Mexican vihuela

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Vihuela Mexicana 001.JPG
Mexican vihuela
String instrument
Other names Mexican Vihuela, Vihuela Mexicano
Classification String instrument
Hornbostel–Sachs classification
(Composite chordophone)
Related instruments
Timple, Guitarra de Golpe, Guitar
Side view showing the vaulted back.

The Mexican vihuela is a guitar-like string instrument from 19th-century Mexico with five strings and typically played in mariachi groups.

Mexican vihuela[edit]

Although the Mexican vihuela has the same name as the historic Spanish plucked string instrument, the two have little to do with each other, and are not related.[citation needed] The Mexican vihuela has more in common with the Timple Canario (see: timple) due to both having five strings and both having vaulted (convex) backs. The Mexican vihuela is a small, deep-bodied rhythm guitar built along the same lines as the guitarrón. The Mexican vihuela is used by mariachi groups, most notably in central Jalisco, Mexico. It is played with fingers (can also be played with a pick that is put on your first finger) strumming open chords on the fretted part of the neck.

Notes and tuning[edit]

Vihuela Mexicana tuning.

The vihuela has five nylon strings in reentrant tuning. Similar to the first five strings of a guitar, but with the third, fourth and fifth an octave above what one might expect.

Tuning: ADGBE – The A,D, and G are tuned one octave above a guitar.[1]


  • Blattman, Erica et al. (2002). "Mariachi Embraced in Our World"[2]
  • ASTON MAGNA: Viola da Gamba and Theorbo[3]


  1. ^ "The Stringed Instrument Database". Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  2. ^ "Website has been archived | Office of Instruction and Assessment". Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  3. ^ "ASTON MAGNA: Viola da Gamba and Theorbo". YouTube. 2012-06-08. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 

External links[edit]