After a long 35 years, I’ve finally got round to starting and finishing my own bouzouki! This instrument has been a long time in the planning – just never got round to doing it though, as the old saying goes, “The cobbler’s kids are the poorest shod”!! It’s an SBB built to the latest specification, but the woods I’ve used aren’t standard.

I’ve had this set of Ziricote in the workshop for a good four or five years. I bought the set from the US, originally for a customer who specified Ziricote for his instrument, but at the last minute changed his mind and settled for Indian Rosewood. After many years building instruments this was the first request I’ve ever had for Ziricote, so, not wanting to keep it in the workshop for another 30-odd years, I thought I’d use it up for the back and sides for my bouzouki. It’s a really remarkable wood, very hard and very dense. But the grain patterning is extraordinary and pretty hard to get your head around, I’ve no idea at all how the stuff grows. It’s not easy to work with and you do need to keep your tools sharp – very sharp!

The neck is a beautiful piece of flame maple which again I’ve had in the shop for quite a while, and the top is a gorgeous piece of master grade Euro Spruce. Rosewood headstock veneer and backstrap with a figured maple inlay. Bindings are from ebony (offcuts from the fingerboard) with a fine white/black/white detail.

So, how does it sound? Pretty good I think – great projection and very punchy, ideal for a session where you really need to hear what’s going on. The Ziricote also sounds good, quite similar to a very good set of Indian Rosewood, great clarity and separation.

The next and much harder stage will be to learn how to play it!