A musical instrument consisting of a handle-shaped string holder that is attached to a resonance box. It has a hole on the cover. On the arm, there is a fingerboard divided into seventeen frets. On top of the arm, there is a pegbox with six pegs for strings separated in three groups. The instrument is played using a plectrum and, occasionally, the fingers.
The term Tres is of Cuban origin, and there is no reference to its use in other regions of Latin America. The instrument is built by self-taught artisans and outstanding guitar and lute makers.
It is simpler to play a Tres than a lute. Virtuosos achieve rhythmic stability and diversity, a wide range of melodies and high levels of improvisation. It is mainly used to play Son and Punto Cubano. Its function is related not only to plucking but also to harmony and rhythm. Although it may look like a Hispanic string instrument, the Tres is a Cuban string instrument par excellence.