Let’s go ahead and get started…..so…….what is the Cuatro?
Venezuelan? Colombian? Or…….
The first thing to note is that this is known as a Venezuelan Cuatro. We will however be referring to it as the Cuatro since when the Cuatro was first created it was a spin off of a guitarron and Venezuela or Colombia did not even exist at the time. Many people refer to it as the Venezuelan Cuatro, we have even seen it being called the Colombian Cuatro at times, here we will simplify things with no label throughout the course, and call it the Cuatro.
The Cuatro is a four string instrument originating in the northern areas of South American and the Caribbean. Many instruments have four strings, but this one has some very specific characteristics as far as how it looks and how it is played. The first characteristic we can pin point on the Cuatro is the pick guard or fingerboard which covers the top half of the instrument. Typically this is made with a different kind of wood and it gives the instrument a distinctive look to it.
How about the size of the Cuatro? Well, its not as small as a Ukulele and not as big as a guitar, but the sound of the instrument makes it seem as if it is a heavy weight as it has a very rich sound. The instrument can be played very comfortably either standing up with no strap or sitting down. We will take you through all of the different parts of the Cuatro, the music of origin and where it is currently played.