a lot of differences indeed, but the one similarity is that we are deeply involved in the art of building and playing these beautiful and interesting instruments and enjoying their beautiful sound... Shortly I will finish my first guizouki, which is a bouzouki with the shape of a (parlour) guitar; it will be interesting to experience the character of this new instrument and I will be glad to share the experience with you in due time.
that is a very special tuning indeed; the bouzouki is tuned GDad and mostly the pairs are unison, but sometimes the third and fourth pair are octaved.
The bouzouki came to Greece from Turkye and the middle east (buzuk) and is related to the saz. The Greek bouzouki originally has three pairs of strings; eight string bouzoukis are considered wrong in Greece.
In the 1960's a bouzouki was brought back from a holiday in Greece by an Irishman and was picked up by a musician from Dublin called Johnny Moynihan; he had a flat back specimen made, because the traditional curved back was a nuisance when playing standing up (what many irish musicians do when performing). He passed the instrument on to Donal Lunny (famous from the group Planxty) who was probably mostly responsible for the popularity of the irish bouzouki; the irish bouzouki has four pairs of strings tuned GDad or GDae (which makes it an octave mandolin, to add to the confusion).
There is no standard for bouzouki bracing, but I use an X-bracing for both the top and back and it seems to work well.
If you want to get an idea of what my guitars and bouzoukis sound like please listen to the sound samples I placed on my page yesterday and the videos of my folkgroup " Achterum" which I hope to place this evening.
the Portugese guitar (beautiful instruments!) does seem to be a distant relation to the Irish bouzouki and the sound is quite similar although the overall effect is different due to the characteristic tuning of the zouk.
The bridge on my first zouk is extra wide because I corrected it after the initial compensation proved to be insufficient; on my later zouks the saddle is also quite wide to allow for ample compensation without using a slanted saddle like on a guitar. This wouldn't work with double strings because the intonation would slightly vary between each of them.
I didn't install under-saddle pickups on my zouks, but I do on my guitars; I make my own pickups with piezo cable and a FET preamp; works perfectly.
Hope to be able to exchange experiences with you in the future,
BTW: funny how you also photographed your instruments in a threesome on the settee!
Holy Smokes - I just found your comment on my page,and I didn't know it! I'm so sorry! Anyway, thanks for the kind words re: my guitar and music. The guitar is a custom Willie Carter (Carter-Poulsen Guitars) built in 2005. The inlay is by Larry Robinson of Sebastopol, CA. Its made of Abalone, Abalam, Mother of pearl, Corian, and her body is genuine ivory from an 80+ year old piece he occasionally uses. Her face was engraved by a friend of his. Thanks again for the kind words about my music. I'm not very prolific, but I have a good time at it. I've stopped performing due to complications of Multiple Sclerosis, but I'm still writing and doing occasional open mics.
Thanks for comment about my instructional videos. I have very little leisure time but have offered to mentor those who want to learn. As a result the videos are short with low production values.
As for your question about how authentic the song is in respect of English musicians trying to sing in the American dialect I would say no, it is not authentic. However I don't believe they were striving for authenticity. I gather that they had the lyric, a melody to go with it and they let the tape roll. After all, if you listen to most British bands from that era (and perhaps today as well) the accent diminishes dramatically.
The same is true for American musicians from the southern part of the country. They speak with a distinct drawl that doesn't come across when they sing. No idea why but it's true.
I took a few moments to view your Greensleeves video and I was impressed with your playing. I learned the song by ear from the Jeff Beck version found on his "Truth" album (or it might have been "Beck Ola" I can't remember which). My playing is much more simplistic as I'm not truly a finger picker. If you watch my "Thorn Tree In The Garden" video you'll understand what I mean. I can pull it off but not very well.
It's strange how the Portugese guitar sounds a lot like the dulcimer. At first I thought I was listening to an Olde English Madrigal!
Incidentally I live in Fairhaven, MA which is right next door to New Bedford where there is a huge Portugese community. We've been to several of the frequent feasts they have and it is a lot of fun.
Must close now, need to get ready for work. Stay in touch and I'll view the rest of your videos first chance I get.
I play it mostly with a plectrum because fingerpicking is kind of tight. The scale is a typical Martin scale, I guess somewhere around 25". If you are interested, there is a tenor guitar group here in the AG Community. I have found lot's of fun stuff there. Here is the link: http://www.acousticguitarcommunity.com/group/tenorguitar
Let me know if you decide to visit, what you think! Edward
Yes, please do send me some more photos of the four string instrument. Although a true tenor guitar is supposed to be tuned like a tenor banjo, I tune mine like the four highest strings on s guitar...D,G,B,E, but they are all doubled. Edward
I was not aware of the special tuning of Portugal! I do notice a similarity to Greek Folk Music in the tunes on your home page. I wonder if the Greeks share this unique tuning on some of their instruments?
Your steel string with the delightful sound hole is beautiful. What a unique and fascinating bit of work. I would love to play it. The other's call to me also. My fingers itch a bit.
I am attaching photos of my second Framus. The action above the third fret is awful. As high as an elephant's high. There is a truss rod but I doubt how effective the adjustment can be without a neck reset and I am not at that point of competency yet. One day I hope to build my own guitars. Not soon but one day.
Sorry about taking so long to get back to you...to answer your question, I had a Portugese/Brazilian GF, and her dad and I used to pick together a little...he played a viola (10 stringed guitar-like instrument, not the lower pitched sister to a fiddle)...
Those are the most incredible guitars I ever saw!
You MADE them? I am in awe.
I also love the mandolas. Do you make those as well?
Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and music!
Very very delightful.
Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed listening to your music. Some interesting instruments, I especially like the Portuguese guitar with its interesting looking headstock! Yes we celts seem to get around. I've listened to some Galician music but not much Portuguese 'celtic' stuff which I intend to remedy right away. Can you recommend any recorded works I should get my hands on, not necessarily just guitar based stuff but any instrumentation. Thanks again.
yes, you are right, the bridge belongs to a guitar made by Alberto Bonafini (http://www.albertobonafini.com/acustica_lk01.htm). I own to of his instruments, a parlor and a walnut cutaway. Soundwise I really cannot tell if it does make any difference, I think that's way beyond my earing possibilities. However, the most intriuguing bridge he makes must be this one:
Dear Señor Motta da Silva,
Your guitars are most beautiful and your music soothes this fox. I did travel to Portugal and through Lisbon and along the Algarve when I was younger and it was a lovely, lovely time. Thank you for explaining the mysterious Baobabs to me.