Politis, 1951

1951 Alexandros Politis, New York (currently owned by David Murray, Oakland, California)

Scale Length: 645 mm

Nut Width: 31mm

12th Fret Width: 38 mm

Body Width: 245 mm

Body Length: 355 mm

Body Depth: 150 mm

Original String setup: 8, converted to 6

This bouzouki is a bit of a mystery, hopefully someone can help solve.

The label inside said “867 Forest Ave. New York, NY. 1951”. The maker’s name was handwritten but seems to say “Alexandros Politis” followed by “Professional Violin Maker”. If anyone has heard of a New York luthier with a name that might match, please let me know!

It’s hard to believe that this was built in 1951 as this type of instrument had been out of style for at least 20 or more years. I like to speculate that Politis did some repairs or modifications to an older bouzouki in 1951. We’ll probably never know!

When I got the instrument it was set up for 8 strings, I’m not sure if that was original or if it had been modified. Paul Hostetter (Santa Cruz, Ca) built a new bridge, nut and installed new tuners (and was kind enough to disassemble them and soak in ferric acid to make them look older!) and made some other repairs and adjustments….it sounds great!

Front

Full back

Full front

Bowl

Published in: on July 26, 2009 at 10:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Stathopoulo, 1910

191o Stathopoulo, New York (currently owned by Grigoris Spiliopoulos)

Scale Length, nut to bridge: 635 mm
Neck width at the nut: 28 mm
Neck width at the 12th fret: 39 mm
Body length: 375 mm
Body depth: 16o mm
Body width: 225 mm

The instrument was restored by luthier Nikos Fronimopoulos. His site has photos of the restoration process HERE.

HPIM1766HPIM1769

HPIM1772

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stathopoulo, 1910

1910 Stathopoulo (owned by Joan Friedberg, Los Angeles) 

Length, nut to bridge: 648 mm
Neck width at the nut: 31.75 mm
Neck width at the 12th fret: 38 mm
Body width: 235 mm
Body length: 368 mm
Body depth: 178 mm
# of strings: 6 total (3 courses of double strings)
Wood: looks like alternating Cherry and Maple staves, but I can’t verify
Date: 1910, New York
Maker: A. Stathopoulo
Place of purchase: Ebay, from an estate sale (in Philadelphia, I think)
Playability: excellent

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Joan says: I had fantasized about getting my hands on an early bouzouki ever since seeing photos of them in the Fivos Anoyanakis musical instruments book. I never thought I would find one outside of a museum. Then one day I happened to find this one while browsing on Ebay. I put in a bid, and then got totally caught up in the excitement of the auction. I ultimately went way past the limit I had set, but I won the bouzouki away from one other bidder, after other bidders had dropped out.

The bouzouki’s face was unattached from the body and needed repair work, so I took it into Marina Music, in Culver City, a shop owned by Aleko Sioris. He took a look at it and finally asked me, “Did you get this on Ebay?” I told him yes. “Ah, so you’re the one!” He had been the other bidder. Aleko is at least a thousand times better player than I am, so I feel privileged to have this bouzouki in my possession.

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 3:49 am  Comments (1)  

Stathopoulo, 1922

1922 Stathopoulo, New York (currently owned by Pavlos Kakouris, Sacramento)

Scale Length: 648

Nut Width: 29

12th Fret Width: 38

Body Width: 232

Body Length: 367

Body Depth: 152

Original String setup: 8

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I had been playing mandolin since I was 5 years old. Bouzouki was rare in the 40’s in the USA. I listened to recordings of the old masters and would try to get the tunes down but I knew the sound was really different. In 1951 I took my first trip to Greece at age 14. That’s when I saw a bouzouki for the first time. I say with great pride that I saw Tsitsanis and Papaioanou playing bouzouki. I fell in love with the culture and of course the bouzouki. At that time it was not socially acceptable to play bouzouki. The connection with the subculture, REBETIKA, hashish dens, and the lower working class in those days and long before, was the reason my mom would not allow me to bring a bouzouki back to the USA. About 1957 bouzouki players began appearing in California. There are sites on the net to find historical info. I looked for a very long time to find a bouzouki locally until one day I stopped to browse at a large junk store in south Los Angeles and there I saw high on a shelf covered in a heavy layer of dust my first bouzouki. Made in New York City in Feb. 1922.by the House of Stathopoulo. I still have it.

*************UPDATE***************

Mr. Kakouris has recently had his instrument restored by Gary Hegedus of San Pablo, California.

STATHO

Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 3:47 am  Comments (4)  

Kopeliadou, Date Unknown

Undated Kopeliadis, Athens (currently owned by Michael Kaloyanides, New Haven)
Kopeliadis died in 1933.

Scale length (from nut to bridge): 672 mm
Neck width at the nut: 27 mm
Neck width at the 12th fret: 35 mm
Body width 244: mm
Body Length 388: mm
Body Depth 170: mm
Original and/or current number of strings 3 COURSES OF 2 EACH

Rosewood Fingerboard with
Inlay at frets 3,5,7,10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 27
Woods: Don’t Know
Staves: 19 plus 2 Winer side panels
Maker’s Label: Organopoieion, Emm N. Kopeliadou, Kolokotroni 47B, Athenai.

base of body has SIGMA BETA initials inscribed (probably that of owner).

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Published in: on May 29, 2009 at 3:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Panagis, Date Unknown

Undated Panagyris Panagis, Piraeus (currently owned by Hank Bradley, Seattle)

Scale Length: 669mm
Nut Width: 28
12th Fret Width: 39
Body Width: 244
Body Length: 380
Body Depth: 164
Original String setup: 8

http://greekluthiers.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/panygpanaghs/

The mikrasiatis father, Panagyris Panagis (Panagyris was apparently an Asia Minor form for Panagiotis), born in Makri, died before 1940. His workshop was in Piraeus, and he was clearly most known for his laouto, guitar and mandolin making. His sons were called Georgios (1911-1995) and Vassilis (1914-1998) and their heyday was 1950s-1980s. (thanks Tony!).

Panagis001

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Pictured here with the 1933 Kopeliadis

Pictured here with the 1933 Kopeliadis

Kopeliadis on the left

Hank says: I was given this one by Sandra Layman, who I think got it from Lark in the Morning some time since 1975. It’s had some modifications in its lifetime (somewhere back in the 80s or 90s Paul Hostetter at my request converted it from a 4-stringer to 3, which explains the very unusual 3-post tuners in the peghead). Paul may also be responsible for a nice new fingerboard and a tension-rod in the neck (I just can’t remember). The label is only partially legible, begrimed with some mysterious substance, but the biggest letters look to be ΠΑΝΝΓΥΡΗ ΠΑΝΑΓΗ. It appears to be another mandola-bodied instrument, having a distinct bevel in the top at the bridge, and the top also has a transverse camber. The sound hole is a wide oval, and the scratch plate fills most of the top between sound hole and bridge.

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Kopeliadis, Date Unknown

1933 Kopeliadis, Athens (currently owned by Hank Bradley, Seattle)

 

Kopeliadis died in 1933.

 

 

Scale Length: 674

Nut Width: 31.5

12th Fret Width: 39

Body Width: 244

Body Length: 379

Body Depth: 180

Original String setup: 8

 

BouzKopeliadis 008BouzKopeliadis 004

Hank's Panagis on the right

Hank's Panagis on the right

the Panagis on the right again

the Panagis on the right again

 

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Stathopoulo, 1910

1910 Stathopoulo, New York (currently owned by Nikos Politis, Athens)

 

 

Scale Length: 645

Nut Width: 27

12th Fret Width: 35

Body Width: 232

Body Length: 367

Body Depth: 152

Original String setup: 6

 

Politis02Politis03

Politis01

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As it appeared on Ebay before restoration.

As it appeared on Ebay before restoration.

 

(thanks to Paul Hostetter for saving these!)

(thanks to Paul Hostetter for saving these!)

Published in: on May 27, 2009 at 3:36 am  Comments (2)