Types of Mexican instruments

By | April 4, 2021


Maracas is a percussion instrument used in salsa music. They are made from the fruit of the Higuera tree. The round and small fruit are dried first. Small pebbles are inserted through two drilled holes and a handle is attached. The amount of stones in a maraca is traditionally an uneven number to create a distinct sound.


A guiro is a dried gourd with ridges on the surface of the shell to provide a rough place to shave a wooden stick across. Dating back to pre-Columbian times, this percussion instrument is still used by Salsa bands today. Some guiros can be made of metal, plastic or fiberglass. This instrument is also known as calabazo, guayo, ralladera or rascador.


Vera Cruz harp is typical of other harps used in Mexico and South America and came to Mexico from Spain in the 16th century. Their strings are low tension and made of nylon. The necks are used to pick the strings. A fast movement called a tremolo creates a sound similar to a mandolin.


This five-star guitar is an important part of a Mariachi band. It gives the rhythm in a loud sound. The guitar gives the low notes. Some consider vihuela to be a lute. Spanish in the 15th and 17th centuries took the instrument to America.


The violin usually leads the melody in a Mariachi band. Since the Son’s development in Jalisco in the 18th century, the violinist has proudly taken his place in the Mariachi band dressed in his karro suit as a symbol of national pride. Most Mariachi bands have at least two violins. Popular throughout Europe, the violin came with Spanish in the 16th century and has been a part of Mexican music ever since. The rich tradition of Mariachi, Banda, Nortena and Ranchera sounds is a rich treasure of Mexican culture. Many common and not so common instruments are used by bands and groups performing traditional and modern Mexican music.