According to the Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy, instruments traditionally used in Mexico include string instruments that resemble guitars, such as the jarana, huapanguera, vihuela, guitarron, Quinta de golpe, tololoche and guitarra de son. Many of these come in a variety of sizes. Other instruments traditionally used in Mexico include a harp-like instrument called the arpa and percussive instruments, such as the quijada and zapateado.
The violin is another instrument that has been vital to Mexican culture, as are several traditional wind-and-brass instruments that are also popular in Europe and the Americas. Many of the stringed instruments that originated in Mexico were crafted out of a single piece of wood to combat the humidity that was present in much of the country. This helped the instruments to stay intact. The variations of the jarana were traditionally plucked with the musician's fingernails and did not rely on the use of a pick. The guitarra de son was played through downward strumming motions with a pick or espiga crafted from horn. To play the quijada, musicians would slide a stick over the teeth of a jawbone from a horse or a donkey. The term "zapateado" refers both to a form of Mexican dance and the instrument that is used, as dancers move on a wooden platform that creates sound from the tapping of their heels.