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Review: Peter Zwinakis Selmer Petite Bouche

Well, as the old standard goes, "I guess I'm just a lucky so and so". I received my new Zwinakis guitar yesterday purchased here from our esteemed host and it is amazing. I wanted to write a review to de-mystify Mr Zwinakis a bit. He is not Brazilian, although Buffalo Bros currently is selling a Brazilian version of his selmer style for a ridiculously low price

He's also very nice and approachable through his website

And finally and most importantly, the dude is a BADASS! This is my second gypsy guitar, my other being a Rodrigo Shopis Dhole which there is a review of elsewhere. Rodrigo has an old world quality to his instruments that feel like you are paying an old violin. The Zwinakis is more like picking up your favorite stratocaster (If strats were hand made pieces of art!) Everything is meticulously perfect, from the beautiful almost white European Spruce top, to the curly walnut neck, to the real pliage. Try and find another real pliage for under 5k! I really cannot describe properly just how damn cool this guitar looks. The rosette, the almost perfectly straight rosewood on the back and sides, the iridescent tuners... bad to the bone.

Playing this thing is a dream! The neck is perfect, fat but fast. Every note on the fretboard is balanced and loud.

Of course it is the sound that I'm really psyched about. I happen to be one of those weird ex-rock and roll guys who prefers solid woods and tone. I have not fully embraced the treble mania of most sel-mac style guitars. But this guitar is the first in the traditional vain I've really started to understand. It is loud as hell and last night filled the little bar I was playing up with sound. There is a complexity to the highs on this guitar (and I guess most good sel/macs) that I've read about on the forum here, but didn't truly grasp until now. It is a crystal like clarity to each note. The highs shimmer and sing above you, and as they disperse through the room they seem to become even more complex! I guess that is the genius behind the petite bouche, it is really freaking cool! This guitar also has the growl and bark a good rhythm should have when you dig in on chords. Snappy, barky, and beautiful.

Last night I played this one, while my buddy (a way better guitarist than myself) played the Shopis. We switched off often and banged through a bunch of standards. Both guitars were such a joy to play for totally different reasons. Again I fall back on my rock and roll days and compare the Dhole SHopis to a kick ass Gibson 335 or Les Paul, while the Zwinakis was more like playing the best fender strat you ever played. I really think Peter will be the next builder everyone is talking about, so snatch up his guitars NOW while you can.
One writes music because winter is eternal and if one didn't, the wolves and the blizzards would be at one's throat all the sooner.
-David Mitchell


  • B25GibB25Gib Bremerton WA✭✭✭✭ Holo Busato, Dell 'Arte Hommage, Gitane D-500
    Posts: 172
    ....Such a sensory rush too be excited about the tone and playability of your latest guitar purchase! Congratulations and glad that your rock roots are stimulated/expanded by Shopis and Zwinakis! I'd like too hear your two guitars also! But too increase exposure and sales of Peter Z's creations (since he is on the W. Coast of US) IMO; however, he needs to attend and display his guitars at the DjangoFest NW festival in Langley WA in late Sept. Both Seattle and Portland have a large community of players that can test/critique his guitars and hopefully buy and therefore expose his guitars playabilty and tonal signature to the GJ community and then sales can expand nationally.
    ....Maybe you could suggest this idea to him. Us players in the NW would appreciate playing his guitars!
    .....Cheers, Rocky
  • pzwinakispzwinakis New
    Posts: 9
    If it's at all possible for me to be there with instruments, I'll be there.

    Regards, Peter Z
  • noahfuturenoahfuture ✭✭✭
    Posts: 61
    See! Told you he was really cool! :D
    One writes music because winter is eternal and if one didn't, the wolves and the blizzards would be at one's throat all the sooner.
    -David Mitchell
  • I have to say, if anyone is thinking about buying one of his guitars, do it. I'm at 8 months with mine (one of the Mystery varieties). Initially the action was way to high and I had it lowered to about 3.0mm 6 weeks ago. I was afraid that it was going to eliminate some of the volume, but it doesn't. In a recent seminar with Gonzalo, he remarked at how loud the thing is.

    Anyway, the wood is sort of settling in and I've had a chance to play it almost every day since she's arrived. It feels louder, gets that very tasty bark when I dig in, and plays real nice with my partner's MDC 60 D-Hole. coming from a really quiet Dell'Arte, I feel like I work hard on technique to play rhythm on this soft.

    So, buy one or at least try one/ I would do it again.
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