Handcrafted in Portugal By Artímusica
Model VA21C (20022)
Top – solid spruce; back and side – solid walnut; neck – mahogany; fretboard – panga panga; Binding 1
Arguably the best-known of the regional guitars or violas, there are records of the Viola Braguesa, or Viola de Braga, since the 18th century. It is the most popular instrument in northwestern Portugal, between the Douro and Minho rivers. Played solo or for accompanying the singing of Rusgas, Chulas and Desafios, as with all Portuguese violas, the Braguesa is especially suited to playful and festive music. Although historical examples have a round or oval soundhole, today the Braguesa soundhole is a half circle topped by two teardrops. As with baroque guitars, the fingerboard is flush with the top. The bridge features a decorative mustache, with leaves glued to each side. As with nearly all violas, the bridge is in two parts: the strings run first over a thin piece of wood which acts as a floating saddle sitting directly on the soundboard, then pass through holes in the glued-on bridge, and are finally turned back and looped around pins or screws on top of the bridge. The number of screws is not necessarily the number of strings, but is usually six. The Braguesa has 10 strings set in five double courses, the highest two being tuned in unison and the lowest three in octaves. The basic tuning is like the Lisboa guitar without the top course: D3D4 A3A4 B3B4 E4 A4 from low to high; the Mouraria Velha is one tone lower, as with the Coimbra guitar: C3C4 G3G4 A3A4 C4 G4.