The Bouzouki is a Greek instrument that is widely used in Greek traditional music. If you ever hear a Greek song, then there are incredibly high chances to hear the sounds made by a bouzouki as well. It resembles a guitar in very many ways, so yes, it is a string instrument, but it is played in a different manner and it produces a different set of sounds.
Hearing these sounds will definitely take you on an imaginary journey to Greece because we can say that the Bouzouki is closely connected to the identity of this country. At the end of the day, Greeks love getting together in their taverns, eating, enjoying a few glasses of wine, telling stories, and, of course, dance on the melodious tunes produced by the bouzouki.
What are the Best Bouzoukis to Buy?
2) Roosebeck Bouzouki w/ Deluxe Gig Bag
- Great Value
- Beautifully Decorated
- Natural Color Body
1) Thomann Irish Bouzouki M1089-P
- High Quality
- Solid Maple Design
- Traditional Appearance
3) Gold Tone BZ-500 Bouzouki
- Solid Spruce Top
- Brass Cast Tailpiece
- Comfortable Playing
If you feel in love with this instrument and would like to give it a try or you want to add one most instrument to your collection of string instruments, then there are a few things you need to know before purchasing a bouzouki.
The first thing you may notice when shopping for a Greek bouzouki is the rather elevated price of the instrument, in comparison with other string instruments you may find on the market.
Well, you need to know that bouzoukis are made by hand entirely, which explains why their price tag is a tag higher. Of course, you can find factory-made bouzoukis on the market, but do be careful as their quality may not be that great. Also, you should know that a traditional bouzouki has a rounded back and not a flat back.
Flat-backed bouzoukis are actually Irish bouzoukis, and not Greek, or, on rare occasions, they can be a custom order for someone that requested this particularity. But, do know that a flat back bouzouki will not produce the same sounds as a traditional round-back bouzouki, so do that this in mind.
Another thing you should know is that a traditional Greek bouzouki has 17 or 19 ribs, and not 30 or more, as some manufacturers claim. If they do offer a bouzouki with some many ribs, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get a better sound, as this is just another way they use to make you pay more without getting any benefits. So, do check out the instruments reviewed below, as you may find one that is interesting for you.
12 Best Bouzouki Reviews and the Best Bouzouki Brands
1) Thomann Irish Bouzouki M1089-P
Even from a distance, you can tell that this bouzouki from Thomann is top quality. The design is flawless and is good for recording.
The bottom of the Thomann bouzouki is flat and features a solid maple design that adds to its glamour and durability. The neck region features a maple wood design, including each side of the instrument. The fretboard features the best of Acacia material construction for a flawless finish while the overall look appears outstanding for a bouzouki in its category.
One thing we noticed is that the Thomann bouzouki sounds good enough when plugged in, as such that, you can use it for stage performance. The EQ enables the instrument to offer and retain its natural sounding capacity. If you want to record on a studio with something that is not too expensive yet able to meet your expectation, Thomann has it all in this beautiful bouzouki.
While the body length measures 39cm, the height length measure 8.9cm. As for the scale length, it measures approximately 66.5cm, and the nut width measures 3.4 cm.
2) Roosebeck Bouzouki w/ Deluxe Gig Bag
Like its sister version, this Roosebeck Bouzouki is offered good quality design for people who love Irish traditional music. Roosebeck has a history of quality and reliability with their bouzoukis.
The bouzouki features a four-course, eight string design and is a wonderful option that performs well across a wide variety of musical style and sound pattern. This particular model is not different from the one (the Roosebeck Standard Irish Bouzouki) we reviewed earlier. For instance, the top of the bouzouki features a European spruce design, which is popular with most of Roosebeck bouzouki in this category. The soundboard also features the same spruce material, while the fingerboard is made of Sheesham material design.
A mahogany neck construction means you will have a beautiful and warm sound quality. But another notable feature worth mentioning is that the fingerboard, soundboard, and headstock features all features carefully customized lacewood inlays for an unbeatable experience.
As for the scale length, it measures 26.25 inches, and the truss rod in the neck allows for actionable acoustics and ease of play. Use the nicely padded gig bag to convey your instrument and everything will be good.
3) Gold Tone BZ-500 Bouzouki
The Gold Tone bouzouki is another excellent choice for beginners. Jthe material design and overall body features offer top-notch functionality. Whether you want to practice or play in a group, this bouzouki will sure give you a sense of belonging.
Talking about material construction, the Gold Tone BZ-500 features a well-crafted top that is made of spruce wood. This provides soft and warm intonation when in a sitting position. The tailpiece is made of brass cast material while the back and sides of the bouzouki feature top-quality mahogany wood construction for deeper and warmer tone creation.
The bridge on this bouzouki comes intonated, meaning you have less challenge getting it into proper tune. Al of these features is the reason why the Gold Tone BZ-500 is gaining quick popularity among players. If you are interested in Celtic, folk and rock music, the BZ-500 is one of the best options you can get to enjoy your play.
You will find it easy to play the BZ-500, and its rich tone is a delight to hear when playing. Another good thing about this bouzouki is that you can tune it in different ways. It also comes with double strings which allows you to choose and play octave or unison courses as you will.
4) Blue Moon BB-15 Bouzouki
If you want to play a good quality Celtic and Irish bouzouki, the Blue Moon can turn out to be a nice option. The Blue Moon bouzouki features a solid, spruce top design and solid maple backside, which offers a robust experience. The back of the bouzouki is flat and provide a comfortable feel handling it.
Looking at the strings on the Blue Moon bouzouki, you can see that they are meant for a G-D to A-D tuning. Also featured in the bouzouki are the truss rod and marquetry inlaid scratch plate. The bridge features a maple material design with three feet while the nut is made of plastic.
If you are a beginner or student player, this bouzouki will be right for you. Also, a professional or an intermediate player who wants to have a feel of something different can play the Blue Moon as well.
While the strings are not that bad, they are not the best in the market, and you can always replace them. The Blue Moon is a perfect instrument for playing bluegrass and any music you can think of.
It is an excellent choice for those who are just starting out playing. We can conveniently say this because it has been tried and found successful on several occasions.
5) Matsikas BZ8-460 Greek Bouzouki
The Matsikas BZ8-460 is beautiful bouzouki that offers good quality. The top of the bouzouki has elegant inlays, and the finish is top class. The reason why so many players love this instrument is the subliminal sound, which is also warm, yet carrying a bright tone—the real definition of the Greek tone. Well, it isn’t much of a surprise that these qualities are visible in such an affordable bouzouki, considering the materials that sum up the overall construction.
First, looking at the body, we find out that, it features a natural walnut material construction with an exceptional scale measuring about 67 cm. Sixty ribs and a natural ebony fretboard set the stage for the rich sound that the bouzouki produces; thanks to its eight strings design. You can conveniently tune this piece from a low level to higher level; cc-ff, aa-d’d.
The fact that this bouzouki is made in Greece lend credence to its originality as a top quality Greek bouzouki known for its unique interplay sound and intonation. While a truss rod is included, the only thing missing in this design is a gig bag, which means you will have to get one at an extra cost. Notwithstanding, the bouzouki does what it is designed to do—give you the best traditional Greek and Irish traditional sound.
6) Matsikas BZ8-110 Bouzouki 8-String
This version is closely similar to the BZ8-460 in several ways. Apart from being a perfect instrument with excellent sound, the Matsikas BZ8-110 also comes with 8 strings. The top layer of the bouzouki also features a spruce material construction for a bright yet warm sound rendition. Nevertheless, the BZ8-110 come with some of its distinctive features.
For instance, Matsikas features a wenge fretboard on the BZ8110, which is entirely different from the BZ8-460, which has an ebony fretboard. Again, this version didn’t include a gig bag with which you can use to carry your instrument when embarking on a journey. A truss rod is also not included in this version. Furthermore, no truss rod is included in this design, and the bones are not the best in the market.
However, if you are an amateur looking for a cheap, quality and efficient bouzouki to start your practice and hone your skills, this model will do just fine. The scale length measures 668 mm while the numbers of shell part involved in the body construction range 15 walnut and maple ribs designs. You can tune this bouzouki from cc - ff – aa - dd, which is from lower to higher. Typically, no pickups are included, meaning you will need to invest in that separately.
While the Matsikas BZ8-110 sounds good, it would have better it ha natural bones as against the cheap plastic ones that come with it. The bouzouki is made in Greece and confirms its originality.
7) Trinity College TM-375 Standard Irish Bouzouki with Hardshell Case
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of bouzouki, the round-back, and the flat-back. This particular instrument is an Irish bouzouki, which means that it is a flat-back. It does manage to produce beautiful clear sounds, but it may not be what you are looking for in case you really want to enjoy the traditional sounds produced by a Greek bouzouki.
This type of bouzouki is ideal if you like Celtic sounds instead, due to its shape, format, and round sound hole. The top is made out of solid Sitka spruce and the back and sides of the instrument are made out of maple, not just for beauty and resistance, but also for releasing crisp sounds.
You will love the neck of the instrument as well, made out of mahogany, which promotes an easy use of the bouzouki, by allowing your hands to slide comfortably.
East Indian rosewood was chosen to make the fingerboard, as it is a fine type of wood, perfect for this kind of purpose. And, speaking of Celtic, the peghead features a beautiful Celtic design, which together with the natural aspect of the wood, gives this instrument a traditional appearance.
8) Roosebeck Standard Irish Bouzouki
You can enjoy the best of Irish traditional music by playing this beautiful bouzouki from Roosebeck. The neck of this bouzouki feature a Lacewood plus Sheesham material construction, two materials which are remarkable for their bright and light sound rendition. As for the fretboard, it features the same Sheesham material for an all-out action pack straight out of the box.
The tuning pegs n the Roosebeck are black plastic, with gold design. While the nut on this model is bone by nature, the width of the nut at the neck region measures 1.25 inches, which is ideal for a comfortable experience.
One thing that is certain with this design is that you will need new strings g to replace the one that comes with it. Even the manufacturer advice that you change strings since the ones that come with it have been subject to rigorous testing at the factory. You can fit in steel and silk strings on this bouzouki and enjoy a rich and reassuring sound.
Roosebeck included an Allen wrench for tightening of the nuts if needed. A gig bag with nice padding is also included for easy transportation of your instrument.
9) IRISH BOUZOUKI – Hora (M1089)
This is a gorgeous Irish bouzouki for those of you who love Celtic music. It is one of the instruments that can fit in almost any budget, as it is rather affordable if we are to think at the general price of a bouzouki, even if it is an Irish bouzouki and not a Greek one. So, if you plan to learn the instrument first without spending too much on your new hobby, then this is an instrument worthy of your attention.
Beautifully decorated, having a natural light color tone of the wood on the front, while the back and sides present a darker hue, this instrument will look appealing to anyone. The sounds it makes are clear and it is quite easy to learn how to play this instrument with the help of its thin neck and rosewood fingerboard.
It may not be the ideal chose for professional or experienced players, but for beginners, it provides everything you need in order to get introduced into the secrets of playing such an instrument. So, whether you are looking to offer this bouzouki as a gift or your budget is not too generous when it comes to buying an instrument, this Irish bouzouki made by Hora may be exactly what you need.
10) Luna Guitars Moonbird Series Solid 8-String Electric Bouzouki – Satin Black
In case you are a person that is fond of technology, then you’ll like the idea of having an electric bouzouki. Yes, a traditional instrument like the bouzouki was transformed, with the help of technology, into a surprising item. And the satin black finish of this bouzouki provided by Luna Guitar only adds up to the modern air this instrument has.
So, allow this unconventional bouzouki to surprise you with its black mahogany body and top. The rosewood fingerboard and set neck are going to make your experiences even better, giving you the chance to play this instrument like a pro. Featuring 19 frets, this bouzouki has what it takes to produce beautiful sounds.
For the price you are paying to purchase this instrument, you are going to get great quality to enjoy for years to come. Famous for its unique sounds, the bouzouki is now ready to be part of our modern era, with a futuristic design and equipped with the proper technology.
At least this is what Luna Guitars tried to achieve when launching this product on the market, which is, indeed, quite surprising, in a pleasant manner. This is why we consider it an option worth of exploring.
11) Bouzouki Professional – Luthiers Saadettin Sandi and Bahadir Sandi
If you are fond of traditional bouzoukis and you have the skills needed to play this instrument like a pro, then you will definitely appreciate a beautifully handcrafted bouzouki. Although it has a spectacular design, the instrument was made by hand entirely, which shows an exceptional attention to details and knowledge in how to make a gorgeous round-back traditional bouzouki.
So, if you want to obtain the genuine sounds made by such an instrument, this should be your choice. The woods used for making this bouzouki are solid woods, dried in a kiln and kept in special conditions for more than 10 years. With a body composed out of mahogany and walnut, entwined in a beautiful design, this instrument can definitely make an impression.
Great quality spruce was used to make the soundboard so that the sounds you will make are clear and accurate while being strong and deep at the same time. The manufacturers of this instrument also provide a handmade hard case for the protection of your bouzouki, made out of plywood and covered with synthetic leather. This way, you will be able to take your precious bouzouki everywhere, without the risks of subjecting it to any damages.
12) Matsikas Greek 6-String Bouzouki w/ Soft Case – Natural
This is a gorgeous authentic Greek bouzouki, made in the old traditional way. It presents a round back, which means that it will be able to produce genuine bouzouki sounds, just like the ones you may hear when listening to traditional Greek music.
You will be surprised by the beautiful body of the instrument, made out of maple and walnut, the back alone presenting 15 stripes of these two types of wood, which entwine to produce a rather impressive design. The top is made out of spruce and fretboard out of wenge.
The instrument also comes along with a soft case for protection against scratches. So, if you want a Greek bouzouki that is actually made in Greece, you have to opt for this instrument.
Made in a small facility located in the village of Mastro, just outside Mesologi, a historical city in Greece, the instrument is handcrafted by skilled craftsmen. This business exists since 1979 and is specialized in producing traditional Greek musical instruments, so you can be sure that you will get exceptional quality if you choose this particular bouzouki.
Even the strings of the instrument are made in the same facility, according to a technique that was tested for decades. Also, the bouzouki will be shipped to your door straight from Greece, so you can enjoy a part of this country’s amazing cultural and musical legacy.
Choosing Best Bouzouki from the Best Bouzouki Brands
As this list of products show, you can find a wide range of bouzoukis on the market. Some are classic instruments while others are electric. Some have a flat back and provide Celtic sounds, while others have a round back, being specific to Greek and Turkish music.
So, in the end, it depends on what kind of sounds you are looking to get from your bouzouki and how do you plan to use the instrument.
Are you looking to learn how to play it or you’re already familiar with it and would need an instrument dedicated for professionals?
All of these aspects weigh a lot when trying to choose the ideal bouzouki. The way they are made will provide them the ability to produce particular sounds, so you need to make sure that the instrument you will purchase will raise to your expectancies. Hopefully, this guide will make some light in this case, allowing you to see the difference between various bouzoukis, so you can make the right choice for you.