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View Full Version : HELP NEEDED: Tuning a Baritone or How NOT to Break a Bari



HoldinCoffee
05-28-2009, 11:36 PM
I can't believe I'm having such a problem with this... but I need some help here... WICKED BAD!

~Baritone (Mahalo)
~Aquila DGBE (wound D and G)


Strung it up, slapped on the chromatic tuner, as soon as the needle said I hit the required note, I moved on to the next string. When I was done, I noticed that the B and E strings were very loose and sounded like I had stopped too soon. So I cranked the tuners up to the next B and E. Nothing snapped, the strings were tight and sounded much more like what I expected to hear. I strummed all four strings in succession and noticed that the top two were at odds with the bottom two... like I had tuned the bottom two a whole scale higer than the top two, or perhaps that's just the difference between the wound and unwound Aquilas... So... I cranked up the D string and stopped when my poor abused Mahalo started to shake in protest.

So I know that the top strings are correct... but the bottom two, should these Aquilas be floppy and loose, yet consistent in scale with the top strings, or should they be tight and sweet but with a large gap in the scale?

Any help would be hot.

soundcheck here
(after breaking a string, replacing it, and retuning)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLqKXyrcPYY

haolejohn
05-29-2009, 02:35 AM
I wish i could help you but I can't. I know nothing about the baritone except that it is an ukulele on steroids. I do know that on a cheap makala uke I tuned one of the students and the C string was loose but when I tightened it it appeared to have the same problem that you are having. So i loosened it to the loose state and it sounded better. It was a little weird but i don't play that uke, so i don't have to worry about it.

HoldinCoffee
05-29-2009, 02:45 AM
At least I can take comfort in not being the only one who finds baritones to be difficult. I like 'em when other people play 'em though.

ukulelebadass
05-29-2009, 02:59 AM
A properly tuned baritone should sound just like the first four strings of a classical guitar (I know, DUH, right?) so if I was having trouble I'd probably pull out a guitar that I knew to be tuned, tune it to that, and then fine tune it with my chromatic tuner... If I was still having trouble I'd probably take it down to the guitar shop, play dumb, and make them tune it for me. (I frequently get them to re-string my guitar for me this way.) If they can't get it to sound right then there might be something wrong... I just watched your vid, and it seems like you've got your high string tuned to a high G and not an E.

HoldinCoffee
05-29-2009, 04:36 AM
seems like you've got your high string tuned to a high G and not an E.

Actually, its supposed to be a high D! Open G tuning

hoosierhiver
05-29-2009, 05:37 AM
Maybe your B and E string don't sound right because they haven't been stretched.

seeso
05-29-2009, 06:58 AM
So I know that the top strings are correct... but the bottom two, should these Aquilas be floppy and loose, yet consistent in scale with the top strings, or should they be tight and sweet but with a large gap in the scale?

They should not be floppy and loose, nor should there be a large gap in the scale.

If you're unsure whether you're in the right octave or not, pop over to an online guitar tuner (http://www.get-tuned.com/guitar_tuner.php) and see if your pitches match up.

Also, remember -
The 1st string's pitch should be equal to the 5th fret on the 2nd string.
The 2nd string's pitch should be equal to the 4th fret on the 3rd string.
The 3rd string's pitch should be equal to the 5th fret on the 4th string.

Ukuleleblues
05-29-2009, 07:37 AM
Yes you need to make sure you are at the correct octave. When I tune up any instrument, I'll use another as referece to make sure I'm at the correct octave and then use the tuner to finish. If you don't have a referece instrument install one new string at at time and do relative tuning to get close.

HoldinCoffee
05-29-2009, 09:31 AM
Thanks for the tips.

I've got it worked out. I'm just not used to the new tuning, never got acclamtated to low tunings, and always shyed away from wound strings. What I was hearing as inconsistent was just my own inexperience. So thanks again. My baritone Mahalo is now sounding as perfect as can be.

Now if I can figure out an intonation fix... paperclip, CHECK. Toothpick CHECK. Superglue, CHECK. Hacksaw, CHECK.

ukulelebadass
05-29-2009, 10:45 AM
yes, when I say high string I mean the string that is highest in pitch, your low string should be D