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Thread: Mainland or Cretan Laouto

  1. #1
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    Question Mainland or Cretan Laouto

    Hi Folks! I picked up a secondhand laouto from a local music shop, and I don't know if it's a mainland or Cretan size/style. I'd like to get some strings on it and tune it up, but I don't know which kind to order. Are they the same scale length and just tuned differently, or are they physically different? I don't want to put too much tension on this one's neck (or get strings that are too short), that's why I'm being so cautious. If it helps, from the nut to the saddle is about 28 1/2, overall length is about 39, and the body is 14 1/4 at the widest point. Here are a couple of photos, if that helps. Thanks in advance!

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Mainland or Cretan Laouto

    Howdy nofrets,

    Don't know if you have seen this:



    The Cretan laouto is the largest bodied laouto, so hopefully you can gauge.

    Best of luck.
    Huck

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Mainland or Cretan Laouto

    Thanks! Those look about the same size as mine, so maybe it's Cretan. Is there actually a difference in scale lengths, or just string gauges/tuning?

  6. #4
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mainland or Cretan Laouto

    Quote Originally Posted by nofrets View Post
    Hi Folks! I picked up a secondhand laouto from a local music shop, and I don't know if it's a mainland or Cretan size/style. I'd like to get some strings on it and tune it up, but I don't know which kind to order.
    It looks like a nice instrument.

    The most common traditional tuning is CGDA, but the lowest C string is re-entrant and an octave higher than one would expect. Your looks like many of the standard laouto that are tuned this way.

    http://www.hellenicaworld.com/Greece...en/Laouto.html

    "The laouto's eight strings are paired, tuned an octave apart (much like a Western steel guitar). The interval from one pair to the next is tuned in fifths (Cc-Gg-Dd-aa). The Laouto has a re-entrant tuning, Gg tuned a fourth lower than Cc.

    The two primary contemporary variants of the laouto, one somewhat smaller than the other, are to be found on mainland Greece and on the island of Crete. The larger sized instrument (wider body) is played mainly on the island of Crete and tends to be tuned differently ( Gg - Dd - Aa - ee ), the re-entrant tuning is still a characteristic of the Cretan laouto, because Dd is a fourth lower than Gg."

    I have seen players with the GDAE tuning, but most laouto players I've encountered used CGDA.

    I have had good luck with these strings:

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/8697786...SABEgJq0_D_BwE

    https://www.bouzouki.org/products/la...SAAEgJ9gPD_BwE

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