Well I received a very surprising email last week. It was from Andy Tobin that great UK luthier who makes stunning bouzoukis. I have one of them!!! Anyway myself and Andy have regularly corresponded over the years, mainly about bouzoukis but often about our dogs as well!! This aint a dogs forum so we’ll leave that for another day. Anyway, Andy wanted me to test drive a prototype bouzouki he had just completed. Needless to say I was honoured to do so and it duly arrived in my house last Friday.
It looks exactly the same as his normal design but there’s lots different going on in parts you cant see. Kind of a trade secret at the moment!! What’s it like, Absolutely awesome!!! I have a Tobin Large Body which is a great zouk and used to have a Tobin Standard which was also great but I sold that one to our good friend Seanie. The prototype is Andy’s standard SBB model size. It just jumps out of the case at ya. It has great volume, sustain that goes on and on.
Plays great up the neck plus with a capo. Doesn’t lose its responsiveness at the 7th fret which some zouks do. It’s punchy, so punchy it might knock you out!! I absolutely love it. Its going to be played by a lot of guys here in Dublin and then in about 3 weeks is going down to County Clare to the total bouzouki nerd Seanie McGrath. This will be a great session zouk. you won’t have any trouble being heard, trust me.
Oh and one more thing. I’m going to buy it!!
I am the very proud owner of an SBB made by Andy.
I’ve been lucky in life to have owned some lovely Bouzoukis from other well known makers, but this Tobin is my “go-to” instrument, it just has it all!
The overall look and design is extremely well thought out and executed. Clean lines and and tight attention to detail makes Andy’s bouzoukis extremely unique. There is something simple yet very intricate about the look of them. The workmanship is just beautiful, and there are times I just can’t stop staring at it!
The sound is clear & punchy, with a strong crisp treble, but it also has a fantastic full low end tone, making it stand out and cut through in any session. The intonation is perfect all the way up the neck, so much so that I’ve never owned a Bouzouki with so much playability as my SBB, and the more I play it the better it’s getting!
Keep doing what you’re doing Andy!
It oozes quality, the tonality is just incredible, and makes me want to play it every day. It came extremely well packaged, and that wonderful smell of spruce when I unwrapped it was like a walk in a forest. Pure joy! Andy, you are a true artisan. I can’t wait to meet up again with Stevie Lawrence, who recommended you to me – both to thank him and to let him have a go on it! I know he’ll smile.
Looks – great I love the finish and the balance, the Gotoh pegs make tuning fun.
Accuracy is perfect and general feel great.
Overall I am delighted, well done and thank you.
My wife’s verdict: “I thought you were buying a mandolin – that sounds really nice!”
I often throw a capo up and down the neck during tune sets and the Tobin bouzouki holds the intonation and tuning remarkably well. Andy’s reputation as a luthier is well deserved… Oh, and he’s one of the good guys too.