The requinto is used in conjunto jarocho ensembles. In the absence of the arpa, the requinto typically introduces the melodic theme of the son and then continues by providing a largely improvised counterpoint to the vocal line.
The requinto jarocho is shaped like a guitar with a small body. The body, neck and tuning head is made from one piece of wood. It has a shallow body, and a slightly raised fingerboard. It also has 12 frets. 
The four-stringed requinto jarocho can follow the standard tuning of (ADGc), but is also commonly tuned to GADg and CDGc. The five-stringed requinto, however, adds a string above the standard tuning 5 half-steps below the initial first string, making it EADGc.