A few basic things to keep in mind before getting started…..well chances are you already got started since you have now completed the lesson on tuning your Cuatro. This is a brief explanation of what you can expect in the lessons to come and also explain certain things that you will come across as you start your journey.
We will keep all of the terminology as simple as we can. Remember, this goal is to play the Cuatro, not to become an expert in musical theory. We will definitely touch aspects of musical theory (because you are learning on how to use a musical instrument) but focus on the Cuatro. One term in particular which you will run into because of it’s importance to the Cuatro is the famous “Frenado” or “Chasquido”.
Since we do not really have the English equivalent we will be referring to this strumming technique as the “Frenado”. There will be a lesson on this, essentially the frenado is a strumming technique whereby the strings are hit but the sound of the strings are muted and it produces a “tack”. Listen to the frenados in this demonstration below:
Gaita With Frenados
We have described some information about the TuCuatro methodology. With the sequence of lessons, you will always have an element of theory, chords, relative minor chords, rhythm or genre and songs. This way you will have some tools with which to work with and a goal, which is to be able to play the songs provided. Later on we will introduce more complex techniques and help you bring your play to the next level.
To help you retain what you have learned, each lesson ends with a small test. You can enter the answers in the given fields and if you need to look something up in the lesson, you can simply click in the background where the lesson is and then come back to the test when you think you have the answer. Once you enter your answer, hit enter or click in the test background to get to the next question. All tests which have been completed will appear green with a check mark so you know you have finished the lesson and can come back to it at any time. Lessons in Black are the ones which have not been attempted yet, and the ones in Brown are the next lesson you need to take. Good Luck!
The chords will be presented such as those in the image found below of C Major. The frets are numbered so that you can find the position to mark quickly. We will refer to the chords in the western style, so A – B – C – D etc. They can also be described with numbers. The chord seen below is 18.104.22.168; where the numbers coincide with the fret being marked (pretty easy actually). Songs will be provided with the chords and when necessary tabs.
Practice & Patience
Normally you would say, practice, practice and practice. This is true, we would like to add in patience to the equation. Just as with anything else, you get what you put into it. Make sure you practice a lot, our studies show that the students who make the best progress practice from 30 minutes to an hour each day. It’s worth it! The patience part, you are not going to come out of here playing like Carlos Capacho (see video below) in a weeks time. Be patient, you’ll get there. Take your time with the lessons and don’t move too fast.
Carlos Capacho Cuatrista
Record Your Progress
Keep track of your progress by recording yourself play. You may be embarrassed at first, but trust us, this is something you would like to look back at. Make sure you share the progress with us as well, this way we can give you tips and help you out as much as we can. We all support each other! Take a look at the progress our students have made:
Adriaan Van Nieuwkerk (United States)
Levinton Gomez (Venezuela)
Miguel Angel (Spain)