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Thread: Jarana?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    London, UK

    Default Jarana?

    Anyone here play Jarana Jarocha?
    Or even Jarana Huasteca?
    My Website
    The stringed instrument database which I also run.
    I play far too many instruments to list, but I like 4 courses of nylon strings best!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    over yonder


    Quote Originally Posted by Dusepo View Post
    Anyone here play Jarana Jarocha?
    Or even Jarana Huasteca?
    I'd never known about this instrument before your post here.

    But, I have to thank you for introducing me to these instruments.

    They seem like a hybrid between an 8-string uke and a small-bodied guitar.

    Wikipedia has some info here:

    and some videos I found are here:

    I've not seen this instrument discussed on the forum since I joined 2.5 yrs ago, and it seems a mystery to me that it is absent with all the lateral conversations about guitar, mando and banjo instruments, especially since the tuning uses the same notes as all non-baritone ukes.

    Do you know if you can get one of these as a production instrument as opposed to a custom one from a luthier?

    I'd love to try one in person as it has an interesting sound, sort of like a Tahitian ukulele, but with a lot more low-end (as per the sound samples of the longer scale instruments in the videos above).

    I highly doubt you'd find these at Guitar Center, unless it was offered as a used instrument.

    Having said all that, I like the sound and few samples of playing style that I've seen so far.

    Dusepo - do you have any recordings or videos of your own, playing one of these instruments, that you can share?


    This FAQ link will help you learn about:
    - Magic Fluke Company ukes
    - Pickups, Preamps and Impedance Mismatch
    - Home Recording and Mics
    - String Upgrades
    - iPad Microphones
    - Wolfelele Uke Kit
    - How to string a Baritone uke as a piccolo bass
    - Strings I used for GDAE and CGDA fifths tunings

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Los Angeles, California


    I live in Los Angeles and I have trouble finding people that play the jarana. They've got to be around; I just don't have inroads into that world, apparently. Even my good friends of Mexican extraction shrug when I ask them eagerly about somebody they might know that plays the jarana. Sones jarochos y huastecos are my jam, as the kids say. Any luck in the UK?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014


    Hi, here in México, the jarana is used in folkloric bands, jarana huasteca an jarana jarocha are from south Mexico, jarocho/ jarocha means tha it is from Yucatán, and huasteca / a means from the coastal región of the mexican gulf, you can get one here, made by artisans I really don't know about prices or who actually make them, but if you're interested I can find out the information, or even help you get one, because I think comunication can be a problem...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Newcastle WA


    The Jarana was originally a native interpretation of the Spanish colonial (i.e. baroque) guitar. I was introduced to the jarana by an "early music" acquaintance; she had a jarana jarocha tercera with a baroque guitar setup, custom built by a Mexican luthier. The main distinction is in the stringing. A normal jarana has eight strings in five courses: g c'c' e'e aa g. The typical baroque guitar has nine strings in five courses: aa d'd gg bb e'. In baroque guise, an extra tuning peg is added to the jarana, usually at the top center of the headstock. I was sufficiently intrigued to try building a jarana myself. Unable to find any plans, I created my own by scaling web photos to a tercera scale length of 580mm.

    While the Spanish instrument was built with thin back and bent sides, the jarana neck and body was (and often still is) carved from a single block of wood. Mexican natives would have used whatever wood was locally available, so I did the same. My jarana was carved from a block of Red Alder, from a tree in our yard. The shape was roughed out while the wood was green. After some months of drying, the body and neck were sawed, rasped and sanded to their final shape.
    The soundboard was made of 2mm Western Red Cedar, with a rosette of spalted cherry wood in a star pattern. Finding no images of the inside of a jarana soundboard, I guessed on a couple of fan braces for the lower bout. The soundhole braces are attached directly to the body sides.
    The fingerboard and bridge were made from a piece of "Tigerwood" from the Rockler Woodworking scrap bin. The tuning pegs were turned from walnut, which was also used for the simple top binding. Like my friend, I decided on baroque guitar tuning, with corresponding light tension strings (ranging from 3 to 4.5 kg). I used D'Addario nylon singles, except for the low D 4th which is a Savarez KF fluorocarbon (to avoid a wound string).
    I characterize my jarana as "a very happy instrument". It is bright and jangly, fun to play, and works well in a group of ukuleles!

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