Blog of Puerto Rican Cuatro

Feb
21

Tips for the care of Puerto Rican Cuatro


 Maintenance for Puerto Rican Cuatro

Articles about the care of Puerto Rican Cuatro
 
 
El cuatro Puerto Rican, like all wooden musical instruments, require particular care so that they remain in optimal conditions for a long time and without suffering from drastic changes either due to temperatures or other conditions. Next, we will share some useful tips for instrument maintenance. 

1. Care of the Harmonic Box

The simplest way is to clean the Cuatrocon with a soft cotton cloth after each use soaked in water and then dry it. This will prevent impurities that may remain in the box. These impurities can be from sweat to some other liquid. This will return the brightness it had and keep it for a long time. Our sweat is formed by 3 types of acids, fornic acid, acetic acid and butyl acid, these acids are degrading the finishes, to avoid this it is necessary to take a minute to clean our instruments.

If this is not enough, because we have not cleaned the box after each use, there is a product used by many for basic cleaning, orange or lemon citrus oil. This product is very common for the care of all the furniture in the house. Being a product with natural oils without chemicals is usually little harmful to lacquers, urethanes or nitrocelluloses. Of course, this should not be the norm because the excessive use of these oils can impregnate the finish with other consequences.

We already talked about the outer care of the box, but inside the boxes of the cuatroS acoustic guitars tend to accumulate dust, and dust attracts moisture that affects the sound. Although it sounds exaggerated, it is a reality that everything that attracts moisture to our instruments goes against the good acoustics of it, a way to remove dust from the interior is with a vacuum cleaner, yes, be careful not to damage the rest of box.
 
2. The Strings
 
There are different strings designed for the cuatro Puerto Rican, which we will talk about in another article in this blog. All have in common the diameter and the material. Although, that some cuatristas They have done experiments with different diameters, the standard is as follows: 
 
1 string 0.11
2 string 0.14 
3 string 0.23 
4 string 0.31 + 0.14 (combination of 4th string and 2nd)
5 string 0.41 + 0.23 (Combination of 5th string and 3rd) 
 
The strings must be clean to have a good tuning and good sound. Dirt and grease from the fingers build up on the ropes and produces corrosion. To avoid this, you have to clean the strings after play with a clean lint-free cloth above the strings and can also be passed under. It is important that the piece of cloth does not release lint as this would contribute to dirtying them even more. Keeping the ropes clean decreases the ropes to go out and extend their lifespan.
 
 

The Four and Relative Humidity


To begin with, we have to know what moisture is, the amount of water vapor present in the air is called moisture, it is expressed by the concepts of absolute, specific and relative humidity in the air. Absolute humidity is the total mass of water in the air. Specific humidity measures the mass of water that is in a gaseous state. The Relative Humidity of the air is the percentage relationship between the amount of real water vapor that exists in the atmosphere and the maximum that it could contain at the same temperature. I speak to you in this way of humidity, to learn a little about basic principles, knowing that the worst thing that can happen to our instrument except that it falls from our hands or that a car passes over it, are the changes in the relative humidity and more if these changes occur very fast. We have to keep in mind that the woods are hygroscopic.
 
The term hygroscopy is rooted in Greek and means wet or wet. What I mean by this is that the wood absorbs or expels moisture, if the humidity is excessive or high, the wood of the instrument swells and deformities appear especially in the fretboard, bringing with it loss of pulsation and the odious eyebrows. This, in turn, can also cause the tail to soften, producing detachments and finally noticeable losses in the sound, since when the wood is saturated with water it vibrates with difficulty. On the contrary, if the instrument faces places of very dryness or absence of moisture, it can be much more harmful to the instrument.
 
An instrument can be repaired very easily from moisture changes; but from the dryness, God help us because it implies among other inconveniences the cracks that no matter how well they are repaired they always leave their hueFlame nasty. The first care we must take is to get a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity that exists in the place, the relative humidity must be between 50% and 60% so that the instrument will remain unchanged. Humidity can shorten the life of the instruments; When the humidity rises, the wood absorbs moisture from the air and when there is not much moisture present in the air the measurements of the instrument can change. This is very difficult to see at first sight but there is a very easy way to detect when the instrument is suffering due to humidity or as we would say to the absence of moisture that is dryness. One of the most basic examples to detect problems is in the fretboard.
 
When the instrument is saturated with moisture you will immediately notice that the frets look small inside the fretboard and if you pass the nail through that area you will notice that it enters the groove of the fret, this happens because the wood is inflated causing as I said previously deformities. However, if the instrument is in very dry places, the fretboard shrinks due to lack of moisture and the dishes protrude from the sides of the fingerboard causing serious discomfort when we slide our fingers. So what things can we do to take care of our moisture instruments, very simple:
 
If you buy a handmade instrument you must make sure that it was built and assembled under temperature and humidity control this will help a lot so that you do not have problems with your instrument in the future. Every craftsman / luthier must have a restricted area controlled by a humidifier and temperature controller that is air conditioning.
 
Builders and repairers should have the obligation to own if they want to be considered as such.
 
• The cases are very important to protect our instruments but be very careful because they tend to keep moisture so I recommend if the instrument is going to be stored for a long time you should ventilate it at least once a month this will prevent moisture from wreaking havoc.
 
• There is a list of humidifiers on the market for very small and compact instruments; these help control their humidity. If the instrument is very wet, this small humidifier absorbs moisture and if the instrument is dry it provides the moisture it needs.
 
• If in the place where you live there is winter (cold or snow) the heating tends to turn on, this causes all the existing humidity in the house to disappear, which is a serious problem. I recommend that you place a container with water near the instrument so that evaporation of water compensates for the absence of moisture. You can also place a damp sponge inside the instrument, this will hydrate the instrument.
 
• Finally, I recommend buying a hygrometer to be sure of the relative humidity in the environment. Keeping this information in mind; I hope you can take the necessary measures to keep your musical instrument in good condition ( cuatro, guitar, tiple, etc). I can share this information with you thanks to the reading of great teachers in the construction of instruments and to practice during the past years in the art of building instruments in wood. I hope you find it very useful and if you have questions let us know in the comments section.
 
We thank the collaboration to luthier Ricardo Ramos
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Oct
06

Topic: NEW lesson: 10 Chord Theory + Puerto Rican Cuatro











 

New Puerto Rican Cuatro lesson:
Chord Theory "The minor harmonized scale"
The lesson contains:
40 minute video lesson with Maribel Delgado
PDF document to print and practice
Support Live help via chat
In this lesson you will learn to find all the chords of a lower hue and apply them to Puerto Rican Cuatro.
In our store you can find
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Puerto Rican Cuatro (Jumpsuit) 
Wood: Majó
Cover: Yagrumo
Gig Bag included
Shipping: Priority Mail (2-5 days)
Puerto Rican Cuatro (Side)
Wood: Cedar
Cover: Yagrumo
Includes: Gig Bag
Shipping: Priority Mail (2-5 days)
 
 
Puerto Rican Cuatro (Electric)
Wood: Cedar
Cover: Yagrumo
Includes: Integrated Pickup & Gig Bag
Shipping: Priority Mail (2-5 days)
Puerto Rican Cuatro (Side)
Oak wood
Cover: Yagrumo
Includes: Gig Bag
Shipping: Priority Mail (2-5 days)
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Sep
08

The Puerto Rican Cuatro Store






 
 
 
The Puerto Rican Cuatro Store
 
 
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Puerto Rican Cuatro: If you are studying Puerto Rican Cuatro you need an instrument of quality and comfort to learn correctly and without spending additional work. That is why we offer you quality instruments, sound and everything you need to make your learning more effective. In our catalog we offer you different models, each one is unique since they are carefully handmade and with woods from Puerto Rico. 
 
Accessories: Strings, Cases, Lumps, Picks, Straps, Humidifiers, Tuners and everything you need to be equipped with your favorite accessories.
 
Books: Books and methods for Puerto Rican Cuatro and Guitar.
 
Others: We have Cds, Dvds, of artists of our folklore, also tracks for the cuatrista and troubadour. 
 
 
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