The Guiro is a percussion instrument that is commonly used in Latin American music. It is typically made from a gourd or a piece of wood that has been hollowed out and has ridges carved into its surface. The Guiro is often used in salsa, merengue, and other styles of Latin music to add a distinctive percussive element to the rhythm section.
History of the Guiro
The guiro has an ancient past and similar instruments are said to have been first found in both Africa and South America. Some claim it was even invented by the Aztecs, which would make it one of the oldest instruments still around today. In this era, the guiro would have been carved from fruit like a gourd. The modern guiro is most commonly traced back to the Taino. The taino were the indigenous inhabitants of Puerto Rico and the guiro was probably first developed and played alongside other Latin percussion instruments like the claves. Recorded sightings of the guiro date back as early as the late 17th century. The guiro became intrinsically associated with latin music and from the 19th century onwards has become a staple ingredient of that style of music. The riveted shape creates a croaking sound which is why guiros are now often commercially sold in the shape of a frog or toad. Due to its unique and imprecise design, the guiro can come in various shapes and sizes, so it would be fair to say that no two guiros are the same.
Inventor: Unknown

Where to Buy

£30 - £45

Hear the Guiro

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How to Play

A percussion instrument that is played by scraping a stick or scraper along the ridges of the instrument's surface to create a rhythmic, scraping sound.

In Popular Music

The guiro has become a critical percussive instrument for pop songs with a latin flavour. A few notable examples are 'La Bamba' by Ritchie Valens, the chorus of 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson 5 and 'Living La Vida Loca' by RIcky Martin

Famous Players

Giovanni Hidalgo, Poncho Sanchez

Close Relations

Maracas, Cabasa
Video 귀로 Güiro (Musical Instrument): MIS (Musical Instruments Sounds)
Understanding the Guiro


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