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Thread: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

  1. #1

    Default Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    Hello everyone.

    Recently I got into my head to purchase an irish bouzouki in order to play some cool tunes I've heard (I am initially a guitar player). Sadly, this market is less dense and way more opaque than guitar's. There seems to be very few models between high-end craftsmanship and well... what I would call toys in a non-derogatory way. But of course my ignorance is to blame, as I am not acquainted with this domain at all. That is why I humbly come to ask for guidance.

    Here is a couple of points to be addressed (naturally eligible to be vocally dismissed).
    - As a rule of thumb, I consider than anything below 300 would leave me disappointed and hungry for more after a very brief amount of time. At that price tag, I think that cost cut reached components and most importantly wood quality.
    - I've spotted this model https://www.thomann.de/be/thomann_ar...uzouki_wln.htm which drew my interest for two reasons : firstly on an economical standpoint, the size of Thomann would allow them to practice an interesting markup (or margin, not sure about that word), meaning a good value for the price. Secondly it stands indeed at around the budget I was considering. However there is absolutely no reviews (oddly since 2017) and I am not even sure that my economic argument is valid. Anyone experienced Thomann's proprietary instruments or even this one ? (Their customer service seems quiet unreliable to be frank. The person could not even tell me where the damn thing was made)
    - I have checked www.moloneymusic.com. It features interesting instruments, namely an A. Carvhalo at 475. I admit with shame that following my previous statement, I am enclined to think that it would be a lesser "bang for the buck" (as they seem to say) given the smaller entity and the additional intermediary. I am aware that I sound like a cheap twat and that some of you might be tempted to rightfully link this kind of behaviour to the unbridled consumerism that destroys this world (I do). Thoughts (about the instrument ) ?

    Thank you very much for the time you took to read me.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    Here in the US the default entry level bouzouki is the Trinity College. It’s made in China, has all solid woods, maple and spruce, and is a pretty good deal for around $800 US. Most dealers who sell it will include set up. But this model may not be available to you in your local area. Which I assume is Europe? Based on what others have said here through the years, I don’t think that anything you order from Thomann will be set up. And I think that bouzouki is built for them by Hora of Romania, and those always need work to get them to play correctly. The Carvhalo instruments from Moloney are made in Portugal, and they get pretty high marks here for quality and value. I believe Moloney would set them up too. So that might be your best bet without spending a fortune. Have you ever considered an octave mandolin? They can function as a shorter scale, easier to play bouzouki. To get it to sound like a bouzouki you have to change out a couple of strings on the G and D courses. The clear winner for quality and value in this category is the Eastman MDO305 at 699 USD. Good luck.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    I have just purchased a Carvalho Octave from Moloney and am very pleased with it. It is not a top of the line instrument but plays well, is well made and looks great in its simplicity. The service & setup from Maloney's was exceptional as well. The price was 2/3's of an Eastman Octave including shipping from Galway and a case. I would assume a Carvalho bouzouki would be an equally good deal and quality.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    The Thomann one is actually made for them by Carvalho. They make pretty good budget to mid-price instruments, I have an Irish bouzouki and a Portuguese Fado guitar made by them which I like very much, I didn't like the bridges on them though so I replaced them with ebony and buffalo horn respectively.

    Overall, they give excellent "Bang for the buck." and I say that as a founder member of the Cheap Twat Club (local branch).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    @multidon Yes I am indeed from Europe. The set up is a good point, I'll keep that in mind. I actually asked them if this was made by Hora and could not get any answer... I found that the octave mandolin is a different instrument altogether, lacks the nuance I'm looking for. Thanks for your answer !

    @finian Thanks for the review !

    @PeteFarrell Interesting. Where did you find that information ? Are we talking about the same model ? Carvhalo seems to be consensually reputable indeed. CTC united !

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    I know that Carvalho make instruments for Thomann (read it on the Thomann website and elsewhere), plus the headstock, tuners, truss rod cover and bridge are identical to mine, APC PTB310.

    I've had the bouzouki and Fado guitar for about two years and I'm really happy with them.

    I had a bouzouki made by Hora, awful thing, sounded like a cheap banjo. It now hangs on a wall in my granddaughter's bedroom.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    If I am wrong about Hora making that model, I apologize. But I know for a fact that Hora makes at least some of the Thomann Instruments. I just don’t know which ones. That laser cut soundhole looks like a Hora to me, I’ve never seen a picture of an APC with that feature. But I could be wrong for sure.

    If you decide to get anything from Thomann, I would make sure I knew of a competent tech to take it to for the set up, and include the cost of that in your bottom line price. I prefer to buy instruments from shops that will include a competent set up in the price.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  8. #8
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    Have a look at the Ashbury range. I had the Octave Mandolin in the same range as this https://www.scayles.co.uk/ProductDetails?ID=Mjc1Mg== which had a lovely tone. I only sold it because I wasn't playing it enough.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    Hora do indeed make instruments for Thomann, as do APC, the Harley Benton brand is made in around 20 factories in the far east.
    APC make a mandolin and a cavaquinho with laser or CNC machine cut soundholes, but the headstock on the bouzouki is a bit of a giveaway.

    Agree with you about the setup, Thomann aren't the best in that regard. I've done setups on a couple of Harley benton acoustic guitars for friends, good guitars but needed some work done on them to improve the playability.

    Like you, I've never seen a Hora that didn't need worked on. The only thing I did with the APC was change the bridge.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    Hello guys, sorry for having taken so long to get back to you ; life stuff.

    APC are in vacation right now, so I'll wait for them to take further information. In any case I think I'll go with them. Maybe I'll post again when it's done :p.

    Thanks a lot to everyone for their inputs

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice about Bouzoukis' prices and value.

    Good choice, you won't regret it.

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