A characteristic instrument of Los Panchos and other Mexican tríos románticos since the 1950s is the requinto guitar, which is smaller and tuned higher than a standard guitar and was popularized by Alfredo Gil. Requinto solos found in many bolero recordings by Los Panchos.
Los Panchos first met in 1944 in New York City. The three original members were Chucho Navarro, and Alfredo Gil, both from Mexico, and Hernando Avilés from Puerto Rico. All three played guitar and contributed vocally.
Los Panchos reached fame with their romantic songs, especially in Latin America where they are still regarded as one of the top trios of all time. They sold millions of records in Latin America and other countries. In the 1940s they collaborated with Alfredo Antonini's Viva America Orchestra with the orchestral accordionist John Serry Sr. in a recording of "La palma" (a cueca) and "Rosa negra" (a conga) for Pilotone Records (#45 5067, #45 5069). They also appeared in around 50 movies, mostly during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.
Los Panchos began touring internationally in 1946 and would relocate later that same year to Mexico City. They were welcomed with open arms and XEW-AM, the most popular radio station in Mexico City, reserved a time slot for their music. In 1951, Los Panchos launched another international tour across Latin America.
Julito Rodríguez joined the group in 1952; he was replaced by Johnny Albino in 1958. Johnny Albino and Chucho Navarro--Miguel Poventud and Yomo Toro were studio musicians for CBS--famously worked with singer Eydie Gorme on a series of bestselling albums in the 1960s. The Albino era was one of the most prosperous ones for Los Panchos whose classic albums are very popular among Los Panchos fans still. His departure in 1968 was a tumultuous one, as he did not leave on good terms with the group's management.
Alfredo Gil played with Los Panchos until his retirement in 1981; he died in 1999. Chucho Navarro played with the group until his death in 1993. Currently the trio using the Los Panchos name is the Trio Los Panchos de Chucho Navarro Fundador ("Trio Los Panchos of Founder Chucho Navarro") under the direction of Chucho Navarro Jr., the son of original Los Panchos member Chucho Navarro.