Forster Irish Bouzouki

There are so many variations on the Irish bouzouki/cittern/octave mandolin/mandola design. Flat top, cylinder top or carved top? 8 string or 10 string? How about a 12 string? What about the scale – long or short- or somewhere in between?  Tunings? (D) GDAE, (D) GDAD, (D) ADAD or similar.

If you’d like an Irish bouzouki, a cittern or an octave mandolin, and you want the best, get in touch through the contact form at the bottom of the page.

I am the proud and very lucky owner of a 2006 Nigel Forster bouzouki ( standard shape). What can I say about this instrument? First of all its absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in appearance and the workmanship is impeccable. Visually its like a work of art. Its appearance is just right, no horrible bling but a beautiful combination of incredible tonewoods. But looks aren’t the most important as we all know. How does it sound? Totally brilliant is how. It projects incredibly well, has a beautiful warm tone with great bass and treble, plays brilliantly all the way up the neck and maintains its liveliness and response all the way down the fretboard. Its an absolute joy to play it really is and performs fantastically well in a session acoustically and also in a stage and studio setting. It really does it all and is a joy to play. I've been playing bouzouki for over 30 years and in that time I've had at least 20 luthier built instruments. The vast majority of them wouldn’t hold a candle to my Forster. Its going to remain with me till I die and hopefully in future generations will continue to be regarded as a family treasure.

- John D Ryan, Ireland
Now during Thanksgiving holidays 2017 are here I have to think of all that I’m grateful for. Have to say this year, Nigel Forster, easily comes up to the top of that list with the remarkable instrument he created for me, the 12 string Irish Bouzouki! He told me this was one of the most challenging instruments he ever made and without a doubt it’s one of the most amazing instruments I’ve played.

The look and tone are deliciously balanced and clear throughout acoustically. Also with the K&K system he beautifully installed for amplification, there’s an astounding wide dynamic range with a gorgeous tone leaping through all my electronics here, and it’s absolutely breathtaking! More so than any other instrument I’ve ever played plugged into all of that! It radiates tone! Yes! So for me I found a new soulmate with this instrument! Thanks Nigel, I’m very happy!


Sterart Daniels - USA
NK Forster 8 string sapele and spruce mandola
Forster Irish Bouzouki
Irish Bouzouki Slide
New gzouk headstock
bouzouki headstock
irish bouzouki mandola
cocobolo
irish bouzouki
zouk-slide1
Celtic bouzouki
redwood Irish bouzouki
  • Material

    Soundboard – mature seasoned European spruce or Western red cedar.

    Back and sides – there are many options - mahogany, maple, figured mahogany, wenge, ziricote or figured bubinga.

    Neck - New Guinea rosewood or American maple.

    Fretboard - fine Sri Lanka ebony or ancient bog oak.

    Bridge - ebony, rocklite ebano or maple.
  • Hardware

    Tuners - Gold Gotoh 510.

    Frets - hand polished Evo gold frets.

    Nut and saddle - hand polished bone.

    Tailpiece - polished, lacquered brass.
  • Dimensions

    body width -390mm (15 3/8”)
    body length - 450mm (17 3/4”)
    body depth - 95mm (3 3/4”)
    nut - 8st 36mm (11 3/32”) 10st 40mm (11 9/32”) or custom

    scale length -
    bouzouki 650mm (25 5/8”)
    tuning – (D)GDAE or similar

    cittern/octave mandolin 585mm (23 1/16”)
    tuning – (D)GDAE or similar or high tuning – (G)DADA

    mandola 515mm (20 1/4”)
    tuning – (G)CGDA or similar