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luthier: bouzouki making
 
Chris Pantezelos with a bouzuki, luthier: bouzouki making, 1999; Belmont, Massachusetts;
Chris Pantezelos with a bouzuki, luthier: bouzouki making, 1999

Belmont, Massachusetts
 
Chris Pantezelow (right) with his teacher, Peter Kyvelos; Apprenticeship - luthier: bouzouki making; 1999: Belmont, Massachusetts
Peter Kyvelos, owner of Unique Strings; Apprenticeship - luthier: bouzouki making; 1999: Belmont, Massachusetts
 
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Chris G. Pantazelos
Lowell, MA
verticle bar apprentice
Kosta Makredes
Melrose, MA
Chris Pantazelos is a luthier who specializes in Greek bouzouki and Armenian oud. In 2007, he was awarded an MCC Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant to teach Kosta "Charlie" Makredes the art of bouzouki building. Pantazelos and Makredes have been acquainted for over 20 years. Considered a virtuoso of the Bouzouki, Makredes has a deep appreciation for this instrument and the skill and intuition required to master its construction.

Similar to the mandolin, a bouzouki is a stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and a very long neck. Although Bouzouki building is very widely practiced in Greece, it is rare to find a luthier in the United States who personally completes every step in constructing this instrument. A professional luthier for over 20 years, Pantazelos takes great pride in doing just this.

Pantazelos immigrated to the United States at the age of 19. Growing up in Greece, his father played bouzouki and he studied classical guitar. However, Chris was never outwardly encouraged to pursue music, because traditional Greek society considered it a dishonorable way to make a living. Historically, the bouzouki had a negative connotation because of its roots in rembetika music, which in Asia Minor cities of the early 1900s, was associated with an urban subculture made up of refugees and criminals.

Here in the United States, Pantazelos continued his music studies, and also built his first guitar. He then apprenticed himself to Peter Kyvelos at Unique Strings in Belmont, MA. Under Peter's tutelage, Chris learned to use tools properly and improved his skills as a woodworker, while beginning to understand the theory behind the structure, sound qualities, aesthetics, and other mysterious properties of stringed instruments. He quickly learned that in order to advance to innovations and individual creativity, it is first necessary to master traditional forms and technique.
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