1-2-3-4 is a common problem sequence. Every time I sit down to play with a good player in the County and this sequence comes up I know I am in for a murky time. The question is - is 4 a cue or a second suit? I would like to suggest the following as a standard version, based on responder only wanting to show a second suit with at least 5-5. There are three basic sequences:
1. Minor jump rebid: The only way to agree a minor jump rebid is to raise it. For example, 1-1-3-4 is natural. If you wanted to agree diamonds, raise them!
2. Two level response over one of a major:
1-2-3-4 is a cue unless responder's next bid is 5, 6 or 5NT, all showing big minor two suiters. Opener responds initially as to a cue. Thus 1-2-3-4-4-5: The 4 bid was a cue, as is 5, since responder did not bid 5.
1-2-3-4 is natural.
1-2-3-4 is a cue (unlikely to want it as natural since with 5-5 would respond 2).
1-2-3-5 is a splinter raise.
1-2-3-5NT is 5-6 with the red suits!!
Note that 1-2-3-3 is basically natural, looking for 3NT.
3. 1-1-3: The only sequence left, and a special one. Four of a minor is a cue here. With a big two suiter, rebid 3, and then if partner raises leap to six of a minor.