A large and complex family of stringed instruments which developed from the 16th through to the 18th centuries. While the lute and guitar families were strung with gut, the citterns were wire-strung and played with a plectrum.

Two members of the cittern family have retained their importance - the Spanish Bandurria and the Portuguese Guitar (the latter particularly associated with Fado).

In the latter years of the 20th century, the word "cittern" came to be applied to a bewildering range of instruments of the mandolin family, and, in Celtic music, to the Irish bouzouki.

A member of the guitar family, used throughout Iberia, Latin America country and the Philippines. The modern instrument has 12 strings (6 pairs).
Chord-Zither is a harp-like cittern that looks like a dulcimer with a fingerboard.
In the late 1960s the bouzouki was adopted by traditional musicians such as Johnny Moynihan and Donal Lunny who were involved in the folk revival in Ireland. It has become one of the most important instruments used to accompany Irish traditional music.

As the bouzouki came to be "acquired", its construction was modified to allow players to play standing up, and has a shorter neck and a flat back. A variety of tunings are used, the most popular being g–d'–a'–d''.

They are double strung - with varying numbers of strings.

  • instruments with 5 courses (pairs of strings) are often referred to as Citterns (a name "borrowed" from a Renaissance family of instruments);
  • instruments with 4 courses are often referred to as Irish Bouzoukis;
  • other closely related instruments include the mandola and octave mandolin;
  • some makers have created further hybrids - combining elements of the guitar and the bouzouki, for example.
The history of the guitar family of instruments in Portugal is quite different from that of neighbouring Spain. This may be evidenced by the nearest Portuguese equivalent to the Spanish guitar being called a "viola", while the "guitarra" resembles an instrument of the mandolin family.

At least some of the differences and traditions can be traced to the country's Atlantic and sea-faring connections.

This category is intended to include all Portuguese variants of the guitar family.