In South America, the mnemonic “Cam Bur Pin Ton” is often used to help musicians remember the tuning of the Venezuelan Cuatro. This mnemonic uses words that are typical of Venezuela (Cambur means Banana) to represent the pitches of the Cuatro’s strings: This mnemonic is similar to the one used for the ukulele, which is “My dog has fleas” (or “Mi perro tiene pulgas” in Spanish), but it is specifically tailored to the Cuatro’s unique tuning.
The mnemonic goes along with the order of the strings in the Cuatro, like below:
Cam = A
Bur = D
Pin = F# (highest note)
Ton = B (an octave lower)
Using a mnemonic like “Cambur pintón” can be a helpful tool for musicians who are learning to play the Cuatro, as it provides a simple and easy-to-remember way to remember each pitches string. It can also be helpful for experienced musicians who are trying to tune their instrument before a performance quickly or who need to check that their Cuatro is in tune before playing.
Here is a tool that can help you hear how the Cuatro strings should sound when they are in tune. By listening to the reference pitches provided by the tuner, you can learn to match the pitches of your Cuatro strings to the desired tones.
Using a tuner, you can develop a better ear for pitch and learn to tune your Cuatro with greater precision and accuracy. In the following lessons, we will review each of the Cuatro’s strings in detail and provide more information about the specific pitches and techniques you can use to tune each one.