The Bandola Llanera has a pear-like shape and it is said that it was a renowned luthier from Barinas Misael Montoya that established this form. Traditional bandolas have only seven frets and these are enough to play traditional repertoires, while bandolas built nowadays tend to have a much longer fingerboard reaching the sound hole and therefore more frets, adapting the contemporary musical diversity.
A traditional Bandola Llanera build by Misael Montoya
A modern Bandola Llanera built by Luis Ruiz “Gordattion”
As you can see, there are several differences between these Bandolas, specifically with respect to the amount of frets they have. But not to worry, for this course we will be making use of the Bandola Llanera up until and including the 7th fret. As you may have noticed, in our guitar conversion instructions, the total amount of frets being left over from fret 5 up until the body of the instrument is 7. So we are keeping this in mind for all interpretations. As you grow as Bandolistas, you will be able to consider having an instrument of many more frets, but for now…..let’s stick with 7 of them as we get started with our learning.