From Stathopoulos catalog

First look !
.Page from A.Stathopoulos catalog, given by G.Tsoylogiannis

Couple of days ago, I received from the luthier G. Tsoulogiannis, the page in question from A.Stathopoulo's catalog , which illustrates his bouzouki instruments.
Unfortunately the luthier has in his possession a photocopy from the original catalog, a fact which made the identification of the strings even harder.

In an attempt to decode how many strings, A.Stathopoulos bouzouki instruments were carrying, and with the help of digital filters, I generated some possibilities and an amateur analysis, which I am still debating.

From a first look, A.Stathopoulos bouzouki, does not look as a three course (trichordo) bouzouki, rather as a four course (tetrachordo) or multi-course (polychordo) instrument.

The 3rd string (or pair of strings) appears to be thicker than the 4rth (mourgana-or pair of strings), a fact which makes me believe that, the number of strings A.Stathopoulos bouzouki was carrying at the 3rd place, was higher than the one at fourth place.

The only clearly identified strings from the catalog, are the ones of the 4rth (mourgana) and the 3rd position. Measuring the distance between 3rd and 4rth strings, and taking in calculation the total length of the bone on the bridge (kavalari), and the perspective of the photograph, it appears that the remaining length of the bone, can fit more than one more extra pairs of strings. (Taking as an assumption that, all cuts on the bone of the bridge (kavalari), were made at same distances)

At the same time, it is possible, that due to the instrument's distortion from the photograph's perspective, this illusion of extra space for two more pair of strings, can be wrong.

From the other hand, the length of the free space which appears available at the right side of the bridge bone, ( if we assume that the instrument was carrying three sets of strings) , is long enough to be present at the other side of the bone, after the mourgana (thickest string), even after calculating the perspective angle of the photograph. But I cant not identify a free space of bridge bone, after mourgana.

Also, on the fret board close to the xelidoni connection (connection between bowl and neck) someone can identify traces of another pair of strings.

Finally, at the bone of the bridge, small traces from a 4rth cut appears to be made, giving us a little more evidence that Stathopoulos bouzouki wasn't a three course instrument.

As I wrote at the beginning of my post, this analysis is just a hypothesis, created by traces of some evidence , found by digital analysis from a blurry photocopy of A.Stathopoulo's catalog page, which kindly, the luthier and researcher Giannis Tsoulogianis, ceded from his private archive .

My personal opinion, and from an artist's perspective,(by looking at the two possibilities that the instrument in the catalog could have), is that Stathopoulo's instrument looks, uncompleted with a 3 course string design , and over loaded with 4 course string design, if all four pairs placed at even spaces .

Maybe at the end Stathopoulos bouzouki was an instrument, designed with the availability to be transformed to a multi-course (polyxordo), depending on the needs of the player.

Filtering the image

Traces of strings

Bone length of the bridge

4rth and 3rd position of strings

As trichordo (three course instrument)

As tetrchordo (four course instrument)


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