Developed during the 1960's by celtic musicians, the irish bouzouki combined feature of the Greek bouzouki, the sparkle of the mandolin, and the longer scale length of a guitar. As such, it is perfectly suited for melodic and harmonic work from the tenor range all the way up through the soprano. Inspired by the history of the instrument, and a love for the music, I have retained the teardrop shape, and have chosen to emphasize a highly arched back, to mimic the bowl-nack of the Greek bouzouki that initially inspired the sound.

Although nothing is standardized with this instrument to any large extent, I call my long-scale design the bouzouki, and the short scale design the octave mandolin (see below). The bouzouki can accommodate scale lengths of approximately 24" through 26", 24.75" being preferred by most.

These instruments have a particularly beautiful resonance, which can further be refined by the choice of tonewood. Offered in flat-top or carved top versions.

Includes custom fitted Ameritage case.

  • Scale length - 24.75
  • Body width - 15
  • Options

Bowl-Back Octave Mandolin

This design is inspired by the Greek Bouzouki, the bowl-back inspiration for the Celtic bouzouki. With a body shape inspired by celtic instruments, the bowl-back lends a rich, reverberant aspect to the tone. Like the sound of an oud or lute, this instrument has full and complex bass tones, while the trebles sing with sweetness and sustain.

I have designed the bowl to be a comfortable 5" deep, retaining depth for acoustic purposes while keeping a comfortable profile. This versatile instrument can be tuned in a variety of ways, the most popular being GDAD and GDAE (lowest to highest). The four double courses are often tuned in unisons, but some prefer to tune the two bass courses in octaves. This gives a particularly ringy, shimmery effect, similar to a 12-string guitar. The action feels sweet with a zero fret, which I recommend, but the design can also accommodate a standard nut.

  • Scale length - 20.8 to 23
  • Body width - 12.75
  • Total length - 33
  • Options

Modern Bouzouki

Part of an ongoing thread of innovation, this instrument stands out as an instrument where the performer and listener both find an equally brilliant tonal clarity. With a large single side soundport, the performer is immersed in the tone of the instrument. The full power of the resonating soundboard is free to project, uninterrupted by the soundhole.

Again, choice of tonewoods and fine-tuning of the bracing pattern can be used to achieve the desired sound quality.

Includes custom fitted Ameritage case.

  • Scale length - 24 to 25.5
  • Body width - 15.5
  • Options

Octave Mandolin

My octave mandolin utilizes a flat-top design, and is built for responsive and intimate musical expression. It is optimized for a shorter scale length, lending a deeper tone while retaining the associated shimmer and clarity of tone.

As with the bouzouki, I offer the heavily arched back as an option for this instrument. The effect it has on projection is desirable for both solo and group settings, and players have reported it has a tendency to enhance dynamics and nuances of playing.

  • Scale length - 20.8 to 23.5
  • Body width - 13.75
  • Total length - 29
  • Options

Contact & Information


JBH Guitars
Josh Humphrey
209 S Anderson St.
Ellensburg, WA 98926

(541) 954-2621


Current wait time on orders is roughly 6-8 months. I am accepting orders for the models you see on this site, as well as custom and hybrid instruments. You can get an idea about what I might build based on the work pictured, but I am always willing to pursue additional avenues, so don't hesitate to ask!

Base price for guitar and oud is $4000, for bouzouki $3500. Once you decide to order, I accept a $500 deposit, with the balance due upon completion. All prices include a custom case. Flight cases are available by request for an additional charge, and required for international shipping.