View Full Version : Bari and tenor users, a chord shapes question for you.

09-27-2014, 12:12 AM
While I have have both tenor and baritone (one) uke's, I have only recently been attempting to play the baritone. While I really enjoy the sound of the bari, I struggled with the larger scale of the fret board when I first got it. Now that I have some actual finger dexterity from learning and practicing on my tenors, I'm giving it some attention again.

I know the chord shapes remain the same, but do any of you memorize both names for the shapes in each tuning? I still don't even remember the C tuning chord names, so to now try to remember two, I don't think it will happen. I still want to play both instruments, but seriously don't think I can remember both tunings.

What do you all do?

09-27-2014, 12:52 AM
If you're playing by yourself, it doesn't matter what key you're playing in. When I started playing britone by myself, I just used the same chord shapes I used when I played my tenor (so that a C chord on my tenor was a G chord on my baritone, and playing a song in the key of C on my tenor turned into playing a song in the key of G on my baritone). When I first tried to play baritone in a group with tenor, concert and soprano players, I created a cheat sheet on which I wrote the shapes I was supposed to play as if I was playing a tenor (so that, for example, if the music called for a G chord, I would write "C" next to it, because playing a C tenor shape on the baritone was playing a G chord on the baritone). I've begun memorizing the names of the chord shapes on a baritone, but it took a while, and it didn't happen until after I'd memorized the names of most chord shapes on a tenor. Memorization will happen; it just takes time and practice.

09-27-2014, 08:11 AM
Repetition, repetition, repetition. I started on a bari because I was familiar with a few chords on a guitar. But, after trying a tenor I challenged myself to learn the different names to the same chord shapes. It really didn't take all that long to learn the 6 or 8 chords necessary to enjoy hundreds of songs in several keys. The Daily Ukulele song books are a huge aid in learning the shapes of a lot of seldom used chords. I find myself switching between different ukes for different songs. My worn out old mind still makes a quick transition between the chords. Be patient and with a few weeks of daily practice you'll broaden your uke pleasure and be proud of your accomplishment in the process.

Jim Hanks
09-27-2014, 09:30 AM
I generally transpose the music to fit the uke I am holding. 0003 is always C to me regardless of the tuning. If you look at the number of different tuning in my signature, you can see why I would want to do this, but the same principle applies if you're only dealing with two.

09-27-2014, 12:28 PM

09-27-2014, 12:30 PM
The good stuff starts at 2:00 minutes.


09-27-2014, 01:38 PM
Like in all things in life,practice,practice,practice. It is totally acceptable to have cheat sheets and do things however you are most comfortable,because in my humble opinion if its not fun you wont want to do it. Making things a little easier on yourself and having fun can mean the difference between a rewarding hobby or a frustrating regret. But as you progress you will learn the chord names whether you are trying to or not! After learning a little more theory and looking at tab after tab and chords after chords itll eventually just start to stick! I started on tenor,played a little guitar, and now feel like ive really hit my stride with the bari. It will all come in time!

09-27-2014, 01:40 PM
Also you have some very fine ukes my friend!

09-27-2014, 11:03 PM
At this point, I still play alone, so it doesn't really matter what I do. Thanks for the links coolkayaker1, those were very helpful! It's also nice to see Aaron playing the same bari uke that I have. His seems to sound much better than mine... ;)

09-28-2014, 01:35 PM
I believe we make it more complicated than what it is. When we change how we think...only then are we able to change how we act. These are NOT two separate instruments. The smaller one is just a part of the other one. If one never gets above the 5th fret on the big one, the little one is like a foreign language. Anything above the 5th fret on a DGBE tuned tenor or baritone will be the same as what is on a GCEA tuned any sized ukulele.------simple example...on a DGBE tuned instrument play an 2-0-1-0 chord...which is C. Capo or Barre at the 5th fret and play 5-5-5-8 so you can hear a C chord in two different . The names are not different. Different chord shapes are needed to play anywhere else on the fretboard of any sized ukulele or even a guitar--banjo--mandolin

09-28-2014, 02:42 PM
Great thread. I balked at buying a really fabulous Baritone in part because I didn't want to have to deal with the transposition of the chords. But after reading this I do feel more bold and will reconsider.