Peghead Nation’s Celtic Guitar instructor Tony McManus demonstrates his one-of-a-kind eight-string.
by Teja Gerken
June 09, 2016
Peghead Nation’s Celtic Guitar instructor Tony McManus is a virtuoso fingerstyle and flatpicking guitarist, and also plays mandolin. A few years ago, he was looking for a bouzouki, and asked PRS acoustic head luthier Mike Byle if he would consider using a PRS guitar body to create an eight-string bouzouki (Tony is a PRS endorser; see a video of Tony demonstrating his Private Stock Signature Model guitar here). The modern bouzouki associated with traditional Irish music has evolved from its origins as a traditional Greek instrument (which had a bowl-back and skinny neck) and now more often resembles an octave mandolin (tuned an octave lower than a standard mandolin) and may have a mandolin- or guitar-shaped body with a flat or arched top.
PRS took on Tony’s challenge and used its Angelus body (the same size as Tony’s signature model) as a starting point, adding a custom-made neck and bridge to accommodate the eight-strings (four pairs of two) as well as the standard PRS acoustic pickup system. Tony tunes the instrument to G D A D and uses an octave string in the lowest pair (as on a 12-string guitar).
In this video, Tony talks about the development of the instrument, and plays the Greek “Moustambeiko,” which he recorded on his duet album with Beppe Gambetta, Round Trip (check out our review).
SPECS: Eight-string flattop bouzouki. PRS Angelus body with 14-fret neck. Solid spruce top. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. Enclosed PRS tuning machines. PRS pickup system. Made in USA. prsguitars.com
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