this is the zouk, a celtic-style bouzouki, closer to an
octave-lower mandolin than to its greek namesake. it is usually
tuned in fifths G-D-a-e, or "paternally" G-D-a-d.
the main materials are 1/8th inch oak plywood and 1x3in oak lumber
from a local home-supply store. oak is not traditionally
considered a "tone wood", but the zouk has a crisp, bell-like tone
and great sustain. i'm a great fan of building using cheap,
sustainable woods (in the western US, that means poplar, redwood,
lauan "mahogany" plywood, various generic white woods, etc.) the
spruces, redwoods, ebonies, etc. need careful management and
disciplined usage if they are to survive. plus, exotic tone woods
do not make an instrument sound good; that comes from
knowledge and experience. far better to learn while build a lot of
instruments cheaply, than to build one unsatisfactory instrument
from expensive, irreplaceable materials.
the tuning machines, nut, and strings are from Stewart McDonald. the tailpiece
and bridge are cut from the 1x3 oak; the tailpiece uses brass brads
to hold the string loops, and is attached to the body with a brass
the body shape is a modification of the classic teardrop shape;
i extended the upper bout in the hopes of a bit more bass and
volume. i bent the sides by steaming them over a pot of boiling
water. plywood can be tricky to bend, since the inner plys are
often made of small pieces; in this case, i got a bit of a flat
spot on the upper shoulder.
here are some construction photos: neck, soundboard, and back.
samples, loops, and Reason/Mach5 banks coming soon...