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 hinge.

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...