When it comes to energy, rhythm and passion, Latin music will almost always come to mind. It's sometimes fast and sometimes gentle, but always emotive. One of the key drivers of that emotion is the emphasis on skilled guitar playing that characterizes all Latin styles. It's no surprise, then, that there are so many types of Latin guitar, including the guitarron, bajo sexto and requinto.
Originally from Southern Mexico, the bajo guitar is today used mostly in north Mexican norteño music as well as the blended Tex-Mex styles of south Texas. "Bajo" means "bass," and this type of Latin guitar is as outstanding as you would expect for delivering low-pitch rhythms. There are two varieties of this instrument: the bajo sexto, with six pairs of strings tuned in E-A-D-G-C-F; and the bajo quinto, which drops the E to bring the string count down to five pairs. Paracho Elite Guitars' bajos are the Victoria sexto and the Odessa-P quinto; both of which are acoustic-electric models with their own built-in pickups for connecting them to an amplifier. This allows you to play any size venue, using acoustic sounds for small spaces and plugging in to a speaker stack for big auditoriums.
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The requinto is another popular Latin guitar, first introduced in 1945 and still widely used today. The major differences between a standard guitar and a requinto, is the shorter scale, as well as it's tuning, which is one fourth higher: A2-D3-G3-C4-E4-A4.
For a more nation-specific sound, you might prefer the Puerto Rican cuatro guitar, the Colombian tiple, or the Cuban tres. The cuatro is the national instrument of Puerto Rico, and sounds like a cross between a 12-string guitar and a mandolin. Its ten strings are laid out in five pairs, with the bottom two pairs tuned in octaves and the top three in unisons. The Colombian tiple, on the other hand, is tuned to match the treble strings of a classical guitar, which explains its name ("tiple" means "treble"). The tiple, unique in its string arrangement of four sets of three, is popular in the Andean region of Colombia and also has a following in other South American countries. Finally, the Cuban tres is like a fusion between a guitar, tiple and bandola. An important part of Cuban musical culture, it uses six strings arranged in three matched pairs.
All of these guitars, regardless of their home region, can find a place in any Latin band. Each one has its own distinctive character, and they bring a lot to the table in terms of enhancing your band's sound.