If you are a Cuatro player, you might want to try a few new songs and might find that most of the lyrics websites have chords for Ukulele, instead of a Cuatro. For this reason, it is typical for the Cuatro player to learn how to play Ukulele songs with a Cuatro, learning how to transpose all chords to be able to play the songs in the same tuning as the original version.
When you play an Ukulele song with a Cuatro the resulting sounds can come across differently, as the sound of a Cuatro is more rounded and deep, compared with the traditional Soprano Ukulele.
Playing a song using the chords
In order to continue using the same key, you will need to transpose the chord figures from Ukulele to Cuatro, or memorize how the chord figures look like on the Cuatro when you read the chord letters (e.g. Am, D7, Gm7, etc)
This method of playing a song might be difficult to achieve if you’re a beginner or just starting with the Cuatro.
Playing a sound using the same figures as Ukulele
Another trick you can apply is as follows: Find the song chords on the internet, the ones showing the graphics where you can see how to press each chord for Ukulele. Then, repeat the same chord figures for the Cuatro.
This technique allows you to play the song using the exact same chord figures, and because the Cuatro and Ukulele vary their tuning only by one note, you’ll still be close to the original key for the song.
So, mainly, as long as you make use of the same chords and the rhythm, then you can repeat what you see and still be able to play the song with a Cuatro.
Compared to the first technique (translating interpretations) you’ll notice how easy it is to just follow the figures and play the song. But be careful! You’ll be out of tune if you try playing with someone else.
Third technique: Tune your Cuatro differently
A last way of tackling this is to just tune your Cuatro like an Ukulele. The traditional tuning of the Ukulele is (G – C – E – A), and the tuning of the Cuatro is (A – D – F# – B). Everything is one tone lower than the Cuatro. So just tune your Cuatro down one note, all of the strings, and you will be able to play like if you were using an Ukulele.
We’ve made it easy to play Ukulele songs with a Cuatro at TuCuatro
To play Ukulele songs with a Cuatro just go over our Songs page and choose the song you would like to play. Our tools allow you to select the instrument you want to use, so all chords will be automatically converted to your instrument. It couldn’t be more easy than this!