The Portuguese cavaquinho is a chordophone musical instrument originating in Minho, which later spread to different regions of Portugal and several countries, where it underwent some changes.
Like many other traditional instruments, the cavaquinho left its original format, the braguinha (machete, machetinho or machete de braga) to find its place, with some modifications, in the folklore of the island of Madeira, from where it left for the islands. from the Pacific, giving rise to the ukulele, or to Cape Verde and Brazil, giving rise to local versions.
It is a small instrument, it usually has 12 frets and the fingerboard is aligned with the soundboard top. The chime can be “standard” or fan-shaped. There are also 8-string cavaquinhos (4 doubles) that are known as cavaquinhos de tuna, as they are used by academic tunas.
The Portuguese musician Júlio Pereira at the end of the 20th century has been a great promoter of the cavaquinho, being largely responsible for the recovery of interest in the instrument in Portugal.
There are many tunings for the cavaquinho, the most common being E-C#-A-A.
The Portuguese brands Artimúsica and APC build different models of cavaquinhos, from traditional Portuguese models to Brazilian and Cape Verde models.