How to tune an Irish bouzouki


How to tune an Irish bouzouki and what strings to use.


Tuning your Irish bouzouki and selecting suitable strings are crucial steps toward achieving the desired sound and playability. The standard tunings for an Irish bouzouki are GDAE and GDAD, akin to a traditional mandolin but pitched one octave lower.

For GDAD tuning, medium gauge phosphor bronze strings are commonly used, though preferences may vary. Strings are usually tuned in unison rather than octaves.

Which strings and what tuning for the Irish bouzouki:

These gauges are suitable for instruments with a scale length between 24.75″ and 650mm. For longer scales, opt for a gauge lighter.

– G String (lowest): Phosphor bronze wound .042 inches.
– D String: phosphor bronze .032 inches.
– A String: Nickel wound .017″ or .018″.
– Highest D String: Plain steel .012 inches.

Experimentation is key to finding the right tuning and string combination tailored to your preferences, playing style, and instrument characteristics. Be mindful of how adjustments in string gauge affect your instrument’s action and stability. Consulting experienced players or a luthier can provide valuable guidance if needed.