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Wildestcat
02-13-2017, 12:26 AM
I recently had a request from a fellow bandmate to build a baritone uke, but also the question can it be tuned G (low) C E A rather than guitar tuning? There is method in the madness as he is concerned about losing the chord shape relationship to all the songs he knows on his tenor.

My initial reaction is that baritones exist purely to exploit the lower pitch of guitar tuning, and to tune up to standard uke tuning is pretty pointless.

However, I thought it worth asking for opinions (and yes I realise the glib answer is to capo 5th :)).

I imagine I can address any string tension concerns by custom selection from the vast array of classical guitar strings.

anthonyg
02-13-2017, 12:59 AM
Yes its done. There are strings sets available from several manufacturers to tune a baritone ukulele GCEA. How do you go about making one that's better than a tenor tuned GCEA? Now that's a better question and I have NO idea.

Wildestcat
02-13-2017, 02:01 AM
Yes its done. There are strings sets available from several manufacturers to tune a baritone ukulele GCEA.

That's interesting - thanks Anthony

hoosierhiver
02-13-2017, 05:22 AM
Guadalupe makes a great low GCEA set of strings for baritone

southcoastukes
02-13-2017, 06:25 AM
Yes, it can be very effective. We make four different sets to choose from, depending on what you like in tension or material.

Take a look at this recent thread:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?125435-Baritones-can-be-tuned-GCEA

You'll notice the video posted there gives a clue of as to how to solve Anthony's question about making it sound better than a Tenor. Listen to Leonardo Lozano's sound and take more of the traditional Cuatro Solista approach in construction.

Wildestcat
02-13-2017, 06:44 AM
Thanks Mike & Dick. Not being much of a player, this is all new to me! I'll google Cuatro Solista for some construction ideas.

PTOEguy
02-13-2017, 07:01 AM
My experience with tuning a baritone GCEA was with a pretty cheap laminate, and it sounded great - the longer strings, higher string tension and bigger body on the baritone resulted in more volume and sustain than you'd typically get on a smaller uke size. That said, it didn't have the "bark" that you get from a good soprano. Basically it took all the shifts in tone from soprano to tenor out one more step.

Allen
02-13-2017, 10:35 AM
I do quite a few baritiones in GCEA, and its my prefered tuning for them. 19" scale lenght works a treat for them.

To make the DGEA work you really need to stretch out the scale lenght to 20 or even better 21 inches. That way you get the D to resonate fully.

southcoastukes
02-13-2017, 10:41 AM
O.K., Wild,

I may have led you down a blind alley when I said Cuatro "Solista" construction. Solista is a style of play, not a type of construction. My bad.

Cuatro construction in general is just a lot lighter than Baritone Ukulele. Often more like a Soprano Ukulele style. Cuatros built in that style produce fine tone at relatively low tension, but then again, aren't known for longevity either.

I'd just approach it like any true custom, knowing you'll likely go towards something lighter than the Baritone. You already know the range of notes - the tuning. Nail down the scale (Baritones vary). Find out the sort of tension he prefers. See if he has any preference in tone (deeper emphasis / reverb or high note emphasis / get out the box quick).

Once you know how he likes those elements the possibilities for things like soundbox shape, board thickness and bracing start to come into focus. Good luck!

Timbuck
02-13-2017, 11:40 AM
I once played a baratone uke tuned to "C". It sounded great but it was like playing an unexploaded bomb...I was expecting the bridge to hit me in the eye any second .:D

Wildestcat
02-13-2017, 12:12 PM
Thanks again everyone. I'll sit down and discuss his needs in more detail before settling on a design & scale length. This will be my first baritone, so there will probably be some more queries along the way!

southcoastukes
02-13-2017, 12:36 PM
I once played a baratone uke tuned to "C". It sounded great but it was like playing an unexploaded bomb...I was expecting the bridge to hit me in the eye any second .:D

Ha! Mr. Tim, if you were using standard Baritone strings then that's definitely the right analogy. You need lighter gauges for sure. Glad to hear you still have both eyes.

jcalkin
02-13-2017, 03:03 PM
I think it would be more fun to use, say, a 24" scale, use soprano strings, and tune down an octave from a soprano. Has that been done?

southcoastukes
02-13-2017, 03:21 PM
I think it would be more fun to use, say, a 24" scale, use soprano strings, and tune down an octave from a soprano. Has that been done?

Yes it has.

We made a 23" scale "Classical Tenor Guitar" and had a set that could be tuned to an Ukulele "octave" reentrant C. We didn't make a bunch of them and those that bought them were looking for something else in the way of tuning.

We're trying to get going with another version of that instrument (a bit longer scale) and maybe we'll do strings for that tuning again.

And while the gave a g c e a tuning, they weren't Soprano strings. I can't find the old formula at the moment, but I'm sure at least the c string was wound.

jcalkin
02-13-2017, 04:21 PM
Yes it has.

We made a 23" scale "Classical Tenor Guitar" and had a set that could be tuned to an Ukulele "octave" reentrant C. We didn't make a bunch of them and those that bought them were looking for something else in the way of tuning.

We're trying to get going with another version of that instrument (a bit longer scale) and maybe we'll do strings for that tuning again.

And while the gave a g c e a tuning, they weren't Soprano strings. I can't find the old formula at the moment, but I'm sure at least the c string was wound.

That's good to know. Thanks. I need someone to explain to me the purpose of the reentrant string. It gives a nice jangle to a soprano, and is handy for frailing, but otherwise seems like a wasted string.