Folk & Acoustic Musical Instrument Specialists

Charango Information and FAQs


Ten string instrument, made from the shell of an armadillo; an Amerindian version of the imported European mandolin; found in Andean region.


The Charango has a carved wooden or Armadillo shell back, and 10 nylon strings,


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Charango Basics

By Martyn Panes

Tuning the Charango

The strings are tuned in pairs like a mandolin. The third pair is usually tuned to octaves, while the other four pairs are in unison. One striking aspect of the standard tuning is that the strings do not ascend uniformly from low to high. Rather, they jump up, down, up and up, forming an Am7 chord (with an E bass) all within one octave.

If possible use an electronic chromatic tuner for tuning or alternatively a standard guitar tuner can be used, the C string pair being held down on the second fret to sound a D note for the guitar tuner to register.

Some Charango Chords

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all chords possible on the Charango. It covers the simplest fingering to achieve all majors, sevenths, minors and minor sevenths, enough to accompany most songs!

With thanks to Martyn Panes for sending us this information.