What is a guiro?
A guiro is a type of percussion musical instrument, its history is unknown but is said to relate back to originate in either Africa or South America. The Aztecs created something that is very similar to a güiro, it was known as an omitzicahuastli, whilst this is a bit of a mouthful to pronounce it was also played in the same manner.
By definition it is a musical instrument with a serrated surface which gives a rasping sound when scraped with a stick, originally made from a hollowed gourd and used in Latin American music, its Spanish pronunciation is ‘ɡwiɾo’.
What are they usually made from?
Whilst the body of the guiros are traditionally made from a dried gourd, more modern ones can be made from any material such as wood, metal, plastic, bamboo and even fibreglass. They also come in many shapes and sizes such as a standard block, frog guiros are common, and we have crocodile ones.
How is it played?
There are many techniques that can be used to play, but the guiro is usually played by scraping along the notches of the instrument. The sound effect varies from instrument to instrument depending on the materials used, the depth of the notches and spacing between.
Our top 5 most popular guiros
1. Crocodile (£12.99)
This is one mean snappy crocodile, stunningly carved, and works well as an ornament!
2. Croaking Frog (£14.99)
A boxed croaking frog guiro that is made from high-quality acacia wood, that has been hand carved in northern Thailand.
3. Cricket (£9.99)
Small cricket wooden guiro block that has been hand-painted, a perfect insect for children to play!
4. Bamboo Rasp (£9.99)
A 35 cm bamboo guiro rasp that features a simplistic hand-painted dot design.
5. Gourd Shaker (£17.99)
This is more like the traditional type of guiro but it works as a multipurpose instrument being also a shaker with a rainstick type of sound. It has a woven strap by the handle and has been stunningly handpainted in Peru.