South America ATLAS of Plucked Instruments 

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South America

This page contains most countries of South America :
Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile.

For the other countries of America see : Central America/Caribbean or North America.

Remember that many instruments are played all over the continent (not just in the countries I have put them here), and because they are locally made, you may find quite a lot of variety in shape and even in the number of strings.

For lots of information, especially about the different tunings of all Central and South American instruments, see Pacoweb.

 

 

 

top Venezuela
cuatro
example : bought in Quito, Ecuador, 1986
L=760 B=240 H=90mm
scale 510mm
You Tube
cuatro

The cuatro is the national instrument of Venezuela, and of course it is so called because it has 4 strings. Other names are : guitarra pequeña, guitarrita, guitarilla.
There are similar instruments with five (cinco) and six (seis) strings (see further on).
The cuatro is also used in part of Colombia.

The cuatro is made like a small guitar, with a flat back. The top of the front (above the top half of the soundhole) has inlay of different (darker) wood, often in a different pattern.

The neck has a flat peg head, with usually 2x2 tuning machines. The fingerboard is flush with the front and has metal frets. It has often a mixed inlay of different woods.

The 4 nylon strings run to a rectangular bridge, which is glued to the front.

Tuning is similar to a guitar : a d' f#' b.

Playing is strumming chords for accompaniment, often with a special effect of rhythmic damping the strings with the palm of the right hand.

 

See for the history : Cuatro (in Spanish).

 

top  
cuatro
example : bought via internet from LeLuthier, Venezuela, 2004
L=740 B=310 H=95mm
scale 460mm
You Tube
bandola llanera

The bandola is a kind of cuatro, but with a pear shaped body. It is a melodic instrument. It comes in two different types : the bandola llanera ("from the plains") and the bandola oriental (see under). The last one can be further divided in the bandola central and the bandola guayanese. These bandolas are also used in some areas of Colombia.

The bandola llanera (with 4 single strings) is the most popular. It is made like a guitar, with a flat back, and the top half of the body running almost parallel to the neck. The top of the front (from above half the round soundhole) has often a layer of darker veneer (like the cuatro).

The fingerboard is slightly raised above the front, and has metal frets. The flat tuning head has 2x2 tuning machines. The 4 nylon strings run to a glued bridge on the front.

The 4 nylon strings are often tuned : a d' a' e".

 

 

In Colombia exists an instrument which is also called a bandola (see further on), but which is a type of bandurria, with many strings. In Venezuela this instrument is called bandola andina.

top  
bandola oriental
example : bought via internet from LeLuthier, Venezuela, 2005
L=750 B=310 H=950mm
scale 450mm
You Tube
bandola oriental

The bandola oriental is often quite similar to the bandola llanera. However the number of strings is different : it has 4 double strings (like a mandolin). This type of instrument is further divided in a bandola central and a bandola guayanese - called after the different regions where they are played. These two usually have metal strings, while in the pure "oriental" (the east) they prefer nylon strings.

In some regions slightly different body versions exist, like the example : with a square body top and a smaller extra soundhole, and with the 4 double courses made of nylon. The entire instrument is painted brown.

The tuning of the bandola oriental is often like a mandolin : gg d'd' a'a' e"e" , but many different tunings are in use.
The tuning of the bandola central is usually : ee' aa dd' gg' (like a guitar) and of the bandola guayanese : gg' dd' a'a' e"e" (like a mandolin).

Playing is the style of Jorope, a kind of rhythmic form in 6/8, which is different in the three different regions.


Note :
In Trinidad and Tobago a similar bandola with 4 double courses is used, which is called a bandol.

In Colombia exists an instrument which is also called a bandola (see further on), but which is a type of bandurria, with many strings. In Venezuela this instrument is called bandola andina.

top  
seis cinco
example : bought via internet from LeLuthier, Venezuela, 2005
L=880 B=275 H=85mm
scale 580mm
You Tube
seis and cinco

Besides the cuatro and bandola there is another type of guitar, with different numbers of strings - the first number (in Spanish name) gives the total number of strings, and the second number gives the number of courses : cinco cuatro / cinco / seis cinco /seis / cinco y medio.

These instruments are all made like a normal guitar, with a flat back. However the back and the front sticks a few mm over the side. The neck has a fingerboard, slightly higher than the front, with metal frets.
The flat tuning head has friction pegs from behind, and an extra strip of veneer between the pegs. The nylon strings run to a square bridge (glued to the front), which is as wide as the soundboard at that place.

The arrangement and number of strings gives the instrument its name :

cuatro 4 strings in 4 single courses
cinco cuatro 5 strings in 4 courses (the 4th double)
cinco 5 strings in 5 single courses
seis cinco 6 strings in 5 courses (the 4th double)
seis 6 strings
cinco y medio 5 strings plus a short extra string from the top of the body
cuatro y medio 4 strings plus a short extra string
octavo 8 strings in 4 double courses

These instruments are popular in the area of Llana, but I am told that the "y medio" type is now rather out of fashion (see under). For lots of information about Venezuelan cuatros and family see Cuatro (in Spanish).

The example instrument is a seis cinco : the 4th course is double (in octaves).
Tuning could be : e aA d' f# b

top  
cinco y medio
example : bought via internet from LeLuthier, Venezuela, 2007
L=750 B=225 H=85mm
scale 480/210mm
You Tube

 

cinco y medio

A cinco y medio is a slightly smaller type of guitar with a different number of strings : a cinco with five nylon strings, plus a short one ("medio" = half) from the heel of the neck.

The instrument itself is made like the cinco and the seis (see above), with the bridge over the full width of the body. The difference in these folk instruments is principaly the size; the instruments are : the sexto (six string) biggest (not on Pacoweb pages); the cinco (smaller than sexto); the medio cinco (smaller than cinco) and the cuatros.

This kind of instrument is rarely played anymore, and mainly only in a little region of Lara State, called El Tocuyo. And not even all the time, but mainly during the "Tamunangue", folkloristic music for a traditional religious celebration (see Venaventours).

The cinco y medio and cuatro y medio are not essential for Tamunangue. There are 2 sizes for the cinco y medio and cuatro y medio : the Sanare ("little town") style (in Pacoweb pages) and the El Tocuyo style. The Sanare style has no double strings and the normal tuning is like an extended cuatro : 5 strings+half. The El Tocuyo cinco y medio has also 5 strings, but with only 4 courses; the lowest is an octaved pair (it is called a requinto on Paco web).

Tuning of the Sanara style cinco y medio could be : e a d f'# b' (e'),
and of the El Tocuyo style cinco y medio : a'a d f'# b' (e').

The above information is provided by Luthier.


The example instrument is a cinco y medio in El Tocuyo style, and so has one double course.
As this instrument is now quite rare, it had to be specially made for me.

   
top Brazil
violão de sete cordas
example : picture from website Rozini.com
L=0 B=0 H=0mm
scale 0mm
You Tube
normal 6 string
You Tube
7-string
violão de sete cordas

In Brazil the classical guitar is very popular, but as they speak Portuguese in Brazil, they call it violão, like in Portugal. The name guitarra is also used, but mainly for electric guitars. For the viola see further on.

The violão is used for choros music, with bossa novas, etc. Famous players are /were Baden Powel, (Antonio) Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, etc. This music is wellknown for using complicated chords and rhythms.

To make it easier to use deeper bass notes, the addition of a (low) 7th string became popular and now most Brazilian brands of instrument factories (Rozini, Giannini, etc.) make 7-string instruments, known as violão de sete cordas ("guitar with seven strings"). These instruments are the same size as the normal classical guitar, but with 4 tuning machines on the left side.

The 7th string is usually tuned to B', making the tuning : B' E A d g b e'.

 

 

top  
viola caipira
example : Rozinni, bought via internet from ABCMusical.com,
Sao Paulo, 2003
L=970 B=320 H=85mm
scale 580mm
You Tube
viola caipira

The viola is the steelstrung guitar of Brazil, similar to the violas in Portugal. It is slightly smaller than a classical guitar, and has 5 double metal courses. It is also called viola de dez cordes ("with ten strings") or viola sertaneja (see under), but the instrument often can be the same.

The instrument is made like a slightly smaller and often slender guitar (bit old fashioned), with a flat back. The fingerboard is slightly raised above the front and has a flat tuning head, with 5 tuning machines on both sides of the open pegbox.
The 10 metal strings (in 5 courses) run to a flat guitar bridge glued to the front.

There exist dozens of tunings for the viola, but often the tuning is open, for easy playing, like : aA d'D f#'f# aa d'd'.

 

 

 

 

One of the most famous solo players on viola is Roberto Corrêa, who also wrote some courses for it (in Portuguese).

top  

viola sertaneja
example : Rozini Vibrante, bought via Brazilian friend,
2013

L=970 B=340 H=85mm
scale 580mm
You Tube
sertaneja duo
You Tube
cantorias duo
viola sertaneja

The viola sertaneja is a viola, usually similar in appearance as the viola caipira. It has (like all violas) 5 double metal courses and is slightly smaller than a guitar.

The viola sertaneja is used in the Sertaneja music - a kind of Brazilian Country&Western Music, played in the North East of Brazil.

There exist dozens of tunings for the viola, but often the tuning is open, for easy playing, like : aA d'D f#'f# aa d'd'.

In the area of Olinda (NE Brazil, just north of Recife) the Delvecchio type of viola is much used by "cantoria de viola" : a duo of singers ("repentistas"), who each in turn improvise a song, accompanying themselves on a viola. They use 4 single strings and the lowest course triple, in a normal guitar tuning - although they usually strum on only one simple chord (A-maj).

This viola ("Dinamico") is a specific Brazilian kind of resonator guitar, developed and made by the Brazilian guitar factory of DelVecchio, separate from the dobros and triolians in USA. The Brazilian factory Rozini now makes this Dinamico style viola under the name : Viola Vibrante.


In 2005 this man in Olinda offered to sell me his Delvecchio viola and I declined.... (see my own Delvecchio guitar in the steelguitar section).

His viola was a Dinamico (kind of dobro-style guitar); his mate used a normal looking guitar with stringholder. Both instruments were made by the factory of DelVecchio.
Some Dinamico violas have more soundholes round the bridge : we saw up to 10.

top  
viola de cocho
example :
bought via internet from ABCMusical.com,
São Paulo, 2003
L=660 B=250 H=100mm
scale 455mm
You Tube
viola de cocho

In the province of Mato Grosso (in South West Brazil) this remarkable instrument is in use. It is there even promoted as "national instrument", although it is unknown anywhere else in Brazil.

The viola de cocho is carved from one single piece of (light)wood (the body, neck and tuning head), and hollowed out. A thin piece of light wood is glued to the front. A similar but darker wood is used for the fingerboard (flush with the front) and a veneer glued on the peghead, which bends slightly backwards. There is no soundhole.
The instrument is left plain : no varnish at all - so it looks unfinished. The top of the body used to be more rounded, but the latest models seem to be with a sharper curve.

At most 3, but usually only 2 frets are used (the 2nd and 3th). The frets are made out of animal guts, tied-on, but also glued with wax. It has 5 friction pegs from behind. The 5 (now nylon) strings run to a square bridge glued to the front.

The tuning is either g d e a d' , or : g c e a d' .

The sound is indeed what you expect : soft and dull and not very pleasing....

See for more information Viola-de-Cocho (in Portuguese).

picture from the CD of viola music by Roberto Correa.

 

 

 

Both the viola of mr. Roberto Correa and the example instrument are made by Mr. Manoel Severino de Moraes in Cuiaba, one of the few makers of the viola de cocho, who was already more than 70 years old.
Pity I did not have time to visit him when I was in Cuiaba in 2005.

top  
cavaquinho
example : Rozini, bought via internet from ABCMusical.com,
São Paulo, 2003
L=620 B=235 H=65mm
scale 340mm
You Tube
solo cavaco
You Tube
duo with banjo model
cavaquinho

Although basically the same string length as a ukulele, because of the wide guitar shape the Brazilian cavaquinho looks much bigger. The name is usually shortened to "cavaco". It is also available in a banjo-model.

The instrument is made (and looks) like a small (spanish) guitar, only with 4 metal strings. The tuning is usually d' g' b' d''.

It is used in all kinds of Brazilian music, either by strumming or picking.

 

 

 

a cavaco in banjo-model, very popular around Rio de Janeiro, to play pop samba

 

 


(picture from eBay)

top  
bandolim
example : Giannini, bought via internet from ABCMusical.com,
São Paulo, 2003
L=645 B=310 H=65mm
scale 340mm
You Tube
bandolim

This is just a normal size flat back mandolin, but with the Portuguese name bandolim.

The typical Brazilian shape resembles much the Portuguese Guitarra.

 

 

top  

guitarra baiana
example :
Marques, bought via
Mercado Libre, 2010

L=650 B=240 H=40mm
scale 350mm
You Tube
guitarra baiana

The guitarra baiana ('Bahian Guitar') is basically a solid body electric mandolin. It has 4 or 5 single courses, with the string-length similar to a cavaquinho or a bandolim.

The guitarra baiana evolved from the strange looking "pau elétrico" ("electric log") around 1940 in Salvador, Brazil, at the same time as Les Paul and Leo Fender were developing the first solid body electric guitar in USA.

By the mid 1970s, when the "cavaquinho elétrico" became popular among Brazilian Pop musicians, it adopted the name guitarra baiana. Nowadays they are made like small electric guitars - in any possible shape.

The usual tuning is like a mandolin : g d' a' e'', or with 5 strings : c g d' a' e''.

The guitarra baiana is mainly used to play an instrumental musical style called 'Frevo' during Bahian Carnival, usually using a moving truck as stage for the band, known as 'Trio Elétrico'. These groups are still called like this, even if there are more musicians.

For more information see guitarra-baiana.com.

 

right : the difference in size with a normal guitar.

top  

craviola
example :
bought via eBay.com 2012

L=1050 B=390 H=95mm
scale 650mm
You Tube
craviola

The Brazilian guitar-factory Giannini makes a special shaped guitar : the craviola. The name comes from the cravo (harpsichord) and the viola (the ten-string Brazilian guitar). The instrument is designed in 1969 by guitar-player Paulino Nogueira. The name and shape are patented by Giannini.

Craviolas are made in 6- and 12-string versions, and with both steel or nylon strings. Basically they are made like normal guitars, but the left side of the body is half pear shaped, and the right side follows a flowing line that gives a better hold on your knee. The soundhole is straight on the top, where it joins the end of the fingerboard.

Although mainly used in Brazil, these instruments are now also available on the international market.

See for the different Craviola models the website of Giannini, who uses the shape now also for solid body electric guitars.

   
top Colombia
tiple
example :
bought via internet from Qué Nota, Colombia 2014
L=900 B=340 H=105mm
scale 530mm
You Tube
You Tube
requinto
tiple

The Colombian tiple (pronounced "tea-play"), or tiple Colombiano, looks like a normal classical guitar (only slightly smaller), but with 12 metal strings, divided in 4 courses of 3 strings.
The tuninghead is traditionally slotted - like a classical guitar -, but nowadays it may be flat, with mechanical tuners from behind (6 on each side).

The tuning is like the 4 top strings of a guitar, but without real bass strings:
d'dd' g'gg' b'bb' e'e'e'.

There is another, similar looking instrument, also with 4 courses, but with all strings in unison, which is called tiple requinto.
Some have only 10 strings, with the tuning :
d'd' g'g'g' b'b'b' e'e'.
The requinto is smaller (hence the name) and some makers make the body in the shape of a large violin.

The tiple is mainly used for strumming chords; the requinto is more used for playing melodies.

 

 

Left : a more traditional looking tiple, from BoliviaMall.com



top  

bandola
example :
bought from a Colombian friend in Holland, 2007

L=740 B=320 H=100mm
scale 340mm
You Tube

bandola

The Colombian bandola is in fact a bandurria (see Spain). It is sometimes called the bandola Andina Colombiana, and it is also played in parts of Venezuela.

The bandola is made like a guitar, with a flat back and the body shaped like a pear. The fingerboard is slightly raised above the front, and has metal frets.

It has 6 metal courses, which run over/through a guitar-like bridge (glued to the front) to a metal stringholder at the end of the body.

Some bandolas have 12 strings (in 6 double courses, like the Spanish bandurria), but most of the Colombian bandolas have 16 strings, with the 4 top courses triple. Note that in the Philippines exists a similar looking bandurria with 14 strings.

The tuning is like a Spanish bandurria in 5-5-5-5-5 (frets) :
f#f# bb e'e'e' a'a'a' d''d''d'' g''g''g''.

For more information see Harpguitars (in Spanish).
See for more plucked instruments of Colombia : Coleccion (in Spanish).

Note : there is a similar named instrument (with 4 strings) in Venezuela, which is (with the Venezuelan cuatro) also used in some areas of Colombia.

detail of the bridge
   
top Ecuador
bandolin
example :
bought via eBay, 2007
L=800 B=260 H=80mm
scale 430mm
You Tube
bandolin

The bandolin from Ecuador has a body shaped much like a bandola or mandolin, but it has 5 courses of triple metal strings, in a guitar-tuning.

The bandolin is made like a guitar, with a flat back. The fingerboard is slightly raised above the front, and has metal frets. The long flat tuning head has 7 tuning machines on the right side and 8 tuning machines on the left side of the open pegbox.

The 15 metal strings (in triple unison courses, with only the two lowest ones with a low octave string in the middle) run over a loose bridge to a metal stringholder on the end of the body. This makes it different from the bandurria from Peru, which has a similar body shape, but with the strings fixed to a guitar-like bridge.

The tuning is guitar-like : e"e'e" a"a'a" d"d"d" fis" fis" fis" b"b"b".

 

   
top Peru
charango
example : bought in Puno, Peru 1980
L=600 B=150 H=75mm
scale 355mm
You Tube
charango

The most well-known instrument of South America is the charango, which can be found in most countries along the Andes : Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

The charango is usually made from one block of wood (body plus a large part of the neck), hollowed out. The rest of the neck with the flat pegbox is glued to it. The fingerboard is usually slightly raised to the front. Although originally with friction pegs from behind, nowadays tuning machines are used on both sides of the open tuning head.

The charango has 10 nylon strings fixed to a small glued-on bridge. Older ones may have thin metal strings.

It uses a special tuning : the 4 lower courses are tuned like a guitar, but the top course is a repeat of the third : 5-4-5-7 : g'g' c'c' e''e' a'a' e''e''.

Playing a charango is usually strumming with the fingers in a strong rhythmic pattern, often interspaced with blocking the sound with the palm of the hand.

For more information and links see charangobolivia.

Different types of body of Peruvian charangos :
- a calabas,
- an armadillo,
- carved wood
top  

bandurria
example :
bought from Peru via Dutch friend, 2008

L=790 B=270 H=55mm
scale 360mm
You Tube

bandurria

In Peru (and Bolivia) they use a kind of mandolin, which is called bandurria. Although its shape resembles somewhat the Spanish bandurria (with 6 double strings), it has in fact only 4 courses. Usually the courses are with double metal strings, but often with 3, 4 or even 5 strings per course, resulting in 8, 12, 16 or even 20 strings in total.

The body is constructed like a guitar, with a flat back. The strings are fastened to a guitar-like bridge, glued to the front.

The tuning is often guitar-like :
(for 4x 4 strings) : d"d'd"d" g'gg'g' b'b'b'b' e"e"e"e", or many other tunings.

Playing is strumming like on the charango.

left : picture from friend in Peru
right : picture from Japanese website

   
top Bolivia
quirquincho
example : bought in Cuzco, Peru 1980
L=0 B=0 H=0mm
scale 0mm
You Tube
quirquincho

This is the name sometimes used for a charango with the body made from the back of a small armadillo.

These charangos are often more pear-shaped. The older ones may also have friction pegs (from the back) and metal strings, with the 1st and 3th course sometimes triple.

 

top  
hualaycho
example : bought via internet from Boliviamall.com, 2004
L=595 B=140 H=75mm
scale 330mm
You Tube
hualaycho

The hualaycho is a small charango, sometimes also spelled walaycho, and sometimes also called maulincho.

In fact only the body is smaller, the string length is only slightly less than the normal charango. The sound though is much sharper.

Normal tuning : d'd' g'g' b"b' e"e" b"b" or higher.

 

 

top  
ronrroco
example : bought via internet from Tiendaslatinas, 2003
L=780 B=240 H=130mm
scale 485mm
You Tube

ronrroco

The ronrroco (notice the two RR's, but often spelled ronroco) is a large charango, which is only a quite recent invention.

The body (and part of the neck) of the ronrroco is always carved from one piece of wood, hollowed out. The rest of the neck with the tuning head is separate and glued to the body. The body shape of a ronrroco is not rounded, but quite square/angular, especially the bottom half. The top of the front is made of a darker coloured wood.

It has 10 nylon strings, basically tuned like a charango, but with the first and third course dropped an octave, so lower than the second course, and the lower courses in octaves.

Normal tuning would be : a'a c"c' e'e a'a' e'e' .

 

Note that a slightly smaller ronrroco (but bigger than the normal charango) exist and is called charangon or bariton charango. They often look like a large charango, and are tuned like : c'c' f'f' a"a' d"d" a"a".

top  
chillador
example : bought via internet from Charangoalba, 2005
L=640 B=180 H=80mm
scale 370mm
You Tube

chillador

The chillador is a charango made like a small guitar, so with a (flat) back and separate sides (so not carved from one piece of wood).

Other names are : charango de caja, charango anzaldeño.

 

 

 

top  
ranka charango
example : bought via internet from Worldfrets, 2006
L=530 B=135 H=100mm
scale 340mm

ranka charango

The ranka charango is a quite crummy looking charango, with a high bended back, 6 high wooden frets on a fingerboard, flush with the front. The front and back go a few millimeters over the sides. The instrument is left unvarnished ("rustic"). It is very light in weight.

It has 10 nylon strings in 5 courses, and an extra "diablito" string from a peg at the right side of the neck.
Tuning would be : d'd' a'a' g'g' c"c" g" (g"').

The ranka charango is mainly used in the area of Mizque in Cochabamba, and is made in different sizes (string length from 32 to 77 cm).

The high back of the ranka charango

 

top  
khonkhota
example : bought via internet from Tiendaslatinas, 2003
L=990 B=280 H=140mm
scale 655mm
You Tube
khonkhota

There are several similar looking guitars like this one : in different sizes, with different number of strings and tunings, and with different names.

In general they are a crummy looking guitar, with about 5 (high) wooden frets, and a black painted fingerboard, alternating with unpainted bits between the frets.
The front and the back of the body stick a few millimeters over the deep sides.

Often there are tree-like decorations painted on the front near the bridge. Also the circles round the small soundholes are painted on. The entire instrument is left unvarnished ("rustic").

 

The example instrument is a hybrid : it has a short string (diablito) from a peg at the right side of the neck, near the body and it has 5 metal double courses.
The proper khonkhota is usually a 4 course instrument with a bit smaller body.

 

 

top  

charanguita
example :
picture from website guitarrasjaimeschorr.blog
L=0 B=0 H=0mm
scale 0mm
You Tube

charanguita

The charanguita is a recently developed hybrid instrument combining a guitar with a charango. It is also called guitaranco.

Most have one body and two necks side by side (like the western double-neck guitar combination of guitar-plus-mandolin or guitar-plus-bass guitar).

Others have on one side of the body (the front side) a guitar neck and one the other side (the back side) a charango neck (back to back).
You may also see instruments with a neck on both sides of the body (so it looks like one long neck with a body in the middle). These seem difficult to balance.

 

 

 

 

top  

hatun charango
example :
made by J. Aruquipa,
bought via BoliviaMall 2011
L=665 B=210 H=60mm
scale 370/380mm
You Tube

hatun charango

The hatun charango is a very new instrument. It is designed by Federico Tarazona from Peru. As a classical guitar player he first altered a normal size flatback charango into a 5-course “guitar” (charango barroco), on which he played 16th century vihuela and later baroque music, like on a (small) European baroque guitar (it even got a layered rosette !). Later he kept part of the charango-tuning and added two extra strings on the bass side, getting a 7 course instrument, with single strings, except the 3th course which is double (in octaves). For some reason the two extra bass strings have a slightly longer scale, so all the frets for these two strings had to be separate from the main frets. Some builders have (quite practical) abandoned the different scales and keep all strings the same length. This model is called the hatun charango (although sometimes also his first 5-course model seems to use that name).

The hatun charango is made like a small guitar, so with build up sides and a flat back - not carved from one block of wood.

The main strings have the common string length for charangos of 37cm, while the two bass strings are 38cm. If you ommit the top string, the 6 strings are in the common guitar-like tuning (although with the top string in a lower octave).

Tuning of the hatun charango is : a d’ g’ c” e”e’ a” e”.

So far it seems mainly used to play fingerstyle “classical” guitar music on it, with harp-like effects.

For more information see the website of the designer : Federico Tarazona .

top  
   
top Argentina

guitarrón
example :
picture from folklorenoaargento
L=0 B=0 H=0mm
scale 0mm
You Tube
guitarrón (argentino )

In Argentina exists an instrument which is called guitarrón (or guitarrón cuyano), which is a normal Spanish guitar (maybe a bit bigger), or sometimes a more Jumbo style guitar is used.

It has 6 nylon strings, but tuned with the (normal second string) b as top string, and an extra low 6th B'. So the tuning is : B' E A d g b .

It is often used to accompany normal classical guitars in Cuyano Music, and in Tango style music.

 

   
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tiple
example :
bought via internet from Rumillajta, 2002
L=910 B=320 H=100mm
scale 530mm
You Tube
tiple

The tiple ("tea-play") from Chile is quite similar to the tiple of Colombia, both in size and tuning. It even may have been made in Colombia.

The tiple is made like a normal acoustic guitar - but a bit smaller. In Chile some are made with a cut-out wooden rosette in the soundhole, and often a bit more decorated than the Colombian tiple.

The tiple has 12 metal strings in 4 triple courses and is tuned like a guitar, with no bass strings: d'dd' g'gg' b'bb' e'e'e'.

 

example :
picture from website Palmguitar, tiple with wooden rosette

 

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guitarron chileno
example : bought via internet from the maker Anselmo Jaramillo, Santiago 2005
L=960 B=295 H=125mm
scale 580mm
You Tube
guitarrón chileno

This is quite a rare instrument, but very interesting. It is only used in Chile, as an accompaniment by so-called "poetas populares" - rural singer/composers of popular poetry.

Although the name guitarron is similar to the huge bass guitar of Mexico, this version in Chile is a normal size guitar, but with 25 (!!) strings, and most of those are quite thin.

The guitarrón chileno is build like a normal guitar, with a flat back, and high sides. The neck is quite wide and the tuning head has 3 slits to fit 3 rows of 7 tuning machines. On both sides of the neck a bit of wood is fixed to the side of the body, where another 2x2 tuning machines are fitted for the "diablito" strings. The bridge is in the shape of a half moon, with two bat-like wings extending to the top. All strings are fixed to the bridge.

The tuning is guitar-like, with 5 courses:
f#" a'
d'd'ddD g'g'g'g'gg c'c'cC e'e'e' a'a'a'
g' b'

The top 2 courses are triple, the 3th is 4-double, the 4th 6-double and the 5th 5-double.
The diablitos are only occasionally struck.

Playing is mainly arpeggio style to accompany the singing poet (usually by himself).

 

Picture from cassette : Renacer del Guitarrón Chileno.

 

The example instrument was found with the friendly help of
Jorge Salazar, who has even a video of this instrument
being played on his website : Machali .

   
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