Cuatro Venezuelano B, F#, D, A Normal Tension
A part of the guitar family, the traditional, Venezuelan cuatro is a popular instrument in South America and the West Indies. The Aquila strings are often praised for their balance and excellent response.
IMPORTANT INSTALLATION INFORMATION:
Nylgut is a completely different material than Nylon and needs a bit of extra care during installation because of its soft surface and different molecular structure.
First check that the string channels in the nut are rounded and have no sharp edges, especially the lower edges facing the fingerboard. Because the string approaches from a slightly downward angle, if that edge is sharp the string can hang up on it, create a burr and break. It needs to be just slightly radiused, and this procedure can be done with very fine sand paper and an old string, or a small round file. Some makers ignore this because Nylon strings are very hard and can withstand a poor set up. Sometimes bridge saddle edges on the tying side are sharp as well and should be radiused slightly with fine sandpaper.
It is good to help the strings over the nut by lifting them slightly right at the nut as you tune up. Plain Nylgut trebles stretch like crazy so you should also cinch the strings up tight on the barrels before winding. Be sure not to overlap wound strings on the tuning barrels. The preferred method is to put a set on an instrument in the evening, bring them just up to pitch, let them sit overnight, and finish tuning in the morning. This allows the molecules some time to adjust to being stretched. Give them a week or so to stretch in fully (less for ukulele strings) before passing any judgment on tone as it takes a while for them to develop their best sound.
About Aquila Cuatro Strings:
You will be amazed by what Aquila’s Nylgut strings can do for your instrument’s sound. The traditional, Venezuelan cuatro has four strings, tuned B, F#, D, A. It used gut strings until the mid 20th century when nylon strings were first made and became popular. Aquila’s Nylgut replaces the conventional nylon with a new material that has all the warmth and projection of gut and the tonal stability and longevity that gut strings never had. These tie end strings need to be installed carefully, so follow the installation instructions below when stringing your instrument. However, you will find the little extra time it takes to get in tune is well worth the splendid tone and response you will receive from your cuatro.
Remember Nylgut strings need to be strung carefully on your instrument. All sharp edges or angles should be removed from the bridge before installation. The optimum way to bring them up to tune is described below. However, to reach tonal stability quickly, pull each string out from the sound hole and then retune. When you no longer need to retune after doing this, you should have tuning stability.
Cuatros from other parts of Latin American often have five or six strings. However Aquila’s cuatro set is four strings for the Venezuelan cuatro. Cuatros are widely used in countries such as Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico and the West Indies as solo instruments, but more often are found in ensembles for secular and sacred music. Cuatro’s antecedent is the 15th century Portuguese cavaquinho which also had four strings. Other names for this instrument are guitarra, pequena, guitarrita or guitarilla.