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What Is a Requinto Guitar? The Definitive Guide [2021 Edition]

So what is a requinto guitar exactly?

That’s what this post is all about!

A requinto guitar is a miniature flamenco guitar tuned up a fourth from A to A in the same intervals as a standard guitar as if you were to capo the standard flamenco guitar on the fifth fret.

To be more specific:

  • The requinto guitar’s strings are tuned A-D-G-C-E-A
  • A requinto guitar’s scale length is around 21 inches whereas a standard flamenco guitar’s scale length is around 25 to 26 inches.

This instrument (often just called a requinto) is similar in proportions to a flamenco guitar but scaled down.

Its smaller size and higher tuning do not provide the same depth of sound and resonance you might expect from a standard-size flamenco guitar.

Why is that?

The smaller the resonance box, the smaller the sound.

And in this case, a requinto has a smaller resonance box, and thus a smaller sound than a flamenco guitar with a larger resonance box.

Thus, a requinto will give you a brighter tone for high pitches but less depth in the lower register.

This instrument is actually quite similar to the guitalele.

While the guitalele shares more in common with the ukulele with its body style, the requinto and guitalele have the same tuning and nylon strings.

You can learn all about exactly how these instruments differ in my post comparing them here.

The Difference in Sound Between a Requinto and a Standard Flamenco Guitar

In the video above, Chris Crouch gives a demonstration and overview of an Edgar Vila Requinto guitar.

You can get a sense of this smaller instrument’s sound and (in my opinion) beauty from that video.

As a reminder, the tuning of the requinto is just like capoing the 5th fret of a flamenco guitar.

This means that all the same positions, chord shapes, and fingerings of the guitar can be used on the requinto too.

However, it doesn’t have the same power to its sound as a standard flamenco guitar as you can tell in the video below.

Why you might want to add a requinto to your collection

  • a great travel instrument: The size of the requinto makes it a great choice for travel. It is easy to transport with an overall decent sound. Keep in mind the tuning difference, though. If you don’t like playing in the A to A register, it might not be ideal.
  • A different instrument in its own right: A requinto is a great instrument for exploring the possibilities of a higher register with the ease of playing all the same guitar chord shapes and fingerings. By having easier access to a higher register, you can get the best out of it by playing chords or melodies that are uncomfortable or harder to reach on the guitar.
  • Playing flamenco tunes on a different instrument: Since a requinto guitar has the same intervals and positions of a guitar, you can still play your favorite flamenco songs on it. Of course, they will be higher in pitch.
  • Small hands: The shorter scale of a requinto guitar is ideal for people with small hands. In this regard, the instrument can be a good choice for children.

Requinto Guitar Downsides

There are certainly benefits to the piccolo guitar.

But there are some downsides too.

I’ll discuss some of these below.

  • Less common, fewer purchase options: Since the requinto is not as popular as the standard flamenco guitar, there are fewer purchase options available. In fact, not all major brands that make flamenco guitars have requinto models.
  • Less projection: As with most short-scale instruments with smaller resonance boxes, the requinto does not have a big sound. This instrument just won’t have the resonance of a full-size flamenco guitar and can sometimes sound thin.
  • Narrower frets: Frets are narrower, making it a little bit difficult to play chords between adjacent strings, like A major for example. So, if you are a standard flamenco guitar player, you might find yourself uncomfortable with the little space you have for complex fingerings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the requinto the same as a standard flamenco guitar?

No. Like I mentioned in the introduction, a requinto is a miniature flamenco guitar tuned up a fourth from A to A as if you were to capo the standard flamenco guitar on the fifth fret.

Is the requinto the same as the piccolo guitar or the guitalele?

No. The requinto, the piccolo, and the guitalele all share the same standard tuning. However, apart from that similarity, they are all different instruments with different body shapes, sizes, and scales. Plus, the piccolo is a steel-string instrument, and the requinto and guitalele are nylon (or rather nylgut) string instruments.

Can you play a requinto like a standard flamenco guitar?

Yes! You can play a requinto just like a standard flamenco guitar. The distances and fingerings are the same but in a higher pitch. In fact, playing a requinto is like playing flamenco from the 5th fret onwards.

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you understand what this instrument is and why you might want to add one to your collection!

I decided to purchase a guitalele before a requinto because I am not much of a flamenco guitarist.

However, I’m still considering purchasing a requinto and will likely get this Ortega.

Are you planning on purchasing a requinto?

Let me know in the comments!

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