Bouzoukis & Mandolas
Both bouzoukis and mandolas are string instruments that function in a similar way to acoustic guitars, albeit much smaller. The bouzouki has between six and eight strings, which usually have a scale length of between 19 and 27 inches. Mandolas, on the other hand, feature eight strings and have a scale length of 16 to 20 inches. The smaller scale of the mandola makes it a lot easier to play than a bouzouki, which can feel like a guitar in both size and sound.
Why choose a bouzouki?
- Scale length - The scale length on a bouzouki can be anywhere from three to eleven inches longer than that of a mandola. This means that the vocal range of the bouzouki is much greater and the instrument is more versatile
- Sustainability - Its extra scale length makes the bouzouki far more sustainable, allowing it to play pieces of music that could sound odd on a mandola. This is obvious when playing the last note of any song
- Aesthetics - Every instrument is different, however Bouzoukis are well known for their heavily inlaid bodies, which contain great quantities of mother of pearl. An instrument that looks beautiful in design can often be an incentive to perform, and it is also better when playing to other people as it comes across a professional piece of kit
Why pick a mandola?
- Scale length - The shorter scale length of a mandola makes it much easier to play and to learn for beginners
- Convenience - The shorter length and its lighter weight makes it much more easy to transport than a bouzouki. This offers more convenience when performing at gigs
- Electric - Electric mandolas are much more common than electric bouzoukis. This can give a new dimension to the instrument, allowing for amplifier-boosted sound, giving you the opportunity to perform to larger groups of people.