What instrument is this?

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:56 am

Hi all, I came across this instrument at the market this morning and despite quite a bit of searching, I can't actually pinpoint what it is. It is made in Peru, four string, has a tie block, solid top and an underwood pickup installed. 26 inch scale. I'm mostly interested in the correct strings and tuning for this. It's in good condition apart from a few bad cracks in the top.
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Last edited by Evan on Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:58 am

More photos.
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Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:01 am

And again
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gilles T
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by gilles T » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:20 am

Hello Evan,

Looks like a venezuelan cuatro (not to be confused with the puerto-rican cuatro, 10 metal strings in 5 courses).
D'addario carries a string set for this, reference EJ98.
Hope this helps,
regards.

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:52 am

Thanks Giles, I had a look, but the instrument I have is much larger. Bigger than a classical guitar with a deep body. Most likely a bass instrument.
Last edited by Evan on Sun Mar 24, 2019 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:58 am

Here it is, side by side with a standard Spanish guitar to give an idea of it's size.
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Seter
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 12:34 am
Location: Houston, TX

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Seter » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:55 pm

http://www.atlasofpluckedinstruments.co ... merica.htm Is a good resource for identifying mystery instruments. I'm not seeing any clear matches though. Perhaps tune it as a mandocello?

gilles T
Posts: 240
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:11 pm
Location: Paris, France

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by gilles T » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:45 pm

Good point, seter.

i did exactly the same as you a few hours ago (BTW, this site is a fantastic resource) but to no avail.
I also tried to google "guitarra peruana de 4 cuerdas" but came out with no result to match the pics of Evan's instrument.
So the mystery deepens... Interesting !

Regards.

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:07 am

Thanks for the replies and efforts to identify it. I have found the retailer where it originated on Facebook, and sent them a message with some photos. Hopefully that helps. I will enjoy looking through the website of stringed instruments. Thanks again.

robert e
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by robert e » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:22 am

Fascinating! Could it be a modernized (guitar style) león (for Mexican son jarocho music)?

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:22 am

I assume the same Robert, that it's working life had been as a bass in an ensemble with a charango and an ocarina. The sticker inside is from a distributor, so hopefully they may be able to shed some light on it, although maybe not as it is probably 40 or more years old. It's well made, nice wooden binding and no deterioration of any of the joins. Quite similar to a DiGiorgio guitar in its construction. No strap buttons, so it has been played sitting down I guess. The back is quite domed. I will update with any info I find out.

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:56 am

No luck with finding out anything about this instrument. At this point I am thinking it might be a custom instrument that someone has had made up for a specific purpose. I contacted the shop on the label, but only found a salesman who really didn't try to answer any questions. I have ordered strings for it, La Bella singles in .080, .064, .040 and .032, and I plan to try tuning it like a standard bass guitar and see how that goes. Not sure if I will fix the cracks on the top, or just leave it as is.

robert e
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by robert e » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:40 pm

Good luck, Evan! I look forward to hearing how this turns out.

Marshall Dixon
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 5:06 pm
Location: SW Oregon

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Marshall Dixon » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:36 pm

Evan wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:56 am
No luck with finding out anything about this instrument. At this point I am thinking it might be a custom instrument that someone has had made up for a specific purpose. I contacted the shop on the label, but only found a salesman who really didn't try to answer any questions. I have ordered strings for it, La Bella singles in .080, .064, .040 and .032, and I plan to try tuning it like a standard bass guitar and see how that goes. Not sure if I will fix the cracks on the top, or just leave it as is.
Hi Evan,

Strung it up yet? If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck...

Check out the bass guitarist Guto Wirtti. There is a clip of him playing bass in a duet of Mazurka Choro by Villa-Lobos on you(r) tube with a good shot of him in the beginning.

Marshall

Evan
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:18 am

Re: What instrument is this?

Post by Evan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:03 am

Thanks Marshall, I put the strings on two days ago, and am very happy with the results. Nice low action, beautiful detailed sound with the nylon bass strings. The g string is a bit buzzy, but nothing that can't be fixed with a bit of a lighter touch. The crack in the top does worry me though. It had become a bit more noticeable with the string tension on the top.
IMG20190412155132.jpg
I'm going to see a friend shortly who may be able to make the structural repair.

I looked up the Villa Lobos you mentioned. Great version, and this bass would be totally suitable for something like that.

Cheers

Evan
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