Folk & Acoustic Musical Instrument Specialists













Guitarra Information and FAQs



DEFINITION


Portuguese guitar, usually 12 strings in 6 courses. curved fingerboard and fan type tuners. Closely associated with traditional Fado music. Directly related to mediaeval citterns and the English guitar.

INTRODUCTION


The Guitarra or Portuguese Guitar shares the fan tuners and shape of the English Guitar or Gittar which was popular across the British Isles in the 1700s. The modern Portuguese instrument has 12 strings on a strongly curved fingerboard, a teardrop shaped body with a slight bowl to the back. It is used primarily played as a duo with Guitar to accompany Fado songs. The thumb picks the bottom three strings with an Unha/Fado pick and the top three are picked with the fingers.

HISTORY

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This instrument is related to the English Guitar or Gittar (10 strings usually) and also to the German Waldzither which has 9 strings and key tuners, inline and not as fanned out as the English and Portuguese designs.

CHOOSING

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Lisboa 445mm scale, tuned DABEAB
Coimbra 470mm scalem tuned a tone lower than Lisbon.
Intruments are also made in Funchal, the capital of Madeira

MUSICAL STYLES

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Commonly called a Fado guitar because it is used to accompany mournful songs of the sea in the Fado tradition of Portugal.