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Thread: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

  1. #1

    Default How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    To all musicians out there...

    I posted this a few days ago in the 'Vintage Instruments' section.
    In my enthusiasm I didn't notice that it would have been better in this section.
    I am hoping that there is someone out there that can help me find out the age of this 8-string Greek bouzouki.
    It came into my possession in 1970, 49 years ago.
    At that time it was already well-travelled and weather-beaten and I don't know for how long it had been in the previous owner's possession.
    I am at least the third owner, possibly the fourth.
    It came into my possession when I rescued it from a vicious blow it recieved from its previous owner who was intent on its total destruction. (Don't ask me why)
    It was cracked from the top of the arm to almost all of the headstock.
    I am sure it must be a good quality instrument because in spite of the damage the instrument didn't collapse. Surely a lesser instrument would have collapsed under the strain!
    After a lot of time and effort I restored it to the beautiful instrument you see in the pictures.
    It's been in my care for the last 49 years.
    It doesn't play as sweetly as my main bouzouki, so I don't use it for performances.
    But the joy of playing a renovated instrument is something to be treasured.
    It's not for sale, but I'm curious as hell to know how old it is.
    I'll give some details to help any experts out there.
    In spite of its age, and the abuse it received, there is no sign of any warping at all.
    The headstock and arm are one-piece. The black varnish on the headstock was put on by me to help disguise the 'scar' left by the break. So originally the headstock and arm were the same wood colour.
    The tuning machine in the photo is no longer there. After it ceased working I replaced it with a Grover tuning machine.
    It has 21 douyes, there is no label inside and no truss-rod.
    The inside of the bowl seems to be lined with dark green paper.
    It has 26 frets ( excluding the 1st fret that is next to the nut/bone)
    The top note on the 'D' string plays 'E'.
    On a modern bouzouki the top note on the 'D' string plays 'F'.
    The overall length is 98.5cm.
    The width of the body is 27cm.
    The depth of the body is 18cm.
    If there is anyone out there who can give me an indication as to its age I would greatly appreciate it.
    If anyone needs more measurements or photos I'll gladly supply them.
    Thank you . . .
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  2. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Balama, Mozambique, Africa, Earth

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    Well, it's a cool instrument with a cool story, I can't help with the date, but my understanding is that nicer instruments (better quality) actually are more fragile, because they carve the wood thinner for more resonance
    Also, it seems most inexpensive instruments are overbuilt, (too thick, too much wood) and so more durable, but less resonant. That's just my uninformed take, hopefully someone with more experience and knowledge than me will chime in
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

  3. #3
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    PTC GA

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    If you haven't already, you might try doing a google search for Greek bouzouki photos and see if you can find one with the same pick guards. That might give you the name of the maker. It's a slim chance to find one just like it, but I know that some of the current builders in Greece have been in business for many years and that there also have been a few Greek builders in the U.S.. I think these instruments date as far back as the 1930s. Just a wild guess that yours looks in the photos to be 1960s, but the tuners make me think late 1950s. Excellent restoration!
    Haywood Music Instruments
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  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Athens, GREECE

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    Dear friend,
    In my opinion this is made in the 60s, late 60s. It looks more like the cheap, entry level bouzoukis of this era.
    It also reminds me of some made not in Greece models (gewa ,german or ecorda, italian?).
    Hope you enjoy it in any case

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  6. #5

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    Dear Gunner, thanks for your message. Info is trickling in slowly. I'm sure I'll have news soon. ...Ferryman

  7. #6

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    Thanks Tom, when I have something definite I'll post it. . . . Ferryman

  8. #7

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    Dear Babis, thank you very much for your input. After a quick search on Internet I saw that Gewa of Germany have one almost identical. I've sent them an email with photos asking if they can confirm it's theirs, and to give me an approximate date of manufacture. The tool bar doesn't have a Greek font, so I'll close with 'evharist˛. . . . The Ferryman

  9. #8

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    i have one thqt is almost identical, except original. i set it up as a trichordia. let us know the maker and age if you find out anything

  10. #9

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    I'm still waiting for a reply from Gewa. Maybe the delay is due to the holiday season. As soon as I get any feedback I'll post it.
    I was very tempted years ago to set it up as a 6-string, but I preferred to leave it with the set up it had when it came into my possession.

  11. #10

    Default Re: How old is this Greek bouzouki?

    I've just received a reply from Gewa. The message says that my instrument looks identical to the Gewa instruments that were produced in Italy. They are unable to say how old is the instrument because there were never any production numbers or serial numbers attached. They say the instrument maker was a certain Alfredo Pritivera who retired two years ago.
    I'm sure the information was given in good faith, . . . but I have a few doubts:
    I've had the instrument for 49 years, I am the third owner, probably the fourth. I can say this because I used to know the people involved. A conservative estimation on my part puts the instrument to be at least 60 years old; doesn't this make the artisan mentioned above to have been too young to have made this instrument?
    If there is anyone out there that can shed some light on this I'd be very grateful.
    In the meantime I'd like to thank the musicians who kindly wrote in with their feedback.
    I would also like to thank Mr Scott Tichenor for the administration of this Forum.
    Thank you Sir for a forum where one can feel free to ask a question without fear of insult, profanity or ridicule.
    Keep up your good work, ...

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