Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

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Comment by Arthur J. Ness on August 25, 2016 at 14:58

"Kids say the darnedest things!"  Can't get better. 

Comment by Juan Pablo Pira on August 25, 2016 at 4:50

Regarding your Maso Rivera video. I'm surprised at how such small instruments are still usable.

Looking at the small instruments, I was remembering something that happened a few years ago during a Christmas concert.  I got to  play with an orchestra a Song called "El cielo canta alegría".  It was a really fun place to play: nearly a hundred singers, a tenor, a symphony orchestra and they needed a charango (another wild guitarroid I really like with 10 strings... this one is very small, though),  I really had a lot of fun playing the charango that night.

After the concert, I heard a mother asking her kid "Which song did you like best?".  The kid said "The one with the really large guy playing the really small guitar".

Comment by Arthur J. Ness on August 23, 2016 at 20:57

"Mandolin on steroids."  Nice way to describe it.  The players who gifted Ortiz the cuarto were from Venzuela.  I didn't realize there are several kinds of cuarto: Puertorican, Cuban, Venzuelan, and ?

Comment by Juan Pablo Pira on August 23, 2016 at 18:12
That's a Puertorican cuatro. For a completely unknown to me reason (I suppose it had four courses at some time in its history) it's called a cuatro even though it has five courses. That one is tuned in pure fourths B3 B2 - E4 E3 - A3 A3 - D4 D4 - G4 G4
That one is played with a pick while the Venezuelan is played with your fingers. This instrument has a very full, loud and clear sound... Something like mandolin on steroids. This one is a lot of fun to play.
Comment by Arthur J. Ness on August 23, 2016 at 17:44

This is more like it.  The tuning you give is interesting also with the third in the middle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_buSeHemW4c&list=RD_buSeHemW4c#...

Comment by Arthur J. Ness on August 23, 2016 at 17:32

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IklyG1y9JQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zFSN_JTU8I

These were the YouTube videos I saw.  Thanks for the additional information, Juan Pablo! Four single strings makes very good sense.  

Comment by Juan Pablo Pira on August 23, 2016 at 16:46

Sorry a d' f#' b

Comment by Juan Pablo Pira on August 23, 2016 at 16:45

No.  Single strings.  It is tuned a d' f# b.  Usually more strumed than plucked.  While it looks similar to a Ukulele, it needs a very different technique and usually plays very different music.

Construction is similar to that of a baroque guitar in that the fingerboard finishes flush with the top of the instrument.  I would say that it is a very nice instrument to play.

Comment by Arthur J. Ness on August 23, 2016 at 16:24

Boston Globe, 8/22/2016, pag C2.  There are performances on the cuarto in YouTube. David ("Papu") Ortiz is a very popular, and excellent baseball player, and will retire this season.  Hence the players on the Tigers presented him withe the instrument.  It seems to have 4 courses with double strings.

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