About the Cuatro


Music is a universal language coming in many shapes and forms. It is a way of exercising the mind, body, and soul all within the comfort of your own home. Many think this is mostly through listening to music, but being able to play the music with a subliminal instrument takes this experience to another level. Congratulations, for you, have chosen the Cuatro as your medium to express yourself with music and create an incredible sound that impacts music lovers of all kinds. It is our pleasure to not only introduce you further to the sounds of the Cuatro but also to learn about its origin, how is it played, what can you do with it and how its rhythms can tie into historical moments carried on through the legacy of the instrument.

Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this course is to give you detailed insight as to what the Cuatro is. This will touch upon it’s origin and how it has evolved as a musical instrument. We will indicate to you what you should look for in a Cuatro. How is it made? What materials and what kinds of Cuatros are available. You will be provided with an introduction to what you can do with the instrument and how it is so similar yet so different to its cousins. You will also be informed about how the courses are set up and how you will be able to move forward as a Cuatro player.

Recommended Background

None whatsoever. Start afresh, get to know the instrument which has not only captured but changed the lives of many.

Explore more about the Cuatro

The Cuatro is an instrument that used to be taught from generation to generation. The grandfather would teach the son, the son would teach the neighbor and the neighbor will play for his family. It is our goal as Cuatro players to offer the teachings of this incredible instrument not only to all of those who are interested, but worldwide. Learning about the Cuatro is the first step to be taken in the great journey into the world of this four-stringed marvel.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • A New Kind of Sound – The Electric Cuatro
    As with other musical instruments, a new age of innovation and interpretation by modern luthiers and artists has made possible upgrades for this instrument. Out of this has come to fruition a new kind of instrument called the Electric Cuatro. This type of Cuatro replicates the sound and tuning of a traditional Cuatro but differs in its manufacturing process, as it doesn’t have a hollow body, but a solid one instead. In this article, we are going to be talking specifically about the Electric Cuatro. She’s […]
  • Accompaniment Vs. Soloist
    Accompaniment instruments and music are fantastic for either strumming away in your free time or playing in a band as an accompaniment or soloist musician. This can be seen as a more basic or intermediate way of playing the Cuatro. Here you combine chords and strums to form excellent interpretations of songs and genres. Again, there are different levels of music; you will be able to explore these as you go along. Adrián Toro Accompanying For plucking strings, you will find tabs with which you can […]
  • Are there live lessons in TuCuatro?
    From time to time we will be organizing live lessons. This has been a great success in the past where many students opt for participation, and we have a growing audience in YouTube who also enjoy watching the lessons and contributing in the form of comments and encouragement. The live sessions will always relate to a specific topic being a song or genre with one of our renowned cuatristas and whereby you will be able to leave the session with the ability to play the melody […]
  • Can I play Ukulele songs with a Cuatro?
    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 […]
  • How can I buy a Cuatro at our TuCuatro Store?
    There are so many choices out there, and it’s mostly knowing what to look for and more importantly, where to look to buy a Cuatro. One of the reasons the Cuatro may be limited in making its appearances on stages around you is because of the availability of the instrument. Typically the instruments are made by luthiers in South America and the only way of getting one is if you go there yourself. Pretty far fetched for a musical instrument where you have others in your […]
  • How do I get familiar with the Cuatro?
    Learning how to play a musical instrument can be as complicated or as simple as we like. It all depends on how far it is that you would want to come. Some persons wish to learn some accompaniment songs, some chords and the ability to jam along. Others reach for the stars and try to become the next Cheo Hurtado (don’t worry., we’ll get to who this person is in a moment). Either option is possible with enough dedication, perseverance, and joy. We here at TuCuatro […]
  • How do I know if a Cuatro is good?
    Before buying an instrument, it is critical that you assure that the quality of the instrument is good enough and that it tunes correctly in all frets. Our teachers and musicians are constantly helping customers at the TuCuatro Store by reviewing each instrument to guarantee the quality of the sound.  One of the most used tests is the “fretboard scan” which consist of playing the instrument up to the 17 frets to guarantee that it tunes properly The Cuatro shown in this video is a Cedar […]
  • How does the Cuatro stringed musical instrument sound?
    The Cuatro is a four-string musical instrument, a distant cousin of the guitar, which has evolved in the regions of Colombia and Venezuela. There are many relatives of the Cuatro as several string instruments have changed from the first guitars brought by the conquistadores in the 14th century. We will mention some more information about related instruments (Ukulele, Banjo, Cuatro Mandolin, etc.) in future modules. What makes the cuatro a unique musical instrument The uniqueness of the Cuatro is found within its ability to be a […]
  • How long does it take to learn to play the Cuatro?
    There is a learning curve for every instrument, cuatro, guitar, ukulele, etc.. It does take time to familiarize yourself with the style of play. A common question is how long does it take to learn to play the Cuatro? Well, the answer is: It is entirely up to you! The most dedicated students who practice daily have the best results, no matter which instrument they play. It could be the cuatro, guitar, bandola, mandolin, or any other instrument, if you dedicate sufficient time to practicing, you’ll […]
  • How to choose a musical instrument: classifications at TuCuatro
    It could be tricky to choose a musical instrument from a variety when you have to consider so many factors, like the type of woods, the quality of work of a manufacturer, the sound that the instrument produces, etc.  That’s why we want you to know how we’ve divided the type of instruments that we offer at our TuCuatro’s Store. This is an internal classification that somehow has become the standard when talking about a Cuatro. Learn how we think about the Cuatro and how we […]
  • How to Play Ukulele and how long does it take to learn?
    No matter the musical instrument, there is a natural learning curve. Mastering the Ukulele is no different, it will take time to familiarize yourself with chords and strumming styles. But do you know how long this process takes? and how to learn the Ukulele in a way so you can have fun while you go through the details of music theory? In this post we will discuss a bit more about these subjects. Let’s start! What’s the best way to learn how to play Ukulele? From […]
  • I Don’t Have a Venezuelan Cuatro and Have No Clue How To Get One
    If you do not have one yet and don’t have an idea on how to get a cuatro, we are here to help. The Cuatro is a folkloric musical instrument that has seen a rise in popularity in the past two decades. More musicians than ever are playing the instrument, and we’re there for the whole time. Our musicians and cuatro players, born and raised in the cuatro culture, have been able to witness this change. We know this musical instrument head to toes. Our team […]
  • Is the cuatro only used in South America?
    All this talk about the Cuatro’s presence in South America. Believe us; it is not the only place! Many interpretations of music are made across the globe, and this will continue to grow. YouTube is bringing us all closer, and we invite everyone to play with TuCuatro, share your progression and your music. Have a look at this Japanese band playing with the Cuatro…..how did it ever get there? Japanese Musicians Playing Gaita Japanese Musicians Playing Alma Llanera Like modern bands using incredible instruments? How about […]
  • Musical Instruments relatives of the Cuatro
    On this occasion, we will go over a couple of instruments that can be considered as relatives to the Cuatro. There are many more than this, but the most popular or known cousins of the Cuatro are: The Ukulele The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument related to the cavaquinho, braguinha and the rajao, taken to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants. It gained great popularity elsewhere in the United States during the early 20th century, and […]
  • Parts of the Cuatro
    Get to know your Cuatro. This lesson explains the different parts of the Cuatro. It is essential to be able to describe your instrument and also to get to know it. Each Cuatro has specific characteristics and attributes. By using these features, you will be able to orientate yourself on your instrument. So if on the 8th fret there is a crack or a spot of wood which has a different color, you can use that as a reference. Know the instrument you play and love […]
  • Popular artists using the Cuatros
    There are popular composers and famous artists for the Cuatro. These are slightly different, and most of these persons have some sort of affiliation with Venezuela. The most famous being Simon Diaz who has brought incredible masterpieces such as Caballo Viejo (international versions derived from this song are The Gypsy Kings “Bamboleo”) who brings the sound from the Venezuelan lowlands on a global scale. In the image below you see him presenting pope Jean Paul II with a Cuatro. Gualberto Ibarreto also shares a familiar role […]
  • String or percussion instrument?
    The answer, BOTH! Many string instruments can be played by making specific strums or hitting the wood. For most instruments, this is optional, but the Cuatro needs this kind of love! There is nothing like strumming regularly in combination with dry strums (known as chasquidos or frenados) and knocking on a specific area of the Cuatro known as the “golpeador” or fingerboard. This is the part of the Cuatro which is reinforced with another kind of wood that can withstand impacts. It also forms a key feature […]
  • The History of the Cuatro Guitar Instrument
    The Venezuelan cuatro has its origins in Europe. The history of this beautiful instrument started many centuries ago with the expansion of the popularity of the Spanish Guitar, an instrument that used to have four strings. The Spanish Guitar traveled to South America and was transformed into many different instruments that now are part of folk music in many Latin American Countries. Besides the Spanish Guitar, there are many similar instruments throughout history, like in Egipt or some European and African countries that have used four-stringed […]
  • The Modern Cuatro
    New Teaching Methods The Cuatro is no longer an instrument people keep hanging on their walls as an adornment. It is an instrument admired by many and has specific characteristics. The Cuatro player also has certain features. The Cuatro player is persistent, agile and can play from a nice and simple accompaniment to a soloist song with radical changes. All in good time of course! Aside from this, there are new teaching methods and a wide range of resources available for learning how to play the […]
  • The TuCuatro Methodology
    TuCuatro uses a modular methodology with our curriculum. The lessons are divided into sections or modules of 2-4 lessons each and all sections must be completed in chronological order. At the end of each lesson, there will be a series of questions that would need to be answered prior to moving forward to the next lesson. The curriculum being offered starts from the very basics of the Cuatro and moves up until advanced techniques and pieces. The recommendation is to spend at least 2 weeks per […]
  • What is a Cuatro? Stringed Musical Instrument
    What is the Venezuelan Cuatro? The Venezuelan cuatro is a string musical instrument from the plains shared between Venezuela and Colombia. The Cuatro is considered the national instrument of Venezuela. This instrument is mainly used for a folk music style called Joropo, which gets to be popular in the plains, but it is also vastly used in many other regions of Venezuela.  You can also find the Cuatro in some Caribbean islands, like Aruba, or like Trinidad & Tobago, where it gets used to playing Parang, […]
  • What is TuCuatro? Learn instruments like guitar online
    TuCuatro is a portal where interested students can learn how to play the Cuatro and other instruments like guitar online. Starting as an initiative by Venezuelan Cuatristas, we have dedicated ourselves to assisting and facilitating persons from all nationalities with a means to learn to play Cuatro. As a team, we are made up of Cuatristas, innovators, and e-learning specialists who have dedicated the teachings of all aspects of the Cuatro. At TuCuatro we have the exclusive objective of creating the largest interactive manual for the […]
  • What kind of music is traditionally played with the Cuatro?
    Traditionally, the Cuatro is used as an accompaniment instrument to the harp & maracas. The combination of this ensemble creates music genres such as Joropo which is typical folklore music from the lowlands of Colombia & Venezuela. To the Joropo genre, there are several sub-categories such as San Rafael and Gaban, all of which will be looked into with more detail in lessons to come. Joropo Demonstration Other popular genres from the region are Gaita (played mostly during the December festivities) and Waltz. The Waltz music […]
  • What makes the cuatro an unique instrument?
    There are not many instruments with a reentrant running in this modern world. Probably because of the influence of the modern guitar where all the strings are tuned ascendant and all other instruments follow. Basses, violins, violonchelos, guitars, and many other string instruments are tuned in a way you will always find their highest notes on the last bottom string. Many centuries ago, instruments with reentrant tuning were extremely popular. They were used in many songs from where we still have notation. The Baroque Guitar is […]
  • What types of Cuatros are available and who makes them?
    The quality of the Cuatro (as for any musical instrument) has a direct impact on the sound and smoothness during playing. There are exceptions to the rule, as you can get some incredible sound out of lesser quality Cuatros. It is only once you get into playing and try a Cuatro of higher quality than you will notice a significant difference. So, if you are starting with a relatively cheap Cuatro, you may wish to consider upgrading quickly as you will appreciate the change! Cuatros are […]
  • What’s the difference between an Ukulele and a Cuatro
    So you discovered that there’s an instrument called Cuatro and probably know about it’s resemblance to the Ukulele. It is true that the similarities are numerous but there’s a spectacular difference: The Cuatro has a reentrant tuning where its fourth and last string is tuned on an octave lower, almost as low as the first string. This means all solo, melodies, sounds are going to be produced by the third string and not by the last one. The Ukulele and the Cuatro share a similar rhythm […]
  • Where is the Cuatro played?
    Historically, Colombia and Venezuela…..recently WORLDWIDE!! Although the Cuatro is most popular in its region of origin, the intoxicating sounds of the instruments and incredible possibilities have spread. Modern artists such as Jorge Glem and Carlos Capacho have presented the possibilities of the instrument on an international level, but still a long way to go. There are many cuatro players in Colombia, which would be the second country with the most cuatro players in the world.  After Colombia, the third country with most Cuatro players would be […]
  • You can begin learning to play the Cuatro instrument!
    If you are entirely new to the Cuatro as a string instrument, before you play any song, the recommendation is always to start from the very beginning of the music theory. The first lessons and courses provided at TuCuatro are the very basics of how to play, what to look out for and getting the hang of the most basic techniques you need to know. You’ll learn how to strum the cuatro and techniques to play your first rhythms, be rock, pop, ballads, waltz or more […]