Two new guaguas / catas just completed.

I made a couple of guaguas for a reader and his brother. These two will be going to the wonderful city of Vancouver in Canada.

I try to make my guaguas as durable as possible. I wrap them with strong string; a technique I got from a book on how to make shakuhachis (Japanese bamboo flutes). I also coat them with Watco Danish oil which works well. I cut out round holes, instead of making a slit, to help prevent splitting and cracking.

These instruments take a beating and bamboo likes to split. Since musicians are paying me money for them I try and make them to last. Of course if your banging away on them with thick and hard rock and roll drum sticks, they are going to break. Timbale sticks are good, also softer wood dowels cut to size from a hardware store.

The thing is in Cuba, I assume you can just take a walk and chop down a stalk of bamboo anytime you want to make a guagua. That's not really possible in Vancouver, B.C. There are other alternatives, but nothing quite gives the authentic sound like a chunk of bamboo to get your rumba really driving hard.


  1. Those look great and I'm with you 100% about bamboo for the guagua.

    Hopefully for every one of these you make, another jamblock gets left at home.

  2. I am the reader Geordie's talking about, and I am so excited about my order. I have been searching for a long time for a good guagua. I *almost* caved in and went for the Pearl item, but am so glad I found Geordie...one look and you can see the quality of these instruments. Am watching for the parcel delivery truck like a hawk! And yeah - the only bamboo you can find here is terrible cracked decorative stuff. A serious pleasure doing business with you Geordie!