Exotic musical instruments! That’s exactly what I love. I’m always amazed by the myriad musical instruments created to express sound. My Sonic Safari travels have certainly helped me experience a good number of these wonderful devices.
Several years ago I was deep in Mexico in a small village. I walked into a local music store and began perusing the musical instruments. I saw many of the more traditional Mexican instruments, like guitar, violin, guiro, maracas, trumpets and other stringed instruments. I noticed a short, fat guitar-like instrument hanging on the wall. It had a very wide short neck and 12 strings. I assumed it would be a 12 string guitar, but I was very wrong. I got closer to the instrument and notes very thick, heavy strings.
What is this thing? I inquired of the owner and he told me it was a “Bajo Sexto”. What is it used for? He told me it was used in “Nortena Music” and sometimes Tex-Mex music. It was basically a 12 string bass guitar! That is so cool. The instrument was tuned an octave lower than the regular 12 string guitar and it does have a very distinctive sound. I walked out of the store with my first Bajo Sexto. Of course the next thing to figure out is how to get it home….but that has never stopped me from purchasing a fantastic new musical instrument.
I got home and checked into the Nortena music and found that they usually just use the highest strings to play chords. I felt that half of the instrument was unused…the better half. Since then I have used the Bajo Sexto in lots of innovative ways.
My newest Cd “Guitars of Light” (check it out at SonicSafariMusic.com) features several tunes with the Bajo Sexto. I have included some of that music here for you. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the beautiful low tones it produces. Click on the blue “Emerald Cliffs” to play an MP3