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Gift of Charles S. Sisk, Pierre, South Dakota, 1989.
This bouzouki is a rare example of Anastasios Stathopoulo's own early American production, a folk instrument from the maker's native Greece. The instrument is related to the modern Turkish bozuk, with a bowl-shaped body, long neck, and frets. Its repertoire included both improvised solos and songs. At the time this instrument was made, the bouzouki's reputation had suffered from an association with criminal activities, hashish smokers, and rebetika songs celebrating rough and ready street life. In the 1930s, the instrument attained a wider popularity through commercial recordings and gained a nationalistic flavor that overshadowed, to a certain extent, its past in the shadier elements of Greek society. NMM 4613 is a finely decorated instrument, with a gilded rose and a nineteen-stave bowl. Built originally with six strings (three double courses), but modified to eight strings (four double courses), probably in the 1950s, when the first eight-stringed bouzoukis were created. According to Andreas Nikatos, a bouzouki player active today, "the cool thing about an old original bouzouki is that there was always 8 tuners on the peghead, even though there were only 6 strings. The originals used mandolin parts, and the mandolin uses 8 strings; therefore, the peghead is original even though there are 8 tuners." The Stathopoulo family would later found Epiphone.