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View Full Version : how challenging is baritone once you play soprano?



Chrisinfp
09-05-2015, 02:46 AM
I know that the chords are different and its larger but are there any other challenges learning to play baritone ? I've been playing soprano / tenor for 3 years and I'm a competent player but I have no other experiences with instruments. Also, is the sound of the baritone significantly different ? Thanks

hammer40
09-05-2015, 03:48 AM
I know that the chords are different and its larger but are there any other challenges learning to play baritone ? I've been playing soprano / tenor for 3 years and I'm a competent player but I have no other experiences with instruments. Also, is the sound of the baritone significantly different ? Thanks

The chord shapes are the same, just a different name. The tenor C chord is now a G on the baritone, so in that respect, you already can play baritone. The scale length is longer so the frets are spaced a little bit farther apart, but not really by much, and you will very quickly adapt.

With a larger body and longer scale, and depending on the tuning you choose, yes, it will sound different. Just as your playing soprano and tenor does now. Some tune to GCEA, but the "standard" DGBE, will be a deeper/lower sound. The dreaded "more guitar" like sound some don't care for is the end result.

Also, the Bari usually comes with two wound bass strings, you can get all unwound, so if that is bothersome to you, that can be an option for you.

Hope this helps.

PhilUSAFRet
09-05-2015, 03:52 AM
Varies from player to player. Some ukers play everything from sopraninos to baritones and guitars, some settle in on a size that feels most comfortable.

70sSanO
09-05-2015, 04:10 AM
If you can play soprano and tenor, you probably won't have a playability problem. But if you don't like the sound of linear tuning, low G/D on baritone, that may be a bigger hurdle.

That is what has stopped me. I have no problem with a guitar, but I don't like playing a linear tuned ukulele. If you don't have your tenor in linear, try it and if you like it, go for the baritone.

John

bunnyf
09-05-2015, 04:23 AM
Played all sizes, but now have settled on just soprano and (mostly)baritone and the occasional guitar. To me it's not that hard to adjust to the scale change, tho if I haven't played soprano for a while, I might over-reach for chords for a little bit, until my finger memory adjusts. The different(but same) chord shapes start to stick in your mind pretty quickly but I have been known to accidentally throw in a soprano chord while playing Bari. It's the obscure chords that usually cause me to hesitate. If you don't want to do the mental gymnastics, transpose bari chords into C tuned ones, or buy GCEA Bari strings, or if you're not singing, just play C tuned chords.

As for sound, I think the change in sound is HUGE between tenor and Bari. More than the change in any other size.

strumsilly
09-05-2015, 04:28 AM
If you can play soprano and tenor, you probably won't have a playability problem. But if you don't like the sound of linear tuning, low G/D on baritone, that may be a bigger hurdle.

That is what has stopped me. I have no problem with a guitar, but I don't like playing a linear tuned ukulele. If you don't have your tenor in linear, try it and if you like it, go for the baritone.

John
a bari can be tuned reebtrant, both in C amd G

CactusWren
09-05-2015, 05:40 AM
It's exactly the same except it's much bigger, tuned differently, and sounds different.

:)

However, you can change these things via string choice. You can tune it in C and play re-entrant if you desire. Check out Dirk's site--on the charts it would be a 20" uke you are looking for. Lots of choices.
http://www.southcoastukes.com/ukulele.htm

k0k0peli
09-05-2015, 05:48 AM
a bari can be tuned reebtrant, both in C amd G A bari can also be restrung with a Venezuelan cuatro string set (D'Addario J98) to GceA or Adf#B for a different re-entrant experience. Or slack the top and bottom strings from DGBE to CGBD for plectrum-banjo tuning. Or just slack the top string to DGBD and play open chords. Or restring in fifths for a quiet mandola. I personally am not enamored of standard bari DGBE because I have enough guitars there already. YMMV.

A bari neck is not *that* much larger than a tenor so you should not have handling problems. The main challenge mirrors git-pickers moving to 'ukes -- adapting between linear and re-entrant. If you fingerpick, everything you learned to do with your plucking thumb in one stringing is WRONG for the other and you must rethink fingerings. For merely strumming, no problem -- the chord forms remain the same. But (counter)melodic picking gets weird.

I am uncertain how to proceed with my current small-voiced bari. It's now in plectrum banjo tuning but I'm not real happy there. I may end up cutting a new nut and saddle and adding a fifth string to double the bottom course in octaves, dD-G-B-e, to give it more of an 'uke sound. As is, I classify my bari as an 'uke-like-object and not an actual 'ukulele.

bnolsen
09-05-2015, 05:24 PM
for me bari tires out my hands. especially if playing it strummed which to me sounds bad with linear tuning.
I just use my bari for picking. Sounds like a little guitar, even more so with string squeak if using 2 wounds.
So for me: strumming with soprano, some picking and lots of portability. Bari for classical picking stuff and a nice mellow sound with lots of sustain. I still need a tenor...

Chrisinfp
09-05-2015, 06:25 PM
This may be a silly question, but if I tune a bari for GCEA would I be able to play it like a soprano?

Hippie Dribble
09-05-2015, 06:57 PM
This may be a silly question, but if I tune a bari for GCEA would I be able to play it like a soprano?

You sure could!

Ukulele Eddie
09-05-2015, 06:59 PM
This may be a silly question, but if I tune a bari for GCEA would I be able to play it like a soprano?

If you tune it re-entrant C, you'll play exactly in the same key as when you play your soprano -- or any other size -- tuned the same. But as pointed out, any stretches will seem a lot longer.

I play mostly finger style. I love the sound of the baritone tuned linear DGBE (the most common for baritione). But, as with my tenors which are both tuned "low G" (linear C), I tend not to like the linear tuning as much strummed as re-entrant.

Not sure if there are other UU'ers in your area, but when I wanted to test the waters with a baritone, I posted here to see if anybody local to me wanted to swap ukes for a uke and it worked out great.

k0k0peli
09-05-2015, 07:38 PM
If you tune it re-entrant C, you'll play exactly in the same key as when you play your soprano -- or any other size -- tuned the same. But as pointed out, any stretches will seem a lot longer. An exact parallel: my sopranos are the same scale length as my mandolins, and my bari is the same length as my mandola which is tuned a fifth lower than the mandolins. In the same tuning, chord *forms* are the same but their *execution* is quite different due to the longer fretboard.

I am *very* used to playing guitar so moving chord forms between soprano, baritone, and guitar ain't no big thang. Moving 5ths-tuned mando chords to the longer scale is something else entirely. Those stretches are a real challenge. I think going from a larger to a smaller scale is easier than switching from a short soprano to a longer bari or guitar.

Chrisinfp
09-06-2015, 01:34 AM
As for GCEA tuning, I've read it can be used for mandolin as well, anyone have experience with this. I'm trying to learn mandolin and/or baritone without learning new chord structures

Rodney.
09-06-2015, 02:09 AM
Soprano and Baritone are the only sizes I play. For some reason I have trouble playing both concert and tenor sizes.
I don't care for gcea tuning on a bari, I like the dgbe tuning, both with high and low d's. A Baritone tuned gcea sounds like it's too large for it's tuning in my opinion.
For the topic starter: chords are different in dgbe tuning, but the shapes are the same. So as long as you play alone it doesn't matter, you could just play it as a soprano. And learning the baritone chords isn't a big deal, it's actually much easier than when you first started to learn chords on your soprano, because you already know the shapes. The chord fingerings are exactly the same, just the name is different.
One more thing: wound strings are a pain, they all were worn through after a five, six weeks on my bari. Try to get a full unwound set (worth from Japan, living waters from the uk, etc)

chuck in ny
09-06-2015, 02:46 AM
for me this is a simple thing. i like the smaller ukes in Bb or C tuning. i strongly respond to the deeper and lower pitch sound of the baritone and take things from there. if you like the resonance of an instrument you can do something with it.
for what it's worth the smaller 19" baritone scale makes things more comfortable ergonomically. most people don't have trouble with the normal 20" baritone.

70sSanO
09-06-2015, 06:23 AM
I didn't think about re-entrant on a baritone. I do have a couple of questions...

If tuned to C, does the C string, especially when played open overpower the other strings?

If tuned to G, high D, is it still a problem?

Thanks!

John

Rodney.
09-06-2015, 07:05 AM
I strongly recommend against getting all unwound strings for a linear bari; the unwound 4th is way too floppy. Yes, the wound strings wear quickly, and they're prone to squeaking. Fortunately, you can order single 3rd and 4th strings. One good unwound option is the Aquila red single 3rds and 4ths (though I've had bad luck with the 4ths snapping on my baris—possibly because my nut slots are a bit too narrow for them). Beware: the regular Aquila red bari sets (89U) come with wound 3rd and 4th strings (unless my info source is mistaken—I've never ordered a full set).

I agree on the floppy-part, allthough it's a matter of preference, and the living water low D string isn't very floppy, it's fatter than fat though, I guess that's the compromis.

bnolsen
09-06-2015, 07:22 AM
it's probably best to think of a bari as a different instrument from the sop/conc/ten and treat it that way. Originally I tried to cram my bari into this other role and never got into playing it. Going back to DGBE and using it differently than my other ukes has given me a reason to play it.

Chrisinfp
09-06-2015, 09:58 AM
A few people have said that the chord shapes are the same. I'm confused because the baritone chords I looked up are different Thank for the help
https://www.google.com/search?q=baritone+ukulele+chords&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari#imgrc=5JRCVl1hT-K1QM%3A

bunnyf
09-06-2015, 10:54 AM
Same shapes, different names. C chord is a G on Bari, fingered the same 0003. F chord is C on Bari, fingered 2010.
G chord is D on Bari, fingered 0232, etc.

k0k0peli
09-06-2015, 10:54 AM
As for GCEA tuning, I've read it can be used for mandolin as well, anyone have experience with this. GCEA would work on a mandola but likely NOT on a mandolin unless your hands are rather small. Here are comparative neck sizes of my axes:

~14" scale length: mandolin, soprano 'uke
width at nut: mandolin= ~29mm, soprano= ~35mm

19" scale length: mandola, baritone 'uke
width at nut: mandola= 41mm, baritone= 37mm

A mandola in CGEA would essentially be very guitar-like, same as a baritone in DGBE or any tuning with the same 4-3-4 intervals. Ordinary hands should have no trouble forming the usual guitar-like chords. There's a choice of deeper sounds with all the courses in unison, or 'richer' sounds with the lower two courses in octaves, cC-gG-EE-aa.

A mandolin in CGEA would be very tough for many to chord because its neck is 20-25% narrower than a soprano 'uke's; I have enough trouble chording a soprano guitar-style anyway! I have taken the opposite approach -- I have two sopranos strung in 5ths, one linear, one very re-entrant. These let me play mando chords on the wider neck.


I'm trying to learn mandolin and/or baritone without learning new chord structures As mentioned, a baritone strung linear plays like the top courses of a guitar, and strung re-entrant plays like any other 'uke, with exactly the same chord forms. The chords have different names in different tunings but the forms are the same, as if you used a capo. Looks like you want to emulate Tommy Tedesco (famous studio musician) -- he tuned EVERYTHING like a guitar -- mandos, banjos, lutes, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But if you only play such a tuning, you won't be able to pick up and play anybody else's mando, or try them in shops. Sometime ya just gotta bite that bullet and learn the instrument. :(

k0k0peli
09-06-2015, 07:29 PM
Why do I bother??
Because you're a saint.
Because you (and I) like answering questions.
Because sometimes if something is repeated enough it sinks in.
Because some stuff needs to be said in different ways.
Because you're on the forum.
Because you must.

Rodney.
09-06-2015, 08:52 PM
Example:
If you play Hallelujah on a soprano you could play it like:
Intro: C Am C Am
C Am C Am F G C G
C F G Am F G Em Am
F Am F C G C

Now grab your DGBE tuned baritone, and just forget it's tuned that way. Play the song like you would on a soprano. It still sounds good right? Well, on the baritone what you actually played is:
Intro: G Em G Em
G Em G Em C D G D
G C D Em C D Bm Em
C Em C D G D

Same chord shapes, but different chords, still sounds good together. The same goes for individual notes.

sharpedge
09-07-2015, 06:26 AM
Bought my baritone about a month ago from Omega Music. It's a Brunswick BU5 which comes already strung to standard ukulele tuning (gcea). Aquila strings too - available as a pack from most good uke stores in the UK. So no trouble with playing the chords! Now thinking of retuning my tenor banjo uke to baritone uke tuning!