The Cuatro is mostly about strumming and there are numerous variations to these strums which give it a uniqueness. The descending frenado is fundamental for the Cuatro and this is something you will find back in most of the lessons you will review in the future. So make sure that you are able to execute this key element of playing the Cuatro. We will provide you with all of the material you need in order to do so and not get hurt! (Who would have ever thought that playing an instrument could be painful!)
The descending frenado much easier than its brother the ascending frenado. This has everything to do with the amount of friction which is caused by your fingers when hitting the strings. With the descending frenado, you are working in a motion following the natural direction of your knuckles and fingers. This in contrast with the ascending frenado where you are working against the natural direction of your hands motion and finger direction. Not to worry, you will be able to do both of these with some practice and then once mastered, it will become second nature to you.
The first impact of your hand on the strings to make the descending frenado will be starting from the knuckle of your middle finger followed by that of your index finger. The motion you will be making is a downward motion with a slight curve at the end finishing off with the palm of your hand. This acts as a buffer and will muff the sound of the strings. The aim here is to hit the strings causing a “tack” noise which is that of a percussion instrument. In the beginning you will notice that there will still be sound when hitting the strings, don’t get discouraged as this will diminish as you master the technique.
In the video provided below by Luis Natera, he provides a detailed explanation of the technique and give a demonstration. If you happen to have any questions about this please let us know and we can make an appointment for a live session to give you some pointers on how to do this.