BOUZOUKI: The bouzouki is a wooden musical string instrument with a long fretted neck. As a member of the mandolin family, it is distinguished from other string instruments by being strung in 2 string courses with metal strings, usually in unisons but sometimes in octaves. It has evolved from a six string instrument (3 courses of paired strings) to an eight string instrument (4 courses of paired strings) which is most popular with bouzouki players of today. The body shape is usually teardrop based, rather than the waisted design of a guitar or violin. It has tuning pegs, and it is played with a plectrum. The most common length for a bouzouki is 3 feet. The bouzouki has a long history, but it has been part of the wider Greek musical tradition for centuries. There are different types of bouzoukis: Traditional, Greek, Modern Greek and Irish.

CITTERN: The cittern is also a member of the mandolin family and is often confused with the bouzouki even among musicians who play these instruments. There seems to be a lack of standardization in distinguishing the two instruments. It is usually considered to be a 10 string instrument of the mandolin family. (Cittern also seems to have been a loose family name during the Renaissance for smallish, double- or triple-course, wire-strung fretted instruments.) The modern cittern was introduced by Stefan Sobell in the early 1970s when he built an instrument inspired by an old arch-top guitar and a Portuguese guitarra. He didn't have a name for it and realized it was a cittern only when looking through a book of medieval instruments.


Larry has played a cittern that was made by Stefan Sobell. (It is technically known as a cittern, but it's just as often referred to as an Irish bouzouki.) The cittern that Larry has played that was made by Stefan Sobell is similar to the one pictured above on the left which has 5 courses of paired strings. The cittern on the right has 4 courses of paired strings.


The photo above is a cittern made by Stefan Sobell for Bruce Springsteen after he saw the one Larry played.