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View Full Version : Baritone Uke Vs. Tenor Guitar



kitsunegarcia
02-14-2018, 08:01 AM
So I wanted a baritone ukulele to add to my fold, but I am now playing a borrowed tenor guitar (which I call a Gigantic Ukulele) tuned to DGBE so I can bide my time and eventually choose a baritone. I'm in no hurry to buy.

So are there are advantages of baritone to the tenor guitar? Any disadvantages? Things I should know comparing these two?

Rakelele
02-14-2018, 08:26 AM
Apart from the fact that a tenor guitar would normally be strung with steel strings, most noteable differences, to me, are the scale length and the nut width. Most tenor guitars have a scale longer than 21", and a nut much narrower than a uke. In recent years, however, companies like Pono have blurred the line with a 23" scale tenor guitar for nylon strings (called Baritone Nui or BN) and a 21" scale steel string baritone with the wide nut of a uke (called Uku Li'i or UL).

kitsunegarcia
02-14-2018, 08:36 AM
yeah I am loving how narrow the width is! My small hands love that. But yes, I can no longer span my fingers between 1st and 5th fret any more.
This particular tenor guitar I am using has 2 wound strings and 2 not.

I will check out the Baritone Nui! Thank you!

bsfloyd
02-14-2018, 11:03 AM
I love the tenor guitar! There's really nothing more I can add to what Rakelele already noted. I feel the baritone uke sits in a world all its own. In my opinion it's not really a true ukulele (which is subjectively debatable of course), yet not a tenor guitar neither. I guess I would best describe it as a short scale, four string classical guitar - I dunno....

I choose to play the baritone uke over the tenor guitar because I prefer the sound and feel of nylon strings.

DownUpDave
02-14-2018, 11:24 AM
I own both.....a few of both, well maybe more than a few:p As was pointed out the physical difference can be a difficult adjustment, or not depending on what you are use to.

The big diference, the really important difference is.....do you like the steel string sound of an acoustic guitar or the "nylon" sound of a uke. I like both that is why I own and play both. For some people steel strings are harder on there finger tips and fretting tension is higher as well.

kitsunegarcia
02-14-2018, 11:07 PM
Thanks bsfloyd! I did not know one could not put nylon strings on the tenor guitar. The one I am currently using has 2 non-wound strings.

kitsunegarcia
02-14-2018, 11:12 PM
My first instrument growing up was a guitar so every stringed instrument is measured against that.:) i like both steel and nylon. Since i play with other folks i found it important to make sure our ukuleles sound different and recognizable from one anothers. It makes for a more interesting and richer sound in a group. But also the extra loudness reduces the need for amps or mikeing the instrument. Thanks DownUpDave!

Croaky Keith
02-14-2018, 11:47 PM
Only comment I can make is that the bari is smaller & lighter, which usually makes for easier playing.

Long time since I attempted to play guitar, which I was never comfortable with, but the bari is more so, to me.

bsfloyd
02-15-2018, 01:04 AM
Thanks bsfloyd! I did not know one could not put nylon strings on the tenor guitar. The one I am currently using has 2 non-wound strings.

Perhaps you misunderstood me - I do not put nylon strings on a tenor guitar. I use my baritone ukulele for the nylon string sound I prefer. The tenor guitar (unless built differently from a luthier made for nylon strings - which I have seen), is braced for steel strings. This bracing is heavier than nylon strung bracing to support the extra tension that steel strings have. Nylon strings on such bracing will sound more dead as the lower tension of the nylon strings are not moving/vibrating the top enough. However, if you are ok with this tone (and the tighter string spacing), then surely one can put nylon strings on a steel string guitar - steel strings on an instrument built for nylon strings is the no-no. Some years ago I had a nice Sigma parlor style guitar (steel string) that I put nylon folk strings on and it actually sounded rather nice. This instrument had a 1 7/8" nut width so the spacing wasn't too bad at all. Sadly, this guitar has long gone away.

GregT
02-18-2018, 07:29 PM
I own both.....a few of both, well maybe more than a few:p As was pointed out the physical difference can be a difficult adjustment, or not depending on what you are use to.

The big diference, the really important difference is.....do you like the steel string sound of an acoustic guitar or the "nylon" sound of a uke. I like both that is why I own and play both. For some people steel strings are harder on there finger tips and fretting tension is higher as well.

I too own both. Just two different instruments that are tuned the same.