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Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning

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John in Brisbane 17 Aug 98 - 12:13 AM
Jon W. 17 Aug 98 - 11:43 AM
Jon W. 17 Aug 98 - 11:48 AM
John in Brisbane 18 Aug 98 - 09:54 PM
John in Brisbane 06 Sep 98 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Ian 29 Jun 07 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Maurice 01 Jul 07 - 05:58 AM
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Subject: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 17 Aug 98 - 12:13 AM

Having seen Andy Irvine play a guitar shaped instrument some months ago I was inspired to have a go. I have started to modify an old Martin copy, and so far have only re-arranged the tuning pegs to accomodate the extra two strings, and had a practice filing of the nut and bridge. I don't know the correct term, but my chosen guitar has through the bridge mounting holes, with plastic pegs that keep them in place. Before I go berserk and start drilling extra holes in the bridge, does any other reader have any home grown experience please.

BTW I am happy to end up with a playable instrument rather than a crafted work of art.

Regards John


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Subject: RE: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: Jon W.
Date: 17 Aug 98 - 11:43 AM

I suggest you check out this artical by Dennis Havalena. That will get you the method of doubling strings on two pegs of your bridge. Another site that might interest you is this forum for musicians and musical instrument makers. You can post a question in their stringed instrument section and get some advice.


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Subject: RE: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: Jon W.
Date: 17 Aug 98 - 11:48 AM

OOPS that last link got messed up. Here's another try at it>.


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Subject: RE: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Aug 98 - 09:54 PM

Thanks John W for the advice about the two sites. The home made instruments site is really quite enchanting - I recommend it to any fellow Gyro Gearloose out there.

The second site provudes access to an interesting forum of instrument makers/modifiers with at least partial experience. And a very hospitable group they seem to be.

Thanks John


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Subject: RE: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 06 Sep 98 - 07:28 PM

Well I've finally constructed my citern with a guitar shaped body, and not too bad an instrument either. Actually "constructed" is too complimentary a word - slightly modified is more like it.

Thanks to Jon W. for mentioning the Homemade Instruments site; it really is quite a hoot!

My conversion cost $US 1 for a new plastic 'nut' and 'bridge thingy' plus the cost of 8 new guitar strings. I had a couple of spare guitar tuning pegs from a previous repair - I suspect that a complete set of 6 would cost about $US 10.

For the time being I am using the standard mandolin tuning of GDAE (down one octave) using the ADBE strings from a standard set of guitar strings. It has very nearly the same note range as a normal guitar, minus 3 semi-tones on the lowest E guitar string - and it's great fun to play.

Regards John

PS I'm no crafts person, anyone could give this a go.


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Subject: RE: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 29 Jun 07 - 06:53 PM

Wow, old thread...but it's new again since I just found it.

I have an old Ovation guitar (which to me do not sound like guitars anyway) converted to Bouzouki/Mandola/whatever. I just call it the beast.
The bridge is drilled for four string pegs, with the other four strings going through the bridge from the back as designed. On the headstock are two banjo tuners. These are drilled into the headstock in such a way that they pick up the second "d" and the second "A" (I tune GDAD).
Probably due to the shape of the guitar back (Ovation), this thing is LOUD!!!!!
I just noticed that Ovation are making little mandolins these days. I think they've always made mandolins - they were just putting six strings on them!


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Subject: RE: Converting Guitar to Bouzouki Tuning
From: GUEST,Maurice
Date: 01 Jul 07 - 05:58 AM

You could also try making a kind of "tenor guitar" with no woodwork necessary. Starting at the top use 1st 2nd 4th and 5th strings, tuned (from top) e a d g. (an octave below fiddle or mandolin). For the 2 bottom strings maybe a d and g to be used occasionally. This would work best for straight melody playing, chords might be a bit vague...


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