It is a beautiful traditional bowl-back one made by Gennaro Maglioni in Naples. It looks like a pine top but not sure of the wood that has been used on the back.
I’m also not sure how old it is but I would say at least 50 years old.
It came in a rather battered shaped wooden case which I’ve not yet got round to repairing.
It has 4 pairs of strings tuned in unison 5th intervals the same as as a violin i.e. G – D – A – E from low to high.
It’s not that big but the round back makes it a challenge to hold. But perfect for serenading at a wedding feast!
I think it still had the original strings so a good clean-up before restringing it was called for!
There are 6-string and 8-string variants. This is an 8 string Greek-style bazouki.
It’s tuned like the top four strings of a guitar except a whole note lower i.e. C – F – A – D from low to high.
This makes it easy for a guitarist to play familiar shapes.
The bottom two pairs of strings are tuned an octave apart and the top two pairs in unison.
So effectively this is the same tuning as a twelve-string guitar’s top four strings.
Is that where the idea of 12 string guitars came rom in the mid-sixties? Or was there a Mexican influence as well?
I’ve not tried getting my he’d around the violin tuning on the mandolin but the Bazouki turning is straight-forward and a bit easier than my ukele – although if you can transpose in your head it’s not a problem.