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Thread: maximum baritone uke scale length

  1. #21
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    ah yes the Argentinian Bandersnatch, i have three of those!

    what a great post, thank you!

    with regard to the seasons, people do take guitarleles and tenor guitars there. uke-love obviously can take you down the road to owning many many many ukes, but it can also take you on a journey towards other, "similar"-in-some-way instruments, guitars, cbg's and the like.

    as well as scale for my bari, i also am thinking about strings, at first i thought defo nylon strings, and then later, as it's gonna be a cigar box guitar style build, i thought maybe steel strings.............. the great thing about a simple cbg structure is, it'll happily take either. those gorgeous electric-guitar-style risa ukes have steel strings, and i have a jupiter creek solid body baritone electric uke that has steel strings.

    clearly the uke has evolved and developed beyond its soprano origins, it's been adapted into different forms by big manufacturers and it would seem increasingly adapted by uke-lovers and amateur builders, who can, as with the famous squillum, take what they love best about a uke, and what they most would like in a uke, and blend it all into one real life instrument

  2. #22
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    Yeah, the uke is not just one thing - different scale lengths, different body styles & sizes, different string types, different woods, different body materials, & most important, different people like to play them.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  3. #23
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    when I die, I want to have

    Booli Deano
    lover and player of the
    Argentinian Bandersnatch Squillum
    and anything remotely related
    to UKULELE


    written on my headstone.
    Just the FAQs __________less is more

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    when I die, I want to have

    Booli Deano
    lover and player of the
    Argentinian Bandersnatch Squillum
    and anything remotely related
    to UKULELE


    written on my headstone.
    Ha ha!!!! :-D
    Liz Panton aka "Ukulele Allsorts"

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bird's eye view of my ukelele View Post
    ah yes the Argentinian Bandersnatch, i have three of those!
    Damned collectors cornering the market!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bird's eye view of my ukelele View Post
    what a great post, thank you!
    Thank you, Birdseye! I don't know what came over me. I think the Chemist must had muddled up the prescriptions and given me the wrong tablets!

    Quote Originally Posted by bird's eye view of my ukelele View Post
    clearly the uke has evolved and developed beyond its soprano origins, it's been adapted into different forms by big manufacturers and it would seem increasingly adapted by uke-lovers and amateur builders, who can, as with the famous squillum, take what they love best about a uke, and what they most would like in a uke, and blend it all into one real life instrument
    It is all rather wonderful, isn't it, Birdseye!!! I love the way that just by changing the string set-up and tuning that you can get what is effectively a completely different instrument in terms of the sound!

    Now, I am going to veer away slightly (!) from the specifics of Baritone uke scale length again for a bit but . . . something struck me reading what you said there, Birdseye, put alongside earlier comments by Booli. In particular the first and last statements in this quote, which I have high-lighted in red:

    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post

    Maybe PART of what makes it an ukulele or not is the TUNING and the music played on it, no?

    I think if you tune it like a uke, it is a uke.

    OTOH...

    I have several ukes that were made and sold as ukes that I have in 5ths tunings, GDAE on a soprano, like a mandolin, and CGDA on a tenor, like a mandola or 'tenor guitar', what should they be called now?

    They are NOT tuned GCEA nor gCEA, but the GDAE soprano is using the Aquila 30-U strings specially made for soprano ukes in this tuning, and I am using the D'Addario EJ99-TLG strings for CGDA, with the #3 & #4 strings from the set switched, which gives me a re-entrant 5ths tuning, and I just have the E string tuned only up to a D, thus C4-G3-D4-A4...

    I will be 'calling' them 'ukes in fifths tunings' . . .
    I am not seeking to stir up any controversy by what follows. Instead, I think it is interesting to explore these ideas and some parallels with other instruments.

    So, if we can agree that:

    • we are NOT delving into formal, academic systems of instrument classification;
    • that we can call "uke-like things" whatever we like;
    • that some "grey areas" eventually shade into something that has already been identified and named as a different instrument, characterised by the way that it is traditionally made, tuned, played and used ("used" meaning the "sort of" of the music traditionally created and its "purpose" - dance, worship, battle, etc.)


    One of the parallels that struck me is that with a number of instruments that have "Jarana" and/or "Jarocha" in their names.

    Kevin Parsons, who built my "Squillum", is a very inquisitive luthier, with more time to experiment and explore other instruments since he retired, ie. stopped taking commissions and making instead whatever takes his fancy. He mentioned the other day that he was intrigued by the various "Jarana Jarochas", not how they are made so much as how they are played, how they are strung and tuned and how they are used. (He likes to learn how to play traditional instruments in the traditional way when he gets his hands on them, to better understand how they "work".)

    He could not find any "Jarana Jarocha" videos so I sent him a bunch of links that I had found.

    His reply included the following observations:

    "I've only looked at a few of the videos but they have answered some of the questions I had, like:

    "How many strings do they have?"
    Answer: "How many would you like?"

    "How are they arranged?"
    Answer: "That's up to you"

    "What size are they?"
    Answer: "That depends on the tree we cut down."


    Sound familiar?

    (There are also "standardised" Jarana Jarochas made by professional luthiers, eg. Candelas.)

    That does not cover "how they are played and how they are used", however. I think that Venezuelan Cuatros and Ukuleles are a good example of two instruments that are, traditionally, at the same time very similar but quite distinct - and an opportunity to get back a bit closer the the original topic!

    Traditional "ukulele playing" and "cuatro playing" are similar but there are some big differences too. For example, I remember seeing a UU instructional video on the "down chunk/chuck" and in the comments someone asked if it was possible to do an "up chunk/chuck". The answer given was, "No". Of course it is possible, eg. the cuatro-style "ascending frenado" can be played on a ukulele, although the usual arrangement of the strings on a ukulele means that it is less well suited to this stroke.

    In terms of purpose, the cuatro is, I think, traditionally played as part of a "dance band" and the style of music is traditional "dance music". (If I am wrong, I have no problem being corrected on this or any other matter!) Ukuleles can be played that way too of course, although the dances and the music are usually very different - Del Rey is very good on this subject!

    Venezuelan Cuatro sizes are usually given in terms of number of frets rather than scale length. The 14 fret cuatro is about the same size as a Baritone Ukulele. Cuatros strings are usually tuned to D (A-D-F#-B), with a low A and a low B.

    However, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot set up cuatro with strings suitable for any variant of ukulele tuning, eg. GCEA or DGBE or whatever else you fancy, re-entrant with a high 4th string or linear.

    So, a 14 fret Cuatro makes a very nice Baritone ukulele, about 19"-20" scale length. I think Dirk would confirm that a cuatro would also very likely be made in a way that is "truer" to traditional methods of making the smaller ukuleles, ie. rather than to "guitar maker" methods of making Baritone ukuleles?

    The question in my head after all this, and I would be very interested in picking Dirk's brains on this matter, is how are the cuatros larger than 14 fret designed?

    I have only seen one 17 fret cuatro: the neck was longer than a traditional 14 fret cuatro and the body was bigger too. However, in these illustrations on Alfonso Sandoval's blog (Google translation to English) the cuatros up to 23 fret all look as if the longer necks are not matched by an obvious increase in body size.

    What say you, Dirk? Are these larger cuatros rather like "long necked Baritones"? Or not?

    (I can't work out if it is possible to "tag" people in comments so I am trying linking to Dirk's profile to see if that sends some sort of notification: southcoastukes )

    I found this info about the Venezuelan Cuatro in the Trinidad Guardian. I don't know if it is accurate though so comments confirming or correcting would be much welcomed!

    History of the cuatro

    The cuatro has very remote origins. Some argue that it already existed in 3,000 BC, because there have been similar pieces found in Egypt.

    The Cuatro came to Venezuela with the first Spanish conquerors and has been around for the last 500 years. It represents the authentic guitar from the Renaissance. This piece is the closest relative to the guitar, which hasnít only evolved to produce this instrument, but has also evolved into other similar pieces.

    The cuatro of Venezuela is a feather-light, four-string, tiny guitar, particularly designed for strumming. This instrument is deeply and lovingly ingrained into the folkloric traditions of its people. Indeed, it often is strummed in a way that recalls the flamenco style of Spanish guitar playing.


    I think I had better go and have a lie down now!

    Liz
    Liz Panton aka "Ukulele Allsorts"

  6. #26
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    Interesting topic. Now for my question. Where are you measuring from: the nut to the top of the bridge, where that saddle thingy sticks up, the knot or bead? My small custom guitar is smaller in size than some of my baritones but the strings are longer. (From Thomas) But my little Pepe Romero is bigger than the baritones and of course none of the baritones are the same. So is the string length the important factor? Confusing.

  7. #27
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    The scale length of a stringed instrument is the distance between the nut & the saddle.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.
    Formerly known as uke1950.

  8. #28
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    Thanks, I'll need the tape measure.

  9. #29
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    Default And then there's this....

    I always thought this instrument was very uke-ish (except for number of strings). It has a 14.75" scale and double re-entrant tuning. And no, I can't begin to play the darn thing, which was a souvenir that I somehow can't bring myself to part with. It's just too small for me! (Bragging rights to the first one who correctly identifies it.)

    bratsche
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    I always thought this instrument was very uke-ish (except for number of strings). It has a 14.75" scale and double re-entrant tuning. And no, I can't begin to play the darn thing, which was a souvenir that I somehow can't bring myself to part with. It's just too small for me! (Bragging rights to the first one who correctly identifies it.)

    bratsche
    looks like a cavaquinho, or bruguesa to me, possibly tuned D-G-b-d-F?

    edited to add - why note tune it in fifths like a mando? Good luck finding a nylon string for that E5 note
    Last edited by Booli; 08-03-2017 at 11:05 AM.
    Just the FAQs __________less is more

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