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Guitarron anyone?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tplyons, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I got the strangest call tonight. First of all, there's this girl in my accounting and economics classes, in which I tutor her. It didn't occur to me that I was in a hurry when she first asked for help and I slipped her my bass playing business card (because of the contact info) then got a call tonight saying "would you be interested in learning another type of bass? if you are, I may have a job for you"

    I called her back and lo and behold, she wants me to play guitarron in her mariachi band. I'm always up for a challenge, something new, so I said sure.

    Does anyone play guitarron, know anything about them, or have any tips?
  2. I don't know much about the instrument, other than it's tuned ADGCEA, has really high action (get that left hand in shape), and you play two strings at a time. They're not cheap, so I hope she's supplying one for you.

    I've always wanted to try my hand at it. Keep us posted on your experience. Good luck!
  3. Last Saturday I played standup to back a friend on steel-string acoustic(g****r)for a cover of 'Valentine' by Willie Nelson. The occasion was said friend's daughter's Quincinieta(I'm sure I misspelled that, sorry), a latin coming-somewhat-of-age celebration coinciding w/a girl's 15th birthday(if I get any or all of this part wrong, it's what I was told, anyway :D ). Before our number, there was a mariachi band of two nylon-string guitarists & a guitarrone- so they essentally opened for us.To me that's amusing as they were really much better. Point of post: the guitarronne was very loud- probably louder than an unamplified DB. The action, BTW, did look pretty high. Keep us informed, TP. I'm definitely interested.
    47th Street likes this.
  4. The fret board only has like 10 frets, too.
  5. jady


    Jul 21, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    I believe you are playing octaves the whole time, and it is REALLY loud and wooly sounding.
  6. Did you ever follow through on this venture? If so...

    WELL? :eyebrow:
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    So far no. I'm nursing my hand back to health after a self-inflicted knife wound, and the band leader's arm is in a sling. Guess we should ask for padded stages.
    47th Street likes this.
  8. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    I noodled around on one today and it was quite fun, the body shape might take a couple minutes to get used to but you can't beat it for that
    'bumpty, bump bump bumpty, b-bum bum bumpty, bump bump bump' kind of thing - terrible descripton if that even makes sense? Just drink lots of tequila and pretend you're playing country music, haha.
    best of luck.
  9. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist

    ALL of the guitarrones that I've ever seen and/or recorded don't have ANY FRETS!
    As in . . . FRETLESS!
  10. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Actually, I won one on eBay once. The guy gave me the wrong address to send the check to, and to make a long story short, I got spooked by the whole thing so I backed out of it. I was very close to buying one. I think they're a really cool instrument, but I talked myself down and went with an acoustic bass instead. Stupid sense of responsibility. :scowl:
  11. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    That style (playing octaves and/or unisons) was "invented" by Natividad de Santiago Gonzalez (QEPD-RIP). He played with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, based in Mexico City. His guitarron-playing son, Marcos, plays with Mariachi Vargas Juvenil, which is the current edition of Mariachi Vargas.
    Marcos' brother, Fernando, plays vihuela and guitar (also with Mariachi Vargas Juvenil) and is a very fine arranger. He has done many arrangements for popular artists (mariachi) like Pepe Aguilar and Pablo Montero.

    I've also recorded Bere de Santiago, the brother of the "famous" Natividad de Santiago, who ALSO plays guitarron.
    47th Street and old spice like this.
  12. Interesting information! I resurrected this topic last night because I kind of like Mariachi music (though I don't really know anything about it). Where would one start if he or she were interested in learning more? The names you mentioned above?

    tplyons... sorry about your hand. I probably should have remembered that - I'm pretty sure you posted about it. :meh:
  13. deaf pea

    deaf pea

    Mar 24, 2005
    Cuernavaca 1 hr S Mexico City
    Seymour Duncan/Basslines SMB-5A Endorsing Artist
    CD's by
    Vicente Fernandez
    Alejandro Fernandez
    Pepe Aguilar

    Older CD's
    Jose Alfredo Jimenez
    Lola Beltran
    Linda Ronstadt

    ´Si hablas y leas Español, podrias buscar su libro de Natividad de Santiago. It's a method book for guitarron, but it's been out of print for ages.
    Good Luck!
    47th Street likes this.
  14. anechoic


    Oct 31, 2005
    Shirley, MA
    Here's something I've been wondering. Is it possible to tune one of these things with a low E? (I assuming the strings would need to be changed) People often mention how loud the guitarron is, which mad me wonder if it might be a viable alternative to a regular acoustic bass guitar.
  15. Gracias! :) My Spanish is a bit rusty, unfortunately... though I was able to translate what you wrote without help! :p
  16. realtc214

    realtc214 TopCat

    I just bought a Guitarron of Ebay for $169.00 plus 69.99 shipping which I felt was a little high but the price of the instrument I thought was pretty good given most of them I've seen sell for over $350.00. I don't know how to play it and just found out how to tune it today but I've wanted one since I first saw one being played by a Mariachi band on Univision several years ago. I know there are some Mariachi bands in my area and figure if I cannot find enough information on the internet, then I'll hook of with one of these cats that maybe will show me a few things about it.

    TC Howard
    47th Street likes this.
  17. Nice! :) I'd like to know what you find out, since I am on the fence as far as getting one of my own.

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    All the best with it Tim !
  19. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Subscribing, yo.

    I'm on the lookout for interesting acoustic instruments, and I've considered one of these. I've played a few before, in passing, but haven't delved into them enough to offer much advice beyond the high-action bit takes some getting used to.

    I'd be interested to find out more about these.
  20. AlanWeaver


    Jan 10, 2008
    TINING: When I got mine, I didn't know what the correct tuning should be, so I started with E A D G B E, and it worked pretty good with the original strings - I tried tuning down to a low B-E-A-D-G-B but the low B was too 'floppy' - Then, when I discovered and tried the 'correct' tuning (A-D-G-B-E-A)(?), I felt there was too much tension, didn't like it, and have gone back to my 'incorrect' E tuning - It seems to make the high action of this instrument a little easier to work with, it sounds good (and loud) - Also, I like to play standard bass 'runs' and seldom do the two-string 'octave' pulls - I play along with everything from Blues to Bluegrass and it's all good -

    The body shape does take some getting used to, and the very short, fretless neck has a learning curve, but if you can get comfortable with it, you'll end up with a great sounding acoustic bass slung over your shoulder...

    Mine has a paper ID tag inside with the following information:

    Juan Lemus Reyes
    Fabricante de Guitarras
    Guitarrones y Vihuelas
    Mechos a Mano
    (sign. & date looks like:) J.E.deFevrero, 1970
    To.deMayo No 22
    Villa Artesanal
    Paracho, Mich
    and a handwritten (serial number?) '1905'

    If anyone knows anything about this maker, I'd like to hear from you !!