New musical instrument

  • #1
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Today I finally received the charango I ordered back in October. The eBay seller is in Bolivia, so it takes about 3 weeks to get from South America to where I live, not to mention that it has to go through customs. A charango is a small stringed instrument in the guitar family, about the size of ukulele, but with 10 strings arranged in 5 courses.

If you're of a certain age, you might remember the Simon and Garfunkel song, "El condor pasa," whose intro features charango music.

This is my second charango -- I bought one when my wife and I were in Argentina 11 years ago. That one has a nice sound, but the "action" is too high (strings are too high off the fretboard) so playing in any but the lowest frets causes the sounds to go sharp. It's also so small, I wasn't able to find anyone who could work on it. As a result, I lost interest in it.

The new one is from a better luthier, and after tuning it and playing it a bit, it seems to be just what I was looking for. I'm really a novice, but I've been playing guitar for a long time, so I hope to get a lot better at tocando mi charango.

Here's a picture. It's about 28" long, to give you an idea of its size. The body and neck are carved from a single piece of wood, and the top of the body and the fretboard are glued to the body. This one has mother-of-pearl or similar inlaid in the upper bout.
IMG_1603.JPG
 

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  • #2
kuruman
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Lovely instrument. I am looking forward to a video showcasing the sound of your new charango. I am nostalgically fond of "El condor pasa". :smile:
 
  • #3
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I won't be posting any videos where I'm playing the instrument, but here's one by someone who really knows how to play it.
 
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  • #4
StatGuy2000
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I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first time I've ever heard of a charango.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charango

It was interesting to read about the history of the instrument. According to the above Wikipedia article, the instrument is supposedly descended from the Spanish vihuela (an ancestor of the classical guitar) and was introduced to the indigenous peoples of the Andes by the Spanish conquistadors.
 

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