How to Tune a Greek Bouzouki Online

Written by matt mckay
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How to Tune a Greek Bouzouki Online
(Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Greek bouzoukis come in two styles: the traditional version, which uses three string courses (doubled strings), and the modern version with four string courses. Each version employs separate tunings, and an online tuner is available to get you started. When you are used to tuning the bouzouki and learn the notes, you may wish to purchase an inexpensive chromatic tuner.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Bouzouki
  • Pick

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Go to http://www.bouzoukispace.com and click the "Flash Tools" tab. A drop down menu will appear, and clicking on the "Bouzouki Trixordo Tuner" will access the tuner. Trixordo (sometimes called trichorda) is the term for three stringcourse bouzoukis.

  2. 2

    Place the curser over the blue line at the bottom of the bouzouki string illustration and click once. The note will play through your computer speakers. This is the lowest string course on the bouzouki, and is a "D" note. This string course includes a low D note for the thickest string, and an octave D note for the thinner string.

  3. 3

    Carefully pluck one of the low course strings with a pick, and tune to match the pitch by turning the corresponding tuning key. Picking the single string without picking the other will take a bit of practice, as they are very close together.

  4. 4

    Carefully pluck the second string in the lower course, and match it up to the note on the tuner by turning the tuning key.

  5. 5

    Repeat Steps 2-4 for the middle "A" string course, and the final octave "D" string course, to complete the DAD tuning. Commit the notes to memory or write them down for future reference.

  1. 1

    Go to http://www.bouzoukispace.com, and click the "Flash Tools" tab. A drop down menu will appear, and clicking on the "Bouzouki Tuner" will access the tuner.

  2. 2

    Place the curser over the blue line at the bottom of the bouzouki string illustration and click once. The note will play through your computer speakers. This is the lowest string course on the bouzouki, and is a "C" note. This string course includes a low C note for the thickest string, and an octave C note for the thinner string.

  3. 3

    Carefully pluck one of the low course strings with a pick, and tune to match the pitch by turning the corresponding tuning key. Picking the single string without picking the other will take a bit of practice, as they are very close together.

  4. 4

    Carefully pluck the second string in the lower course, and match it up to the note on the tuner by turning the tuning key.

  5. 5

    Repeat Steps 2-4 for the next "F" string course, the following "A" course and the final "D" high string course, to complete the CFAD tuning. Commit the notes to memory or write them down for future reference.

Tips and warnings

  • Tune up to the target pitch, rather than down. If the string is tuned higher than the target, turn the key so that the pitch is slightly below, and tune up. This method takes advantage of the string tension on the tuning key, and helps the string to keep its pitch.
  • Older strings can be hard to keep in tune, but so can new strings. Replace old strings, allowing the new ones to stretch and relax before tuning. Pre-stretching the new strings several times when they are initially tuned will shorten the relaxing period. When properly stretched, new strings will hold tuning far better than old strings. If you are unsure of string type or installation methods, a repair person can perform a string change for a nominal fee.
  • Greek tuning is different than Celtic tuning, and uses different string gauges. Tuning a Greek bouzouki to Celtic tuning will cause strings to break.
  • Keep face and onlookers away from the instrument while tuning to prevent eye and face lacerations if a string breaks.

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