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Thread: Am I limiting myself by learning to play baritone uke tuned to GDAE?

  1. #1
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    Default Am I limiting myself by learning to play baritone uke tuned to GDAE?

    Hi All. I'm just getting started learning my baritone uke. I bought it from an old fella that I met one day and he gave me a couple of lessons with the uke tuned like a mandolin (GDAE).

    I've since lost touch with him and feel a bit adrift without support. I am starting to wonder if it makes sense to learn to play baritone in the standard tuning, like the bottom four strings of the guitar as I understand.

    What are your thoughts about this? Am I going to find more support to learn playing with the standard tuning that with the mando tuning? I'm already scouring the internet for books and am referring to mandolin books, but not sure that's my best choice. Should I start on a more traditional note before venturing off into mando land with this baritone uke?

    What are the pros and cons?

    Thanks for your suggestions!

  2. #2
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    There is nothing wrong with alternate tunings for the uke. I play mandolin and ukulele and like them both, however, maybe it is going to be easier for you to get support from the ukulele community if you have your baritone in standard baritone tuning.

    If, on the other hand, you really enjoy the mando tuning, stick with it. Nobody will kick you out of a uke group because of it.
    Last edited by Doug W; 04-19-2017 at 12:14 PM.
    I am the best ukulele player on my block!

  3. #3
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    I'd suggest retuning it to standard baritone tuning, it will make it easier for you to get help & information like tabs.

    Here are a couple of websites that may be of use to you.
    http://humblebaritonics.blogspot.co.uk/p/tutorials.html
    https://pdfminstrel.wordpress.com/re...e-bari-pdfs-2/
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  4. #4
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    I'd go for a standard tuning (even baritone resources are relatively limited, but there's enough around and DGBE works well on a baritone) and look into alternate tunings later on when you have more experience under your belt. The most material is available for reentrant GCEA tuning, but it works best on smaller ukes.

  5. #5
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    Thank you everybody! Your suggestions have been very helpful!

    Are there any "Baritone Uke for Dummies" types of books out there that you would recommend? Super easy books to learn from for beginners?

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyuke! View Post
    Are there any "Baritone Uke for Dummies" types of books out there that you would recommend? Super easy books to learn from for beginners?!
    In my view, the by far best baritone beginner book is Bruce Emery's Baritone Ukulele From Scratch. I'd even say it the best ukulele beginner book in general. I feel it's the only book you need to start and make very good progress. Very accessible and fun.

  7. #7
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    A baritone ukulele tuned GDAE is a very useful instrument, with almost the same acoustic range as a 6-string guitar! On it you can play notation/tabs set out for mandolin, violin (fiddle) and tenor (irish) banjo 'cos they're all tuned the same

    The chord shapes are all different to a ukulele, however, so if you're sitting in and trying to follow someone else's playing, you'll need to know what they are doing and transpose on the fly ... the same could be said if you're tuned DGBE and are following a ukulele tuned gCEA!

    Whichever way you go ... enjoy
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  8. #8
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    GDAE and CGDA (both are fifths tuning) are the most popular tunings for tenor guitar. It's a fair bet the fellow who gave you the baritone uke tuned GDAE used it like a (slightly smaller) tenor guitar. Fifths tuning is common with a lot of stringed instrruments including tenor guitar/banjo, mandolin and violin.

    All of my instruments including the ukuleles are tuned in fifths, mainly CGDA. This way, playing any one of them reinforces muscle memory and makes transition from one to another easier. When I had a baritone uke, it too was tuned in fifths.

    If you like the sound with the GDAE, there's no pressure to change. If the size is comfortable, checking out tenor guitar and tenor banjo may be something to consider in the future.
    Last edited by SteveZ; 04-20-2017 at 02:37 AM.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T), Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T), Lanikai LB6-S (S)
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveZ View Post
    All of my instruments including the ukuleles are tuned in fifths, mainly CGDA.
    Sorry for OT, but I am curious: what strings do you use for fifths tuning?
    And I assume you're talking about linear tuning?
    Soprano Concert Tenor Bass
    Makala MK-S (Baton Rouge SU-BW)
    Kala SSTU-FMCP (ukuMele FC)
    Makala Waterman (ukuMele)
    Firefly Walnut (Aquila)
    Flea M-42 (Aurora green)
    Koa Pili Koko Acacia (Martin)
    Big Island KTO-CT
    Blackbird Clara
    Kala KA-KG-T8 (Living Water) Kala Ubass EM-FS (Aquila Red)

    more about all my ukuleles on just.4str.in

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis0815 View Post
    Sorry for OT, but I am curious: what strings do you use for fifths tuning?
    And I assume you're talking about linear tuning?
    For CGDA on concert and tenor ukes, Aquila's 31U set works fine on both sizes.

    For GDAE on soprano ukes, Aquila's 30U set is okay, but the E string is very thin and can snap. Have used 20-pound test monofilament fishing line as a substitute E string for its strength.

    Another alternative is "re-entrant C" CGDA using any low-G GCEA uke set. Invert the G and C (4th & 3rd strings), detune the E (2nd string) to D, and leave the A (1st string) as-is. This works very well on all uke sizes, and sounds especially well on banjo-ukes.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T), Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T), Lanikai LB6-S (S)
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

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