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Thread: Should I buy a Charango?

  1. #1
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Should I buy a Charango?

    Have been offered a pretty good deal on one.

    Does anyone have any experience? Is it worth the effort Of learning? Are there any warning?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    I like to play charango. I like the music of latin and s america and play quite a bit of it - chrng is of course excellent in much of the music .. You can start easily by simply conceiving of it as a uke - it's tuned as such, commonly (with an extra course of treble strings doubling the 3rd course). There are idiomatic techniques particularly with the right/strumming hand that exploit its reentrant layout, so it's a fun fingerstyle instrument like 5-str banjo, uke, et al. Highly rhythmic tool.

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  4. #3
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Yes... to all your questions, David.

    It looks like from your posse of instruments that you know what to consider. My only negative experience with charangos has been with cheaper models that the neck promptly went south on.

    I'm not expert. Bill Kilpatrick, who used to hang around here, turned me on to them them. I love it but don't play as much as I did, sadly.

    I don't play ukulele, so this was my first experience with reentrant tuning.
    Now I know why people dig it so much.

    Keep us posted on what you decide.

    Mick
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  6. #4

    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    i agree, they are cool instruments unique sound

  7. #5
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    They have an interesting sound that is hard to duplicate with other instruments. (Maybe an 8-string uke would be similar?) I've found the flat but wide neck on mine difficult to navigate sometimes.

    I have a Garcia, from Bolivia, in the middle of the photo below. I found playing without a strap to be difficult since the instrument and I have non-complementary convexities. I used a guitar strap attached to the neck and to a band that goes around the middle of the charango.

    Oh, and the Duran/Pedrotti book is a good resource for learning to play.

    D.H.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Dave Hicks; Oct-15-2020 at 7:20am.

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Yes. Looks fun.

    (If you are asking for anything other than enthusiastic encouragement, this may be the wrong forum).

  10. #7
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Hey David,

    Thanks, pal, now you've done it. This thread you started has me wondering whether I should get one. Just what I need. . .CAS.

    Please let us know how much you like it, once you get it.

    Best wishes,

    Bob
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  11. #8

    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Fwiw, charango is a somewhat specialized instrument - its highly percussive sound being distinctly characteristic of the highly rhythmic quality of latin/american forms. But a somewhat more versatile instrument, better suited perhaps for a wider range of application, is the larger size ronroco - an octave lower. There's more room on the fingerboard for harmonic options, a better voice for song accompaniment, casual strumming, solo playing, etc.

    The wide fingerboard of the chrng family instruments facilitates fingerstyle playing. More akin to guitar than mndlns.

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  13. #9

    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Here’s a Ronroco
    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #10

    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Hi, I wasn't sure I was posting to the right thread, but let's try it anyway.
    I have a donor who has a 1899 CF Martin & Co harp mandolin, who is liquidating an estate. Can anyone suggest a price and a venue where they may find someone who would appreciate the instrument? They don't want to sell it just for the money. It was special to their daughter who passed away, who was the owner.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #11
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    The Armadillo shell backed ones will be hard to come by in Australia..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charan...er%20resonator.
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  18. #12
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    Have been offered a pretty good deal on one.

    Does anyone have any experience? Is it worth the effort Of learning? Are there any warning?
    The answer to "should I buy a ...?" is usually "yes". I have never heard of a charango before so Google to the rescue. It has a nice sound, sort of like a Uke but brighter. They are not expensive so why not. You'll probably be the only (and hence the best) charango player at your next jam

  19. #13
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    The Armadillo shell backed ones will be hard to come by in Australia..
    You won't want an armadillo shell charango anyway, at least not in most climates far from where they're made. Over time, the wood soundboard will move around a little with changes in temperature and humidity, and the hard shell won't budge. Eventually the soundboard splits or separates from the shell. It's the Ovation guitar problem, except Ovations had a more flexible shell.

    I had the coolest-looking armadillo shell charango for a while, bought on a trip to Mexico back in the early 80's. I didn't play it much, it didn't fit the music I was playing at the time, but it was fun and a great wall ornament. After a couple of years the top split right down the middle.

  20. #14
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Also, armadillos supposedly carry leprosy...

    I tried my hand at tiple for a while but didn't get far with it. Just couldn't get the hang of it, especially the reentrant tuning. Fortunately, I found a buyer for the darn thing.
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

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  21. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    I bought a charango many years ago from Joe Todaro of World Frets. He has some connections with good luthiers in Bolivia (I think) and his prices are reasonable. After a few years it needed a little fret help as the fret ends stuck out from the fretboard. Other than that it held together pretty well and Joe even included a nice woven gig bag, a chord book and a method in Spanish. The only thing to bear in mind is that with ten tuning machines mine is very headstock heavy and therefore a little hard to hold.
    Jim

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  23. #16
    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I buy a Charango?

    Hereīs some nice charango music from a friend of mine who lives here in my town in Germany. Heīs the best charango player in town, of course.
    Maybe this helps a bit with your decision if you should buy one. Itīs a versatile instrument and people totally like it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPphtYi7qV8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SB-lyqaets
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYeB3i4EWYE

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