The Irish bouzouki and cittern are part of an ever evolving family of mandolin family instruments. Both are essentially big mandolins tuned an octave lower, with the cittern having an extra course of strings, usually higher, but sometimes a lower course is added. I build bouzoukis with a 26"/66cm scale and short scale citterns or octave mandolins with a 22"/56cm scale. Soundboards can be:
• flat with a lattice bracing system and a fixed bridge;
• Gently domed with an H bracing pattern and a floating bridge;
• or carved with a floating bridge and a tailpiece.
Soundboards are spruce, Sitka or Engelmann, and a selection of timbers is offered for the sides and back: Indian Rosewood, mahogany, Tasmanian blackwood and Tulip satinwood are available and other (Australian or exotic) timbers can be sourced as required. Pickups can also be fitted. Prices start at A$3000.
The larger bodied type 3 gives a tonal range more that of a small bodied guitar, but still with the slightly nasal tone characteristic of the bouzouki. It has more richness in the bass, while keeping the crisp higher register. An excellent choice for solo accompaniment. The body is 15” 38cm wide
The type 2 blends the best qualities of both the type 1 and the type 3, and still sits on the leg comfortably. The body is 14”/36cm wide
Mandocellos can be made with four or five courses (adding an extra d or e string) using the type 3 bouzouki body built a little deeper to get the most of the the low C string or a large teardrop shape. A variety of scale lengths are offered. The instrument below has a 25.5”/65cm string length with the body 14.5”/37cm wide with a fully carved soundboard and back
The type 1 cittern with a small teardrop shaped body is a good all-round accompaniment or melody instrument, especially in a band environment. The strong midrange gives a tonal contrast to both guitar and mandolin, with a separate voice in the instrumental lineup. This cittern has a 13”/33cm wide body and a 21”/53cm string length for a GDaea tuning/