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View Full Version : Waiting for my Baritone... Is it a second thought?



lindydanny
07-22-2010, 04:49 AM
So, I recently ordered a Kala Baritone (yes, I'll post pics/reviews when I get it) from a local shop and have been waiting for the past week for it to come in. My choice of baritone vs. tenor was based my experience with guitar. Sound and playing will be a quick adjustment and I'll be up and playing fairly quick.

However, in the week that I have been waiting, I've been watching too much ukulele on youtube and I keep seeing the coolest things done with tenors (like the fact that James Hill can kick anyone's butt). The more I hear them the more I sort of wish I had ordered a tenor instead.

Right now it's too late to make the change on the order as I'm expecting a call today or tomorrow announcing the new member to the growing plethora of instruments my wife and I own.

Along with my thinking, I've sort of created the question in my head: Why is it I see so much more of the tenor than of the baritone? Anyone have any ideas on this?

Maybe it's one of those things like when you are single all you see are couples (and when your in a couple all you see are cute women who see you as a non-threat and therefore get closer emotionally to you and almost purposefully appear vulnerable which absolutely drives you stark crazy since they keep dressing up in those cute little skirts and pigtails and you want to be a gentleman but it's hard because they keep asking you if you like their new belly button piercing)...

~DB

Skitzic
07-22-2010, 04:53 AM
If it really bothers you, just tune your baritone gCEA. BOOM problem solved.

When I bought my tenor I though...OMG I should have gotten a baritone!!! But I loved the tenor and haven't gotten the urge to buy a baritone since.

Tinker with it when you get it, maybe order a set of gCEA strings and see where you want to go from there.

bryanperk
07-22-2010, 04:58 AM
I think you see more tenors around and on youtube primarily because they sound more like the classic ukulele does than the baritone. Baritone ukuleles have a very guitar-like sound when compared to the other 3 sizes, which makes them appealing to some, but causes many others in the uke world to question their legitimacy as an ukulele. The baritone is kind of a love or hate kind of thing. Coming from a guitar background, many people enjoy it because it is a nice stepping stone into the uke world, but others will always think of the uke as a small "bright" sounding instrument. Many people fall into this category,and will usually stick to the three main sizes. Baritone is just kind of the oddball of the ukulele family, although that's not necessarily a bad thing, because IMO, each ukulele is unique, and it's partly that uniqueness and character that allows each of us that play them to enjoy the experience as much as we do.

PS: I did enjoy the specifics of your last paragraph. That does always seem to be how life works...
~Bryan

SweetWaterBlue
07-22-2010, 05:08 AM
In the short 7 months since I started playing the ukulele, I have moved from a tenor to a concert to a soprano and now I have two guitars and a baritone. I still have them all by the way, and still play them all, just some more than others, depending on my mood and the song. They all give a different sound.

I think the consensus I read on why people HERE prefer a tenor over a baritone is based on the sense that a baritone sounds too much like a guitar to some ears. After all, the baritone really is a small guitar with a smaller body and two less strings. Personally, I like the extra bass and lower sounds of the baritone, because it seems to fit my voice better.

If I were you, I would try the baritone out for a week or two. You wont have to learn any new chords to play, but you will have to forget about those lower two strings you usually play on the guitar. If you decide you really did make a mistake, you can probably either exhange it for a tenor, or trade someone for a tenor. I am currently trying to work such a trade with another SEuker here in town, but I am going the other way (tenor for baritone). In other words, you are not stuck with it forever, since ukers tend to be a promiscuous lot when it comes to instruments lol.

The strings on a baritone are generally farther apart than on a tenor. Some say that makes finger picking easier, but some prefer the close spacing like a guitar has. The tenor spacing on my Kala is kind of in between.

You may find you need both, and alternate tunings and strings are always available.

kenikas
07-22-2010, 05:14 AM
Just a word of warning, you'll probably end up with more than one! I've got a Bari in DGBE tuning and one in gCEA, a tenor in GCEA and one in gCEA, as well as a few concerts and sopranos. UAS is a terrible/wonderfull afliction!

bryanperk
07-22-2010, 05:15 AM
You may find you need both, and alternate tunings and strings are always available.

Eventually, you will probably go through this. It's called UAS, and just about everyone goes through it. UAS is Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome, and its a nearly incurable disease. Only two things can help cure it for a little while, and those are 1. to buy a new uke, and 2. to run out of money so you can't buy another new uke. :(

GaryC1968
07-22-2010, 05:27 AM
I really like the versatility of the baritone. I have mine tuned DGBE, but usually capo it up to the second or third fret. If you capo at the fifth fret, you'll be at GCEA. I also have a concert size flea, a couple of tenors and a tenor eleuke. Once you start, it's hard to stop.

SweetWaterBlue
07-22-2010, 05:29 AM
Eventually, you will probably go through this. It's called UAS, and just about everyone goes through it. UAS is Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome, and its a nearly incurable disease. Only two things can help cure it for a little while, and those are 1. to buy a new uke, and 2. to run out of money so you can't buy another new uke. :(

Yep. UAS is a rapidly spreading desease. Here are the results of having it for only 7 months, and my makala dolphin manifestation isn't even shown. Excuse the very lousy cell phone picture. The yellow arrows and numbers show how the disease progressed.

http://www.box.net/shared/zqkjvx6gj7

kissing
07-22-2010, 05:39 AM
You see more Tenors than Baritones because they're more well known.
As baritones are "normally" tuned DGBE, and most people play GCEA on a uke, Tenor is the more common choice.

However, baritones are just as versatile as Tenors. They're just oversized Tenors when they're tuned GCEA.
You can do all the cool things on it as though it was a Tenor uke. If James Hill or Jake Shimabukuro happened to play baritone ukes instead of tenor ukes, the music they play would be just as great.

I see the early signs of UAS in you though.
With ukes, 1 is never enough if you're interested in having a few different tunings.
And having alternative tunings is very handy and fun!

bryanperk
07-22-2010, 05:43 AM
I tried to combat the disease a different way than SweetWaterBlue did.. He used his money to buy the ukes, I used mine on wood to build mine. I was successful in changing my disease from UAS to UBS, or Ukulele Building Syndrome. The only problem with this is that now, not only do I exhaust my monetary resources fairly quickly, but now I also use up all my time out in the old workshop tinkering and building new ukes. But I guess I'm still afflicted with UAS as well because I haven't tried to sell any of the ones I build yet, I just like to keep them all!!

SweetWaterBlue
07-22-2010, 05:49 AM
I tried to combat the disease a different way than SweetWaterBlue did.. He used his money to buy the ukes, I used mine on wood to build mine. I was successful in changing my disease from UAS to UBS, or Ukulele Building Syndrome. The only problem with this is that now, not only do I exhaust my monetary resources fairly quickly, but now I also use up all my time out in the old workshop tinkering and building new ukes. But I guess I'm still afflicted with UAS as well because I haven't tried to sell any of the ones I build yet, I just like to keep them all!!

LOL. You just cant see the box of mahogany and the bandsaw in the garage I acquired during this period. I probably would have built that baritone (the spruce top conversion in the picture) but the $10 kids guitar at the thrift store got me first.

DaveVisi
07-22-2010, 06:05 AM
One problem with baritones is the longer neck and wider fret spacing makes some reaches nearly impossible. You'll find that some songs that come easily on a soprano are (literally!) out of reach on a bari.

SweetWaterBlue
07-22-2010, 06:08 AM
One problem with baritones is the longer neck and wider fret spacing makes some reaches nearly impossible. You'll find that some songs that come easily on a soprano are (literally!) out of reach on a bari.

Good point. I have a 6 fret reach on my soprano, but I struggle to do 4 on my baritone. Well, I guess I struggle with 6 on the sop too, but its doable.

DaveVisi
07-22-2010, 06:27 AM
I'm not trying to talk you out of your baritone, just mentioning that you'll probably end up with several sizes fairly quickly. I've only played for a year and I own two tenors, a soprano and a concert.

arashi_nero
07-22-2010, 07:33 AM
don't worry about your baritone purchase. i know i will own a baritone someday. i absolutely love the deeper sound and the timbre they produce.

the reason i bought my first tenor was because of my friend's 8-string. i had played several soprano ukes before that and when i played the 8-string, i liked the size and the tone it was pushing out. i knew i couldn't afford an 8-string uke then, so i bought my 4-string. it was after i bought my first tenor that i found out about jake shimabukuro and james hill. for me as a life-long musician, it's all about the sounds and timbre each instruments makes.

i bought my tenor 2 years ago, i now have 4 ukes at home and one on the way. i'm sure i'll own several more in my lifetime.

enjoy each of your instruments because they each have their own special tonal qualities.

bryanperk
07-22-2010, 07:34 AM
I'm not trying to talk you out of your baritone, just mentioning that you'll probably end up with several sizes fairly quickly. I've only played for a year and I own two tenors, a soprano and a concert.

Agreed, I think it's harder not to keep more than one uke at a time than it sounds...that's why I can't even come close. haha

lindydanny
07-22-2010, 08:05 AM
I'm highly susceptible to UAS as I also have lived with chronic TAS (Tool Acquisition Syndrome), GAS (Game Acquisition Syndrome), and HAS (Hobby Acquisition Syndrome). My wife put me on an allowance... Oddly, that helped. Now I have to make careful choices before I can make purchases.

I'm an avid woodworker (currently wanting to quit my day job as an insurance agent/specialist for a bank in order to go full time building stuff), so UBS is probably going to get me once I finally finish my wife's 2009 Christmas present (seriously, I'm getting to it).

The comparison of tenor to baritone and likening the two helps me. Part of my decision was influenced by the fact that I play in a lot of bluegrass style jams (we don't just play BG, though) and I wanted something that I could easily tell people how to read my fingers for chords when I lead. But if we are talking a small tonal difference between the two, then I'll probably be quelled for at least a small amount of time. Long enough to save up for a tenor anyway!

~DB