Bouzouki, under microscope

Evaluating two concept designs!

I would like to thank, for one more time, the fellow participants of the latest poll. Since evaluation of aesthetics is a subjective mechanism, the opinion and criticism I quote here is purely personal.

Principals of aesthetics

1.The king of the form
Bouzouki's bowl, is the most massive and the largest part of instrument's construction. Its shape, dimensions, and decoration, plays a key role to the overall instrument's form. It is the: identity giver. All other structural and decoration elements should follow the basic lines and should be in full harmony to the bowl's aesthetics.
Our concept trixordo has an old pre-war style, tear-shape bowl, made by maple and rosewood staves.

2. The king of elegance
Bouzouki's decoration (soundboard's design/materials, pick guard's shape/materials, sound-hole's design/materials, fillet's and strips materials, capping strip design/materials, headstock's design/materials, fret mark's shape/materials,tailpiece design/materials, even materials that have been used for the creation of the staves) plays the main factor, and can characterise an instrument, elegant and well balanced. Uniformity in: materials that are used, shapes, themes, and color scheme is a must. Also the rule of "less is more", applies most of the times.

Analysis of first design
In the first example, our imaginary luthier had these principals in mind. Notice how the shape of the pick guard, the shape of the decoration and the shape of neck's ending, follows the same principal of the long, tear shape bowl.

Also note, how the direction of pick-guard's flower decoration, with long, thin, branches, supports successfully the long-shape form of the bowl. The luthier used natural shell only at the flowers. Beautiful use of wood shades on the rest of the decoration. Pay also attention to the shape of the pick guard .. looks like a leaf-shape, and it blends perfectly with the flower decoration pattern.

Notice the fillets/trims around the soundboard, and the wooden marquetry around the sound-hole. How successfully they match, with the color palette of the rosewood pick guard. Complete lack of natural shell in these places, to not overload aesthetically the musical instrument, and to keep it in a visual balance.
Finally the fret marks, created by round shape wood, following the traditional aesthetics and simplicity, of the pre-war bouzouki, matching at the same time with the round shape, of un-opened flowers on the pick guard decoration.

Analysis of second design

From the other hand, our second imaginary luthier, forgot some of the main principals in aesthetics, when he was designing the decoration of his bouzouki.
His original idea, to use trim of abalone around the soundboard and the sound-hole, was at first, brilliant. The use of the cold (bluish-green) color from the natural abalone, in combination with the warm (brown-reddish) color of the pickguard and the flower decoration, could create an attractive contrast.
But lets take things from the beginning.
On his instrument, he decided to create a theme with wheat branches, where flowers do not flourish in the grain. He used wood for the decoration of the pick guard, but he introduced an imitation abalone around the sound-hole, and real abalone material of a completely different flower pattern, as decorative elements.

The trims around the sound-board, are a variety of materials and colors, that do not fit/match with anything from the pick guard decoration theme, neither with the overall aesthetics of the instrument. The use of white plastic strips, blue and green acrylic celluloid, diamond-shape rosewood, and round-shape real abalone, creates a visual overwhelm.
At the end the luthier, motivated by the thought that more and bigger , natural abalone will make his instrument more attractive, he designed oval shape fret marks, which aren't matching with any of the bouzouki decoration.

We analysed, the use of materials, design and colors in just one area of musical instrument's body. I am positive that, if we were examining all the parts of bouzouki, and the overall aesthetics of it, we would be able to identify much easier the errors.

At a future post, I will re-create/revise , the 2nd trixordo decoration, having in mind the above main principals we talked. I hope, this way we will be able to share our opinion between the before and after visual outcome.


  1. Φίλε μου Memories,πρώτα απ'όλα σου εύχομαι ταχεία ανάρρωση και περαστικά,Χριστός Ανέστη και καλό μήνα,μπήκαμε στον Μάη!!! Τώρα σχετικά με την ανάλυση σου για τα δυο τρίχορδα με κάλυψες πλήρως!!! Συνέχισε να σχεδιάζεις και να εμπνέεις με τα ξεχωριστά και ντελικάτα σχέδια σου!!! Τα λέμε φίλε!!!

  2. Φίλε luthierschool,

    Αληθως Ανεστη, και καλο μηνα!
    Να σαι παντα καλα.Ευχαριστω για τα καλα σου λογια!


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