View Full Version : Could I turn a 6 string western guitar into a big barritone ukulele with this method?

06-25-2017, 11:23 AM
Hello, so this might be one of my bad ideas but still I wonder what you guys think about it:

I love playing barritone ukuleles. I love playing dgbe. But now I want something bigger. I want to play a barritone ukulele the size of a western guitar!

So my idea is this:

A western guitar has 6 strings. We have 6 tuning pegs and 3 on each side. What if I only put two strings on the bottom two pegs on each side so I have 4 strings equally distributed in the middle of the fretboard? And what if I only use the dgbe strings for that? Wouldnt that be a big barritone ukulele with the strings evenly spread on the fretboard?

06-25-2017, 11:47 AM
Well try it, you might have to make a new nut, but not a big thing.

06-25-2017, 11:51 AM
Yes it would work ... I've done something similar setting up an electric guitar tuned in 5th's, like a tenor banjo (or probably like a tenor guitar, but I digress) ... thinking back, I did something similar on an old acoustic guitar as well ... anyway ...

I used the top (treble) four string slots, rather than the middle four ... probably not that it matters much ... could even cut new slots in the nut and have the strings spaced equidistant across the fingerboard.

Whichever choice you make, be prepared to adjust the string slots in the nut if necessary, you don't want your strings jamming in tight slots. Sticky tuning problems can be the least of your problems. Unnecessary string breakages can be really frustrating.

Good luck :music:

06-26-2017, 11:26 AM
Take some masking tape and tape down the E and A strings along the fretbroad from nut to sound hole. You now have a big tenor guitar, which is dgbe, same as a baritone but with steel strings. I did this before buying a tenor guitar as an experiment. If you like this idea then remove all the strings and use the first four slots for your nylon strings.You will probably have to open up the nut slots to accept nylon strings.

07-26-2017, 03:56 PM
What are you gonna do at the bridge? The guitar bridge is spaced for 6 strings. If you want 4 to be evenly spaced across the fretboard you are gonna have to modify the bridge. Which is totally doable, if you're handy. Or I guess you could slot the saddle and add a tailpiece? And of course adjust the nut slots.

Or are you just saying to use the four middle string slots, leaving the 1st and 6th string space vacant? That seems like it would be awkward to play.

07-28-2017, 07:51 PM
Have you looked at the Pono Baritone Nui models? They might be just what you are looking for: a huge baritone in the size of a guitar with a 23" scale to be tuned to DGBE:


07-29-2017, 03:56 AM
I haven't tried modification but I have tried using the middle four slots (felt a little weird) and then using just the 4 highest slots (looked weird). Ultimately, I found that just leaving all six strings on but using only the upper four was the most sensible. You are using your already known uke chord shapes, but getting use to the tighter spacing of the guitar. Plus, you learn a skill that translates to guitar playing and that's the ability to strum just the higher four strings. Many guitar chords require that you don't play one or two of the bass strings, so learning to direct your plectrum to just particular strings is a valuable skill. Even if you have no interest in ever playing guitar, it's nice to leave one intact for visiting guitarists to use. If I got my hands on a nice but inexpensive small guitar again (not gonna screw around w/ my Taylor), I would consider modifying it. I could do the nut over but I'd have to YouTube ways to deal with the bridge. Otherwise, I'm saving my pennies for a tenor guitar.