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View Full Version : Are baritone skills transferrable to tenor without a lot of work?



Selwyn Silberblatt
06-17-2016, 12:17 PM
I started on a baritone. Are baritone skills transferrable to tenor without a lot of work? Not that I am averse to work - rather I am just an amateur and I wonder if it would be a mistake to get a tenor - just because I would be overloading my brain. If I did get a tenor - and I strung it to low G, would that make learning to play it more difficult as online lessons are (I am guessing) aimed at standard tuning with high G.

In other words - which is the best tuning - in terms of learning to play?
Or is the challenge the same, no matter which tuning? I am 70 years old. I play with a local group at our public library. We play songs with only a few common chords - but we have a lot of fun doing it. Should I just stick with my baritone DGBE and forgot all the other choices?

I am kind of drawn to getting a tenor - simply because there seems to be more support for standard tuning.

sopher
06-17-2016, 12:42 PM
The skills are very similar. I also play baritone almost exclusively and that is because I know the chords from my guitar days. I found it quite confusing to move back and forth because the same chords now have different names on a tenor. I settled on a re-entrant bari (high D) and just play regular uke music when I'm solo, and strum chords when I'm in a group.

So, I guess I'm saying that if you're just beginning and learning chords and such it would be much simpler to choose one or the other and stick with it initially.

YMMV

sopher

Jim Hanks
06-17-2016, 12:49 PM
Like Sopher says, there are reentrant dGBE strings for tenor that would use the exact same chords you're used to on baritone. Low G on the tenor would give you the familiarity of linear tuning, just in a different key. The chord shapes are the same, just a different key.

DownUpDave
06-17-2016, 01:12 PM
There is no difference between low G or reentrant when it comes to "learning" to play a tenor..The chord formation and names are the same.

As far as moving from a baritone to a tenor the chord shapes are the same they just have a different name. When you play a G chord on a baritone you fret the first string at the third fret. Do the same thing on a tenor and you have formed a C chord instead. So yes you will have to learn to recognize familiar chord shapes by different names. This could overload your brain, or not, only you can decide

billten
06-17-2016, 01:59 PM
My answer is 'mostly'. I transferred the other direction and so long as you are playing for yourself and don't have to worry about keys fitting in with the rest of the band it's all completely invisible. Transposing and playing mental gymnastics in your head while playing is really no fun though...

anthonyg
06-17-2016, 02:29 PM
As far as moving from a baritone to a tenor the chord shapes are the same they just have a different name. When you play a G chord on a baritone you fret the first string at the third fret. Do the same thing on a tenor and you have formed a C chord instead. So yes you will have to learn to recognize familiar chord shapes by different names. This could overload your brain, or not, only you can decide


My answer is 'mostly'. I transferred the other direction and so long as you are playing for yourself and don't have to worry about keys fitting in with the rest of the band it's all completely invisible. Transposing and playing mental gymnastics in your head while playing is really no fun though...

Yes. However.

Depends on how you play. I play all different size ukuleles in all different tunings. You would think its a problem, and if I was reading music WHILE I played it WOULD be a problem.

The thing is, I don't read music while I play. When I play the music is in my memory and I'm playing chord shapes, NOT chord names. The chord shapes and the techniques are the same. Only the names change.

Anthony

JackLuis
06-17-2016, 05:34 PM
I recently got a baritone and just played C chord forms, so it was shifted down C=G, G=D etc. Then I started 'thinking' in Bari and learned to shift from one to the other, I keep my concerts in C6. Then I tuned my Tenors down to dGBE and just used standard Tenor strings. I like the tenor because it's smaller and sounds good dGBE, less tension on the strings is good. I tried a set of the Aquila dGBE for Tenor strings, but found very little difference even in tension.

Purists will frown on this but, I don't care. I bought a set of strings today, D'Addario Carbons tenor size. I'm going to try them on my Bari as re-entrant G and see if they give my Bari the same chime I get in my tenors, when I used them in C6. If they 'don't work' on the bari I'll save them for my Tenors.

In short it's not hard to shift gears between tunings. it just takes 2-3 months of playing around to get it in to your brain.

Mivo
06-17-2016, 06:39 PM
It's not easier or harder depending on whether the baritone is linear or re-entrant tuned, there are materials for both types of tunings. Compared to a linear (low-G) or re-entrant standard-tuned tenor, the differences are identical: the baritone is five semi-tones lower, and all of the below points apply to both a baritone in DGBE and dGBE vs. a smaller ukulele in GCEA and gCEA.

The chord shapes on both instruments are exactly the same, but they have different names, so a the C chord on a C-tuned (gcea) ukulele is a G chord on the baritone. In reverse this means that while a C chord is always a C chord, the chord shape is different on the baritone. From the aspect of memorization, you can either approach it by mentally attaching two labels to the same chord shape and/or linking two mental images of chord shapes to the same chord name. It's much like learning a foreign language, actually. If you are good with music theory, you can probably do it differently, i.e. by understanding how chords are formed, so that shape isn't as relevant as knowing which notes you need for a chord and where they are located at on the fretboard -- this is likely the superior method).

You can play tabs for C (standard) tuned ukuleles on your baritone the way they are, and it'll sound fine if you play by yourself. Notes are in the same relative positions to each other, so it sounds right, just lower, and in a different key. This won't work if you play with other people who play in a different key, so you'd have to transpose on the fly, or make your own note sheets. With chords this is easy, though: you see C, so you play C on your baritone and they play C on their smaller ukes, the only difference being that your fingers are in a different position than theirs.

Actual notes are in different places on the fretboard (first string, third fret is a C on a gcea ukulele, and a G on the baritone), so if you use traditional notation (not tabulature), you only need to know where the notes are on your instrument, and it doesn't really matter what instrument other people play. From this view, it's very beneficial to be able to read notation and not have to relay on tabs. Tabs are much more instrument/tuning-specific.

If you do want to sidestep all of this, you can also get GCEA strings for your baritone. Aquila makes those, for example. I don't know if it'll sound good (linear with a low-G will almost certainly be better sounding than re-entrant, in that case), but the string options for it exist.

Croaky Keith
06-17-2016, 10:35 PM
As you chose a baritone, likely that is the sound you like, so I would persist in learning on it.
There are resources for bari out there, but not as much as for other ukes.

If you do a search on here, you should find most of the relevent threads.
Learn your chords by their names & you will be able to play with your uke group, (a chord is a chord).

The only reasons to change to a tenor is if you; decide you like how it sounds; prefer a smaller uke; or you want to develop your U.A.S.! :)

CTurner
06-18-2016, 02:37 AM
I recently added a baritone to my stock. For me, the tuning/chords were less significant than learning to use the longer scale, stretching my hands out a bit. Plus the weight of the baritone! I will say this, after playing a baritone a tenor suddenly feels even more comfortable to hold and play!

Croaky Keith
06-18-2016, 03:18 AM
.... after playing a baritone a tenor suddenly feels even more comfortable to hold and play!

Likewise, my tenor feels just about right after the baritone, (but the bari has that tone that I like even more than low GCEA) - so mine is now fitted with concert low G strings tuned to linear DGBE, & I'm liking it a lot, (also makes getting used to bari chords easier, I think, at least for me).

U.A.S. does have some advantages..... :)

Mivo
06-18-2016, 03:26 AM
Likewise, my tenor feels just about right after the baritone, (but the bari has that tone that I like even more than low GCEA) - so mine is now fitted with concert low G strings tuned to linear DGBE, & I'm liking it a lot, (also makes getting used to bari chords easier, I think, at least for me.

For me, the baritone experience highlights how superfluous tenors and concerts might be. I'm pondering whether having the big, deep, linear baritone and a small, bright, re-entrant soprano (LN or regular) might not cover all my needs. It's very individual and subjective, though, and my views on this are in flux. :) (I do really like my tenor ever since I tuned it down to fBbDG, though trying to manage three different tunings is kind of challenging for me.)

UkerDanno
06-18-2016, 04:08 AM
the chord shapes are different, it's as simple as that. I say get yourself a tenor and go for it!

spookelele
06-18-2016, 04:23 AM
There is no difference between low G or reentrant when it comes to "learning" to play a tenor..

Only if you only strum. If you melody through the whole fretboard... it matters. There are also certain ism's that come with high g that don't with low G in style, and vice versa. I find myself thinking very differently about voicing when I play low G vs high G, some of which are bad habits. Lately I've been playing mostly low G, and when I pickup high G... I find myself neglecting the 4 string alot. When I played mostly high G, I used that 4 alot more.

But yeah, if you just want to strum, then it's similar.

Selwyn Silberblatt
06-20-2016, 02:49 AM
First of all: Is there a difference between the "reply" option (on the right side - with the curved arrow) and the "+ Reply to Thread" option (on the left side)?
I'd like to say "thank you" to all the people who took the trouble to offer advice and to reply to my questions. Also, I didn't know what "U.A.S." stood for - so I looked it up. I immediately recognized myself as vulnerable to it. Knowing that this is a "real" condition - and not just a joke - is enlightening. It is easy to see how the mind is so vulnerable to cravings - that can never be satisfied.

kissing
06-20-2016, 05:32 AM
They're the same instrument. The baritone is a bit bigger.

Sure, they're tuned differently - but I am of the opinion that different sized ukuleles should be viewed "universally" as the same instrument in different size/scale lengths rather than as discrete instruments. If you can play a soprano, you can play concert, tenor and baritone. If you can play a baritone, you can play soprano, concert and tenor. It's the same instrument.

Shift in tuning should not be seen as a barrier. It's the same instrument just in a different key.

The difference between re-entrant and linear tuning should not present itself as a major challenge as some people make it sound. Just approach it with a bit of common sense. The strings are tuned in the same intervals, so all the chord shapes stay the same, and you scale is mostly the same too. You don't need to "learn" a new instrument - just use what you know and adapt. Anyone who played re-entrant or linear exclusively should take little or no time to adjust to the other.

Sometimes I wonder why people make a fuss about different sized ukuleles and wondering whether they'll be able to play a different size.
A person who plays ukulele plays "ukulele". If you know how to play one size, you can play all the sizes.
Guitars come in many different sizes and scale lengths too, but you don't hear people saying "Would I be able to play a full sized dreadnought if I have been playing a parlor sized guitar?". Because guitar is guitar.

Croaky Keith
06-20-2016, 08:07 AM
First of all: Is there a difference between the "reply" option (on the right side - with the curved arrow) and the "+ Reply to Thread" option (on the left side)?
It's the same difference. :)
(They will both post onto the end of the thread.)
If you want to reply to multiple comments, use the "+ on the right for each post that you want to include.