You may have noticed that my instruments are not fussy. Simplicity and clean lines are my signature. For me, the most important aspect is functionality, playability and performance. After all, the instrument you buy is the tool of your trade, so it has to work consistently for you. Every element of the instrument has been thoroughly tested and evaluated and is the result of a process of continual development and improvement.


The starting point for any fine musical instrument will always be the raw materials. I will always the best and most appropriate materials for your instrument. I will talk more specifically about the choices of woods and their characteristics and why I use them a wee bit later but listed here is the standard specification for the instruments I make.

Soundboard – European Spruce or Western Red Cedar
Back and Sides – Indian Rosewood
Neck – Carbon reinforced Brazilian Mahogany or Flame Maple
Neck backstrap – optional
Two way adjustable truss rod
Fingerboard – Ebony
Mother of Pearl face and edge dots
Bridge – Ebony
Saddle – fully compensated bone
Nut – Bone
Machine Heads – Gold-plated Gotoh SGL510
Tailpiece – 2mm Solid Brass


I use only the finest quarter sawn solid woods for the instrument, and all of the wood I use is kept at a controlled temperature and humidity level (around 50% RH @ 70°f). This building environment is important to ensure that your instrument can cope with the natural changes in humidity and temperature and ensures a completely stable instrument when built.

The woods I use have been chosen as a result of many years’ experimentation by instrument makers past and present. They are not random choices but are used to provide the specific qualities required of a particular instrument. The woods I choose for your instrument will be the ones most appropriate for the sound, tone and projection that you are trying to achieve. 

Now, describing the tonal qualities of a particular piece of wood is a very subjective thing, different people hear different things. So below I have listed the most common woods that I use for the soundboards and back / sides and a generalisation of the qualities they can bring to an instrument.


In any acoustic musical instrument, the soundboard is the one component that really has to work hard! With the internal bracing pattern, it has to be able to support the compression force from the strings and transmit the vibrations from the strings through the bridge into the sound that you hear. Most of the tone and volume is generated from the top. There are three main choices of woods that I use for instrument tops, European Spruce also known as Swiss Pine, Sitka Spruce and Western Red Cedar. I make most of my instruments with European Spruce due to its overall power, projection and tonal qualities. However, both Sitka Spruce and Cedar have their own particular characteristics, and both should definitely be considered.

European Spruce

Creamy white in colour with a lovely even grain pattern. Great projection and vibrancy with good tonal clarity and balance. There is an even warmth to the tone and it has great sustain.

Sitka Spruce

Darker in colour with a lovely orangey brown hue, straight even grain. Very responsive with a clear open tone and great clarity. Good power and projection and sustain.

Western Red Cedar

Beautiful rich and dark orange colour with very straight even grain. Softer than the other Spruces and less powerful, it has a clear sweet bright tone, rich mids and warm bass.

Back and Sides

The back and sides of a bouzouki with the soundboard complete the body. While the soundboard generates the majority of the tone and voice of the instrument, the sides and the back in particular provide the complexity and colour to the tone. The density of the wood used for the back and sides and its ability to reflect the vibrations from the top will have its own influence on the tonal character of the instrument. For my instruments, I favour Indian rosewood. It is a dense and resonant wood and imparts a richness and warmth to the tone of the instrument. I also use Maple and Mahogany, two lovely tone woods which add their own colour and character.

Indian Rosewood 

Wonderful colours of rich browns and purples with a striking grain pattern. Indian Rosewood is a hard and dense wood and is the ideal wood for the back and sides. Very resonant with great sustain, rich warm tonal colour and clarity with complex overtones.

Brazilian Mahogany

Deep rich reddish brown in colour, Mahogany is a stiff hard and quite open grained wood. Tonally Mahogany is very resonant and has a ring and clarity with a strong midrange and plenty of projection.


Creamy ivory in colour and often, as seen here, with a lovely figuring and flame. Maple is a dense hard close grained wood making for a bright and loud instrument with a tight clear and focused tone.

Neck, Fingerboard and Bridge

The choice of wood for this component is really important. It has to be light in weight, but also stiff, strong and above all stable. I find that quarter sawn Brazilian Mahogany is the best wood. Light in weight, very stable and strong, it is the ideal wood. It is also dense, really important for a good sustain. Maple or Flame Maple is also a great wood and should be considered.

Fingerboards are made from Ebony, a very dense and durable black wood, it is the ideal choice for resisting wear and tear and also adding mass and stiffness to the neck.

The bridge is an incredibly important component in a bouzouki. Its purpose along with the bone saddle is to support the strings at the correct height above the soundboard and also to transfer the vibrations of the strings into the body with no loss of energy. Ebony is the best wood to use.


I finish all of my instruments using an Acid Catalyst two pack compliant spray lacquer with a 20% sheen. This is a very tough finish and is ideal for use on acoustic musical instruments. I don’t use grain filler or sanding sealer or any other product to fill or seal the wood as this can have a detrimental effect on the tone.


I’ve lost count of the number of different pickups I’ve tried, but in recent years I’ve settled on the K&K Mini Pure. This is a passive pickup but it had great volume. It has a balanced sound, rich in the mids and bass with a great clarity in the top register.

Just give me a call on +44 7426 806144 or email me using the form here to arrange a visit. I’d be very happy to chat about anything you have in mind.