1960s Petros Hanikian 8-String Greek Bouzouki

The same fellow who snagged the excellent Vracas bouzouki also sent this one up here for work. I'm a bouzouki fan myself, so I can understand the persuasion.

Per the owner's research, this one was made by Petros Hanikian, an Armenian-Greek builder who learned from the much-more-famous builder Onnik Tsakirian. Mr. Tsakirian built for high-profile players of the time and high-profile is definitely the influence in this design -- it's a beautifully-built instrument with clean, biting, zippy tone and it's decorated to a high degree as well.

This was a fussy repair job, however. The neck had an S-curve warp to it when tuned to pitch that I had to level and dress out of the frets to keep it as original as possible. This was made more complicated by having to do this work while the neck was under tension as it snaps back to "level" without tension on it. In addition, I had to reglue much of the celluloid's edges flat on the top and at the headstock. After that it got a little cosmetic lift by a very thin layer of varnish to get it looking a bit glossier and so as to fade some of the scratches back into the finish.

What's interesting is that the instrument was ordered by its original (1960s) owner in a 6-string, 1-1-2-2 format. The current owner wanted to move to a more-normal 8 and because of the neck troubles I was worried that was not going to happen agreeably. However, after crunching the numbers on string tension and wrestling with the frets, I've now got the full 8 working as they should and hoo, boy does it sound good.

You can't really get this tone from anything but a big-bowl, Greek bouzouki. They've got that zzzzrrring tone with the crazy sustain and "leap"when digging-in for lead work.

While a normal bouzouki might use gauges similar to 30w/12, 24w/10, 14/14, 10/10, I had to lighten to the load on this one so it's strung with 26w/11, 18w/8, 12/12, and 9/9.