View Full Version : can you tune a bari uke to an octave below a soprano?

09-16-2010, 03:00 AM
Hi, I posted this to the Bass forum as well, sorry about the double post, wasn't sure where it belongs...

I'm fairly new to ukulele playing and I'm wondering whether you can tune a baritone ukulele to GCEA an octave below soprano tuning (re-entrant or low G doesn't relly matter), perhaps using the middle four strings from a guitar set? Or are there specific uke string sets to do this? Or can it just not be done...?


09-16-2010, 09:57 AM
I'm fairly certain (although I've never bought any) that there are GCEA string sets specifically for the baritone....

09-16-2010, 10:29 AM
I'm fairly certain (although I've never bought any) that there are GCEA string sets specifically for the baritone....

I believe those GCEA strings are higher pitch, like a tenor.

As far a lower octave, sure, anything lower can be done. Remember that the bari is a shorter scale than guitar, and has fatter strings because of it. The baritone is roughly equivalent to a guitar at the 3rd fret.

Think of a guitar's notes at the 3rd fret - G, C, F, Bb, D, G. You need G, C, E, A. Two of the strings here are tuned lower than normal tension. To really do it right, get two sets of guitar strings of the same brand, one hard tension and one regular. Use the hard tension for the ones that are to be tuned down.

So, your two low strings would be the regular gauge, and your two upper strings would be hard tension, tuned down.

Guitar sixth regular (G) = Bari fourth (G)
Guitar fifth regular (C) = Bari third (C)
Guitar fourth heavy (F) = Bari second (E)
Guitar third heavy (Bb) = Bari first (A)

If you want a re-entrant fourth, you would want something about halfway between the guitar's fourth and third gauges. One thing I see, you can use the first string as a G, but it would be an octave up. Might be interesting for strumming.

Elderly has a good selection of single strings for projects like this.

09-16-2010, 01:25 PM
Yes Aquila makes a GCEA set of strings for the Bari. I just bought and put a set on my Bari. The ones I bought were in high G, and I wanted a low G, so I left the G string from the D tuning on (switched it to 4th string of course) and put on the other three and love it. The Bari in GCEA tuning is awesome. Lozark

09-16-2010, 01:30 PM
As others have said, you can buy baritone strings designed to tune CGEA, but their pitch is the same as a tenor. When you tune even regular baritone strings to regular guitar tuning (5 frets lower) the strings can sometimes seem to floppy. If you tuned them a whole octave lower, I suspect they would be too floppy to feel right.

09-21-2010, 11:48 AM
Thanks so much for the info, I'll keep away from the (high) C aquilas and try the guitar strings as suggested.

03-29-2011, 12:51 AM
Suitable strings are made by Guadalupe Custom Strings in USA. They have both high and low Gs. Being very slightly thicker than normal I had to widen the string grooves at the nut with a needle file but this is a very simple job. I think they sound fine. Good luck.