Brazilian Cavaquinho ~ October 2015
The cavaquinho is about the size of a tenor ukulele. It is steel strung, and like the uke, it, that is, it’s progenitor the renaissance guitar, was a cultural deposit of the Portuguese sailors and colonizers in the 16th Century. Today the modern cavaquinho features predominantly in Brazilian Choro music. It’s used primarily as a chordal instrument, but is also very effective playing melodies.
My cavaquinho features a more or less standard string length and a zero fret, which is common. The zero fret gives the open strings the same metallic “ping” as the fretted notes. The top is European spruce, enhancing the instruments clarity and giving good separation between strings. The back and sides on this particular instrument are black walnut which gives the voice a little “woodiness”, and buffers somewhat the brilliance of tone that the Cocobolo bridge imparts. The rosette is Tulip wood. The bindings are Cocobolo.
Tuning: The cavaquinho is most typically tuned: DGBD, low to high. However, it also commonly tuned DGBE, that would be one octave above the guitar. I like to think of the instrument in this tuning as a “piccolo” guitar.
This particular instrument is spoken for, but I can build you one just like it.
Scale length: 340mm
Body depth: 77mm (at tail block)
Body width: 240mm (lower bout)
Total length: 600mm
Basic Player’s Build: $1,800 USD
More Custom Build: $1,900 + USD
February 9, 2016