "stranger thing") so GDGC is not that much different, string-wise. You might try tuning to ADGC (same intervals as EADG) for an initial foray into the instrument, then adjust as needed, possibly to ADGB (same as the inner four strings on a standard-tuned guitar) or somewhere else.

In any case, have fun with it!

Phil
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:41 AM
Greg Ballantyne Greg Ballantyne is offline
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I am also seeing a variety of tuning possibilities - one of the positives. I'm looking forward to experimenting in that regard.
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:39 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philjs View Post
...The usual tuning for Irish bouzouki is GDAD (but for me that's just upside-down and is just a "stranger thing") so GDGC is not that much different, string-wise. You might try tuning to ADGC (same intervals as EADG) for an initial foray into the instrument, then adjust as needed, possibly to ADGB (same as the inner four strings on a standard-tuned guitar) or somewhere else...
A couple tunings that might ease the learning curve are traditional Greek CFAD (a whole step down from standard guitar DGBE - capo at the second fret or transpose, depending on the sound you're after) or DGBE, like the highest courses of a 12-string guitar. BTW, I've found the latter to be popular among studio players (FYI the late "Wrecking Crew" guitarist Tommy Tedesco used to do this with all his instruments - and nobody knew the difference when push came to shove) and traditional Greek musicians who cross over into more mainstream repertoire, as well as guitarists looking to add a new sound to their arsenal; you might need a custom-gauge string set, though - I'm not too sure a Greek set can be tuned up a whole step without risking damage to your instrument...
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:13 AM
Bikewer Bikewer is offline
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I have a mandola. (Well, I built one....) As I recall the mandola is sort of between the mandolin and the Irish bouzouki... It has a bit longer scale than the mandolin, and the bouzouki has a bit longer scale as well.

It’s fun to play and not as “tight” regarding fingering as your typical mandolin.

I’d think the bouzouki would be even more so, and lend itself more to chordal playing and accompaniment.
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Old 11-13-2017, 10:46 AM
Frogstar Frogstar is offline
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Yes, you're crazy... but it's a good crazy!
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:10 PM
catt catt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Ballantyne View Post

I would like to just get exposed to opinions, observations, etcetera of a wide variety, just to begin to develop...

Please let me have it......

https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/f...ay.php?50-CBOM
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:11 AM
Greg Ballantyne Greg Ballantyne is offline
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Thanks for this..... looks like lots here.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:05 AM
Black Flag Black Flag is offline
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Here's some inspiration for you to start with:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPI_...t44A441Aq1iWwQ
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:11 AM
TwinandTwang TwinandTwang is offline
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GDAD tuning and a capo will suit backing up your singing.
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:22 PM
catt catt is offline
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So how's it going with your zook?

*edit - if you or anyone may still be looking, I've got bouzoukis and mandola that I'm no longer playing (due to hand issues).

Last edited by catt; 12-15-2017 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 12-18-2017, 05:27 AM
Daniel Grenier Daniel Grenier is offline
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Crazy or not you’d be well served by taking the Irish bouzouki lessons at the oaim.ie -that is, the online academy of Irish music.

They have 2 blocks of several lessons from a really good bouzouki player. It takes you from the very basics on up to mid level. Cheap too. I took the entire lessons in under one month for a lousy 19 bucks or so. Well worth it.

Good choice with the Trinity College. Surprisingly well built and relatively cheap. One thing, though. Don’t look for an off the shelf replacement set for the strings as there are none on offer. You have to buy/order singletons.

Last, consider a k&k pick up if you want to plug in. I got one in mine and they are really good.
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