The cuban tres guitar by Francisco Bros
Tres means " Three" in spanish and three are the pair of strings of the " cuban tres ".
Originally, a guitar, tiple (Tiples usually have 12 strings grouped in four tripled courses) 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 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: laœd, 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.
Musical instruments aren’t born at a certain time like Human Beings. They begin forming a new type of musical instrument. That doesn’t happen in only one place. It happens in different places at the same time.
So, the most accurate information that can be obtained for the Cuban tres, is that it was born in the area of the Sierra Maestra Mountains in Cuba . That means in Oriente (Eastern Cuba), around the mid to late 18th Century and it had its ancestry in the Spanish Guitar.
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.
Probably somebody had a guitar with only 3 strings on it ... and everything stars that day .... Who knows ?
On the links sections you will find a summary of all the information found on the web (contrasted or not ) about the cuban tres, Links section will be growing in time. If anybody wish to contribute please contact us