It is made by hand in many little workshops in town from a large block of wood most often instead of the traditional dried armadillo shell. A single piece for back and bowl is roughly carved out and hand sanded smooth. The result needs to be stretched and weighted to find the perfect balance before glueing the face on to little tabs along the rim. The string is used to keep the balance during the drying. Next the fine inlays and decorative edging is carved and applied before the findings are added.
When the Spanish conquistadores came to South America, they brought with them a traditional spanish guitar. There are many stories of how the charango came to be made with its distinctive diminutive soundbox traditionally made of armadillo. One story says that the Spaniards prohibited natives from practicing their ancestral music, and that the charango was an attempt to make a lute that could be easily hidden under their ponchos.