Han's Irish Bouzouki Homepage.

This page for me is a way to share my interest in Irish traditional music with whoever wants to hear about it. I have chosen to dedicate a page to the Irish bouzouki because there seems to be very little information available, even though most people recognize the fact that the instrument has earned it's place in the tradition. And of course because it's the instrument I use (most of the time) when I play in an Irish trad. session.

Latest changes (Mar 05, 2006):
  • Added a few new luthiers to the European makers list.
  • Minor cleanups, added multi-media resources to book list.
  • Put up some shots of a little bouzouki comparison session we had here last weekend. A Sobell, Foley, Stuart, Dubowski, de Louter, all in the same room :-)
  • Added photos and description of my new Dan Dubowski 10-stringer.
  • Finally.... bouzouki tablature. Suitable for all bouzoukis that have DAd somewhere in their tuning.
  • Put up a page with pictures shot by Dirk Mahling at the recent concert of Donal Lunny's band Coolfin in Summerville, MA.
Image of flat-top de Louter bouzouki.

What this page has to offer:
Stringing your bouzouki First there is an piece of text I wrote on the subject of tuning and stringing the bouzouki for use in an Irish trad. music setting.
Bouzouki Chords There are chord charts provided for the 2 commonly used Irish bouzouki tunings, G,DAd and A,DAd. These can be found, along with some other useful info, in their respective sub-pages. [Note: preliminary versions for G,DAe, DAea, A,DAe and DAd are now also available.]

Right hand techniques. This is a preliminary version of a text on right hand techniques that might be useful for bouzouki (and guitar, mandolin, cittern) players that want to play Irish music. It's mostly about backup right now, but the melody playing section will soon be extended with some illustrations too, and maybe even a few example tunes.

History For those interested in history there are two little snippets from interviews that music journalist Paul Magnussen had with Andy Irvine and Alec Finn . These fragments capture the two stories I've heard about how the bouzouki came to be used in Irish music. Timewise, these two stories seem to have happened at about the same time, so I've chosen to include them both here.

Makers List Now where are you going to find one, once you decide you want to play the bouzouki ? Here 's a list of makers and other useful addresses that might help you find a good one.

Recommended Listening Material From my own learning and listening experiences, and recommendations of others, I have compiled a page with a lot of suggestions of what I think is good listening material for (wanna-be) bouzouki players. Check it out, and tell me what YOU like.

Books Here is a short list of books and other resources that might be useful for those interested in the bouzouki.

Picture Gallery If you want to have a look at the instruments I currently own (and a few I have owned - my living room has only a finite size), here are some color pictures, and short descriptions of the bouzoukis that are shown.

Sound Samples There are some sound samples, so that you now can hear what the various bouzoukis sound like. Soon there will be more, and some of these samples will soon serve a double function, when the guide to right hand techniques for the bouzouki/guitar player that I am currently working on is published here.

The "Cittern" Mailing List For those of you who want to know more about these instruments, or just want to discuss their experiences and opinions on the subject, there is now also a CITTERN mailing list. Or for a more general discussion of Irish trad. music, join the IRTRAD-L mailing list.

Build your own ? Every now and then I get requests from people who want to build their own instrument, asking for plans. I don't have any, but the Guild of American Luthiers (GAL) has one, and it's available through their homepage.
There is also a set of plans available from Dave Annear's homepage, which match the instrument displayed there.
The Musical Instrument Makers Forum, which is a WWW-based discussion list, has also 2 plans for cittern-family instruments, one with a traditional bracing pattern and one with a more modern bracing pattern. They also have lots of other information that might be useful for anyone with an interest in luthery.
Also of interest might be Graham McDonald's "The Bouzouki Book", which, besides plans, contains all sorts of useful information on building bouzoukis and related instruments.
And finally, you could also join the CITTERN mailing list, where we have also quite a few instrument makers joining in the discussions.

Related Instruments (mandolin, tenor banjo, etc.) I've collected some useful links to instruments that have a lot in common with the "cittern" instrument family, either through playing style or construction. Here is a list of links to tenor banjo sites, and some to useful mandolin sites. Suggestions of other useful sites are of course welcome.

Future Plans Planned future additions include info on various playing styles. And of course, the guide to proper right hand technique is only partly complete. But I'm working on that. May take some time though - playing the thing is a LOT easier than writing about it.

Your Contributions ? Of course, any contribution of relevant material on the subject of bouzoukis and Irish music will be appreciated. Also any remarks/corrections on the material already present are most welcome. You can mail me your suggestions at the address below.

Check out some other Irish music related sites.


Go back to my Personal Page