Evaluating my A/I Stathopoulos bouzouki

Part 1:Construction, materials, finish.

Good omens brought the A/I Stathopoulos bouzouki,  finally safe and secure in front of my doorsteps, yesterday evening.
It took 9 months in making, and  almost 1 month in transit !

Due to the condition of the outside brown paper wrap, it was obvious that my Stathopoulos had a rough overseas trip.

 Giannis Tsoulogiannis had wrapped carefully the foam case with bubble wrap and had added foam sheets inside the case between the padding and the instrument's bowl back.

Opening the case at first, I passed through a small tachycardia shock, which thankfully lasted for few seconds, until I confirmed that everything was intact and in place.

My first impression by Stathopoulos  size / proportions and the 8 strings it carries ( 2 RE - 2 or 3 LA- 4 or 3 RE ), is that this instrument is much different than the bouzouki we all know.

Evaluating the construction, materials been used, and finish.


The bouzouki has a very strong, and solid construction. 
Playing for so long with the thin Politiko neck , Stathopoulos "tetrachordo style" neck, felt heavy.

What really grabbed my attention on this instrument, was the action and the height between neck and strings.
I never thought a bouzouki made with the Neapolitan step on the soundboard, would have such a low action and such a soft play-ability even at the highest frets. Playing fast on Stathopoulos neck is an easy task.

The head-stock has a very beautiful and delicate construction.
Tuning it with the A type quality mandolin tuners purchased from USA, was very easy.
But what really confused me was the tuning of the 4 mourgkana strings.
Since they sit so close to each other,  I could not distinguish which one I was hitting, and which one I was tuning!

The bridge is delicate, simple, and beautiful. Extremely thin, but with a great grasp on the sound board.

Finally the bowl, one of my favorite parts, created with a lot of attention to detail, by clean perfectly-cut staves of red-brown Indian Rosewood, and an amazing Curly Maple.The wooden fillets between the staves, give a luxurious feeling to the instrument.


The use of beautiful, natural treated, old woods makes a statement on this bouzouki!

Giannis Tsoulogiannis delivers an instrument with the highest quality of old woods and natural sea shells.

The butterfly decoration on the pick-guard captivates your eyes, as the abalone's bluish-green colors, reflect the  light. from the environment


As I have written in the past, I would characterize Giannis Tsoulogiannis creation as a natural beauty. The high quality woods and materials overcome some imperfections you can find in finish .The multiple layers of  natural varnish on the woods ( French Shellac-gomolaka), brings out all of their natural beauty.

The sound board's  butterfly design is been perfectly cut even tho, the Rosewood pick-guard, has some imperfections and some areas feel a little uneven, especially around the sound hole and around the decoration.

The 72 years old sound-board has some small imperfections (epidermic small dents) imprinted by the time.

The trims around the bowl , kollatza and soundboard have been cut and glued perfectly. The same for the wooden stripes between the staves.

The beautiful coating of rosewood ply on the neck and head-stock, has some very small imperfections, hard to notice them.

The following days, I will record a sound sample of my instrument, which I will post with my final review on the sound.


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