The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #28992   Message #2427477
Posted By: Will Fly
01-Sep-08 - 06:23 AM
Thread Name: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
Subject: RE: Bouzouki - What brand is best?
As a rule, I usually give musical instruments a good workout before buying, and don't go for low-end priced instruments. However, very occasionally I'll buy a cheap fretted instrument - unseen (from eBay, for example) - sort out any kinks in it, play it for a bit and then pass it on. It helps me to practice some amateur luthier skills like setups and fret replacement, etc., without wreaking too much damage and, as long as I can sell it on at around the same price, I'm not out of pocket.

Recently, I was looking at a cheap Ozark bouzouki, around the £100 mark, on eBay and thought I'd have a bit of fun seeing what it was like and if it might be worth doing something with. I have no illusions about what you get for this price - particularly when I've paid much higher sums for the permanent instruments in my collection (Martin, G&L, etc.) - however...the bouzouki arrived and I unpacked it. A quick squint down the neck showed the most amazing inward curvature - it was totally unplayable as a quick tune-up and run up and down the neck confirmed.

This particular Ozark instrument was made in Roumania. A check on the label inside showed a very recent manufacture date - it was apparently badly made from the very outset. So - a word of warning to anyone who's tempted to buy an instrument at this price range online. Be careful. It's now wrapped up, ready for return to the shop. My view is that, even at this low price and basic quality, manufacturers and stores should ensure that the instrument is at least playable.