What’s the difference between an Ukulele and a Cuatro

So you discovered that there’s an instrument called Cuatro and probably know about it’s resemblance to the Ukulele. It is true that the similarities are numerous but there’s a spectacular difference: The Cuatro is has a reentrant tuning. Its fourth and last string is tuned on an octave lower, almost as low as the first string.

Ukulele. From Wikipedia
Ukulele.  Wikipedia
Luthier Alfonso Sandoval
Cuatro. Luthier Alfonso Sandoval

This means all solo, melodies, sounds are going to be produced by the third string and not by the last one.

  • The Ukulele and the Cuatro share a similar rhythm strumming technique
  • The Ukulele and the Cuatro both use nylon strings
  • The Ukulele is normally tuned starting with the G meanwhile the cuatro is tuned in A
  • There are four different Ukulele sizes as there’s only one Cuatro size (similar to the Ukulele Baritone)

So you have the possibility of playing an instrument that resembles the Ukulele but produces a more colorful, vivid and deeper sound because its reentrant tuning.

 Do you want to start playing the cuatro?

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2 thoughts on “What’s the difference between an Ukulele and a Cuatro”

  1. Hey, I have a question about the Cuatro. Does it work to use the musical scores for ukuleles playing the Cuatro?
    Thank you for your answer!

  2. ukulele is traditionally tuned reentrant also, except in ukulele the lowest string is tuned an octave high

    cuatro tuning is upside down from uklulele then, same four relative pitches, but with the highest string tuned an octave low

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