Mexican Guitarron

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dave Irwin, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. Anyone know how much it costs for a decent mexican guitarron? I am not interested in looks, only somthing that plays and sounds decent. I know they are difficult to play due to the action.
    Anyone know what I should look for brand wise or otherwise?
    I am looking for somthing I can stroll with. I play upright as well as electric so the high action should not be an impossible challenge.

  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Beware ... I too considered a guitarron. They're not tuned like a bass, though, and if you watch those guys, they're playing octaves. I did see some in a music store in downtown Tucson. I think it was called Chicago Music, or something. About $1,000, as I recall.
  3. Thanks for the info. I'm aware of the tuning.
    I'm clueless though about the difference between a good and bad one and where the best deals are.

  4. Pre EB

    Pre EB

    Mar 15, 2002
    Denton, Tx
    Being from San Antonio, I would recommend trying Alamo Music or Hermes Music. Both are in S.A. and cater to a lot of Mexican and Tejano musicos. They could suggest a good one or know a good maker. Played well, they are a beautiful instrument and a good player can be quite expressive with one. Anybody not familiar with the style should check out some really good Mariachi bands or Ranchero stuff. I really like old Vicente Fernandez. He kicks as much a.. as anybody! All his songs are about women, drinkin', etc. "Ladies" and the devout don't listen to him!
    BTW, I'm a gringo, but good music is good music no?
  5. AltecJ


    May 28, 2002
    The best guitarron out in the market is the guitarron made ny Robert Morales. Even thou he is dead, the son has taken his place. These guitarrones are being used by the best mariachi in the world Mariachi Vargas. They should cost no more than $2,000 new. I also seen some factory made guitarrones for $100 new but that is in Mexico. I think they are tuned A, D, G, C, E, A and pro's always play in octaves.

    This is my first post.....
  6. nikofthehill


    Jul 30, 2001
    san jose, CA
    Hey Al! welcome to talkbass.

    i don't understand what you mean when you say that guitarron players play in octaves. could someone please explain?
  7. Showing off my ignorance here, but what in the hell is a guitarron?!?

    AltecJ, welcome to Talkbass!
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Well, CG, a quick look on Google yielded a nice picture.


    The Guitarron is the bass member of the Mexican guitar family, used commonly in Mariachi, Ranchero and other Mexican music.

    They are often seen accompanying Accordians and Bajo Sextos.

    Here is a pic of a Bajo Sexto.

  9. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    hey bud, my office is right upstairs from Alamo Music in San Antonio, Texas.

    I think they may have a couple in stock. Until Danny Martinez gets back into the store (out on disability) the people to talk to would be Jessie or Dausin. Call the location on Main Street ( ) If you call, let them know that Carlos from the Musicians Union sent ya.

    Also, in San Antonio, we are fortunate to have the Macias family still making some of the best axes on the planet.

    I can also ask some of my friends, I know quite a few Mariachi' roomate used to be the road manager for Campanas De America

    let me know if i can be of any more help.:cool:
  10. AltecJ


    May 28, 2002
    Campanas De America is a very good mariachi. Are they still around?
  11. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    alive a kickin'

  12. thanks alot for the info, I will contact them.
    re: what they have in stock

  13. Pre EB

    Pre EB

    Mar 15, 2002
    Denton, Tx
    I miss S.A.:( Nojazzloco, my dad is good friends with Alfred Flores. Our family owned a music store (mainly a teaching studio) in San Antonio for years called Rosenthal Music. Now he does permanent sound installations. Eat an enchilada plate at Blanco Cafe for me this week, please. Oh how I miss the good food! Not much good Mexican food here in DFW.
  14. guitarronero58


    Jan 30, 2005
    A decent guitarron from the Mexican City of Paracho in the state of Michoacan will cost about $250.00. The action on some of these are o.k., but one must travel to Paracho and hand pick one. A guitarron made by Roberto Morales from Guadalajara [imho] is the best and run close to two grand. As far as I know, Mr. Morales is still living and his son Ruben is also making guitarrones.
    The guitarron is played by pulling pairs of strings in octaves. The lower octave being a metal string and the upper octave a nylon string. The tuning is A-D-G-C-E-A with lower A being the same pitch as the A on electric or acoustic bass and the other pitches tuned in fourths {maj 3rd from C-E} then dropping down a fifth for the 1st string A. [the 1st string A and 6th string A are octaves and are the easiest notes to be played open.
    The 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings are nylon and the 4th, 5th and 6th are metal {copper, bronze or steel}.
    Southern Music Co. in San Antonio, Texas has a beginner guitarron book available. Hope this helps.
  15. ErnieD


    Nov 25, 2004
    I am liking the raza-representation on this thread. :bassist: No guitaron info here but if y'all will indulge me this little tale: I went to a friends new bar opening last nite. He planned to start with his 50's band, his lovely daughter then does a disco set and some friends of his were going to do some tejano. I was told to bring my bass to help with some of the 50's and disco set, it was to be a jam session. Well as it turned out not one other bassist showed up so I did the 50's, disco and the guys asked me to sit in on their tejano set. I been playing blues and rock with nothing but gavachos past 3 yrs and recently both of those bands split up, gigless again. I have not played any latin music in a few years. Well I fell right in with their (thankfully older) Gary Hobbs, Mazz covers and had a blast jamming with their awesome accordionist on some corridos. BTW, I am very light skinned and it was funny when my wife told me she heard folks in this little cantina say "who is that white boy up there playing tejano". Man I love the bass lines on those tunes and I was sitting tight with the young drummer. The tejano group took my number to help them with some upcomimg gigs. Best yet, my wife is taking me to SA for my 47th birthday this March 8th, oh hell is that spring break time. Oh well, I feel I can say, "I'm Back Baby". (GRITO!) :oops:
  16. thefour


    Jun 15, 2005
    I have played the guitarron for about 5 years now, its not hard. all you need is some basic music theory, ability to play bass, and some hardcore callused (sic) fingers and you can play anywhere. i have to respond about the comment made that the pros play octaves (thats bukake) every one plays octaves and the pros can separate the two and pick up a more melodic structure while keeping the simple bass line and keep everyone together. if you don't understand what i mean, go down to guadalajara and eat at the bariachi on wednesday and look for the goofy-looking bass player, then you will see. or but my CD and listen to a near pro player.
  17. another good builder to check out is Tomas at Candelas Guitars in Los Angeles. He is a great luthier and business person. He has built custom instruments for such bands as Los Lobos, Quetzal, Ozomatli, and many others. I recently (january) purchased an instrument from him a (a jarana jarocho), completely custom and hand made in his east LA shop, and he was beyond helpful with me. I was a little nervous buying from someone so far away (I'm in Illinois) but after I received the instrument, it was WELL worth it. do yourself a favor and check out his website. he is usually pretty good with emails, but the most reliable way is to call him. hope this helps.
  18. Alondra


    May 20, 2008
    Has anyone used a guitarron instead of an upright bass to play bluegrass music? If so, did you adjust the tuning?
  19. four2oh


    Mar 29, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    totally read my mind! i really want to try a guitarron with my bluegrass band.
  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    signed on, same idea...