PDA

View Full Version : Somewhere between a tenor and a baritone...sweet spot?



Doc_J
07-10-2018, 04:23 AM
Dave's new LFdM super tenor got me thinking about ukes sized between a tenor and a baritone, that are either large tenors or small baritones. Is this the sweet spot for warm sound with some brightness? I love tenors and baritones, so why not meet in the middle? What do you think?

I had an 18" William King long scale tenor, and two 19" scale baritones (Favilla, Pohaku) and enjoyed all of them. Currently, the only uke I have in this in-between size is a 19" scale Kinnard baritone that I keep in Bb reentrant tuning.

Two very accomplished builders are making ukes in this in-between size.

Pat Megowan builds a wonderful sounding Grand Tenor (I have one on order).

https://youtu.be/4NiPSwAsCk0

Pete Howlett has recently created several "Baby Baritones" (spring 2018), that sound very pleasing, indeed. I believe the design basis started with increasing a tenor by 10% for an 18.7" scale.

https://youtu.be/uf1jPDsukLI

https://youtu.be/7gicAwExzB4

mikhou
07-10-2018, 04:54 AM
I don't know about sweet spot, but Ohana is releasing in the next couple of months a uke with a bari body and a tenor scale. I saw it on Uke Republic's FB page. Here's the youtube video that they posted on it if you are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjeTm2FdpKk&feature=youtu.be

DownUpDave
07-10-2018, 05:16 AM
Hodge I have an old Gianinni baritone with a 19" scale and the body is a bit smaller than my Kamaka baritone. I have had it tuned GCEA and it sounded wonderful. I've had it back to normal DGBE baritone tuning about one year and it sounds great there as well. Very versatile so I think your train of thought is a very good one and worth exploring.

Croaky Keith
07-10-2018, 07:44 AM
I don't like the 20.125" scale that is used on my Kala baritone, seems to be too much of a stretch, I also have a Lani with a 19.75" scale & it feels much more comfortable, so I'd say a 19" to 19.5" would be the best scale for a baritone sized body.

(Perhaps an 18" scale on a large tenor would work, but I have nothing to judge by.)

Pete Howlett
07-10-2018, 09:47 AM
Weird stuff with this size for me - incredible tone and volume... Trying to squeeze in these but trying to get people to shange of pitch you can accomplish. . Next project is to do this for my CST range.

For me, the true versatility is the versatility in pitch you can achieve. Everything from standard baritone DGEA to reentrant tenor gCEA

DownUpDave
07-10-2018, 10:23 AM
Weird stuff with this size for me - incredible tone and volume... Trying to squeeze in these but trying to get people to shange of pitch you can accomplish. . Next project is to do this for my CST range.

For me, the true versatility is the versatility in pitch you can achieve. Everything from standard baritone DGEA to reentrant tenor gCEA

The versatility to change pitch is really a drawing card. I have had great success with B and Bb, gives a whole range of possiblities.

El Viejo
07-10-2018, 06:08 PM
Not surprising to see you share that video of Pat Megowan and Kimo Hussey! Cool video. Kimo is the super tenor guy.

Last year Kimo was in the Sacramento area, and was showing off a custom super tenor that the team at Kala Elite built for him. Beautiful instrument with a side port and a custom scale in between a baritone and a tenor, so that he could comfortably tune it to Bb tuning and get the right amount of string tension.

I don't know how easy Kimo is to reach, but I think he would be a great person to check in with for recommendations on a super tenor like that, since he seems to have so many great builders create them for him!

Here is the video of him playing the uke mentioned before, it has a torrefied spruce top:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCN7XrIKMtI

Patrick Madsen
07-10-2018, 07:10 PM
Looks like I'm taking the next step in sizes; a George Thomas "super" baritone. He specializes in ergonomic style parlor guitars. I had a parlor built and figured since there was an opening, to have one built. It should be done by Sept.

It'll have the body of a tenor guitar with a 21.88" scale, 1 3/8ths width strung with Southcoast LHL-WB's rather than steel strings..“Butterfly” Model, 4 nylon strings. He makes his bodies a bit deeper so it'll really project and trustfully have great overtones.

Guitar tuning D,G,B,E
4A Western Red Cedar top, 3A-4A Walnut back and sides, Mahogany NeckFretboard - Rosewood? or similar

Features:
Florentine cutaway, K&K Pickup ––with volume control, Thomas Asymmetrical neck,Pick guard,12 hole tie block,Strap Pin, strap button,Arm Rest bevel,French polish vintage style
Fret board binding, upper bout sound port,Tuners - Waverly or Gilber,t Custom case with D rings (Armitage)
Position dots location – as directed, side dots only
Comments:
Dark look, deep tone
Neck width at nut 1/3/8”
Not too much bling
Thin neck

Will post pphotos when I get down there to take them. I feel this is going to be a really fun instrument to play.

ralphk
07-11-2018, 03:42 AM
Getting back to the 19" scale, yoiu can find them in the Bruce Wei line, such as this posting

http://vi.vipr.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemDescV4&item=312182294971&t=0&tid=10&category=16224&seller=bruceweiart&excSoj=1&excTrk=1&lsite=0&ittenable=false&domain=ebay.com&descgauge=1&cspheader=1&oneClk=1&secureDesc=0

I have a 19" scale bari from him and it is quite nice. I prefer the shorter scale, for the same reason noted above -- just a bit less stretch needed.

Mine is set up in C, but it is also very nice in Bb, a good tuning for my voice.

70sSanO
07-11-2018, 03:56 AM
I have been playing an 18" tenor for more than 10 years. It is better suited for a Bb or B tuning. I have a second 18" that is still tuned to C. Strings can be a bit challenging with the longer scale higher tension in C. Trying to balance the A string tension to the C string boom has been interesting. Only issue are note stretches. Since I play fingerstyle melodies, the longer scale can be a bit of a "stretch" so to speak over a traditional 17" scale.

John

Piecomics
07-12-2018, 11:54 PM
Ugh, I don’t need another ukulele! That ohana though... I’m wondering, because I am naive about these things... is it possible to raise the action on something like this? In the past I have read a lot about lowering the action for finger style but I play mostly clawhammer and would more likely benefit from a raised action...

Doc_J
07-17-2018, 08:18 AM
After hearing that Baby Baritone from Pete Howlett and seeing it was available, I could not pass it up. It arrived yesterday, and all I can say is WOW! I am truly delighted with the instrument.

Strung as a baritone it sounds incredible, full, warm, responsive and resonant. It can respond as loud as you want, I had to watch out not to overdrive the mic at my usual settings. Worth browns are on 1 & 2 and D'addario wound strings on 3 & 4. Pete selected these strings and they suit the instrument very well.

Made a quick sound sample (down a step from DGBE) .
https://app.box.com/s/5zn1ez59l4p1a7y3kj8fkqxon1b8kgl3

BTW Here's a size comparison picture (from left: tenor, baby baritone, baritone).

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/834/28585622217_c6a77f4a51_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Ky1Mzt)P1080948 (https://flic.kr/p/Ky1Mzt) by , on Flickr

DownUpDave
07-17-2018, 08:36 AM
Hodge are you telling this is tuned down from G to A. It sounds great but I can't believe that scale length and body size supports that tuning sonically. I mean, obviously it does because that is a beautiful sound.......its just messing with my mind.

Doc_J
07-17-2018, 10:05 AM
Hodge are you telling this is tuned down from G to A. It sounds great but I can't believe that scale length and body size supports that tuning sonically. I mean, obviously it does because that is a beautiful sound.......its just messing with my mind.

I tuned down, so it is in F# tuning at 18.7” scale. Who would have guessed it sounded so great with those parameters. The strings are a little thick and the tension felt very good in F#. The tension felt too high to me in standard G tuning. I put calipers on the exposed string ends. The Worth Browns on 1 & 2 are 0.027”and 0.035” and the silver wound D’addario stringson 3 & 4 are 0.030” and 0.034”.

A few unique features on this one (it’s the prototype), like a very arched back with an 8 ft radius that must add to the great sound.

saltytri
07-18-2018, 07:21 AM
Thanks for posting this string data, Hodge. I keep this sort of information and it often proves valuable.

Pete Howlett
07-22-2018, 01:49 PM
Thanks for the review Hodge. You've had one or two instruments of mine pass through your hands over the years haven't you? How does this one compare with those?

And you are right, the increased taper and tight arch on the back are integral to the projection this instrument has. It also responds to a variety of string pitches in a way that other ukulele don't. I am very pleased wit the whole prototype that I have done nothing to 'improve' it except make them in alternative woods with spruce fronts. Will have to return to making more in koa - sounds divine.

Doc_J
07-22-2018, 03:38 PM
Thanks for the review Hodge. You've had one or two instruments of mine pass through your hands over the years haven't you? How does this one compare with those?

And you are right, the increased taper and tight arch on the back are integral to the projection this instrument has. It also responds to a variety of string pitches in a way that other ukulele don't. I am very pleased wit the whole prototype that I have done nothing to 'improve' it except make them in alternative woods with spruce fronts. Will have to return to making more in koa - sounds divine.

Hi Pete,

You are most welcome. I love this koa baby baritone of yours, it is the perfect complement to the spruce/makore California slim-jim tenor you built for me in 2016 (which I still enjoy very much, thank you). The baby baritone is warm, with lots of harmonics and resonance (let me say it can growl - in a very good way), wonderful for blues and folk/rock. Like you said, it's quite different from other ukuleles (tenors or baritones). The spruce /makore tenor is excellent in re-entrant with superb clarity, note definition, bell-like tone, and resonance. The feel, build precision and clear tone elements are there and recognizable in both ukuleles. Both feature a slimmer body with excellent playability (very comfortable).

BTW the new pickup with pre-amp in the baby baritone sounds better to me (through a Yamaha THR5A amp) than the Mi-Si, K&K, or L. R. Baggs I have used in other instruments.

Thanks for creating this baby baritone.