3 Basic Strums for the Cuatro

This lesson will cover the 3 basic strums of the Venezuelan Cuatro.

These strums are defined below with the arrows illustrated. You will find these arrows as you continue with the lessons and familiarize yourself with the rhythms.

Cuatro Strums

The chords of the cuatro are to be strummed using the index finger, turning your wrist in the direction of the strings and allowing the hand to follow through using its own weight. The importance of strumming with the index finger is to permit you to play with speed and accuracy. Downward Strum

Upward Strum

Strumming the chords upwards is conducted with the thumb and a turning movement of the wrist resulting in the thumb pointing in an upward direction. This strum uses the nail of the thumb to play the strings and is used by all cuatristas.

Strum Using All Fingers

Lining up all fingers so that the fingertips are at the same level and strumming the chords gives a fantastic effect. It is a powerful way of playing and brings out a vibrant quality of the cuatro. It is possible to execute this by first lining up the pinky and having the rest of the fingers follow. The fingers should be in a curved fashion as if you were holding a baseball with all fingers excluding the thumb.

Play the three basic strums for the cuatro. You can choose to do this with open strings (so not marking any chords) or be using a previous chord we have revised. To challenge yourself, you can try and play the tonic, subdominant and dominant of B Minor applying the strums in an Up-Down-Down fashion (the final down being you hitting the strings with all of your fingers).

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