January 2020 – Seánie McGrath gets his SBB back

I think it’s fair to say that Seánie has had many bouzoukis over the years and all of them really nice instruments from top makers. It’s also not wrong to say that Seanie has quite a rapid turnover of said bouzoukis! As was the case with an SBB he bought from John Ryan in Dublin a few years ago.

I made the instrument originally back in 2011 and it was the second bouzouki I had built for John, the first being an LBB a few years earlier. John decided to part company with the SBB which Seanie duly bought. I had the instrument back shortly after he bought it to give it a long overdue service and also to refinish the top. It wasn’t too long after I returned the instrument to Seanie before he decided to move it on to make way for something else. And it wasn’t too long after he sold it that he realised he really missed it.

Well, a couple of months ago Seanie got in touch to say that he was trying to get the instrument back and just before Christmas succeeded. He sent it over to me for a quick service and another refinish of the top and also to change the original ebony heel with a piece of sycamore. He also added some ebony buttons for the Gotoh machine heads to really personalise the instrument.

I think it’s fair to say that he’s delighted to have it back again. I think he’s going to hang onto it this time – but then again, who knows….

I’ve been lucky in life to have owned some lovely Bouzoukis from other well known makers, but this Tobin is my “go-to” instrument, it just has it all!

The overall look and design is extremely well thought out and executed. Clean lines and and tight attention to detail makes Andy’s bouzoukis extremely unique. There is something simple yet very intricate about the look of them. The workmanship is just beautiful, and there are times I just can’t stop staring at it!

The sound is clear & punchy, with a strong crisp treble, but it also has a fantastic full low end tone, making it stand out and cut through in any session. The intonation is perfect all the way up the neck, so much so that I’ve never owned a bouzouki with so much playability as my SBB, and the more I play it the better it’s getting!

Keep doing what you’re doing Andy!

Seánie McGrath, Co. Clare, Ireland