A charango is a small South American guitar similar to the lute. It has five sets of double strings, for a total of ten strings. It is only about two feet long. Many South American folk musicians love to play the charango with its distinctive sound. Charangos can be difficult to locate within the United States, though not impossible. If you want to play one it certainly helps to know how to buy one.
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Check to see if your community has any music stores specialising in international musical instruments. If so, ask them if they carry charangos.
Contact a nearby South American cultural centre and ask them if they know of any local musical groups. Talk with the musicians and ask them where they buy their instruments. They may be able to direct you to a store, have an extra they want to sell, or even be willing to get you one directly from South America.
Shop for charangos online, but be careful. Make sure the store you buy your charango from has a good return policy. If you are buying online, it makes sense to buy four or five charangos at once so that you can tune them, play them, and decide which instrument you like best. That way, you can keep your favourite and return the rest.
Visit a South American country to buy your charango. This may not be the most economical option, but you might get to buy your instrument directly from the maker. It is certainly the easiest way to try several instruments to make sure that you are getting the instrument that is truly right for you.
Inspect all instruments that you try. Make sure that the seams on the instrument are closed and that the construction seems solid and sturdy. Listen for tone and try to find an instrument with a nice round tone to it so that you do not sound tinny when you are playing. Since the charango is high pitched, a mellow tone will help to make your music more enjoyable to listen to.
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