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Guitars info

The word viola in Portuguese is used to refer to instruments which English and Spanish speakers would think of as "guitars", that is, fretted instruments with a flat back, a long neck, and a waisted body.. But a portuguese viola is in fact an instrument with many resemblances to common guitars although much more antique and each of them with a very unique shape. There are a number of these interesting looking and sounding violas. Distinctive designs and tunings are associated with certain regions of continental Portugal, the Azores and Madeira Island.


Portuguese Guitar

Of unique shape and sound the portuguese guitar (on the left) is probably the best well known and appreciated portuguese traditional instrument worlwide. It is played in Fado and also folklore. It is a twelve-string guitar and to be played the guitarists use fake long nails, which allows a better sound.


Campaniça Guitar

The viola campaniça, from Beja, is also very rustic and the biggest viola, being the longest and the widest of all. It has the same string system as the others and is caracterized by its unique rustic sound.


Toeira Guitar

This is a viola from Beira Litoral and is especially used around Coimbra.The viola toeira is from Coimbra and, nowadays, there are very few of these instruments. It is a lot like the viola braguesa


Braguesa Guitar

A small guitar-like instrument of the lute family. Originally from the Braga region of Portugal with 10 strings in 5 double courses.It is a ten-string instrument having still twelve pins and ten bars - with five double metalic strings and two unused pins - and has three different very common tunings.The viola braguesa is from the northwest region of our country, especially Braga - therefore the name

Beiroa Guitar

The viola beiroa, also called the «bandurra» beiroa is from the district of Castelo Branco. It is, of all the other violas, the most traditional, rustic and ornamented.







The cavaquinho is like a little guitar and has four strings. There are many different types, although similar, being the most traditional ones the cavaquinho minhoto, the cavaquinho of Coimbra and the cavaquinho of Lisboa. Also thanks to the travels and discoveries made by the portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries and to the fact that the cavaquinhos were taken in this travels by the sailors and other travelers of those vessels, this instrument spread into other regions and mixed with other cultures being created the braguinha and the rajão (from Funchal in Madeira, Portugal), the cavaquinho of Brazil and the ukulele (from Hawaii).



Strings guitar from Madere

Madeira guitar , a guitar-like instrument with re-entrant tuning that was tuned in the bass range.


Rajão guitar

In a Madeiran ensemble, the rajão performs much the same function as the rhythm guitar. It has five strings,




Mandoline from Minho 

The viola amarantina is from Amarante but is also made and played in Braga. It has as well five double metalic strings, twelve pins (two unused pins) and ten bars.





Amarantina guitar

The viola amarantina is from Amarante but is also made and played in Braga. It has as well five double metalic strings, twelve pins (two unused pins) and ten bars.






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