Hora stentor Ozark Bouzouki octave Mandolin at Ukulele Corner

My Geographically Challenged  Bouzouki

chinese made flat back bouzouki and Ukulele Corner
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spruce top flat back bouzouki and Ukulele Corner
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Steel strung and tuned Gg~Dd~AA~EE

Stentor Ozark flat back Bouzouki

What I have invited this time is an Ozark Bouzouki, (I believe made by Hora, and definitely distributed by Stentor), and Bouzouki is not an easy word to spell. It was in a timed auction and I didn't realise that a timed auction is an auction that an auction house runs kind of like ebay but still with the normal auctioneers fees, (unlike ebay). Anyway I put an opening bid in at the minimum they would accept and planned to come back and watch the auction live, (though to be honest, with the fees I wasn't really planning to go much higher). Come the time of the auction I went to connect like I normally do and found that there was nothing to connect to; and that the timed auction had ended with no one else bidding so I had won!

So it has a solid spruce top and is Octave Mandolin sized with a fairly, (compared to the Greek Bouzoukis), subtle pick guard, (though more ornate than the current Ozark model). I thought it should be tuned G~D~A~E like an standard Mandolin but an octave lower and I was thinking like the Mandola, being bigger it will be easier to play than a standard Mandolin, but unlike the Mandola it will use exactly the same chords so I won't need to transpose. When I went to the Stentor website though, they were recommending a tuning in fourths like a Guitar rather than fifths like a Mandolin and that I should use the same four notes as the four lowest strings of a Guitar so E~A~D~G. In some ways this will make it easier to play but I know from my Cak that missing the first strings can be a bit confusing, especially as the Baritone Ukulele and the chicago tuned Tenor Guitar, that I am use to playing, are tuned to the four highest strings of a Guitar. So lots of options for tuning and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it needs new strings when it arrives, thus leaving all the options open and lots of tuning fun; I'm looking forward to it.

It's here now and from what I can work out from the string tensions it is tuned G~D~A~E, (well that is how I've tuned it but with 8 strings its actually Gg~Dd~AA~EE). It is quite large, (nearly as long and the Mandocello, but with a much smaller body), and it does sound and play very well. It could do with new strings, but not desperately so I won't rush out and get new ones, but when I do I will probably go for the fourths tuning, partly to see what it sounds like but partly because I think it will be easier for me to play that way.

One thing though, it is Chinese made so it doesn't come from Hora in Romania. However it still has a solid spruce top and is very nice.