Your First Rhythm with Frenados: Aguinaldo

Course: Palm mute strum or Frenado for the Cuatro

Picture of TuCuatro


At the same level as the Venezulean Merengue we are including the genre of Aguinaldo which is a very festive type of music and is very vibrant. There is a very common feature of this rhythm in relation to the Venezuelan Merengue, being that it too consists of 5 strumming motions. The aguinaldo is a rhythm of 5 beats which is played using a 6×8 pattern with the Cuatro.

Aguinaldo Rhythm


The Aguinaldo starts off with the following motions:

  1. Descending frenado
  2. Upward strum
  3. Downward strum
  4. Ascending frenado
  5. Downward strum
  6. Blank Strum

The blank strum or invisible strum saw at the end of the measure is illustrated with a small button like image. This represents the fact that this beat must be counted and forms part of the rhythm, but it is left silent. The resulting effect is that you need to leave a space between the 5th strum and the 1st strum when you start off the next measure with the frenado.

Have a look at the detailed video on how to play Aguinaldo, the chords made use of are D, G, A7, and  D7.

Aguinaldo Demonstration

Chords Played in Aguinaldo Demonstration

Just as with the Venezuelan Merengue, it will take some used to ending the measure with a downward motion and starting off with a downward motion as well. Both are similar, but if you take note in comparison to the Merengue, the silence which marks the 6th invisible strum is noticeable when listening to the Aguinaldo.

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