Basic Rhythm Pattern for Cavaquinho

Until now we’ve only practiced the downward and upward strumming, but to be able to play a proper basic rhythm for the Cavaquinho and further songs, we’ll need to create a proper rhythm structure and learn how to correctly place these strums.

Let’s learn a basic rhythm pattern for Cavaco. This pattern will be easy enough for you to capture the idea behind the complicated Brazilian rhythms. We will only require to strum a few times upwards at the beginning:

Down / Down / Down / Up-Down /Down /Down / Up-Down

Basic Cavaquinho Rhythm at double the speed

Now we will get into the good stuff.  We will do the same pattern but double the speed. 

You’ll notice that is really hard to get your mind around it at the beginning, doubling the speed while maintaining the tempo could be hard, but practice it a few times until you get it right.

This rhythm would form the bases of the basic rhythm we’re pursuing to learn at this lesson. Now, an advance variation of this rhythm would be as the following progression indicates:

Down / Down / Down / Up-Down /Down /Down / Up-Down-Up

What is exactly the difference between this rhythm and the one above? Just add a final Up to the stream. You’ll notice that this additional strum introduces a nice effect that you can use when playing any song.

Let’s listen to the video below where we introduce this additional strum in the mix:

Once you master these skills and learn how to do your first basic Cavaquinho rhythm, we will add a new technique on top of all this mix. You will be able to see how this technique will enhance the way the rhythm is played.

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