View Full Version : HELP me solve the MYSTERY!! What is this?

11-04-2011, 04:10 PM
Hello UU. This instrument belonged to the late and great Laurindo Almeida (my late step-father-in-law). I can't for the life of me figure out what type of instrument it is. Help! It has:

5 Strings
wooden tuning pegs
only 4 frets
cool binding
what looks to be a laminated cedar top (?)
a rounded back (secured by a strip of denim, glued on the inside seam - maybe put in by Laurindo?)

What is this thing? Thank you, in advance, for your comments and opinions.

- Travis


modern day ukuleleist
11-04-2011, 04:15 PM
Looks like a modified version of a guitarrĂ³n to me.

11-04-2011, 04:27 PM
Vihuela indeed! I found this cool vid on youtube.


11-05-2011, 05:15 AM
Wow, what a great clip! I think you've figured it out. Thank you sir.

11-05-2011, 05:16 AM
Muchos Gracias!

11-05-2011, 07:57 AM
De nada.
When I was still looking for a musical instrument to take up, before I found the ukulele, I almost took up the vihuela. I liked the small size of it. The ukulele came along and won out on the size aspect. That and the fact that the uke is so very similar to the charango.

Some of the more primitive vihuelas I've seen have the real friction wood tuning pegs and the frets are made of the very same strings that have been skillfully tied around the neck at the correct measurements. It wouldn't surprise me if el Maestro Almeida had one of those in his collection.