This is a most unique instrument – an Irish Bouzouki handmade by prominent Australian luthier Gerard Gilet back in the late 1980s.
The “Irish Bouzouki” is essentially an octave mandolin based on proportions taken from the Greek bouzouki. The newer Greek tetrachordo (4 courses of strings) bouzouki was introduced into Irish traditional music in the mid-1960s by Johnny Moynihan of the folk group Sweeney’s Men. Alec Finn, first in the Cana Band and subsequently in De Dannan, introduced the first more-traditional Greek trichordo (3 course) bouzouki into Irish music.
In the early 1970s, Andy Irvine gave his Greek bouzouki to Dónal Lunny, who replaced the octave strings on the two lower G and D courses with unison strings, thus reinforcing their lower frequencies. Soon after, on a visit with Irvine to the workshop of luthier Peter Abnett, Lunny commissioned an instrument to the specifications of a classic, 4-course Greek bouzouki but with unison strings and a three-piece, partially staved back. Since then, the instrument has been adapted for Irish traditional and other styles of folk music.
By far the most common tuning for the Irish bouzouki is G2 D3 A3 D4. This was pioneered by Johnny Moynihan apparently in an attempt to replicate the open, droning sound of Appalachian “clawhammer” banjo – first on the mandolin and then transferred to a Greek bouzouki.
It was later picked up by Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny, and quickly became the next thing to a standard tuning for the 4 course instrument. Other tunings used, although by a minority of players, are “octave mandolin” tuning G2 D3 A3 E4, and “Open D” tuning A2 D3 A3 D4. “Open G” G2 D3 G3 D4, is used by some players and has proven useful for slide playing.
Gerard Gilet has been at the forefront of acoustic guitar design in Australia for over 30 years, making instruments by hand for a clientele of serious musicians and professionals.
Gilet guitars have become highly regarded and sought after, especially since Gerard has slowed down his output significantly in recent years. This one was crafted as a custom order for its previous owner who used it for many years on stage and in the studio.
PLEASE NOTE: We photographed this guitar a while ago when it was set up for a left handed player. We have since had the instrument converted back to its original incarnation – right handed. New pics coming soon.
Neck Width – 1 1/4” at the nut and 1 1/2” at the body
Number of frets to body join – 12
Overall Length – 36″
Width of body – 13″
Depth of Body at the tail block – 3 3/8″
Top: Solid Spruce
Back & Sides: Rosewood
Scale Length 24½”
Inlays: Mother of Pearl mini dots
Binding: Maple binding to top & back
Headstock: Rosewood face
Bridge: Adjustable Rosewood Bridge
Tuners: Closed back with small buttons
Finish: Multiple nitrocellulose
This is a great sounding instrument, that is also easy to play. It has been given a thorough going over by respected Sydney guitar tech Luke Parry, who has reglued some bracing and set everything up very nicely.
Acoustically it is bright and punchy, with a totally unique sound. And it also has a high quality under saddle pickup professionally fitted – we are not sure of the model, but it sounds just fine.
It has some marks & scratches, small dings & dents expected on a 30 year old instrument. But it is structurally sound with lots of fret life left, solid tuners and a nice new nut.
If you’re looking for a well made instrument that will deliver a whole new colour to your palette of sounds, come over & check this one out.
Comes in a hard shell case in good condition.