Analyzing an old photograph

Evidence of a hybrid bouzouki!

An old photograph came up on the surface in Rebetiko forum, dating back from 1870s, accordingly to its owner and collector Andrea Xatzipolaki (

In the center of this family photo someone can easily distinguished a young man wearing traditional Greek costume with fustanella ( Fustanella was a traditional skirt-like garment worn by men of many nations in the Balkans -Southeast Europe), holding a hybrid bouzouki musical instrument

The scanned photograph is in very bad condition, and in low-resolution, making the attempt to collect further information regarding the bouzouki instrument, tremendously difficult. 

 Passing the photograph through digital filters, I was able to collect only few additional information.

 I was first able to easily define the bowl shape (similar to laouto-bouzouko shape)  and the round, rosette-type, sound-hole.

Next, I attempted to define the fret board (which appears to continue until the sound-hole), and most importantly the head-stock.
It was almost impossible to understand and define the shape and the contour lines of the head-stock and its tuning pegs, which could have given us very important information regarding this musical instrument.
With a big assumption, I would state that the head-stock carries wooden pegs, similar to a taboura/sazi head-stock.

I also tried to identify some of the fret markers on the fret board, and the wooden pick-guard shape.

The bridge (with an assumption that the dark traces discovered in the back of the pick-guard is the bridge) sits very close to the end of the instruments sound board, reminding me the unique 1880 bouzouki discovered by the luthier and researcher Gianni Tsoulogianni (

Finally by another assumption, from traces found on the front of the sound board, in both sides of the neck, the bouzouki instrument may carried wooden decoration at the front.

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 very blurry scanned photograph, in low-resolution.


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