Greetings from Brazil


Feb 23, 2016
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I'm Australian but living in Brazil for nearly 10 years. Played a ukulele when I was kid and used to take it holidays when we went to the beach, along with a harmonica. I play various instruments, but none particularly well. I have a couple of Brazilian cavaquinhos, one new-ish, the other very old, probably from the 1930s or 40s. It's a "Tranquillo Giannini" factory-made instrument with a solid top. It has a good sound and after some tweaking, it's easy to play. These cavaquinhos however, with their steel strings played with a plectrum, are pretty loud. I've been longing for the softer sound of the ukulele and just recently I found the instrument, a hand made soprano with a spruce top - made locally. There will be a little delay before I can bring it home, hopefully next week. I'm not sure yet how I'll tune it, I'll probably re-tune it like a cavaquinho so I can switch between the two instruments without straining my head too much. But if it doesn't sound right I'll string it up the traditional way. I plan to play Brazilian sambas and choros on it which I've been learning to play on the cavaquinho. I'm mostly interested in playing rhythm parts, but this ukulele had a really nice sound on solo notes when I played it, so I may try and develop a finger picking style as well.

This site looks great, I'll be going through the videos and tabs with interest - all the best!
Greetings and welcome, glad you joined us.
Hola from sunny Arizona, USA! Welcome to the UU forums. Are the cavaquinhos tuned DGBD? They do sound LOUD and brash. Even more so than a banjolele
Surdo, you might wish to look for a charango to purchase, while you are there... get one made from a quirquincho shell !

Might be a little fuss with the biosecurity folks, getting off the plane, but it's all for fun, right? :)

Hola from sunny Arizona, USA! Welcome to the UU forums. Are the cavaquinhos tuned DGBD? They do sound LOUD and brash. Even more so than a banjolele

Thanks igorthebarbarian (and Campbell and Phil). Yes, DGBD. On this Ukulele the saddle is offset slightly towards the nut on the G string, so perhaps I'd need to change that if I retune it. There's banjos used here in samba that look similar to the banjolele. They're called sometimes banjo cavaco, cavaco banjo, banjo de samba but usually just banjo. A lot of them seem to be made by the company Rozini. RMV make simpler looking ones.
Thanks rusty case. Actually I think my dog will be a bigger problem!
Welcome! Would love to see pics of your handmade soprano.
Hi BB11 and Laura and thanks uke1950. I'm in Brasília, but I know Florianópolis quite well, beautiful place - good choice!

I got hold of the instrument earlier in the month. It came with no label. They told me the name of the maker but I promptly forgot it, however he's coming to the shop later in the month and they said that they would call me when he does, as some of the frets need grinding back a bit under the A string. The uke has pretty simple finishing, but the materials are quite good. Italian spruce apparently on the top, cedar sides, back and neck and what looks like a rosewood finger board and bridge - and a strange ring over the sound hole which looks like "pau ferro" - iron wood. The ring gives it the look of children's toy which I think is appropriate! It looks a lot like another ukulele that I've seen pictures of called "Vivace" - which is the product of a luthier's supply store in Espirito Santo. I think the maker must come from there and I'll find out later this month. I'm pretty happy with its sound - except for the buzzing frets!

I'll try and attach a picture.


I also just recorded my first attempt at a composition - a very simple one. I used a two finger picking technique that I learned from one of the videos on this site. I'll keep checking out the videos, but if anyone can suggest good material on finger picking technique, please let me know!

I couldn't get through it without making mistakes but here's the best recording:

You'll hear the buzzing loud and clear.

All the best,
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