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Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument

GUEST,demotlj 11 Jul 07 - 06:07 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 07 - 06:12 PM
Mooh 11 Jul 07 - 06:19 PM
PoppaGator 11 Jul 07 - 06:21 PM
Mooh 11 Jul 07 - 06:22 PM
Jim Lad 11 Jul 07 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,michaelr 11 Jul 07 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,Jim 11 Jul 07 - 07:03 PM
Jim Lad 11 Jul 07 - 08:03 PM
Big Mick 11 Jul 07 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 11 Jul 07 - 11:07 PM
Songster Bob 12 Jul 07 - 11:12 PM
Jim Lad 13 Jul 07 - 02:12 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 07 - 03:33 AM
Paco Rabanne 13 Jul 07 - 06:33 AM
Mike Miller 13 Jul 07 - 06:51 AM
Pete_Standing 13 Jul 07 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,David A 21 Oct 16 - 07:37 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 16 - 09:28 AM
GUEST 21 Oct 16 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,David A 21 Oct 16 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,David A 21 Oct 16 - 10:25 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Oct 16 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,Captain Fantasy 04 Apr 17 - 08:51 PM
leeneia 05 Apr 17 - 10:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Apr 17 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,DrWord 06 Apr 17 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,demotlj
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:07 PM

I have a Greek bouzouki and am interested in using it to play Celtic music. Can I just tune it the way an Irish bouzouki is tuned or do I need to get strings specific to an Irish bouzouki?

And am I right in assuming from what I've read that an Irish bouzouki is played mainly as a chordal accompaniment to a melody played on something else, a mandolin for example? If that's so, (and I apologize if this is a stupid question but) is there a reason I couldn't leave the Greek bouzouki tuned as it normally is (CFAD), capo it, and play guitar chords to accompany the Celtic music?


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:12 PM

Idont think there is any reason why not,Irish Bouzuki players often play modal chords[no thirds],so if you want exactly the same sound you might have to alter your guitar chords slightly.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Mooh
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:19 PM

Be careful about scale length. Generally the Greek instruments I've seen have been longer scales than the specifically Irish style ones. Guage down in string size if that's the case with yours.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:21 PM

There was no such thing as an "Irish bouzouki" until some Irish-music player picked up a bouzouki (which is, after all, a Greek instrument) and played it along with his Celtic sessionmates or bandmates or whatever.

Any stringed instrument can be tuned in different ways, of course. I'm sure you'll find folks who can offer more specific advice. While it's probably true that the bouzouki is often used strictly as a rhythm (chording) instrument in enembles where fiddles and whistles, etc., carry the melody, it is certainly capable of being used as a "lead" or solo instrument. Google "Beth Patterson" for an example of a very impressive performer who sings and plays a very impressive Celtic bouzouki as a soloist, and who has also booked plenty of time playing the same instrument as the context of an ensemble (the Poor Clares).

Just don't let anyone tell you that you can't use your new intrument because it's not "Irish." It's a bouzouki, which means it's just like the first "Irish bouzouki" ever put to use in a Celtic-music context.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Mooh
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:22 PM

Sorry, as for the CFAD tuning, you can leave it there if you like but tuning GDAE or GDAD will sound more...um...celtic.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Jim Lad
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:29 PM

demotlj I use the CFAD tuning and love it. I'd like to try the DGAD but really don't have a clue about that sort of thing. Popagator. Him make sense. Do what you want. Fifths is really nice for melodies too.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:57 PM

Guitar-tuning will tend not to sound very "Celtic". Try GDAD or ADAD. As for playing style, the masters (such as Andy Irvine or Donal Lunny) dont really play chords per se, but rather counterpoint melodies.

Yahoo Groups has a Cittern group, with many professional players, where you can find out much useful information.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 07:03 PM

The first Irish bands that I saw/heard with bouzouki all used Greek instruments. Dedanan (sp?), Planxty, Sweeny's Men and Mick Molony all used Greek bouzoukis. That's where the term Irsh Bouzouki came from. These instruments have not yet been standardized, either in tuning or design, so if it's good for you, it's good for us all.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Jim Lad
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 08:03 PM

"Guitar-tuning will tend not to sound very "Celtic""
What?
Looks like I've got some work to do.
Cheers!
Jim
(Celtic to the bone.)


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 10:57 PM

One of the great things about the instrument as it exists today is that there is no standard tuning. Pat Broaders of Bohola, who was taught this instrument by Donal Lunny, tunes CFCF. I tune GDAD, many tune ADAD (as was mentioned above). The instrument we call an Irish Bouzouki is only a little over 40 years old. Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, Manus Lunny, and others, started experimenting with Greek Bouzoukis back in the mid 60's. In time the instrument evolved with a different scale length, and body style, enough so that it can be thought of as a different instrument entirely. There was a move not long ago to come up with a different name, something more Irish/Scottish, but the horse was already out of the barn. Folks just refer to it as an Irish bouzouki. We Irish have always been great borrowers from other traditions as we play our unique style of music. What is considered traditional instrumentation today, would not have been considered so 100 years ago, with the exception of the fiddle, flute, and uilleann pipes. Even the Uilleann pipes are, historically speaking, a fairly recent form of instrumentation.

So what's that all mean? It just means that you just need to jump in, experiment, and lend your unique sound to the music as you hear it. Evolution is the truist form of Irish tradition.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 11:07 PM

http://irish-bouzouki.blogspot.com/2007/01/gerry-mckee-bouzouki-tutorial-cd-rom.html

http://folkofthewood.com/PDF/octavechordchart.pdf

http://www.acousticguitar.com/issues/ag89/bouzouki.html

http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/tab/searchdb.cgi?searchterm=rhrnp

Try these places for some help. These are from collection of valuable resources.

Don


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Songster Bob
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 11:12 PM

If it's now tuned CFAD, it'd probably easily convert to tenor banjo tuning without any change in strings -- CGAD. The suggestion of GDAE (mandolin -- or octave mandolin -- tuning) is just a 5th higher, and will break your strings if your try it (or sound tubby if you tune down to G from C).

Tune it as it works, don't worry about others' opinions.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Jim Lad
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 02:12 AM

The strings are not twinned in the CFAD tuning (Like 12 string guitar) so you would have to buy the proper gauges. The good news however, is that they do come in sets for both of those tunings.
Sorry Bob.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 03:33 AM

CFAD is also the bottom end of one of the common Arabic ud tunings (CFADGC) so it might help if you wanted to move on to that some day.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 06:33 AM

Leave it CFAD but use a capo to bring it up to GDAE, that will shorten the scale length to enable you to play tunes more easily, and you don't have to bugger about restringing, or retuning.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Mike Miller
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 06:51 AM

I bought a bouzouki in Athens in 1969, on my way to Israel. I used it to play Celtic dance tunes when I got a job with the show, From Then Til Now, which toured army bases and kibbutzim for over a year.
I used the standard tuning without dificulty. I don't know when Irish musicians starting using them. I heard none during the two years I lived there in the late 60's. My plan, when I bought it, was to play Greek and Lebonese music but, I never got around to that.

                        Mike


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 11:11 AM

Be careful if restringing or retuning drastically, otherwise you could end up doing some damage to the instrument or make it difficult to play. Use a string tension calculator to work out the current tension and what it would be once retuned and then choose the appropriate gauges to bring the tension back to what it should be - does this make sense?

With respect to styles, octave strung is fine for chordal work but can sound a bit strange when playing melodic stuff - well in my opinion it does!


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,David A
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 07:37 AM

Do not tune your Greek bouzouki to GDAD. The neck will warp. Use ADAD instead. This preserves the original tuning of the trichordo bouzouki, and gives you an extra A string to play with. If using a trichordo (6 string) rather than a tetrachordo (8 string) leave it in DAD tuning, as Alec Finn does.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 09:28 AM

David,

Offering advice on a nine year old thread is a little odd. Even odder is the idea that increasing the tension of the bottom pair of strings (from G to A) will somehow guard against the neck warping....


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 09:30 AM

Do not tune your Greek bouzouki to GDAD. The neck will warp. Use ADAD instead.

The logic of this eludes me. ADAD has a string tuned higher than in the GDAD tuning. Ergo: more tension. Yes?


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,David A
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 10:17 AM

Not so - obviously you must tune the string DOWN to the next lowest A In normal GDAD, the G string is tuned up - just tune down to the A below that, so that when you put your finger on the tenth fret you get standard GDAD Irish tuning (yes it's that much lower!)I like the sound of it myself. It gives a low A with a loose tension, so you may want to do what I did and fit a slightly heavier gauge on that pair of strings. The Greek bouzouki,of course, has a long thin neck,and no truss rod (usually) so can't safely be tuned like an Irish bouzouki. I speak from experience, and am not just being theoretical! Sorry if this wasn't clear.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,David A
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 10:25 AM

I'm not sure why offering advice on an old thread makes it irrelevant in any way? It's my first time here and the advice is sound.I should not have assumed that others would know about ADAD tuning,sure. Get yourself a Greek bouzouki,tune it to Irish GDAD,wait a few months and see what happens!
Best wishes, David.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Oct 16 - 10:17 PM

It isn't irrelevant if it is germane. But the criticism from an apparent one-off GUEST is odd.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,Captain Fantasy
Date: 04 Apr 17 - 08:51 PM

So I know this is a really old thread, but since I managed to stumble upon it in 2017 I imagine others might as well. I feel the need to weigh in on this to avoid confusing people.

In ADAD bouzouki tuning, you would tune the lowest course to the next A below the D that the 3rd course is tuned to. In other words, if you place your finger on the 5th fret of the lowest course, it should make the same note as the open 3rd course. It will be one full step higher than the G in GDAD tuning. It is a great tuning, and with a capo on the 5th it puts you in ideal Irish range and gives you great possibilities for accompanying in all the common keys in Irish trad.

Regarding David A's suggestion to tune "ADAD" with the lowest A being a full octave lower than in the normal ADAD tuning, this is not what people are talking about when they refer to ADAD tuning. Frankly, what he suggests sounds totally bonkers to me. I mean no offense and don't want to disparage people's preferences, but what David suggests is a very idiosyncratic tuning. The interval between the two lowest courses would be awkwardly large, to the point that you wouldn't really be able to play melody/bass lines between the two courses. And, of course, melodic and countermelodic accompaniment is what bouzouki does best in trad. You could use the lowest A as a sort of low drone, but if this were your intention you'd probably be better off tuning DDAD with the lowest D one octave below the next. This is because 1) the DAD tuning is better suited to playing in D than in A and 2) Irish music is far more commonly in D (and related keys) than it is in A.

Of course, you can play just fine with just the three DAD courses, like Alec Finn does. But you might as well use that extra course you paid for.

A Greek Bouzouki can, in fact, be tuned GDAD or ADAD, and Irish trad. musicians do it all the time. The key is that when you do this, you can't use the same gauge strings as you would on an Irish bouzouki since Greek bouzoukis are meant for lower tension. So your best bet would be to calculate what the total tension would be with Greek tuning, then figure out how to balance it so that your GDAD/ADAD set leaves it at around the same tension. Here's a great site for doing just this: http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 10:48 AM

To hear bouzouki playing Celtic melodies, go to YouTube and search for Gerald Trimble's 'First Flight'.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Apr 17 - 03:15 PM

Maybe we'd do better to talk about flatback bouzoukis as we do flatback mandolins, since that's the main difference, along with sturdier construction. (Do we treat our instruments more roughly than Greek musicians do? I wouldn't feel safe with a Greek bouzouki in a crowded pub.) I've never come across bluegrass bouzouki, but I assume it's around somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Irish Bouzouki on a Greek instrument
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 06 Apr 17 - 10:11 AM

Rock and roll on a sitar?
symphonic music on thebanjo?

ten years on, I'm pretty sure demotlj may no longer need the recently added info, but Acme said it all. I rarely scour old threads here, but have frequently found happy, informative, useful stuff in revived/refreshed threads, sometimes from waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back.
Agree with the tenor and content of Cap'n Fantasy's post as well.
I have an odd assortment of "Mediterranean" things with strings; couldn't resist the clickbait of this refreshed thread!
keep on pickin'
dennis


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