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
I have intently followed Nigel Foster’s innovative instrument making for many years and after hearing several of his bouzoukis in action I decided that I had to acquire one so I took the plunge and placed my order. After months of eager anticipation, I recently took delivery of my brand-new carved top bouzouki...It looks and sounds absolutely amazing; and to think that it will only sound better as it is played in!

Aesthetically it is stunning displaying Nigel’s elegant design sensibilities, acute attention to detail and tasteful tonewood pairings. It has a striking European Spruce top, beautifully figured Wenge back and sides with a lovely New Guinea Rosewood neck and Ebony fretboard.

Sonically it projects brilliantly with a powerful clarity of tone that blows me away; it just exudes quality on all levels. To say that I am delighted with the bouzouki would be an understatement. I immensely enjoyed the entire build process and will fondly remember my interactions with Nigel and his witty ripostes. I can very highly recommend Nigel Forster as a first class luthier!”

Ruadhrai O’Kane, Belfast
NK Forster 8 string sapele and spruce mandola
Redwood top and soundhole
Forster Irish Bouzouki
Redwood and Indian OM full
Irish Bouzouki Slide
Redwood and Indian OM
New gzouk headstock
bouzouki headstock
irish bouzouki mandola
irish bouzouki
Celtic bouzouki
redwood Irish bouzouki
wenge bouzouki-15
wenge bouzouki
wenge bouzouki-10
wenge bouzouki-14
Bouzouki back and neck
wenge bouzouki-11
wenge bouzouki-8
wenge bouzouki-7
Octave mandolin back
  • 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