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The Lisboa model features a scroll headstock, a more rounded body, giving it a larger soundboard, and a narrow neck with a sharp fingerboard radius that makes it very suitable for melodic playing. The string length is typically 445mm (17.5”), and the tuning D3D4 A3A4 B3B4 E4 A4 B4.
The Coimbra Portuguese Guitar features a tear-shaped headstock, a more elongated body, and a softer fingerboard radius. The string length is typically 470mm (18.5”), and the tuning C3C4 G3G4 A3A4 C4 G4 A4. The music of Coimbra is characterized by this guitar’s structure and string placement, which facilitates chording, thus making it very suitable for ballads.
In Portugal, the standard guitar is often called viola de fado. The main difference between it and a normal classical guitar is that the viola de fado often has steel strings, at least on the top two courses. Other differences can include the rosette design, and the addition of a small pickguard to the right side of the strings between the soundhole and bridge. Tuned like a standard guitar, it is typically played fingerstyle and provides chords and the typical bass riffs that drive the music along.