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View Full Version : Zoukulele - another out-of-the-box instrument design for your perusal



Todd Rose
01-12-2015, 04:09 AM
Here's another original design of mine that may be of interest to some of you. It's a hybrid of an Irish bouzouki, a ukulele, and a flattop steel string guitar. It's tuned like a uke with a low G; each pair of strings is a unison. A one-of-a-kind instrument with a unique sound, it's just been purchased by a wonderful Irish trad player named Tony Dunne, so it will soon be heard in pubs around central Ireland. Here's a vid of him playing it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZS_BgwDj8Y

There are also a couple recordings of myself playing it on my soundcloud page:

https://soundcloud.com/todd-rose

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PhilUSAFRet
01-12-2015, 08:51 PM
Gorgeous looking and sounding. Love it

greenscoe
01-12-2015, 08:52 PM
Thanks for sharing this instrument. I think it looks and sounds great. Its not often anyone posts an instrument largely made of ash. I like light coloured bodies so I reckon I'll be trying out ash too.

Phuufme
01-13-2015, 01:28 AM
Great sounding instrument.

Matt Clara
01-13-2015, 02:18 AM
I'm curious if you added a truss rod? Mind you, I know very little about constructing any instrument other than a ukulele, and passing little about that, too.

Todd Rose
01-14-2015, 03:20 AM
Thanks, all, for the kind words. Ash is, indeed, a lovely and underappreciated wood. Bends easily, too. This was plain (unfigured) quartersawn material, but we filled the pores with red-tinted epoxy, which accentuates the growth-ring lines and reflects the red in the figured bubinga bindings and rosette. I also have several billets of very nice quartersawn ash with excellent curl figure that I look forward to using. When I resaw this, I'll have more than I need for my own use, so feel free to inquire about available sets.

Todd Rose
01-14-2015, 03:21 AM
I'm curious if you added a truss rod? Mind you, I know very little about constructing any instrument other than a ukulele, and passing little about that, too.


Yes, there is a truss rod.

Todd Rose
01-14-2015, 03:29 AM
A few more images:

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KnowsPickin
01-14-2015, 03:59 AM
If you had used a high G instead of a low G you would have created something very, very similar to the Renaissance Cittern. The original cittern did not have wound strings so they had to use a reentrant tuning like a ukulele. The modern cittern, like the Irish bouzouki is tuned either in a variation of a octave mandolin tuning or a drone tuning of some sort.

Nicely done!

ModlrMike
01-14-2015, 05:10 AM
Yes, very much like the cittern idea that I've been toying with.

Todd Rose
01-15-2015, 12:33 AM
If you had used a high G instead of a low G you would have created something very, very similar to the Renaissance Cittern. The original cittern did not have wound strings so they had to use a reentrant tuning like a ukulele. The modern cittern, like the Irish bouzouki is tuned either in a variation of a octave mandolin tuning or a drone tuning of some sort.

Nicely done!

Thanks! I appreciate your thoughts about the cittern. That's one instrument I have not researched much.

Interestingly, Tony Dunne, who bought the zoukulele, is a rarity among Irish bouzouki players, in that he uses a guitar/uke tuning: DGBE. So, when he first picked up the zoukulele, he was right at home. At that time, instead of buying the zoukulele, he decided to commission me to build him a custom instrument with 5 courses, again with guitar-like tuning, ADGBE. That instrument can be seen and heard here (along with another guitar and a clay drum I also made):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V18yAP8di_s

...and a few photos:

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Anyway, I'm very happy that he recently decided to add the zoukulele to his stable.

FiL
01-15-2015, 02:47 AM
Todd, your zoukulele is pretty close to my dream instrument. As I said a while ago an another forum, if I ever win the lottery...

- FiL

Todd Rose
01-15-2015, 11:58 PM
Todd, your zoukulele is pretty close to my dream instrument. As I said a while ago an another forum, if I ever win the lottery...

- FiL

Thanks, FiL. Yeah, I wish I could make them more affordable. Or, can't we just abolish money already?!

Todd Rose
01-16-2015, 12:01 AM
For some reason, the images of the custom guitar-zouk I made for Tony aren't showing any more... You can always go to my web site to see them.