Sam's Bouzouki Website

Welcome to Sam's Bouzouki website (Legacy)


Welcome to Sam's legacy website which is dedicated to the Greek bouzouki and baglama. This website was one of the first bouzouki websites published in the late 1990s. As it was written in English it was popular with many bouzouki enthusiasts from all around the world. The website disappeared in 2004 and was missed by many fans. His website has now been restored, 15 years later in May 2019, by OUSAK after Sam Gardounis passed away in March 2018. Let's all enjoy it once again, in memory of Sam Gardounis!

His name was Sam (Sotiri) Gardounis and he lived in sunny Adelaide (South Australia). He worked in I.T. and he loved Greek music. He played the guitar and bouzouki very well, and enjoyed working with computer music.
As the talented musician that he was, he gigged a fair bit in Adelaide and around Australia for around 30 years with fellow musicians from Adelaide, primarily with the Odyssey band, and performed at concerts conducted by John Kouberlis etc.

Unfortunately, Sam passed away in March 2018 at a fairly young age due to health issues.

Portrait of Sam Gardounis
Sam Gardounis (photo prior 2011)

Note: The content restored from Sam's web pages remain delivered in his own words.

The inspiration, information, photographs and other graphics on this web site came from the following sources:

  • My own knowledge and experiences as a lifelong Greek Music fan, and bouzouki player since 1971. I also took most of the photographs and processed them using Adobe Photoshop 5.5 or Macromedia Fireworks 4. Other photos were scanned from the books credited below or record covers.
  • My uncle's massive collection of 78 rpm records that I grew up listening to.
  • My bouzouki teacher, Nick Sambaziotis, who gave me my start on the six string bouzouki and encouraged me to develop and later branch out into the eight stringer. Nick also taught lots of other bouzouki players, most of whom went on to perform in Greek bands at some time.
  • Nick is almost single handedly responsible for Adelaide having so many more fine bouzouki players than the small population would lead one to expect.
  • Nick deserves a whole book, but until then, this small acknowledgement will have to do.
  • The fantastic 4 volume "Rebetiki Anthologia" by Tasos Schorelis, 1977, Plethron Publications, Tositsa 1a, Athens, tel. 88 34 692. Sorry there's no ISBN number and I don't know if there have been other editions because unfortunately I don't often get a chance to visit any bookshops in Greece.
  • The humungous and wonderful "Rembetika Tragoudia - Songs from the Old Greek Underworld" by Ilias Petropoulos, sixth edition 1996, Kedros Publishers, ISBN 960-04-0051-2 Thanks to Ilias and Sofie Arhontoulis for carrying it all the way back to Australia for me. It weighs a ton.
  • "Road to Rembetika" by Gail Holst, Anglo-Hellenic Publishing, D. Harvey & Co, Skoufa 15, Athens, tel. 363 1860.
  • Some information came from record and CD covers. These have sometimes been helpful, sometimes confusing, and sometimes wildly inaccurate.
  • Thanks to Dimitri Dalagiorgos for letting me play and photograph his new instruments as soon as they're ready.
Nick Sambaziotis Bouzouki School
The legendary Nick Sambaziotis and his students (including Sam) from Adelaide in 1974

Work Out OK guys and girls, get your brand new Fender Mediums out and have a shot at these exercises. They're written out in my weird version of tablature. I'll be adding more exercises as time permits.

Remember that these are purely physical exercises and have no musical merit. Play them slowly and accurately and don't go out of your way to pump up the speed. It will happen naturally. Practice them every day for a few minutes. Eventually you should be able to do them without thinking.

When practicing these exercises, strive for a clean sound. If your playing sounds dirty or you're making mistakes, slow down - A LOT. It's no good practicing your mistakes.


Ascending Chromatic Exercise on One string

  1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3  4 1 2  3  4  
D|1 2 3 4 2 3 4 5 3 4 5 6 4 5 6 7 5 6 7 8 6 7 8 9 7 8 9 10 8 9 10 11 |
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
F|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
C|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

Play this one all the way up the neck using strict alternating picking ie: up and down. It's important that you play it on all the strings. To vary it further, try playing it using all permutations of your left hand fingers. For example, instead of just 1234, use 4321, 1243, 1324 etc. This will develop independence in your fingers.

Here's an example of what I mean by using 4321:


  4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1  4 3 2 1  4  3 2 1  
D|4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 6 5 4 3 7 6 5 4 8 7 6 5 9 8 7 6 10 9 8 7 11 10 9 8 |
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
F|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
C|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

Descending Chromatic Exercise on one string

This one is the descending version of the previous exercise. Start it from wherever you left off on your way up the neck. I've written it out starting at the 12th fret but you should be able to play it comfortably as high as the 19th or 20th fret. As for the previous exercise, when you master it, try it on the other strings and using other permutations of fingers.


   4  3  2 1  4  3 2 1  4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1
D|12 11 10 9 11 10 9 8 10 9 8 7 9 8 7 6 8 7 6 5 7 6 5 4 6 5 4 3 5 4 3 2 4 3 2 1
A|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chromatic Exercise on all strings

This one is just another variation on the previous exercises, but it involves crossing from one string pair to the next so it really develops your right hand. I've only written out the first few frets but you can get the idea. Play it all the way up and down the neck.


  1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
D|------------------------1 2 3 4 ------------------------2 3 4 5 -------------
A|----------------1 2 3 4 ------------------------2 3 4 5 ---------------------
F|--------1 2 3 4 ------------------------2 3 4 5 -----------------------------
C|1 2 3 4 ------------------------2 3 4 5 ------------------------3 4 5 6 -----

After mastering this exercise, you can start making up variations of it for yourself. Try playing it ascending and descending. Try going from the C string straight to the A string and skipping the F string. Then from the A string, go back to the F string and then skip to the D string. Finally, try other permutations of fingers.


The Chromatic Spider

This one is good for stretching the tendon in the third finger. In most people, the third finger has an undesirable tendency to move with the second finger. This exercise will soon sort that out!

Here's what it looks like on the way up the neck. Play it all the way up.


  1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3  4 1 2  3  4
D|1 --3 --2 --4 --3 --5 --4 --6 --5 --7 --6 --8 --7 --9 ---8 --10 -------------
A|--2 --4 --3 --5 --4 --6 --5 --7 --6 --8 --7 --9---8 --10 --9 ---11 ----------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

And here's the way down:


   4  3  2 1  4  3 2 1  4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1
D|-- 11 ---9 ---10 --8 ---9 --7 --8 --6 --7 --5 --6 --4 --5 --3 --4 --2--------
A|12----10 --11 ---9 --10 --8 --9 --7 --8 --6 --7 --5 --6 --4 --5 --3 ---------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

As always, use strict alternate picking. Try making up variations of this exercise. Try playing it on different pairs of strings. If you normally start with a down stroke of your plectrum, you can also try starting off with an up stroke and see how different it feels.


The Johnno Special

Here's another excellent exercise guaranteed to get results or your money back! The usual rules apply. Practice it slowly using strict alternate picking. When it starts to feel comfortable, start it at the fret where the neck meets the body and take it all the way down. Later, you can even use this exercise to experiment with sweep picking.


  4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1  4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 
D|------9-12------------8-11-------------7-10------------6-9-------------5-
A|----10----11--------9-----10---------8-----9---------7-----8---------6---
F|--11--------10----10---------9-----9---------8-----8---------7-----7-----
C|12------------9-11-------------8-10------------7-9-------------6-8-------

I called this exercise The Johnno Special because it was given to me by my friend John Odontiadis from the UK.

Well, done properly, these exercises should keep you busy for ages. I'll try to have some more deadly exercises for you before too long.


Here are some instructions for reading the tablature that I have used to notate the solos featured on this web site.

The tablature represents the bouzouki fingerboard the way it appears to you when held in playing position. Each line represents one of the string pairs. The numbers on the diagram represent the position at which the string should be fretted for each note, with 0 being the open string.

The numbers above the diagram represent my suggestions for the finger of the fretting hand which should be used for optimum efficiency.

  • T represents the thumb.
  • 1 represents the first or index finger.
  • 2 represents the second finger.
  • 3 represents the third or ring finger.
  • 4 represents the fourth finger or pinky.

Note: For the solos to be played correctly, the bouzouki must be in standard tuning ie: DAFC (high to low) with the D and A pairs in unison and the F and C pairs in octaves.

Here is a short example from the Stamatiou solo.


      4 3 2 1 1 0 4 0 3 2 1 0 3 2 1 0 2     
    D|5 4 3 2 1 0 --0 3 2 1 0 ----------5--|
    A|------------4 ----------3 2 1 0 --5--|
    F|--------------------------------2 5--|
    C|----------------------------------7--|

To start playing this piece, play the note on the fifth fret of the D string using your fourth finger. Then play the note on the fourth fret of the D string using your third finger. Next, play the note on the third fret of the D string using your second finger. I could keep this up but I'm sure you've got the picture.


General notes about tablature

In case you were wondering, yes I know that this form of tablature is very crude and gives no indication of the rhythm or phrasing of the solo but it's dead easy to read (and write using ascii characters). It is the best way I can think of to convey any of the actual physical technique of the solo. Staff notation only preserves the piece but tells you nothing about how to play it.

Tablature has been in existence for at least as long as staff notation. Lute music has been written in tablature for as long as lutes have existed, so please don't think that it's a cop-out.

I have created midi files of the featured solos for you to listen to if you can't get hold of the original recording. Some .wav or MP3 files would be useful for taximia but I can't do them at this stage because they are still too big to fit in the tiny server space which my ISP allows me.


Jump to: Tuning (8-String Bouzouki) | Tuning (6-String Bouzouki) | Alternative Tuning | Troubleshooting

Introduction

Many people have mailed me asking how the bouzouki is tuned. This is a good question, and the answer is relatively involved. Tuning is the basic and most important foundation of playing a musical instrument. If it's not in tune, you won't sound any good.

OK, enough of my moralising! So how do you tune a bouzouki? What constitutes tuning? The bottom line is that you can tune it any way you want, but here's how to do it the Greek way.


Tuning the 8 string bouzouki

Chromatic Tuner The eight string bouzouki is tuned CFAD (low to high) with the C and F pairs in octaves. To tune the bouzouki, you need to get tune the highest string to a D using a tuning fork or other device, and then adjust the other string in the pair to sound the same.

To tune the A string, fret it at the fifth fret and adjust it to sound the same as the D string. Then adjust the other string in the pair. Compare the sound of the A string to the D string fretted at the seventh fret. They should be an octave apart.

To tune the high F string, adjust it to sound the same as the D string at the third fret. Then tune the low F string an octave lower. Compare it to the sound of the A string fretted at the eighth fret. They should be the same.

Finally, to tune the high C string, adjust it to sound the same as the third fret of the A string. Then tune the low C string to an octave lower. To ensure that it's correct, fret it at the second fret and compare it to the open D string.

Congratulations, you have just tuned your eight string bouzouki.


Tuning the 6 string bouzouki

If you have a six string bouzouki, or even the smaller tzoura, the basic tuning is DAD. Get a pitch pipe, or an 'A' tuning fork or an electronic tuner and tune one of the middle strings to A. Out of habit, I usually tune the bottom one (the one closest to your leg) but you can please yourself. Then play both strings of the middle pair while adjusting the tuning peg of the other string until they sound the same. This takes a little practice, but if your strings are new and the bridge and nut of your bouzouki have been cut properly, it should be easy.

Now that your middle strings are in tune, play the middle string while fretting at the fifth fret. This gives you a D note which you can use to tune the outside strings. Note that the lowest pair of strings are tuned in octaves ie: a high D and a low D together.

Congratulations, your six string bouzouki is now in tune.

Tzouras
Tzouras

Alternative tunings for the 6 string bouzouki

Some of the rebetes used other tunings (douzenia) for some songs. Markos Vamvakaris was reputed to have known and used 10 of these douzenia which have apparently been lost after his death. However, given the parallels between the old six string bouzouki and the saz, I think that it's reasonable to suppose that these douzenia were saz tunings.

Some examples of douzenia are:

The standard DAD tuning - called 'buzuk duzen' on the saz. Karadouzeni (GAD) - called 'karaduzen' on the saz Anoichto (or open tuning AEA) - I've forgotten the saz name for this one. Perhaps a saz player can mail me and enlighten us.

If you're interested in learning to use other douzenia, I recommend that you get yourself a book on saz. Saz books usually contain enough douzenia to keep you busy for years. However I don't think that these tunings are enormously relevant to today's bouzouki music any more.

The modern bouzouki works on a 12 tone tempered scale and doesn't need to retune in order to access different tonalities (with the notable exception of the key of C# which to my ear sounds really awful). On the other hand, with its oddly positioned movable frets, you can see why saz players retune for certain keys to access the right notes. Analogously sitar players retune their drone strings to the appropriate scale to get the best sympathetic resonances.

With instruments using the old style temperaments, modulating to a different key or scale not catered for by your tuning can sound like a disaster area. That's probably why mediaeval music doesn't modulate all over the place, and can even sound quite monotonous to the modern ear which is accustomed to fast moving harmonies and what used to be regarded as horrible dissonances.


Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting As you've probably worked out already, many things can go wrong and result in your bouzouki being out of tune even if you followed the instructions carefully.

You should be using new or nearly new strings. Strings do not last forever. Some players change them whenever they break or corrode. This is not good practice as the strings develop little nicks in them from rubbing against the frets, thus losing their sound and intonation. The wound strings also collect dust and dirt between their windings. It is almost impossible to tune perfectly with worn out strings. Change your strings regularly and you will be rewarded with better sound and easier tuning.


The 'neck'

The 'neck' of your bouzouki should be almost perfectly straight. I say almost because a perfect neck has a slight concave bow to it. This is called 'relief'. Hold the bouzouki up and fret the C string at the first fret and at the fret where the neck joins the body. This has the effect of using the C string as a straight edge. You should just be able to see some space between the bottom of the string and the top of the frets. The amount of space is a measure of the amount of relief the neck has and it may vary according to the gauge of strings you're using or the weather conditions.

If there is too much relief ie: the neck is bowed, the bouzouki will be very hard to play and tune properly. The 'action' or height of the strings above the fret tops will be too high. When you fret a note, pushing the string down onto the fret will stretch it out of tune.

If there is not enough relief ie: the neck is perfectly straight or bowed in the opposite direction, you won't be able to get clean notes because the vibrating string keeps hitting the tops of the frets. This is the dreaded "fret buzz". Buzzing also occurs if the frets are not level in height. If the problem is the frets, you can have them filed down or replaced to make them level. This is a relatively cheap and easy repair. If the problem is the neck, then the repair is much more expensive. You may even have to get a new neck, or even a new bouzouki.

If the neck is twisted, you have a major problem. The only way I know to cure this is to take off the fretboard, plane the neck down until it is straight, and glue the fretboard back on. However for this to have happened in the first place, the timber used to make your instrument must have been insufficiently cured so there is no guarantee that it won't happen again.

Most of these neck problems could be sorted out easily if only bouzouki makers installed adjustable truss rods in the necks. All of them know that bouzouki necks can bend under the tension of the strings so they reinforce them either with a strip of ebony with the grain running against the string tension, or by laminating the neck with the grain going against the tension. This is just not good enough. An adjustable truss rod can be used to give the neck the exact amount of relief it needs under most circumstances, and can extend the life of a bouzouki indefinitely.

The traditional excuse I keep hearing is that installing an adjustable truss rod will change the sound of the bouzouki. You bet it will! It will make it sound better! What's the good of a lovely rich sounding bouzouki if it's unplayable because the neck looks like a banana?


Getting the string pairs in tune

On many bouzoukia it is difficult or impossible to get the pairs of strings to sound in tune. If this happens all the way up the neck, the problem may be either in the nut or the bridge. The slots for the strings to pass over need to be cut perfectly so that the strings are of equal length. It is actually very easy and cheap for a competent repairer to cut a new nut and/or bridge for you.

However if the pairs sound out of tune only at certain places on the neck, you probably need to have your frets resurfaced because they're worn and when fretting a note, the strings don't sit nicely on the surface of the fret. This is also a relatively easy procedure for a competent repairer.


The bouzouki goes flat higher up the neck

Change your strings! This happens as your strings get older and rustier.

If you're having this problem with brand new strings, then your bridge is probably positioned incorrectly. The bridge is not glued to the top and can be moved around easily. It needs to sit in exactly the right spot or your intonation will suffer. To get the approximate spot, measure the distance from the nut to the 12th fret. The bridge should sit the same distance away from the 12th fret.

To get the exact spot, you need to use harmonics and brand new strings. Play the harmonic at the 12th fret and then play the note at the 12th fret. They should be exactly the same pitch. If the note is too flat, move the bridge closer to the neck. If the note is too sharp, move the bridge further away from the neck. Do this for both of the outside strings and your bridge will be positioned as well as possible.

Of course, if you change your string gauge or if the weather changes, you may have to do this again. Also you may find that this process results in your bridge being slightly angled. This is OK.


It's still out of tune

You have obviously bought an ornamental bouzouki from one of the tourist shops in the Plaka. You can still get good value out of it. Just remove all the metal and plastic bits, and use the wood to cook the souvlakia in your next barbecue.


Origin of the Baglama

The Baglama The baglama is basically a miniature bouzouki. It originated at a time when the rebetes were persecuted by the authorities and their bouzoukia and music were forbidden. It was made small so the rebetes could easily conceal it if the hash dens they frequented were raided by the police, and it could be easily smuggled into jail to console them during the inevitable jail term that followed. I've seen some instruments that could even be used as bongs for smoking hashish.

Gradually, from being a crude substitute for a real bouzouki, the baglama acquired an important rhythmic support role in rebetika, and was occasionally used to play taximia. A rebetiko ensemble without a baglama player is unthinkable.

The first baglamades were crudely made from a gourd or a hollowed-out block of wood (skafto). Most modern baglamades are still made from a hollowed-out block, but some special ones are made with a lute back just like the full size bouzoukia. The baglama has evolved into an essential accessory for every bouzouki player. Stringing it up? No problem. You just string it with normal bouzouki strings and cut off the excess length.

Tuning the Baglama

The standard baglama tuning is DAD, or RE LA RE in the old fashioned SolFa system. The lowest D string pair is tuned in octaves. There are some other old tunings as well but the DAD is the standard tuning.

The best way to tune the thing is to use a chromatic electronic tuner that you can buy from any music shop starting at around the $40 mark. (The wonders of modern technology). If you don't have one of those, then you need a pitch pipe or a tuning fork that will give you an A note. Again you have to visit a music shop to get one of these.

First blow into the pitch pipe, or bang the tuning fork against your kneecap (not too hard, unless you like pain) and put the handle end of the tuning fork against a table or the top of your baglama to amplify the sound. Then you tune one of the A strings (the middle ones) to sound the same as your pitch pipe or tuning fork. When one is OK, then play both of them together and tune the other one to sound the same as the first one.

Next you need a D note for the D strings. D is on the fifth fret of the A string. Play the D on the A string and tune all your D strings to match it. And that's all there is to it.

Baglamas
Baglamas

Baglama chords based on the middle string

Many chords on the baglama are based on the notes of the middle string, so you MUST learn the notes, parrot fashion if necessary. At the risk of boring the more advanced readers, I'll run through the notes.

  • The open middle string is A.
  • The first fret is A sharp (A#) or B flat (Bb)
  • The second fret is B
  • The third fret is C
  • The fourth fret is C# or Db
  • The fifth fret is D
  • The sixth fret is D# or Eb
  • The seventh fret is E
  • The eighth fret is F
  • The ninth fret is F# or Gb
  • The tenth fret is G
  • The eleventh fret is G# or Ab
  • The twelfth fret is A

And then the notes start all over again. You must memorize all of these notes to the point where someone can call out the name of any note and you can find it immediately without searching for it.

Now there are two basic types of chords. These are the major and minor chords. The major chords sound bright and happy, and the minor chords sound sad. All of these basic chords are played with the second finger on the middle string. Whatever note your second finger is holding down is the name of these chords ie: if your second finger is on the seventh fret, it is an E chord. Whether it's an E major or E minor depends on what the other fingers are doing.

To play a major chord start by placing your fingers like the stars on the diagram. The diagram represents the neck of the baglama as it looks to you when held in playing position.


D|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger
A|--|--|-*|--|--|--|    second finger
D|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    third finger

You'll notice that your second finger is on the third fret so you're playing a C major chord. Notice the one fret space between first and second finger, and the two fret space between your second and third finger. That's the typical major chord shape.

To play a minor chord, you just move your first finger back one fret so that the space between all the fingers is two frets, as in this diagram. This is the typical minor chord shape.


D|-*|--|--|--|--|--|    first finger
A|--|--|-*|--|--|--|    second finger
D|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    third finger

To play different chords you just move the whole shape up to a different fret.


Baglama chords based on the outside strings

Here's the info on the chords based on the outside strings of the baglama. By the way all of this stuff is also directly applicable to the 6 string bouzouki.

First you have to learn all the notes on the outside strings. This is easier than it sounds because they're both tuned to D, so you're really only learning one extra string's worth of notes.

  • The open outside string is D.
  • The first fret is D sharp (A#) or E flat (Eb)
  • The second fret is E
  • The third fret is F
  • The fourth fret is F# or Gb
  • The fifth fret is G
  • The sixth fret is G# or Ab
  • The seventh fret is A
  • The eighth fret is A# or Bb
  • The ninth fret is B
  • The tenth fret is C
  • The eleventh fret is C# or Db
  • The twelfth fret is D

And then the notes start all over again. I can't stress how important it is to know these notes as they form the basis for EVERYTHING else.

There are two types of major and minor chords which get their names from the outside strings:

The first type looks like this and gets its name from the note under your fourth finger.


D|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    fourth finger
A|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger
D|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    third finger

You'll notice that your fourth finger is on the fifth fret so you're playing a G major chord.

To play a minor chord, you just move your first finger back one fret like in this diagram:


D|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    fourth finger
A|-*|--|--|--|--|--|    first finger
D|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    third finger 

This minor chord is a long stretch and quite painful at first. To play different chords you just move the whole shape up to a different fret.

The second type of major or minor chord gets its name from the note under your first finger on the outside string.


D|--|--|--|--|--|--|-*|    fourth finger
A|--|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger  
D|--|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger

Note that your first finger has to play two strings, so you just flatten it down until it covers all the strings at the third fret and stretch the fourth finger out to play that last note. Flattening your first finger out to cover multiple strings is called a 'barre'. In this case, the first finger is playing the note F on the outside string so the chord is F major.

As usual, you can move the whole shape up and down to create other chords. Also if you move the fourth finger back a fret as shown below, you get an F minor chord:


D|--|--|--|--|--|-*|--|    fourth finger
A|--|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger
D|--|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger 

Note that because both outside strings are tuned to D, you can reflect these chords around the middle string axis and they're still the same chord with a slightly different sound. You can use whichever one you like the sound of in the context of the song.

eg: The F minor chord above can also be played like this:


D|--|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger
A|--|--|-*|--|--|--|--|    first finger
D|--|--|-*|--|--|-*|--|    fourth finger

and it's still an F minor, and it still gets its name from whatever note is under your first finger.

There are two other types of chords that are useful for rebetika and haven't been covered yet. These are the seventh chords (evdomes) and diminished chords (minouites). I'll be adding these as soon as I get some more time.


Introduction

Our local bouzouki maker, Dimitri Dalagiorgos, has done a lot of excellent instrument repair work for me and most of the other bouzouki players in Adelaide.

As well as successfully restoring the most decrepit bouzoukis you can imagine, Dimitri can also build for you your choice of bouzouki, oud, tzoura, baglama, flamenco guitar, violin, lyra, or baglama-saz.

Dimitris Dalagiorgos
Dimitris Dalagiorgos (photo prior 2000)
Construction Information

Dimitri's bouzoukia are totally hand-made to his original designs. The necks feature a truss rod. The pickguards are made primarily from coloured wooden veneers (marquetry) but he can do a more modern style using abalone if desired.

When building a bouzouki, Dimitri begins with the careful selection and matching of the finest aged timbers.

He uses (according to customer preference)

  • Walnut or rosewood for the back.
  • Poplar, flame maple or birdseye maple for the neck.
  • European or American spruce for the top.
  • Finest ebony fingerboard with smooth fretwork and low action.
  • Genuine Mother-of-pearl or abalone fingerboard inlays. There's no cheap plastic here mate!
  • Hand polished, high gloss finishes. He asked me to mention that they're acid cure catalyst finishes. ie: the latest hi-tech stuff.
  • He is starting to use carbon fibre in the soundboard strutting and as reinforcement in the neck


Dimitri's Personal Statement

Many years ago, I decided to build my first guitar with the help of a couple of friends and a "How-to" book. Twelve months later, it was completed. Since 1991, I have been the proprietor of Dimitri Dalagiorgos Handcrafted Stringed Instruments, and have built many instruments and repaired/restored many more.

In Australia, I find myself with the unique opportunity of living in a multicultural society.

This benefits my development as a crafsperson/musician by enabling me to draw on my Greek musical heritage and the music cultures around me. This inspires a fusion of musical ideas which is reflected in the instruments I build.

My instruments are mainly of the family of stringed lutes of the Middle East and Asia Minor. These include Arabic Ouds, Greek Bouzoukis, Turkish Saz, and Flamenco Guitars.

"The Craft" is now enjoying a resurgence worldwide, and the call for hybrid instruments is increasing due to the fusion of diverse musical styles we know as world music. As a craftsperson/musician, I am excited to be able to play an integral part in the World Music scene by producing instruments to fulfil the unique requirements of my fellow musicians.


Short Bio of Dimitris Dalagiorgos

Dimitri has been making instruments for 12 years. He trained with violin maker Krystof Mroz in Wroclaw, Poland. He also trained with various bouzouki makers in Athens, and some traditional lyra makers in mainland villages. In his spare time he plays Greek and Turkish folk music in a group called Anatolia. He is also a member of MIMOSA - Musical Instrument Makers of South Australia.

Disclaimer: this information was written by Sam circa 2000.


Jump to: Manolis Hiotis | Harry Lemonopoulos | Christos Nikolopoulos | Yiannis Stamatiou (Sporos)

Manolis Hiotis

Manolis Hiotis OK you guys, here he is by popular demand! Everybody's favourite, the extremely popular Manolis Hiotis, the man reputedly responsible for the extra strings on the modern bouzouki.

Hiotis was born in 1920 in Thessaloniki, to which his normally Nafplion-based family had relocated. There he completed his primary school education and from a very young age took lessons in guitar, bouzouki and oud from George Lolos, a famous Thessaloniki music teacher.

Just prior to 1935, the family returned to Nafplion where the young Manolis began working as a musician. In 1936, he went to Athens where he played his first short stint with Stratos at the "Pagonia", on the corner of Agiou Konstantinou and Socratous streets. After a few such short stints, at the end of 1936 he played his first professional engagement at the "Dasos", again with Stratos, and with a band consisting of bouzouki, santouri, guitar and violin.

At that time, Stratos took him to Columbia Records where, although still a minor, he signed a contract as a lead instrumentalist. Soon after in 1937, he recorded his first song "To Hrima den to logariazo" and for many years thereafter was Columbia's main performer.

Manolis Hiotis with Mary Linda At various times he was married to Zoe Nahi, Mary Linda and Beba Kyriakidou. He died in 1970.

The appearance of Hiotis is generally regarded as a major point in the development of Laiki music. He was a brilliant musician with equal facility on bouzouki, guitar, violin and oud. He was the first bouzouki player to develop the use of all five left hand fingers (ie: thumb on the C string) and to develop incredible (for that time) speed, thus becoming the prototype for today's bouzouki players.

Spitambelos in 1943 with a bouzouki-guitar hybrid. Dissatisfied with his sound, he spent years searching for a melodic instrument that would sound fuller than a bouzouki and enable him to play what he heard in his head. He finally hit upon the idea of the eight string bouzouki which has now become the standard.

One of the stages in the process leading to the eight string bouzouki is pictured here in this 1943 photograph of his colleague Stephanos Spitambelos. Two of these guitar-bouzouki hybrids were made by the legendary instrument maker Zozef Terzivasian. The other one was for Hiotis.

According to Samiotis, Hiotis was also the first in Athens to use an electric guitar and amplifier, which he bought just after the liberation from a French band playing at the "Ritz" cabaret.

His playing and compositions elevated the bouzouki from a curiosity belonging to the Rebetiki urban sub-culture, to the salons of Athens, and to the status of the most loved instrument of Greek music. In fact I'd go so far as to assert that because of Hiotis, today the bouzouki has become the definitive instrument of Greek music for most Greeks.

Now, with all this new knowledge about Hiotis fresh in your mind, you can enjoy playing this excellent little solo. I believe Hiotis recorded it as an instrumental but he also recycled it as the introduction to the song "Fere Paidi Mou" which he performed with his then wife, Mary Linda.


The Solo (Fere paidi mou) by Manolis Hiotis

It's a fast serviko in D minor. Besides being a nice piece in itself, it's also a very interesting example of how Hiotis smoothly connected different positions on the fretboard. Once you get this one down, you'll be able to learn his other songs with fewer dramas.

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  3 2 3 1 2  4 2 1 3 2 3 1 2  4 2 1 3 2 3 1 2 1 2  4 2 1 1 1  4 1 2  4 2 1 2   
D|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A|------7 8 10 8 7 ------7 8 10 8 7 ------7 8 7 8 10 8 7 7-7----7 8 10 8 7 8 --
F|9 8 9 -----------9 8 9 -----------9 8 9 -------------------10 ---------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1 2 1 2  4 2 1 2 1 2 1 2  4 2 1 2 1 3 3  4  2 1  4  2 1 1  4 2 1  4 2 1 2  4   
D|----------------------------------------12 10 8 12 10 8 7 10 8 7 ------------
A|7 8 7 8 10 8 7 8 7 8 7 8 10 8 7 8 7 -----------------------------10 8 7 8 10-
F|------------------------------------9 9--------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1  4 2 1  4 2 1 1 4 3 1 4 2 1 1 2 3 2 1  2 1  4 2  3  1  2  4  2  1  4  2  1   
D|7 10 8 7 10 8 7 5 8 7 5 --------------7 ---8 12 -----11 12 14 12 11 14 12 11
A|------------------------8 7 5 4 5 --8---10 ----12 13-------------------------
F|----------------------------------9------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   2  3  4     4  2 1  4  2 1 1  4 2 1  4 2 1 2  4 1  4 2 1  4 2 1 1 4 3 1 4 2 
D|12 14 15-   12 10 8 12 10 8 7 10 8 7 ------------7 10 8 7 10 8 7 5 8 7 5 ----
A|-------------------------------------10 8 7 8 10-------------------------8 7-
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1 1 2 3 2 1  2 1  4  2  3  1  2  4  2  1  3  2  1    
D|----------7 ---8 12 ------11 12 14 12 11 14 12----12-|
A|5 4 5 --8---10------12 13 ---------------------12-12-|
F|------9-------------------------------------------12-|
C|--------------------------------------------------14-|

If you crave more Hiotis, listen to one of his classics, "Perasmenes Moy Agapes", paying attention especially to the nicely constructed solo after the second verse.




Harry Lemonopoulos

Harry Lemonopoulos Harry Lemonopoulos was one of the greatest bouzouki soloists ever. He was a classically trained musician who also played violin, guitar, piano and mandolin, but he eventually came to specialize in the bouzouki.

In 1961 he recorded two LPs of Greek Laika songs in Hollywood. Two years later in Chicago he recorded an LP of music by Brahms and Tchaikovsky arranged for bouzouki. [This LP is mentioned in the liner notes of the Monadikes Pennies album, but I can find no reference to it in the complete Greek Music Discography. It was probably a USA only release. - Sam]

He achieved fame as a soloist playing the music of Manos Hatzidakis in the Broadway production of 'Never on Sunday'. His greatest musical triumph was his concert at Carnegie Hall on 10 December 1967 where he premiered his concerto for bouzouki and orchestra.

[Warning - Speculation!] Lemonopoulos sometimes removed the higher string of the C and F pairs on his bouzouki. We can only speculate as to the reason for this. Unlike the older 3 course bouzouki on which the melody was played mainly on the upper strings, all the strings of the new 4 course bouzouki are used for playing melodies. Being a new instrument, the four course bouzouki did not impose on its players any technical or stylistic limitations inherited from the traditions of its predecessors. Accordingly, Lemonopoulos used all of the strings for playing melodies. Therefore one explanation is that Lemonopoulos may have removed the high C and F strings to afford his sound extra clarity in the lower register or to minimise feedback when amplified.

Lemonopoulos in Thessaloniki in 1953Another possible explanation which I tend to favour is that in the 50s and 60s, bouzouki makers had not quite appreciated the damage that the tension of two extra steel strings can cause on a bouzouki and many of them had not yet worked out how to modify the top bracing and neck construction to counter the tension. I suspect that Lemonopoulos simply removed the two strings to relieve some tension on a neck that was gradually warping.

Lemonopoulos could play with incredible speed and clarity while still maintaining musicality and "soul". In addition he was a master of the Laikous Dromous. When soloing, instead of limiting himself to the exploration of a single scale, he would seamlessly combine dromous in masterly ways to generate melodies of extraordinary intricacy. He seemed to effortlessly exit one dromo and enter another all within the context of a strong melody, without sounding like he was playing a mere technical etude. His powerful technique allowed him to execute some of the most difficult bouzouki passages ever conceived. Lemonopoulos was truly a bouzouki master.


The Solo (Bouzouki Allegro) by Harry Lemonopoulos

Our featured Lemonopoulos solo is "Solo Bouzouki Allegro" in A minor, a fast piece in 2/4 time. It is from the LP Monadikes Pennies, serial number ALFA MI -746. Here is the first of three sections which is played in the seventh mode of B hitzaz ie: the same notes as B hitzaz, but using A as the tonic, thus giving it an A minor tonality. I've also heard this mode described as A souzinak but I'm not putting any money on it.

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  3 1 1 1  4 1 1  3  4  2  1  4  3  3  2  1  2  3  1  2  1  2  4  2  1  2  1  3
D|------7 10---7 10 14 -- 10 14 13----------------13 14 16 17 19 17 16 14 13 --
A|----7----- 7 --------12--------- 15 14 12 14 15 ---------------------------15
F|--7--------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|9----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   3  1 3 1 1 1  4 1 1  3  4  2  1  4  3  3  2  1  2  3  1  2  4  2  3  2  1  1
D|------------7-10---7 10 14 ---10 14 13 ---------------13 14 16 14 17 16 14 13
A|14 12-----7------7---------12----------15 14 12 14 15 -----------------------
F|--------7--------------------------------------------------------------------
C|------9----------------------------------------------------------------------

   4  2  4  2  1  2 3 1 1 1  4 1 1  3  4  2  1  4  3  3  2  1  2  3  1  2  1  2
D|16 14 16 14 13 14 ------7 10 --7 10 14 -- 10 14 13 ---------------13 14 16 17
A|--------------------- 7 -----7 --------12----------15 14 12 14 15 -----------
F|--------------------7--------------------------------------------------------
C|------------------9 ---------------------------------------------------------

   4  2  1  2  1  3  2  1  3  2  1  3  2  1  4  2  1  4  2  1  3  2  1  3  2  1
D|19 17 16 14 13 ---------17 16 14 17 16 14 19 17 16 19 17 16 17 16 14 17 16 14
A|---------------15 14 12------------------------------------------------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   4  2  1  4  2  1  3  2  1  3  2  1  1  4  2  1 2,3,1
D|16 14 13 16 14 13 ------------------------------10----|
A|------------------15 14 12 15 14 12 11 14 12 ---12----|
F|---------------------------------------------11 11----|
C|------------------------------------------------------|

That's the first section. Lemonopoulos repeats it and then changes to a straight A matzore for the following section, which is also repeated.


   3 1 2 1  4  2  1  4  1  4  2  4  2  2  1  3  2  3  1  1  2  2  1  4  2  4 1
D|------11 14----11 14 12 16 14 18 16 16 14----------14 11 12 12 11 --------11-
A|----12------12----------------------------17 16 17 ---------------14 12 14---
F|--11-------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|13---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4  2  1  3  1  3 1 2 1  4  2  1  4  1  4  2  4  2  2  1  3  2  3  1  1  2 
D|----------------------11 14----11 14 12 16 14 18 16 16 14----------14 11 12--
A|-14 12 11-----------12------12----------------------------17 16 17-----------
F|----------13 11---11---------------------------------------------------------
C|----------------13-----------------------------------------------------------

   4  2  1  4  2  1  4  2
D|14 12 11----------------11--|
A|---------14 12 11 14 12-12--|
F|------------------------11--|
C|----------------------------|

Don't give up yet because here comes the last section. This one suddenly changes to B hijaz with a proper B tonality but reverting to A right at the end.


         2  1  2  2  3 1 3  2  3  2  1  2  3  1  2  1  2  4  2  1  2  1 3  2  1
D|13 13 --------------13---------------------13 14 16 17 19 17 16 14 13--------
A|14 14-12 11 12 14 15--15 14 15 14 12 14 15---------------------------15 14 12
F|13 13 -----------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

         2  1  2  2  3 1 3  2  3  1  2  3  2  1  1  3  2  1  1  2  4  1  4  2
D|13 13 --------------13---------13 14 17 16 14 13----------------------------|
A|14 14-12 11 12 14 15--15 14 15 ------------------15 14 12 11 12 14 11 14 12-|
F|13 13 ----------------------------------------------------------------------|
C|----------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Lemonopoulos then ends the piece with an excellent taximi but I'm not going to write it out as it's too hard. As usual, if you've spotted any mistakes, please let me know so that I can correct them. That's it for now.




Christos Nikolopoulos

Christos Nikolopoulos Christos Nikolopoulos was born into a farming family in a small provincial town called Kapsochori in Central Greece. Music was important to him from an early age, and indeed he wanted to learn to play the accordion. However his first real contact with music occurred when his older brother one day brought home a bouzouki. He took lessons from a local teacher and learned to play in record time. It was evident from his very first efforts, what an important role the bouzouki was to play in his life.

At the age of 14 he began amassing tremendous experience by appearing in provincial night clubs and in open air festivals, playing a variety of Greek music, including laika, demotika, rebetika and even Pontian music.

Arriving in Athens in 1963, he enquired at the musicians' kafeneio on Verantzerou Street about work. He subsequently made his Athenian debut at the "Manolia" in Academia Platonos square, playing next to the rebeti Yiannis Kyriazis. His provincial experience, his playing style and the new sounds he was hearing in Athens all contributed to his mastery of the secrets of the bouzouki, and the unfolding of his stellar talent which was rapidly becoming well known.

In a recording studio, he met a musician called Panos Iatros who that very night introduced him to the great singer Stelios Kazantzidis. At that time, Kazantzidis was appearing at the "Triana Tou Heila" with the popular Yiannis Papaioannou. After hearing Nikolopoulos play, they hired him immediately. The following year, Nikolopoulos had become Kazantzidis's main bouzouki player, and together they toured Germany and America. They continued their collaboration at the "Faliriko" well into 1965 when Kazantzidis made his famous decision to stop appearing in night clubs.

It was during this period that Nikolopoulos discovered, in addition to his virtuosic talent on the bouzouki, an inexhaustible talent for composing songs. Since 1965 he has written songs that have not only distinguished his own career but also contributed enormously to the development of laika. Although his collaboration with Kazantzidis on the live stage had ended, they continued to work together right up till 1975, with Nikolopoulos as the composer, the great Pythagoras as the lyricist, and Kazantzidis as the performer of such unforgettable laika songs such as "Nyxterides kai araxnes", "Yparxo", and "Kato ap to poukamiso mou".

Besides his famous collaboration with Kazantzidis, he has appeared with just about every big name on the Greek music scene in clubs and concerts all around the world. He has played bouzouki on thousands of records by other composers. Today, as well as being esteemed as a bouzouki soloist of the highest calibre, with a unique style, attitude and sensitivity, he is also regarded as one of the greatest composers of laika. His songs have been performed by singers such as George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Panos Gavalas, Eleni Vitali, Stratos Dionysiou, Velis and Pitsa Papadopoulou.

As you can see from his photo, Nikolopoulos is not a museum piece. He is constantly performing and writing new songs. You only need to hear a single taximi from Nikolopoulos to agree that he is a contemporary bouzouki master!


The Solo (To Kainourgio Minore) by Christos Nikolopoulos

The featured solo is "To Kainourgio Minore" from his "Laika Perasmata" album. This is a moderately fast serviko in the key of A minor. The structure is fairly standard. It contains 3 composed sections (In jazz lingo, this is called the "Head") followed by an improvised taximi and a faster repeat of the head.

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Section 1

   4 3 1 1 1  4 3 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 3 3 3 1 3 3 3 1 1 2 0 1 2 0 3 0 1 2 0 3 0 1 2 4    
D|10 9 7---7 10 9 7 7----------------------------------------------------------
A|-------7------------7 8 8 8 5 7 7 7 3 5 5 5 3 2 3 0 2 3 0   0 2 3 0   0 2 3 5
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|----------------------------------------------------------4---------4--------

  2 1 1 0 1 0 3     4 3 1 1 1  4 3 1 1 1 2  4 2 1 3 4 3 1 2 4 2 1 1 2 0  1 2 0 
D|--------------2--10 9 7---7 10 9 7 7-----------------------------------------
A|3 2 2 0 2 0 --3---------7 -----------7 8 10 8 5 7 8 7 3 5 7 5 3 2 3 0- 2 3 0
F|--------------4--------------------------------------------------------------
C|------------4-4--------------------------------------------------------------

  3 0 1 2 0 3 0 1 2 4 2 1 1 0 1 0 3    
D|-----------------------------------2--|
A|--0 2 3 0 --0 2 3 5 3 2 2 0 2 0----3--|
F|-----------------------------------4--|
C|4---------4 --------------------4  4--|

Section 2

Beware of this section. The first four notes are a trap for unprepared players.


  1 2 3 4 2 1 1 2 1 2 3 4 2 1 1 2 1 2 3 4 2 1 1 2 1 4 2 4 1 4 2 1 2 3 4 2 1 1 2 
D|----4 5 3 2 1 2 ----4 5 3 2 1 2 ----4 5 3 2 1 2 4 7 5 7 5 7 5 ----4 5 3 2 1 2
A|2 3 ------------2 3 ------------2 3 --------------------------2 3 -----------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1 2 3 4 2 1 1 2 4 2 1 4 2 4 1 2 0 3 
D|----4 5 3 2 1 2 6 3 2 --------------2--|
A|2 3 ------------------5 3 5 2 3 0 --3--|
F|------------------------------------4--|
C|----------------------------------4 4--| 

Now repeat this section.


Final Section

This section looks and sounds very difficult, but is in fact relatively easy to play due to its logical structure. On the way up the scale, every change of position is led by the second finger, while the first finger leads on the way down. It's an excellent example of single string technique.


  2 2 4 1 2 2  3 1 2  2  4 1  2  2  4  1  2  2  3  1  2  2  4  1  2  2  3  1  2
D|--7 9 6 7 9 10 7 9 10 12 9 10 12 14 10 12 14 15 12 14 15 18 14 15 18 19 15 18
A|7 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   2  3  1  2  3  1  2  1  4  1  3  1  4  1  2  1  3  1  2  1  4  1  2 1  4 1
D|19 21 18 19 21 18 19 15 19 15 18 14 18 14 15 12 15 12 14 10 14 10 12 9 12 9--
A|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   2 1  3 1 3 1 2
D|10 7 10 7 9 6 7 --|
A|------------------|
F|------------------|
C|------------------|

Repeat this section, then finish the piece by playing Section 1 again as fast as you can.




Yiannis Stamatiou (Sporos)

Yiannis Stamatiou (Sporos) Bouzouki and Whisky is an amazing solo played by Stamatiou in very fast 2/4 time. It requires considerable stamina to get to the end without a finger or two dropping off. Start practicing this piece very slowly until you can play every note cleanly and in perfect time.

To get the right articulation, get a brand new Fender Medium plectrum or something similar and use the pointy end. It is very important that you use strictly alternating picking for this piece or you'll never get it up to speed.


The Solo (Bouzouki & Whiskey) by Yiannis Stamatiou (Sporos)

Here is a Midi file of this solo.

This is an initial chromatic flourish that sets the scene for the solo and ends with a G minor chord. The chord is played with a barre at the 5th fret and the third finger at the seventh. Michael Demetriou, one of the bouzouki players in my band does it like this.

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  4 3 2 1 1 0 4 0 3 2 1 0 3 2 1 0 2
D|5 4 3 2 1 0 --0 3 2 1 0 ----------5--|
A|------------4 ----------3 2 1 0 --5--|
F|--------------------------------2 5--|
C|----------------------------------7--|

However, I prefer to do it like this. Try both and see which one you like better.


  4 3 2 1 3 2 1 2 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4
D|5 4 3 2 --------------------------5--|
A|--------6 5 4 5 8 7 6 5-----------5--|
F|------------------------7 6 5 4 --5--|
C|--------------------------------7 7--|

This is the first section of the solo played at breakneck speed:


  4 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 4 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 4 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 4 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 4 1 3 2 1 2 3
D|8 5-------------8 5 ------------7 4 ------------7 4 ------------8 5 ---------
A|----6 5 4 5 6 5 ----6 5 4 5 6 5 ----6 5 4 5 6 5 ----6 5 4 5 6 5-----6 5 4 5 6
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1 2 1 3 1 3 2  3 1  4  2 1  4 1  4  2 1  2  4 1  2  4 1  4 1  4 1  3  2 1  2
D|4 5 4 7 5 8 7 10 8 12 10 8 ---8 --------------8 10 12 8 12 8 12 9 -----------
A|---------------------------12 --12 10 9 10 12 --------------------11 10 9 10-
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   3  2  4 1  3  2 1  2  3  2  4  1  3  2 1  2  3  2  4  1  3  2 1  2  3  2  4
D|------12 9 -----------------13 10 -----------------13 10 -----------------12-
A|11 10 -----11 10 9 10 11 10 ------11 10 9 10 11 10 ------11 10 9 10 11 10----
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1  3  2 1  2  3 1  2 1  3  1  3  2  3  1  4  2  1  4  1  4  2  1  2  4  1  2
D|9 --------------9 10 9 12 10 13 12 15 13 17 15 13 ---13 ---------------13 15-
A|--11 10 9 10 11 ----------------------------------17 ---17 15 14 15 17 ------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   4  1  4  1  4  1  3  1  3  2  1  2  3  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4  1  3  1  3  2
D|17 13 17 13 17 13 ---------------------------------12 13 14 15 10 -----------
A|------------------15 12 ---------------12 13 14 15 ---------------12 10 -----
F|------------------------14 13 12 13 14 ---------------------------------12 11
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   1  2  3  1  2  3  4  1  2  3  4  1  3  2  3  1  4  1  4  1  3  2  3  1  4  1
D|---------------------10 11 12 13 10 ---------10 13 10 13 10 ---------10 13 10
A|---------10 11 12 13 ---------------12 11 12 ---------------12 11 12 --------
F|10 11 12 --------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   4  1  2  1  2  1  4  1  4  1  2  1  2  1  4  1  4  1  4  1  4  1  2  1  4  1
D|15 12 ---------12 15 12 15 12 ---------12 15 12 16 13 ---------12 13 10 13 10
A|------13 12 13 ---------------13 12 13 ---------------15 12 15 --------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   4 1  4 1  2 1  4 1 4 1 4 1 2 1 4 1 3 2 1 2 3 2 4 1 3 2 1 2 3 2  4 1  3 2 1 2
D|--------9 10 7 10 7 ------6 7 4 7 4 ------------7 4 ------------10 7 --------
A|12 9 12 ------------9 6 9 ----------6 5 4 5 6 5 ----6 5 4 5 6 5 -----10 9 8 9
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   3 2  4  1  3  2  1  2  3  2  2  1  4  2  1  2  4  1  2  1  2  1  3  1  3  1
D|-----13 10 ------------------13 12 ---------------12 13 12 13 12 14 12 14 12
A|10 9 ------13 12 11 12 13 12 ------15 13 12 13 15 ---------------------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   4  1  4  1  4  1  4  1  4  4,1
D|15 12 15 12 16 12 16 12 17 17--|
A|---------------------------13--|
F|-------------------------------|
C|-------------------------------|

The last two notes are played together with the first finger on the thirteenth fret of the A string and the fourth finger on the seventeenth fret of the D string.

And now the second section:


   1  1  2 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1  1  1  2 3,1 2  3  2  1
D|---17 19 20 19 20 19 17 20 19 20 19 17 20 19 20 19 17 -- 15 17 19 17 19 17 15
A|17 ------17-------------17-------------17-------------15-------15------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1  1  1  2 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3
D|19 17 19 17 15 19 17 19 17 15 ---13 15 17 15 17 15 13 19 17 19 17 15 20 19 20
A|15-------------15-------------13 ------13-------------15-------------17------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1    1  4  2  1  2  1  3  4  1  3,1
D|19 17 22-20 22 20 19 24 24----15 13 12----16 19 22 19 24 24 -----------------
A|------18 ------------21 21-12----------17-------------21 21 -----------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   1  1  2 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1  1  1  2 3,1 2  3  2  1
D|---17 19 20 19 20 19 17 20 19 20 19 17 20 19 20 19 17 -- 15 17 19 17 19 17 15
A|17 ------17-------------17-------------17-------------15-------15------------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1  1  1  2 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1 2  3
D|19 17 19 17 15 19 17 19 17 15 ---13 15 17 15 17 15 13 19 17 19 17 15 20 19 20
A|15-------------15-------------13 ------13-------------15-------------17------
F|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
C|-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

   2  1 3,1 2  3  2  1 3,1
D|19 17 22-20 22 20 19 24 24-|
A|------18 ------------21 21-|
F|---------------------------|
C|---------------------------|

Now play the whole thing again from the top and collapse with exhaustion.

I hope you enjoyed this solo. If your fingers haven't dropped off yet, go and check out 'Solo Bouzouki Allegro" by Lemonopoulos.

If you've spotted any mistakes, please let me know so that I can correct them. And finally, many thanks to Vassilis Kapsalis and Mike Kutulas for sending me lots of cool photos of Stamatiou. That's it for now.


Sam Gardounis with Con Karapas Although it's not strictly about bouzouki, many people have asked me about Greek MIDI files. Accordingly, a good friend of mine, Con Karapas has given us some midis of his own arrangements of Greek songs. Many of the midis below will probably interest those wanting to study two bouzouki interaction. Thanks Con, you're a legend! (Check out this photo of me on the bouzouki and Con Karapas with his guitar)


Midi Files by Con Karapas

  • Adiexodos
  • Alpha - Omega
  • Ah Manoula
  • An Eimoun Plousios
  • Asta Ta Mallakia Sou
  • Auto t'agori
  • Deka Pallikaria
  • Egnatias 406
  • Esena Pou Se Xero Toso Ligo
  • Etsi einai I Zoi
  • Garifalo St'afti
  • I Valitsa
  • Kokkino Garifalo
  • Leventopaido
  • Pou'ne ta Hronia
  • Horismos
  • Hathikes
  • O Stamoulis O Lohias
  • Siko Horepse Koukli Mou
  • Solo in A
  • Solo in F
  • Stalia Stalia
  • Tha Tragoudiso Gia Sena
  • Tora Pia
  • Who Pays The Ferryman
  • Zambetas Solo

And here's one of my midi arrangements from the 1957 film "Boy on a Dolphin"!

  • Ti'nai Auto Pou to Lene Agapi (S'agapo)

Download MIDI Files

Download Information

All the above MIDI files have been zipped up. Download and extract the files to your computer and play from there using any MIDI capable software media player.



Sam Gardounis original artwork
Sam's original website banner (1996)

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