Video of the instrument being played: 
Excerpt of "Linda Bella (Mujercita)" written by Jorge Malas and Jorge Muenala. Originally performed by Yuyarishpa and released on the "Yuyaric" album in 1992.
String Gauges: 

1ª + 1ª + 1ª = .009"
2ª + 2ª + 2ª = .011"
3ª + 3ª + 3ª = .013"
4ª + 4ª + 4ª = .015" + .028" (o 4ª Gt. Ac.) + .015"
5ª + 5ª + 5ª = .017" + .038" (o 5ª Gt. Ac.) + .017"


Unknown - The luthier of this instrument is unknown but it appears to have come from If you look under "Musical Instruments/Mandolina/Mandolin of 16 Strings" they have it listed there. Even after calling them and explaining that this was actually an Ecuadorian bandolin, they did not seem to understand that it was mislabled.


I received a tip from a fellow collector about an Ecuadorian Bandolin being up for sale on Ebay. She wrote, "These don't come up often! You might be interested."


Here is the amusing description of the item that the seller had on the site:


"I have no idea what this stringed instrument is. I have been told it's a Greek instrument, but have not seen any instrument of any kind with 16 strings before. I thought it might be a Bouzouki, but have seen none with 16 strings or with the body shape of this.


I used to date a musician and quite often ended up going to bed while there were some great jam sessions going on downstairs or in my garage. While I usually woke up to lots of beer cans and dirty dishes, sometimes I would find less pedestrian items like this thing. I waited several months but nobody claimed it and I don't have any idea who was there that night to ask them. I've had this for going in 6 years now, so don't expect the owner is going to show up now. I can't play anything but a radio, so I have no use for this at all.


It has 16 strings and is shaped something like a guitar, but is somewhat smaller. The measurement across the widest part is 10". The body is 12" long and 3 3/4" deep. The neck is 14" from the hole to the longest edge of the neck and the entire instrument is 30 1/2" long. As you can see from the photos, I don't know how to string it, so you will be getting it like I found it with the strings all in a hot mess at the top."


Not only is it not Greek or a bouzouki, it has 15 strings instead of 16. I could tell it was specifically an Ecuadorian bandolin because the unique shape of the headstock.


I wrote to her, "Thanks for the heads up. It's funny that she thinks it's Greek. I am hesitant to buy something from e-bay, rather than a luthier, because I have been burned before on a Baglamadaki."


After thinking about it, I changed my mind, and bid on the instrument. I put a very low bid on it, and took a chance since the pictures displayed that the instrument was of a decent quality.  I won the auction, recieved it, but there were three problems with it. First, the original owner let it suffer from humidity problems, so the frets were extending over the fretboard. Secondly, the tailpiece had prongs holding the strings that were on the brink of breaking. Finally, there was a crack along the soundboard extending to the neck. My local luthier was able to fix these issues and I actually made a good investment overall.



Further Notes: 

Always use steel strings.

Alternative Names: 
Scale Length: 


Back Material: 
Side Material: 
Neck Material: 
Fingerboard Material: 
Bridge Material: 
Bolivian Jacaranda

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