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Finished! A Guitar Bouzouki (don't you know what one of THOSE is?)


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And...pretty much finished :) 

I say pretty much because I still have to replace the test saddle with the final one, replace the 'working strings' with some new ones and polish it, but none of that will change the basic look.  I'll do some arty-farty photos when the light is right, but here it is:

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To my ear, it sounds lovely and it is very easy on the playing hand...even with my progressing arthritis (which has pretty much stopped my 6-string playing) I am SO tempted to build myself one.  And through the Pure Mini played through my little Vox valve amp set clean with neutral EQ, it is exactly the same sound as played acoustically but simply louder :) 

 

And P picks it up next weekend! :) 

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4 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

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I'll tell you why this is my favourite photo. All of the various colour tones are consistent with each other; not too yellow, orange or pale. The fretwire and strings work in equal partnership with the wood. The fingerboard has a wonderful natural satin, and those markers in the pinstripes....everything in its place, nothing superfluous and everything tied in as a whole. It's a superb combination all round, whether by intent, fortune or serendipitous collusion between both. Regardless, this is something I would be proud owning and playing, and I'm sure that there's even better builds in front of you Andy.

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

 

I'll tell you why this is my favourite photo. All of the various colour tones are consistent with each other; not too yellow, orange or pale. The fretwire and strings work in equal partnership with the wood. The fingerboard has a wonderful natural satin, and those markers in the pinstripes....everything in its place, nothing superfluous and everything tied in as a whole. It's a superb combination all round, whether by intent, fortune or serendipitous collusion between both. Regardless, this is something I would be proud owning and playing, and I'm sure that there's even better builds in front of you Andy.

Gosh...you'll make me blush.  While in my case that's really not a good look, it's a great feeling!  Much appreciated :)

 

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Freely and honestly given Andy. I've given a lot of thought into my motivations over the years, and I find that the things I enjoy the most are points of reference to aim towards. I enjoy the process, the thought behind it all and being able to develop one's skill set. None of this is in isolation of course, so being able to acquire inspiration from others is a vital part of that. My comment on that single photo - aside from the general stuff about the build - was down to it encapsulating a familiar collection of ideas I've had in my mind for a while now. Sort of like how a moment of déjà vu convinces you wholly about an experience you never had, the photo sparked a "that's it" moment. Not quite "eureka" but "mmm, yep".

I'm sure that this build is going to encourage me to do something silly, so that's on you 😉

So what did you manage to take from this build experience-wise? It's fairly left of centre in general, which makes it a great well to draw from.

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11 hours ago, Prostheta said:

So what did you manage to take from this build experience-wise? It's fairly left of centre in general, which makes it a great well to draw from.

I suppose the main thing has been the realisation that such a thing as a Guitar Bouzouki exists, but also that there is an Irish Bouzouki (this is one) that differs from the Greek Bouzouki in terms of scale length, string type and tuning.

To be honest, I just like the challenge of 'I wonder if I could do that.'  And that is mixed with a bit of the, 'Well they can do it so why can't I' ;)

The biggest unknown on this one was making the bridge and nut-guide to get the correct string spacing of each pair and between pairs.  Also that pure gut feel of sound versus strength of the top and bracing...and there is quite some tension at work here.  

I also discovered something about acoustics in general - that the spheroidal shape you create in the top relaxes quite a bit as soon as you take away the go-bars.  And the string tension pulls it back to the designed radius.  This explains why my neck angles for acoustics have never been right first time...because I was always lining up without the strings on.  In future, I'm going to estimate that flex and build that into the neck angle calcs.  I've never seen that mentioned anywhere in learned books or videos. 

It's fortunate - because I've been happy to have a go at stuff that most commercial builders couldn't afford to and, because it's a hobby with no expectation (or reality) of overall profit, then I've become a bit of a go-to for folks who want something different.  I like the intellectual challenge of the problem solving that entails but also the joy of being amazed (usually even more than the trusting client) that it actually works.

And lastly, having been at the sharp end of manufacturing supply all my working life where, whatever records have been broken and customers gained, there's always a boll***ing somewhere at the end of it, then to spend time building and finishing and then pass across an instrument that often makes the receiver get the shakes and go a bit weepy...can't be beaten. :)

 

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You might want to be careful, Andy. You'll carve out a name for yourself in the future as that guy who'll build nothing but left-of-field creations.

Guy #1 in pub - "I'm really interested in getting a 19 string lefthanded fretless alto mandolin made up".

Guy #2 in pub - "Really? I hear there's this chap up in Derbyshire..."

<Later>

Andy - "Can't I just make you a Strat copy? I've been dreaming of making Strat clones. They even hung me up the right way around yesterday..."

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That tension/relaxation does sound like a good point to take onboard, and no, I've never seen it mentioned either. I suppose that this is one the key elements one takes on "organically" (I hate that term) when constructing instruments with built-in dynamics such as this. From my end of the table, I like to engineer everything from top to bottom and elements like these defy easy desktop quantification. I don't do magic, and I'm unsure what the standard for drawing magic is!

"58mm ±six spooky points"?

Gratifying end results both in terms of the instrument and the client's healtfelt reaction to their instrument is certainly a deep contrast to the money-driven hatred and disharmony prevalent in manufacturing. None of that "who has to lose here so we can win a bit more?". Positivity all round to all parties is a rare thing these days. Hell, I don't even think any apologies are necessary to the trees that contributed here either!

I'm sure I've drivelled on about this a few times over the last few years, however I've wanted to make an archtop 5-string bass and a multiscale 7-string acoustic for a good while. To me, these represent the next level over and above my established skill set/comfort zone and I'm sure that your hands-on knowledge of what doesn't get represented in books or other commentary will be invaluable. I just need to convince Nina that a proper side bender is in my best interest mentally, physically and financially. 😉

 

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Awesome super clean work! The sound reminds me of an octave mandolin. Are the strings under more or less tension than a typical acoustic guitar? I reset the neck on a mandolin and when I strung it up I thought the thing was going to explode.

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20 minutes ago, komodo said:

Awesome super clean work! The sound reminds me of an octave mandolin. Are the strings under more or less tension than a typical acoustic guitar? I reset the neck on a mandolin and when I strung it up I thought the thing was going to explode.

Thanks!

Yes - very similar to an octave mandolin in many ways.  This one is tuned to GDAD rather than GDAE but that's just the buyer's preference (the Irish Bouzouki is often tuned to either).  

And I know what you mean about mandolins!  First time I strung one up, I was sure the pressure on the bridge (it had a tailstock) was going to smash its way straight through the body.

But interesting you saying about the tension.  I would have sworn blind that this was MUCH higher tension than a 6 string acoustic.  It feels it and it sounds it.  But it probably isn't so different at all. 

It's a 25.5" scale, so that will add a bit, and it's got 8 strings so that will add some more.  But the bottom G - same pitch as a normal 6th string up 3 semitones - is 40 gauge, so surely no more tension than a bottom E with a 47 gauge?  And ditto with the other strings - for their pitches, they are probably actually no thicker than a standard acoustic.

Curious.

But it's great to play.  Sounds wonderful in real life.  I've just cut the proper saddle - got the string heights just a touch lower and  intonated - and it's so easy to play, even with my arthritic hands - despite its unusually deep neck.  If I wasn't busy with other stuff, I'd be very tempted to make one for myself :)

A revelation, as they say.  

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Not to derail - but the only thing about a 12 string, and what I've found with my recent 8-string, is that when you are tuning you often have to pause and really reflect on just what string/knob you are trying to adjust.

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17 minutes ago, komodo said:

Not to derail - but the only thing about a 12 string, and what I've found with my recent 8-string, is that when you are tuning you often have to pause and really reflect on just what string/knob you are trying to adjust.

You are absolutely right about that. It can be kind of confusing. Or at least challenging at best for me.

Ron

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5 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

It's a 25.5" scale, so that will add a bit, and it's got 8 strings so that will add some more.  But the bottom G - same pitch as a normal 6th string up 3 semitones - is 40 gauge, so surely no more tension than a bottom E with a 47 gauge?  And ditto with the other strings - for their pitches, they are probably actually no thicker than a standard acoustic.

Curious.

Stringjoy tension calculator says:

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vs a standard 11-52 acoustic set over the same distance:

image.png

Not a whole lot different really.

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On 9/5/2020 at 3:51 PM, Prostheta said:

I'm sure that this build is going to encourage me to do something silly, so that's on you

Andy, Carl is saying that your builds inspire him to create....and he'll never say that about mine. mine inspire him to say huh....who knew that would happen.....and I'm okay with that.

Your work, is. of course, inspiring to us all.....and I think I may have to get  me one of those,

What's next?

SR

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7 hours ago, ScottR said:

Andy, Carl is saying that your builds inspire him to create....and he'll never say that about mine. mine inspire him to say huh....who knew that would happen.....and I'm okay with that.

Your work, is. of course, inspiring to us all.....and I think I may have to get  me one of those,

What's next?

SR

 

Ah, you sneaky bugger 😉 You know that I love scroll instruments, so less of the elbowing! haha

Build an acoustic and I'll comment more in line with your expectations Scott! 😆

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47 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

So yes...it's all in my mind, then.

Mind you, that's with 25.5" scale length as a comparison on a standard 6 string acoustic. I actually have no idea what is common for acoustics - I'm guessing somewhere around the 25" mark? That would lower the tension somewhat in the comparison sixer, above.

So maybe not entirely all in your head, then? :unsure:

 

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6 hours ago, Prostheta said:

 

Ah, you sneaky bugger 😉 You know that I love scroll instruments, so less of the elbowing! haha

Build an acoustic and I'll comment more in line with your expectations Scott! 😆

Ha!

That wasn't a fishing trip. It was more an observation on the well documented difference between our working styles: one being meticulously planned and carefully drawn out, the other mentally pictured and allowed to develop along the way. It's only natural to be attracted to a process the reflects your own. You can still be entertained by artsy stuff.:)

SR

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