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Thread: 'Mermaid' Charango

  1. #1
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Wow. I love it, Jo.

    Metal strings......Maybe a chillador?

    My search for Toribio Q Cespedes draws blanks. Hopefully someone has some information.

    If that neck (not the mermaid's) wasn't so awonk I'd be after this.

    Santo Toribio is pretty important around our neck of the woods.

    Mick
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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Interesting instrument, thanks for posting it. What is the reason for the odd fret board cutout below the mermaid's neck? Is it so the part that extends to the sound hole looks like a mermaid's tail?
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    Interesting instrument, thanks for posting it. What is the reason for the odd fret board cutout below the mermaid's neck? Is it so the part that extends to the sound hole looks like a mermaid's tail?
    Bob, I think the "two points" where the written text "paciencia" etc. is supposed to resemble the mermaid's tail.

    Perhaps the fretboard cutout is intended to reference her, uh, seno.

    Mick
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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Bob, I think the "two points" where the written text "paciencia" etc. is supposed to resemble the mermaid's tail.

    Perhaps the fretboard cutout is intended to reference her, uh, seno.

    Mick
    Hi Mick,

    Yeah, I got the big tail, but didn't get what this fretboard thing was meant to be. Now I see what you see. Pretty funny, really. What an unusual design.
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    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Kind of a nasty crack in the back, but the neck looks pretty askew.

    Nonetheless, very very cool.
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  11. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Heresy! -- charangos are supposed to be made from dead armadillos.
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Heresy! -- charangos are supposed to be made from dead armadillos.
    We were told to keep away from armadillos when we were kids, Allen, as the rumor was that they spread leprosy. I don't know how true that was but it just made them even more interesting.

    The chillador--a type of charango- do have flat backs and are typically strung with metal strings like this one.

    Maybe we were warned to keep away from mermaids, too, but don't recall hearing about them showing up in the Gulf.

    Mick
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  14. #9
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Heresy! -- charangos are supposed to be made from dead armadillos.
    A lot, maybe even the majority, are nowadays carved from solid wood, with some made with flat back and sides like a ukulele, or sides and a rounded back like a timple.
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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  16. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Well, I bought an armadillo-shell charango from Bernunzio's a decade ago; it was the only instrument I've ever owned that had actual hair and ears. Bought a new set of strings from Todaro's and strung it up, but never really got into playing it. In a subsequent deal with John Bernunzio I remembered that he told me that he "missed it," so I traded it back to him.

    In a way, I'm glad that luthiers aren't slaughtering armadillos to make charangos. However, I'd venture to say that if one patrolled rural Texas roadsides for a few days, there'd be a sufficient harvest of armadillo roadkill, to create an oversupply of the instruments.
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Allen, there was an annual 'road kill' festival outside of LaPorte, TX when I was growing up. I'm sure they've got a version of that in most states.

    A lot of beer to wash down the garfish, snakes, raccoon, nutria, assorted varmints, turtles and I'm sure I ate armadillo in some form or another.
    "The wild ass sleeps on his side and he'll eat anything just as long as it's fried."

    I don't know if it's technically possible to hit a garfish with a car but I'm sure it's been done.

    I bought a charango from some online "Andes Merchant" type dealer. Bill Kilpatrick was the one who inspired me. Remember Bill?

    It was an all wood carved one like Jo was talking about but clearly wasn't of much calidad.

    I loved that thing but even with the nylon strings I could watch the neck get wonkier by the day.
    I played it as fast as I could because I knew it wasn't going to last long.

    Maybe I'll get another one day, on that dream trip to see Machu Picchu.

    Mick
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Perhaps the fretboard cutout is intended to reference her, uh, seno.
    It seems obvious to me. And why not? There's no practical purpose at that point, fretting-wise, to restrict the shape of the fingerboard. Why not incorporate the mermaid theme into the design there?

    In case anyone had any doubts as to whether the words paciencia, humildad, esperanza y amor have anything to do with Christianity, they sure do. They translate as "patience, humility, hope, and love." I'm no Christian scholar, but googling turned up what I think was a sect called "Hermandad de Humildad y Paciencia" - the Brotherhood of Humility and Patience. More than that, feel free to explore on your own.

    How that relates to this instrument is up for speculation. I assume there's some connection, as these words were chosen purposefully.
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  20. #13
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Did you see the side view of the neck and how high the action is?

  21. #14
    gardener catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Eventual deformation of the body is the downside of 'traditional' animal shell construction - it's to be expected, unfortunately. I would recommend a wood body (but also a reputable builder/supplier).

    *I have a gaelic harp with a selkie carved into the pillar - apparently a common motif, used in horse tack - https://www.ebay.com/itm/30389353948...EAAOSwey5gMXow
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  22. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    Back in 2007 this Mermaid mandolin showed up. They would make a nice set together.
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    Jim

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  24. #16
    gardener catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Mermaid' Charango

    I like that one.

    By the way re that harp: I've posted on the harp sites but perhaps someone here might know as much - the maker is Charles Ellis, likely the Birmingham AL region. Maybe a furniture maker in the area? (I got it from a Birminghan pawn shop off ebay for cheap and would like to know if he might like to have it back - it's quite a nice little clarsach). But, on second thought now that I look at the inside I guess it's pretty old.

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