Rex Holmes – Solid Body Electric Bouzouki
I’ve played bouzouki for years and made do with semi-acoustic ones for gigging with the band. However, feedback issues and their delicate nature made them pretty inadequate for my needs, while trying to find a solid-body electric bouzouki was like looking for the proverbial rocking-horse droppings. I was put onto Tobin Instruments by a fella I saw at a festival playing a beautiful looking solid-body electric bouzouki and just thought, “I NEED one of those!”
Andy was brilliant from the moment I made my inquiries. He asked me my needs and wants for it, gave various different technical and pricing options and the build timescale, sent progress reports and photos at every stage, sent samples of the green wash finish I insisted on having to make sure I was 100% happy, and even got it to me a little sooner than first estimated.
So the big day arrived… and I was over the moon! The action was tailored to my needs and plays like a dream, it holds its tuning so well it needs the merest tweek between plays, the SD Hot Rail pickups give a wonderful tone, and it doesn’t half look the part, too! If you’re in the market for a solid-body electric bouzouki/mandola: stop looking, you’ve found the right place!
Thank you, Andy, it’s night and day between your creation and the firewood I was putting up with previously!
John Ryan – Black Edition SBB
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 Seánie. 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 Seánie 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!!
Seánie McGrath – Custom SBB
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!
Daoirí Farrell – Black Edition SBB
You have built quite possibly the best bouzouki that I’ve ever had strapped on to me and I don’t know what Divine power caused the earth to move such that it came to land in my hands. It is just simply the nicest instrument I have ever played, Andy. I really mean that.
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.
The bouzouki Andy made for me is a well balanced, clear yet round-sounding instrument. Its pick-up system is excellent also, and gives me what I need for live gigs. It has a rich acoustic sound, ideal for playing in a session, to recording in the studio.
Sound -exactly as I asked deep and rounded with plenty power.
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.
The sound is awesome, I like it very much. The bass is more powerful than I expected, and I like it. And the trebles are so bright – I just say thanks, what else I can say?