Bandola

Name: Bandola.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.6
Country: Venezuela & Colombia.
Region: South America.

Description: The bandola is a pear-shaped lute that is found in Venezuela, Colombia and the Zarabanda region of Guatemala. This instrument is related to the bandurria and mandolin.

Bandola Tunings
Names Courses Tunings
Bandola llanera 4 Course A / D / A / E
Bandola llanera 4 Course G / D / A / E
4 Course A / E / B / F#
Zarabanda, Guatemala B / E / B / F
Bandola Andina Colombiana 6 Courses F# / B / E / A / D / G
4 Course E / A / D / G
Bandola Oriental 4 Course G / D / A / E
Bandola Guayanesa 4 Course
Bandola Andina 4 Course

Varieties: Several versions of this instrument are played throughout their respective regions in Venezuela, including the Bandola Llanara, Bandola Oriental, Bandola Guayanesa, Bandola Andina Colombia and Bandola Andina.

Bandola llanera: Traditionally with only seven frets and four nylon or gut strings. Venezuelan musicians Saúl Vera and Moisés Torrealba have used larger 10 and 14 fret versions, respectively.

Bandola Andina Colombiana: This instrument has six courses of strings in several different arrangements. It may have 12 strings in doubled courses, 14 strings with the first two courses tripled and the rest doubled. 16 strings with the first four courses tripled and the last two doubled, or 18 strings in triple courses. The instrument strongly resembles its ancestor, the Spanish bandurria. This instrument resembles the Mexican bandolón.

Bandola Oriental: Like the bandola llanera but with a deeper body and four double courses with eight strings in all, with both nylon and metal strings. The same tuning G / D / A / E / as encountered on the mandolin is used for the bandola.

Bandola Guayanesa: Played in Venezuela’s Guayana Region, with eight metal strings, paired in four courses. The instrument combines techniques of the oriental and llanera bandolas.

Bandola Andina or Bandola Aymara or Peruvian Bandola or Bolivian Bandola: These have 4 courses of triple, or sometimes quadruple strings.

Citations: Bibliography: Bandola pp. 143 – Stanley Sadie ~ New Grove Dictionary Vol. 1 A to F of Music ISBN 0-333-37878-4; Websites:

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