The Cavaquinho is a small instrument, mostly used in folk music from Brazil, like Samba and Choro. There are a few details about the Cavaquinho that make the instrument unique in the world: its typical shape, the high frequency of the notes it produces and many others. The most interesting characteristic of this four-stringed instrument is that the Cavaquinho is the most representative stringed instrument of the culture of music in Brazil.
The Cavaco has a body shape with curves similar to a guitar. The traditional Cavaco has between 17 to 19 frets, which are enough to play traditional repertoires, while some Cavaquinhos built by luthiers tend to have much longer fingerboards, even reaching the sound hole and therefore having more frets, adapting the contemporary musical diversity and more solo music styles.
Pictures shown are for a Cavaco Rozini Electroacoustic
As you can see, there are several similarities with a Guitar, the notable difference would be with respect to the size of frets at the bottom of the fretboard which is unusually small and difficult to play. Most of the Cavaquinho enthusiasts and beginners will only use the first 3 to 5 frets of the fretboard.
So not to worry, for this course we will be making use only of the first frets until and including the 5th fret. You’ll learn how to play basic chords like the following ones:
A – E7 – D
You’ll be also learning some few basic strumming techniques and genres of the Brazilian music
If you would like to know more about the Cavaquinho, visit the Cavaquinho’s Wikipedia page is an excellent source of information.