Cittern/bouzouki makers in the USA.

A new one for me is Stephen Owsley Smith. Makes citterns and bouzoukis, maybe other stuff as well. Roger Landes (formerly of Scartaglen) owns one of his instruments, and so does Terry Woods (ex-Pogues, and now also ex-Bucks). Dan Beimborn maintains a homepage for Stephen, which is well worth checking out.

Steven Owsley Smith
P.O. BOX 2922
Taos, NM 87571

Phone: (505) 776-1560

And here's another new one, discovered by Roger Landes. Roger reported:

"Bob Abrams makes very nice flat-top and back 4 & 5 course instruments which he calls octave mandolins. While they are technically flat-topped, the soundboard has a noticeable arch to it since it is bent over the braces. They have a medium sized body 13.5" wide X 17" long X 2.75" deep at the sides, a rather narrow neck 1 5/16" at the nut, standing bridges of ebony and bone, metal tailpiece, ebony fingerboard, Sitka spruce top, and highly figured maple back and sides. A hardshell Harptone case is included."
From later mailings from Roger I got the additional information that these instruments are sold under the "Trillium" brand name.
Robert Abrams
Trillium Octave Mandolins
44 Gile Road
Nottingham, NH 03290 USA

Tel: (603) 679-3469

Fletcher Brock Citterns, bouzoukis

Fletcher Brock,
P.O.Box 5781,
Ketchum, Idaho, 83340

Phone (208) 726-5650.

Fellow Cittern-list member Dan McMullen spotted another US-based maker, Phil Crump, who makes custom guitars, mandolins and citterns. Dan reports, after visiting his stand at the San Francisco Celtic Festival:

"For those who weren't there, Phil Crump makes custom built guitars and mandolins. to my eyes they were extremely well made. Phil does some of the inlay work for Wildwood Banjos, and the inlays on his own instruments were quite nice. He had a teardrop cittern with 2 subdued ornamental "points" on either side near the neck. it was a deep body instrument w/ a 23 3/4" scale. The top was slightly arched cedar and the body a tropical hardwood called machiche. As well as I could tell the sound of the cittern was very appealing."
Michael Holmes of Dervish has recently purchased one of his instruments.

P.W. Crump Co.
187 Fickle Hill Rd.
Arcata, CA  95521

Phone (707) 826 1164

Another US-based bouzouki maker, James Jones, reported by Cittern-list member Peter Marshall, and one that even has his own homepage. Peter just mailed us:

"I just discovered that the maker of my bouzouki has a web page at my instrument has a really great sound...check him out! Pete Marshall(a satisfied customer!)"
I just checked out this homepage myself, and I must say that these instruments look good. Only wish he had some color pictures in his page.

James Jones - Musical Instruments
1384 Coltons Mill Rd
Bedford, VA 24523

Phone: (540) 586-6319

William A. Petersen is said to be a source for top-quality handmade citterns, bouzoukis and guitars.

W.A. Petersen,
W. A. Peterson String Shop
6119 Lafayette Ave.,
Omaha, Nebraska 68132

PHONE: (402) 558 9215

His instruments are also available through Anacortes Music Co.

Anamusic Music Co., Anacortes, Washington USA Phone: (360)293-2064 Homepage: E-mail:

This one was reported by Larry Boggess. His name is Rick Freimuth, formerly of Moscow, Idaho and now living in Richmond, Indiana. Rick makes a beautiful sounding and attractive instrument, finely crafted. Here are the specs of Rick's bouzouki:

The Freimuth Model 1A
scale: 22 7/8 in, width 12 7/8, depth 2 7/8
4 unison courses
walnut body and neck; back carved for better projection; re-inforced neck
red cedar top with a shallow brached arch
maple binding
ebony fingerboard, bridge, and peghead veneer
compensated bone saddle and nut
schaller tuners
pearl dots and side markers standard; other inlay optional at extra cost
price: $1,000 plus case and s/h
waiting period: about six months
Rick likes to use koa when he can get it (I play his first bouzouki with koa body and cedar top).

Rick Freimuth can be reached at

Thomas Bailey
Arched-top and -back violin and mandolin family mambers.

"I'm a builder of string instruments specializing in those with arch-top and arch-back of the mandolin and violin families. They are hand carved and assembled, one at a time, with the occasional aid of power tools. All of my mandolins, mandolas, and bouzoukis are of original design and my violins borrow the best aspects of the Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu models."
Thomas Bailey,
2710 Magnolia Drive,
Charlottesville, Va.
22901 USA

Phone: 804-293-4391

David Bucher - The Golden Wood

"You can have a premium custom made Irish octave mandolin, bouzouki or cittern made by The Golden Wood. I'll make you an ALL solid wood instrument using a heavilly arched flat top construction (induced arch) with eliptical soundhole, all wood purflings and bindings, Golden Wood hitch pin tailpiece/floating bridge, grover mini tuning machines, in combos listed below.
I shave necks to be like Taylors for a living (among other things). The finishes are HIGH gloss nitro. Some people on the "cittern" list have my instruments."
Basic mohagony bodied with spruce, pine, redwood or cedar top, rosewood
fretboard and fittings

Basic flamed maple bodied with spruce, pine, redwood or cedar top maple
neck and ebony fretboard/fittings

Deluxe honduras or east indian rosewood bodied with mohagony neck/rosewood
or ebony fretboard/fittings

A HUGE list of options are available including the best custom inlay/shell purflings/VERY unusual body woods/pickups/scale lengths/custom color finishes.

David Bucher
The Golden Wood Stringed Musical Instruments
33700 S. Hwy. One
Gualala, CA 95445

Phone: 707 884 4213

Sound to Earth / Weber
These are the people who, when Gibson left Montana, decided to stay there and continue the product line formerly known as Flatiron. They now call themselves "Sound to Earth", even though their products carry the brand name "Weber". They make a range of flat-top and carved-top instruments, from mandolin down to octave mandolin. The e-zine MandoZine did a special on Sound to Earth a few years back. Have a look at this.

Sound to Earth,
2380 Finnegan Lane,
Belgrade, MT 59714

Phone: (406) 388-6855
Fax: (406) 388-6380

Nikos Apollonio is a builder of superlative citterns, octaves and mandolians. He has also been building unique excellent guitars for the last 35 years and counts among his customers Judy Collins, Noel Paul Stookey, and Gordon Bok. His interest in Irish and Scottish tunes has led him to the development of a whole new generation of instruments.

Nikos Apollonio
15 Blackberry Lane,
Rockport, Maine
04856 USA

Phone: (207) 594-0032.
You can also see a picture of some of his instruments here.

Triskelion Folk Music build stringed instruments, such as mandola, cittern, bouzouki & various psalteries, and also supply various other folk instruments that are made elsewhere, such as flutes, whistles, bodhrans & other percussion.

Triskelion Folk Music

Phone: (805) 529 8198

G. D. Armstrong
octave mandolins & bouzoukis, guitars, banjos, dulcimers
I build octave mandolins in two string lengths, 20 1/8 in. (511mm)& 22 in. (559mm).Bouzoukis come in 25 in.(635mm) &26 1/4 in.(666mm). Body woods are maple, mahogany, rosewood, cherry and bubinga. Tops are usually spruce but red cedar and Douglas fir (Oregon pine) are also available.
Other instruments that I build are steel string guitars, banjos, fretted dulcimers, hammered dulcimers & fiddles. I have an interest in early bowed instruments and have made several rebecs, vielles, and pochettes.

G. D. Armstrong
16783 NW Greenhoot Rd.
Yamhill, OR 97148

Phone: (503) 662-3908

Kennaquhair Stringed Instruments (Doug Dieter)
bouzoukis, citterns, (octave) mandolins, acoustic guitars & basses.

"Kennaquhair String Instruments specializes in affordable, high quality, fretted stringed instrument for the folk, traditional, old timey, and Celtic musician. I specialize in Cittern, Bouzouki, and other Mandolin family instruments. I also make a line of Acoustic guitars and basses.

I use the highest quality tone woods and hardware, and build each instrument one at a time, for a unique blend of playability and beauty. The beauty of each instrument comes from the selection of woods and the sounds it produces.

Each instrument is hand made, by my self, to the customers specification. Custom scale length and tunings are available at no extra charge."

Kennaquhair Stringed Instruments
PO Box 252
Burlington, IN
USA 46915

Phone: 765-566-3474

Bob Gernandt
Mountain (Appalachian) dulcimers, bouzoukis, citterns.

Bob Gernandt
Gernandt Stringed instruments
240 N. Panther Branch Road,
Bryson City, NC 28713

Phone: 828-488-1144

Ithaca Stringed Instruments
Known to readers of Acoustic Guitar magazine as the makers of the Oneida, a radical design acoustic guitar very much suitable for amplification - without feedback problems - they also make a line of very interesting 8 and 10-string mandolin family instruments. Also electric violin, mandolin and 'cello.

Ithaca Stringed Instruments (ISI)
6115 Mount Rd.
Trumansburg, NY 14886

Phone: (607) 387 3544

Olympia Dulcimer Company
Like above, these folks are known to the readers of Acoustic Guitar magazine, where they have advertized one of their products, the Walkabout Dulcimer, for many years. Basically this instrument is a cittern body with a dulcimer-like fretboard, so it is no great surprise that they also make other cittern-family instruments such as mandolins and bouzoukis.

Olympia Dulcimer Company
P.O. Box 7393
Olympia, WA 98507

Phone: (360)357-6523

Steve Parks
Octave Mandolins, Tenor Guitars, Mountain Dulcimers
Steve is a performing musician, who plays trditional American music on acoustic instruments. He also builds the instruments he plays, for himself and for others.

Steve Parks
10001 Rooster Ridge Ln.
Dayton, VA 22821

Phone: (540) 867-0225

Josh B. Humphrey
Guitars, Oud, Octave Mandolin/Bouzouki, Marimbula, Kalima, Tabla

"I constantly strive to maintain and increase the utmost level of quality in every instrument I build. Instruments that sound beautifully, play beautifully, are constructed to last a lifetime and show the passion of their maker will earn a steady demand."
JBH Guitars
Josh Humphrey
2130 Hayes
Eugene, OR 97405

Phone: (541) 954-2621

Herb Taylor
Mandolin family, bouzoukis & citterns, guitars, autoharps.

"I am an independent luthier making the best mandolins, guitars, bouzoukis and autoharps I can, to the highest standards of lutherie. My creations are all unique one-of-a-kind instruments and are my own design, not copies of big-name factory instruments."
Herb Taylor
5480 Pike St.
Golden CO 80403-1238

Phone: (303) 273-9664

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