Guitarrico at the Atlas of Plucked Instruments Website
Example from the Atlas of Plucked Instruments Website
Salvador Ibanez 1915 Guitarrico
Salvador Ibáñez dated 1915
Jose Alvares Dulcet Spanish Guitarrico
A 1930's Alvarez like the one George Formby had
Guitarrico or Ukulele - you tell me?
The Guitarrico is the Spanish equivalent of the Portuguese Cavaquinho. It comes from the same root Lute like instruments, is the same size, has the same sort of 12 fret neck level with the soundboard, the same golpeador idea and can be steel or nylon/gut strung - the old ones have a different, saddleless bridge though. They particularly originate in the Aragon region and are probably the root instrument for the Latin American Cuatros and Tiples  

In the early 20th century Spain was famous for its acoustic Guitars and they were sold worldwide, (the story of Hoshino and Ibanez is a good example of this). It appears then that in the late 20's early 30's distributors, particularly from the UK, went to the suppliers of their "Spanish" Guitars and asked if they could make Ukuleles? The Suppliers looked at the Ukulele, looked at the Guitarricos they were already making and said "there you go", (or words to that effect). For this reason it is very difficult now to tell the difference between the instruments? Age is probably the biggest give away, if it was made before about 1925 it was made as a Guitarrico, (but unless there is a dated label on it this still doesn't help much and even then the difference is only history not structure).

They are not made much now, as far as I can see, but if a Spanish, (or any other) luthier tells you its a Guitarrico, than its a Guitarrico...
Until, like Braguinhas, Cavaquinhos and Cavacos, as soon as you take it away from it origins most people will still think its a Ukulele

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