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The Charango, A Captivating and Enchanting Musical Instrument

Charango 10 String Andean Guitar (68 cm)

Last Updated on 29 May 2024 – 08:15

The most Enchanting Musical Instrument with Excellent Clarity and Resonance

The charango is an amazingly small Andean 10 stringed instrument of the lute family. The instrument is widespread throughout the Andean regions of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, northern Chile and northwestern Argentina, where it is a popular musical instrument that exists in many variant forms.

How a Charango is Tuned

The basic charango has five pairs (or courses) of strings, typically tuned GCEAE. This tuning, disregarding octaves, is similar to the typical C-tuning of the ukulele or the Venezuelan cuatro, with the addition of a second E-course. Unlike most other stringed instruments, all ten strings are tuned inside one octave.

The five courses are pitched as follows (from 5th to 1st course): G4 G4 – C5 C5 – E5 E4 – A4 A4 -E5 E5.

Some charango players use “octave” strings on other pairs in addition to the middle course.

Note that the lowest pitch is the “E” string in the middle (3rd) course, preceded by the higher pitched “g” (5th) course and “c” (4th) course, and followed by still higher pitched “a” (2nd) course and “e” (1st) courses. This tuning pattern is known as a re-entrant pattern because the pitches of the strings do not rise steadily from one string or course to the next, but progress from high to low and then back to high pitch again.

Origins of the Charango

Charangos, originating from the Andes, which are about the size of a ukulele, were traditionally made out of armadillo shells, though today it’s more common to find them made out of wood. And what it lacks in size, the charango more than makes up for in sound, with a powerful projection that’s similar in tone to a classic guitar or mandolin.

About 66-68 cm long, the Charango was traditionally made with the shell from the back of an armadillo (called quirquincho or mulita in South American Spanish), but it can (and is these days) also made of wood, which some believe to be a better resonator.

Wood is more commonly used in modern instruments. Many contemporary and professional Charangos are now made with different types of wood. It typically has ten strings in five courses of two strings each, but many other variations exist.

The Charango was primarily played in traditional Andean music. A charango player is called a charanguista.

Most Charango’s are now exclusively made of wood due to Armadillo’s becoming a highly endangered species. Not only do we at SA Guitar Shop believe wood is better but we also do NOT support any trade in endangered wildlife.

Famous Artists who play the Charango

Blanco White (Josh Edwards)

Blanco White is the guise of guitarist, singer and songwriter Josh Edwards (born July 21, 1991), a Brit whose heart belongs in southern Spain and the Andean mountains.

At university Josh threw himself into studying Spanish, and originally from London, Edwards travelled to Cadiz (Spain) to study flamenco guitar under the guidance of Nono Garcìa, before going to Sucre (Bolivia) where he was introduced to traditional Andean musicà folklòrica (folk music) and learnt to play the charango, an Andean instrument.

Both instruments along with the places are pivotal to Blanco White’s hauntingly beautiful songwriting and otherworldly tunes, and architecture is a prominent feature in the visual art for the project.

Blanco’s music will captivate your soul and take you to mystical places. He is such a talented artist with music that mesmerises, captivates, haunts and even captures your soul. He truly is a master musician.

Charango’s Online in South Africa

I, the owner of became captivated by the Charango and bought one and started to learn to play it. It’s vastly different to anything you play but an absolutely magical instrument with so many possibilities.

You can now buy a Charango online in South Africa exclusively from me right here and I stock a full range of strings, straps and other accessories.

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