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The cuatro is any of several Latin American instruments of the guitar or lute family. The cuatro is smaller than a guitar. Cuatro means four in Spanish, although (MK3) current instruments may have more than four strings.
The cuatro is an instrument of the guitar family, found in South America, Trinidad & Tobago and other territories of the West Indies. Its 15th century predecessor was the Portuguese Cavaquinho, which, like the cuatro had four strings. The cuatro is widely used in ensembles in Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, and Surinam to accompany singing and dancing. In Trinidad & Tobago it accompanies Parang singers. In Puerto Rico and Venezuela, the cuatro is used as an ensemble instrument for both secular and religious music.
The Venezuelan cuatro 
The cuatro of Venezuela has four single nylon strings, tuned (A4,D5,F#5,B4) or (A3,D4,F#4,B3) depending on the strings you get. It is similar in shape and tuning to the ukulele, but their character and playing technique are vastly different. It is tuned in a similar fashion to the traditional D tuning of the ukulele, but the B is an octave lower. Consequently, the same fingering can be used to shape the chords, but it produces a different transposition of each chord. In other countries, known as the Five.
The cuatros of Puerto Rico 
|You may watch a segment from "Nuestro Cuatro" about the cuatro with Tomás Rivera Morales here|
Other cuatros 
See also 
- "Instrumentos Musicales de Venezuela: Cuatro". Diccionario Multimedia de Historia de Venezuela. Fundación Polar.
- Fredy Reyna: Alfa Beta Cuatro - Monte Avila Editores 1994
- Alejandro Bruzual: Fredy Reyna - Ensayo biográfico - Alter Libris 1999
Further reading 
- Chord and instructional guides
- Tobe A. Richards (2007). The Venezuelan Cuatro Chord Bible: ADF#B Standard Tuning 1,728 Chords'. Cabot Books. ISBN 978-1-906207-00-7.
- Tobe A. Richards (2007). The Puerto Rican Cuatro Chord Bible: BEADG Standard Tuning 1,728 Chords. Cabot Books. ISBN 978-1-906207-06-9.