Vazquez Cuatro

This cuatro was made by Rafael Aviles Vazquez in Puerto Rico in 1999-2000. A type of plucked 10-string instrument (5 courses, double-strung), it is now ubiquitous in most groups playing any kind of Puerto Rican music. It is used in the manner of a first guitar: to play melodies and to “floretear” or accompany singing. The instrument is used today in salsa orchestras and plena music groups and is, of course, the king of Puerto Rican country music.
Currently not on view
Object Name
prior attribution
date made
Vazquez, Rafael Aviles
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
nylon (strings material)
overall: 85.5 cm x 28.5 cm x 9.5 cm; 33 11/16 in x 11 1/4 in x 3 3/4 in
place made
Puerto Rico
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Music & Musical Instruments
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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