These instruments are known as octave mandolins or short scale bouzoukis. The scale length I use is 54 cm, although I can make longer or shorter if required. They are built using carbon fibre laminate bracing on the sound board and back of the instrument.

The back and sides of the instruments can be made from Tasmanian Blackwood or Eucalypt. Blackwood is the more suitable timber, as it is more stable than Eucalypt.

These instruments are mostly used for chordal accompaniment, including a mix of two note chords, bass lines, and bits of countermelody rather than for melody. The octave mandolin is usually regarded as having a scale length in the vicinity of 50 to 58.4cm, whilst the scale length of the Irish bouzouki most often ranges from 58.4 to 63.5cm.


Soundboards are made from Western Redcedar or Adirondack spruce.

With a very high stiffness to weight ratio, Adirondack Spruce is said to combine all the best qualities of the various spruces. Western Redcedar is very light, and ‘plays in’ quickly.

The current price for Bouzoukis is AUD$1500, which includes a case. I occasionally sell prototype and "cosmetically imperfect" instruments at a reduced price. I can supply and fit a K & K under-saddle pickup for AUD$120.

For other instruments and prices, please contact me.

Bouzouki scale

540 mm


Western Redcedar/Red Spruce–oval or ‘paisley drop’ soundholes

Back, sides, veneers



Rosewood or Ebony


Various timbers including, Blackwood, and New Guinea Rosewood—3/16" stainless steel truss rod.


Tuners—Gotoh MA40 with ivoroid buttons, Gibson style tailpiece (nickel-plated brass). Others available on request.

Neck/body join

Spanish heel at 17th fret

Width @ 12th fret


Width @ nut





Tasmanian Sassafras and Myrtle


Shellac undercoat/Nitrocellulose lacquer


14, 20, 32w, 48w (although it depends on tuning)

All material, images and text © Tom Chippindall 2007