The bouzouki (plural sometimes transliterated as bouzoukia) is the mainstay of modern Greek music.
It is a stringed instrument with a pear-shaped body and a very long neck. The bouzouki is a member of the 'long neck lute' family and is similar to a mandolin.
The front of the body is flat and is usually heavily inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The instrument is played with a plectrum and has a sharp metallic sound.
Many musicians such as Manolis Chiotis and Giorgos Zampetas began using specially designed pickups to achieve a slightly thicker humbucker-like sound in the mid-1960s. These pickups are widely used by several Greek artists today and came in active and (usually) passive versions.
There are two main types of bouzouki:
Three-course, having three pairs of strings (courses). Four-course, having four pairs of strings.