Rajão aka Guitarrico, Guitarro, Tiple de Menorca

Rajao Augusto Dias 5 string 1898
Rajao
made by Augusto Dias in 1898
Acousticmelo 5 string rajao ukulele
Rajao
made by Acousticmelo in 2014
Carbon fiber timple rajao guitarrico davis sanchez
Carbon Fibre Timple
by David Sanchez in 2014
If the Braguinhã is the "mother" of the Ukulele then this is the "father". The Rajão is the Iberian instrument that gave the Ukulele its re entrant g~C~E~A tuning (the extra sting on the Rajão is tuned d, giving d~g~C~E~A). The instrument itself, in addition to having the extra string, is bigger than a standard Soprano Ukulele, (its about the size of a Tenor Ukulele). As with all of these sorts of chordophone there are a number of different names depending on where the instrument is from (and possibly small differences in the build?) Rajão is certainly the Maderian name, probably the general Portuguese but I have seen something very similar in Spain referred to as the Guitarrico, the Guitarro and even the Tiple de Menorca. It can also have different string configurations with the most common being all of the courses doubled or just the top A doubled, (giving 6 strings so a more symmetrical headstock and often being mistaken for some kind of small Guitar). The strings were originally gut, (of course now nylon or one of its alternatives), not steel and there are many tuning variations going for not re entrant to open chords but I won't list them here, the d~g~C~E~A is the main one and if a Ukulele player wanted to have a go with one this would be the easiest to try.

Not only is the Rajão one of the forebears of the Ukulele but Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias and Jose do Espirito Santo (the three original "inventors" or if you stick with the familial metaphor "midwives" of the Ukulele), also made them on Hawaii along with their Ukuleles, and a number of their examples still exist.

Timple (de Canaries)

This is a similar looking 5 coursed instrument originating in the Canary Islands and often seen around Europe these days, (probably more so than the Rajão) thanks to the thriving tourist industry. Historically is is smaller than the Rajão, more Concert or even Soprano size and usually bowl backed. Traditionally gut, (now nylon), strung it is not re entrant and tuned G~C~E~A~D (so ending up with a low G and the D string the other side of the fret board). Whilst, like from Hawaii there is a lot of "tourist tat" made and sold, there have been, and still are some very good instruments made.

Please contact me if you have any information or pictures that would improve the page

contact Web Administrator if you think your copyright has been infringed