Bandolas are instruments which are not widely available outside of the regions of it’s origin being in Venezuela and in Colombia. This is something which is recognized as being highly important for the familiarization and expansion of the playing methods of this instrument on a global scale. It is for this reason why we offer an alternative to those interested in learning how to play, but do not have a Bandola. An amazing thing with this is, we can actually convert an acoustic guitar into a Bandola by following some simple steps, some re-stringing and we will end up having a perfectly comparable instrument. This will definitely serve it’s purpose as you consider to buy your first Bandola.
Start off by removing all of the strings from a classical or flamenco guitar. Restring it from below (the space for the 1st string), starting with the 2nd string, then the 3rd, 5th and 6th. That is, the usual space for the 5th and 6th strings remains vacant. Tune the four strings as B – E – A – E in the open strings and put a capo on the 5th fret. This way the true tuning for the Bandola Llanera E – A – D – A can be achieved. Make use of the following audio files to tune the open strings starting from the 4th string:
4th String – B
3rd String – E
2nd String – A
1st String – E
Because the intervals between the strings in guitars are too narrow, it will be necessary to take an additional step towards the conversion of the guitar to a Bandola. We will need to carve a small engraving into the saddle near the bridge and it is important for the distance between the engravings to be 14 mm (.55). A recommendation is to simply remove the saddle, flip it upside down and place some engravings on the other side of it. This way, when you have your Bandola you will be able to simply flip the saddle once more and have your guitar back to it’s original state. The engraving can be easily done with a pocket knife or with a pair of scissors, but do ensure that the groove is deep enough to hold the string in it’s place.
The result of following the process outline within this lesson will be as follows:
Now that you have the means with which to do so, you can get started with your Bandola learning. This conversion method is a great way for all beginners who are interested in playing the Bandola. If you do wish to inquire as to how to purchase a real Bandola Llanera, then do not hesitate to contact our luthier division and we will help you towards finding your first Bandola.