Irish Bouzouki Tuning
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| Bouzouki (Irish or Octave): scale length around
Most Irish musicians use either GDAD or ADAD(low to high). Both tunings make it quite easy to play in the key of D; the first also allows for some easy chords in G, the second works better for A, but will give you a less full sound when playing in G.
A mandolin-like tuning, GDAE, but one octave lower, is also used, but requires long stretches for some chords, so it is most useful for either a short-scale instrument or a player with big hands. Most of these short-scale bouzoukis, especially if they use this mandolin-like tuning, are said to be octave-mandolas.
Most well-known bouzouki players, like Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, use the GDAD tuning. The 3-course Greek bouzouki, not common in Irish music, is used by Alec Finn of De Dannan fame. He uses the traditional Greek tuning for this instrument, which works well for Irish music - DAD. All chords given for GDAD tuning work for this tuning also.
Tuning: There are many methods for tuning Irish bouzoukis, depending on what the player is intending to do with it. I shall extend the range of string choices, as I try them out, but it really depends how you tune it, so you may be involved in buying individual strings.
*GDad is ideal for tunes in the key of G (E, B and C with capo) Typically the tuning used by Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, the disadvantage is fingering changes from the mandolin on the top string.
like mandolin, but long stretch for some chords if you are going to use it
as a rhythm accompaniment.
|GHS PF 285||Phosphor Bronze Regular, Loop End||012"||022"||032"||044"|
|La Bella IBZ 505||Irish Bouzouki 8-string||011"||?||?||040"|
|La Bella BZ 508||Bouzouki 8-string||010"||?||?||031"|
|Pyramid Bouzouki||Irish Tuning 8-strings PY672/8IRscale length: 69cm. Tension ca. 8.4kg. d'd' aa dd gg|
There is a lot more info on Han's Bouzouki site on the links page.
As I play Bouzouki tuned like this, here are some simple chords, courtesy of Han.
|Greek Bouzouki: scale length around 680mm and traditional bowl back|
| Tuning: 4 courses of
2 strings (tetrachordo). Octave
strings on the 2 lowest pairs, on the lower side of the pair. (Having said
that I have just restored a bouzouki where the nut slots clearly show
thicker strings were on the lower side!?) The problem
is that chords higher up the neck will sound out of tune. (See difference
in scale needed by different gauge strings in FAQ)
Apparently this was not a problem for Greek players, who play mainly on
the top 2 up the fingerboard, using lower strings as drones. Then there
are the 6 string bouzoukis, (trichordo) closer to the original Turkish model. Again,
not too many string choices here, because it really depends on the tuning
you want to use, and I don't build these.... yet!
traditional Greek bouzouki 3 course tuning
|Pyramid Bouzouki||Greek Tuning 6-strings PY672/6 d' d' a a d' f scale length: 69cm|
|D'Addario J97||nickle-plated steel wound .010, .010, .013, .013, .022, .010, .028, .013.|
|GHS Bouzouki Strings:||8-String (Greek) - Loop End Silverwound, .011 - .028|
|I'm not a Greek bouzouki player, but I have come across a very good site if you want zook chords for a trad. CFAD tuning.|