View Full Version : quatro not a ukulele?

Paul Cote
02-11-2011, 03:36 AM
I got an email from Cordoba Guitars today and they have a new Guilele which looks to me a lot like the Yamaha Guitalele. I thought, meh, I am not really into that... but then I noticed this other thing on there called a Quatro which has 4 strings:


Its tuned A D F# B ... isn't that also a ukulele tuning or not? This one has a scale length of 20.5" So if a Baritone is normally 19", this is an inch and a half longer.

there are a bunch of demos of them on youtube:

02-11-2011, 04:57 AM
is only a south american brother of ukulele. The Charango is another, with 10 strings. See Rachel Goodrich and her kazoo here:


Uke Republic
02-11-2011, 05:16 AM
Also another version in Puerto Rico. Those fingers fly!

02-11-2011, 05:19 AM
From what I've read, there are two kinds of Cuatro's, the Venezuelan cuatro (the one you have depicted), and the Puerto Rican Cuatro, which is shaped somewhat like a violin. The former is available in a few different scale lengths, but as I recall, the shortest is about the length of a tenor ukulele. Yes, the tuning you indicated is sometimes called the Vaudeville tuning for ukulele, it's a step higher than the C or C6th tuning that is now most common.

02-11-2011, 05:24 AM
From the few youtubes I just watched, it sounds like the tuning is an octave lower than normal ukulele D tuning. The A possibly being tuned to the same frequncy as a guitar 5th string A... basically one string lower than a baritone if that makes any sense.

I like the potential... if with the right strings it could be tuned to normal ukulele C tuning.

Check out the Southcoast Ukes for their 20" scale Tenor/Cuatro...


and their Cuatro...



02-11-2011, 09:38 AM
The Venezuelan cuatro a friend of mine showed me was tuned differently than a uke -- I don't remember what key it was in, but say it was in C, then the strings (bottom to top) were low A, E, C, low G (as opposed to high A, E, C, high G or high A, E, C, low G). So you could use the same chord fingerings and get the same chords for strumming, but in different inversions... and of course picking would be very different.

It was weird playing uke chords and having them sound right-but-different.

02-11-2011, 11:29 AM
What's shown is a Cuatro Venezolano - a much older intrument than the ukulele. It comes in different sizes from around Tenor Ukulele size to bigger than a Baritone. Even though they have been around much longer than ukuleles, they have a lot more freedom in the particulars of the layouts - nothing too standard. Today most of them are to the large end of the spectrum.

In sound, construction and tuning they are actually closer to the spirit of the original small ukuleles than the contemporary mainland "Big Uke" models.

We make an intrument called a Cuatro - actually a bit of a "Super-Baritone" hybrid. This page gives a lot more background on the differences between the Cuatro & Ukulele.


We also do strings for the typical low re-entrant tuning. This is a nice alternative for bigger ukuleles. Although a few Latins use them now - wound strings aren't traditional. The fingering is the same as high-rentrant, so any uke player can switch right over. Our Cuatro string page has more deatail:


02-11-2011, 11:45 AM
I like the potential... if with the right strings it could be tuned to normal ukulele C tuning.

Hello SanO,

You could set it up on an ukulele in low re-entrant Key of C using wound strings. Our set goes about as low as you can and still get good response from "Nylons".

Our set does key of C on our Cuatro (23" scale) and the old ukulele key of D on a Baritone. If you play your soprano in key of D, then with our strings on a baritone, it will be the same (same key, that is, different sound).

You want to be carefull about getting to low in your tunings, however. Think about what happens to any given ukulele when you go from standard tuning to low 4th. The deeper pitch can be too much for a lot of instruments. You double that effect when you got to low 4th and low 1st.

When you use a set like ours, however, without wound strings, the change is not so abrupt.