The big difference between the Cuban tres and the guitar is not in the shape or the size. Like the guitar, the Cuban tres is also a plucked string instrument. The major difference is in the playing of the instrument. The Cuban tres is a plucked string instrument that is played like a drum. You almost never play chords with a Cuban tres. You can do it, but that is not the traditional way to play the Cuban tres.
The tres developed in the second half of the 19th century in the eastern region of Guantánamo, where it was used to play changüí, a precursor of son cubano. Its exact origins are not known, but it is assumed to have developed from the 19th century Spanish guitar, which it resembles in shape, as well as the laúd and bandola, two instruments used in punto cubano since at least the 18th century. Tres playing revolves around the guajeo, an ostinato pattern found in many Afro-Cuban music styles. Tres players are commonly known as treseros (in Cuba) or tresistas (in Puerto Rico).
By most accounts, the tres was first used in several related Afro-Cuban musical genres originating in eastern Cuba: the nengón, kiribá, changüí and son, all of which developed during the 19th century. Benjamin Lapidus states: "The tres holds a position of great importance not only in changüí, but in the musical culture of Cuba as a whole." One theory holds that initially, a guitar, tiple or bandola, was used in the son. They were eventually replaced by a new native-born instrument, a fusion of all three, called the tres. Helio Orovio writes that, in 1892, Nené Manfugás brought the tres from Baracoa, its place of origin, to Santiago de Cuba. According to Sindo Garay, the tres itself originated in Baracoa. In 1927, Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes mentioned Nené Manfugás as the first tres player from Santiago de Cuba. However, he described the tres as having originated in "time immemorial" among Afro-Cubans, while bearing a strong resemblance to the Spanish guitar and the bandurria. According to writer Alejo Carpentier, the tres descended from the bandola (itself a derivative of the Spanish bandurria), which lost two courses over time. According to journalist Lino Dou, the tres was virtually unknown in western Cuba until 1895, when it was bought from Oriente by the mambises. Similarly, Fernando Ortiz stated that the wars between Spain and Cuba (Ten Years' War and Cuban War of Independence) gave rise to the differentiation between the Spanish guitar and the Cuban tres, the latter becoming a symbol of the creole nation. Ortiz asserted that the tres most likely originated during pre-colonial Cuba, before gaining widespread popularity in the late 19th century. The origins of the tres and other Cuban instruments are discussed in depth by Ortiz in his seminal work Los instrumentos de la música afrocubana, published between 1952 and 1955.
As the son cubano grew in popularity in the 1920s, so did the tres. By the 1930s, there were several rising stars of the tres, including Eliseo Silveira, Carlos Godínez, Arsenio Rodríguez and Niño Rivera. In the 1950s, Arsenio left Cuba and his sound was continued by Ramón Cisneros "Liviano" and Arturo Harvey "Alambre Dulce" in the Conjunto Chappottín. Other important treseros of the 1950s such as Senén Suárez and Juanito Márquez began making recordings with electric treses. In the United States, the tres was sometimes featured in salsa ensembles, especially in the 1970s, when players such as Nelson González, Charlie Rodríguez and Harry Viggiano made numerous recordings for Fania Records. Traditional tres playing has been promoted in Cuba since the first recordings by Grupo Changüí de Guantánamo in the 1980s, featuring Chito Latamblé, as well as the albums by Isaac Oviedo and his son Papi Oviedo. In 2010, tresero Pancho Amat won the highest accolade awarded to musicians in Cuba, the Premio Nacional de Música.
The Cuban tres is significantly smaller than the Spanish guitar, with a scale length between 48 centimetres (19 in) and 65 centimetres (26 in). It has three courses (groups) of two strings each for a total of six strings. From the low pitch to the highest, the principal tuning is in one of two variants in C Major, either: G4 G3, C4 C4, E4 E4 (top course in unisons), or more traditionally: G4 G3, C4 C4, E3 E4 (top course in octaves). Note that when the octave tuning is used, the order of the octaves in the first course is the reverse of the order in the third course (low-high versus high-low). Today many treseros tune the whole instrument a step higher (in D major): A4 A3, D4 D4, F#4 F#4 or A4 A3, D4 D4, F#3 F#4.
A musician who plays the Cuban tres is called a tresero, although the term tresista has also been used in Cuba in the past. There are variants of the instrument in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Cuban trova singer, songwriter and guitarist Compay Segundo invented a variant of the tres and the Spanish guitar known as armónico. Eliades Ochoa plays another variant he calls the guitarra tres, which is a Spanish guitar with two extra strings tuned like a tres.
The Puerto Rican tres is an adaptation of Cuban tres with nine strings instead of six. Although nine-string treses are documented in Cuba since at least 1913, investigators agree that the creation of the instrument was probably caused by the 1929 visit of Isaac Oviedo to Puerto Rico during a tour by the Septeto Matancero. Inspired by Oviedo, guitarist Guillero "Piliche" Ayala ordered the construction of a similar instrument for which the body of a cuatro was used. As a result, the Puerto Rican tres is shaped like a Puerto Rican cuatro, with cut-outs, unlike the Cuban variety, which has a guitar-like shape. By 1934, the Puerto Rican cuatro had reached New York and nowadays most Puerto Rican tres players specialize in their national adaptation of the instrument, a notable exception being Nelson González. The Puerto Rican tres has nine strings in three courses and is tuned G4 G3 G4, C4 C4 C4, E4 E3 E4. Players of the Puerto Rican tres are called tresistas.
In Cuba, among the Creole class, the Son arose as a song and salon dance genre featuring the persistent sounds of a plucked string instrument alternatively playing the melodic lead and a four-bar ostinato passage called montuno. This repeating phrase forms a rhythmic foundation for the music. Originally, a guitar, tiple or bandola, played rhythm and lead in the son, but later these were replaced by a native-born instrument, a fusion of the three: the Cuban tres.
The son ensemble evolved by growing in size until it included up to six or seven musicians (known correspondingly as sexteto or septeto): guitar, tres, maracas, claves (in the hands of the lead singer) and bongos; variously, one or more trumpets, a second guitarist, and a mar'mbola or botija would complete the grouping. The bass line was provided by the marímbola or the botija, but these instruments would disappear, as the groups became louder and rowdier, in favor of the more sonorous bass fiddle.
The Cuban tres itself began as a rustic native adaptation of the Spanish family of wire-strung instruments that were popular in Spain during colonial times: laúd, bandola and bandurria. The seventeenth century historian Bermudo describes a three-course bandurria which may have set the pattern for the first tres. The earliest are said to have been made from codfish boxes, most likely by African-Cuban dock workers. It was usually played with a tortoise-shell pick. Over time, the tres evolved into an object of refined craft, losing its rustic, mandolin-like form and growing in size, but retaining its bandurria-like pear shaped outline. Perhaps looking for greater sonority, Arsenio Rodriguez and Isaac Oviedo often played tres on a Spanish guitar adapted for three doubled up wire-string courses÷and its neck and scale shortened to ten frets to the body. Today, adapted guitars are the most often-seen form of the tres. When the son was eventually absorbed into the cabaret and dance hall, the instrument's job of playing the montuno over and over was largely taken up by the piano. Since then, the importance of the tres has waned in modern popular music, and can be seen today mostly during revivals of traditional forms.
My tres guitar needed to meet two objectives. First, it needed to sound somewhat like a tres cubano. Secondly, it needed to be cheap and easy to make! Any cost incurred is coming out of my own pocket and the show only pays so much.
Marcelo Caceres, guitar player, started playing at the age of 9, he studied in Conservatory Felix T Garzon, La Colmena University, and private lessons with Daniel Corzo, Lito Epumer, Sid Jacobs, Ted Greene, Mike Miller, John Pisano, Ron Eschette. Played with many big artist from many diferent genres, Joan Sebastian, Vilma Palma, Gloria Trevi, Luis Fonsi, , Diego Torres, Ray Brown Jr, Tango Dreams, Long Beach Symphonyc Orquestra, Aspen Symphonyc Orquestra, Jorge Rojas, Guillermo Galve, John Pisano, Ron Eschette, Grammy Award with Don Omar, Cheche Alara, Dammon Elliot and many moreI can play pop, rock, brazilian, tango, folklore, jazz, fusion and more. I can play nylon, acoustic, 6 and 12, archtop, electric, charango, ukelele, guitalele, nylon fretless, tres cubano and moreI recorded more than 1000 songs, I have a lot of experience and I realle can play in your project, i can play in your song and I want to be part... thank you...Also I am artist with endorsment from guitars, strings, amps and effects
Soniquete is available as a trio or quartet featuring vocals, guitar, tres cubano, percussion and/or bass. The group also works with flamenco dancer Olivia Chacon to create a Latin/Flamenco fusion show featuring flamenco dance, castanet accompaniment and popular rumba flamenca. 2b1af7f3a8