View Full Version : Baritone Beginner

01-08-2011, 07:45 AM
I just got a new baritone ukulele and.. well I'm not really sure what to do with it. I know there are two different options of tuning. I could either do DGBE or gCEA. If I tune it up to gCEA, is the tension going to be too much for my strings and ukulele to handle? If I keep it at DGBE, are there tabs and songs written for that?

And also, just in general to the bari players out there, why do you like the baritone? What do you do with it that you can do on another uke? Are there specific things you enjoy playing on the baritone?

mm stan
01-08-2011, 09:32 AM
Aloha Dianalele,
I have my baritones tuned DGBE and play them either way..but I choose the regular chord patterns...check out Dr Uke for Baritone chords and songs...got plenty there...Good Luck and Happy Strummings, MM Stan

01-08-2011, 07:03 PM
I have one of my Bari's tuned DGBE and one tuned gCEA, and find that I play the low g a lot more. I really like the deep voice and nice range that it gives. I don't really play the DGBE very often ( I have guitars for that!), but there are quite a few books available for it, check Amazon I know they have several. There are GCEA string sets available, I get mine from MGM and he also has the single low g strings.

01-09-2011, 02:26 AM
I have three Baris and two Tenors, and I do favor my Baris, and I keep all of them tuned GCEA both low and high G. I am not looking for a guitar sound, I just like the somewhat fuller sound a Bari gives, as in my ear it sounds like my tenors, just fuller. Also I find my Baris are a bit easier to fret and pick than my tenors. And no, the GCEA tuning on your Baris won't stress them. For low G on my Baris I use Southcoastukes linear strings which I find beautiful to pick and strum. For High G I use Aquilas which also sound quite nice. I find that there is so much more uke music available in GCEA tuning that I just find it not necessary to use DGBE. Stan is right, Doc Uke has everything translated to Baritone DGBE if you really want to go that way. Tune it GCEA and keep on strummin, hummin and pickin. Good luck!! Lozark

01-09-2011, 03:51 AM
There's an option on the Chordie site for transposing to Baritone ukulele chords for DGBE tuning.

01-09-2011, 05:05 AM
I keep mine tuned DGBE, as I DON'T have guitars for that. (Although, frankly, guitars that are strummed block chord style don't sound like baritones, they sound muddier. Admit it.)

I love dr. Uke's chord sheets too, however I find I'm usually better off playing the song sheets for soprano on baritone, because my voice is better in that range.

I love four part chords, and baritone lets me do that without forcing the close harmonies of reentrant tuning, which sometimes just aren't really appropriate for some music.

Also 4stringchords.com is great.

01-12-2011, 03:37 PM
Clearly I have to get the right strings to tune it up to gCEA. I've been tuning it up about a half step every day (so as not to put too much tension on the strings all at once) and in the middle of the night I awoke to a SNAP! scared the crap outta me, but i knew right I away what it must be. The c string snapped. It wasnt even tuned to a C yet though! It was on like a Bb.

Oh well, buy a $70 baritone uke, expect that much in the quality of your strings.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm definitely going to look into getting the right strings and getting some music that I can play around with.

01-13-2011, 04:50 AM
Definitely get specific strings for that tuning. Good luck :)

01-13-2011, 05:50 AM
Unless you are playing with other ukes, there is no need to change the chord shapes on standard uke sheets. I often just play my baritones (tuned DBGE) just as if I was playing my other ukes. It just lowers the key 5 semitones, which I like. Of course if you are playing with other ukes, you will have to use the transposition techniques described above.

01-13-2011, 08:12 AM
Well, my, my, this certainly is enlightening. Everybody around here (like the guy who sold it to me) says not to tune my baritone up to GCEA, or else I might strain the neck. And I KNOW what that feels like, I've had two whiplashes! If I'd known I could do that, I might have saved the money I spent buying a Concert model, although I sure do like it.

01-13-2011, 10:23 AM
You can tune it loads of different ways, but just make sure you do put the right string set on for the tuning you desire. For DGBE, make sure you buy Baritone DGBE strings, and similarly for gCEA, buy Baritone gCEA strings. They are different weights, thicknesses and therefore tensions, and not to be mixed up.
With the right strings on, and if you are not accompanying anyone else who is tuned to any particular standard key (say on a guitar EADGBE), why not try raising or lowering the tuning of your Bari to suit your own singing voice. For DGBE strings, you could try going down a notch to C#F#A#D# or even lower if it doesn't get too floppy, try CFAD, that sounds real nice on some Bari's, terrible on others. Going the other way, it won't really strain your Bari neck to try a higher tuning, up one notch say with D#G#C F. Use the same chord shapes you usually do, play the songs the same way, it will be the same song, but either higher or lower of course. If you are accompanying someone else, or playing along to a track, you will need to retune your Bari to standard tuning, or you will sound off-key.
I like the Bari because it is a different sound to my reentrant ukes, and I like my Bari in DGBE flavour. I like that it can sound like a guitar, but be easier to travel with, I like it that I can play the same chord shapes as my guitar, without needing to transpose for uke. I like the resonance, the depth, the fret spacings suit my fingers better than soprano's or even tenors, the neck length is more comfortable than a soprano or a guitar in my opinion.
After I got my baritone I became addicted to it I guess, and don't pick up my soprano as much these days.

01-13-2011, 11:33 AM
Hello, I have a site devoted to the baritone ukulele. There are sites listed for all tunings there. It can be found by googling Humble Baritonics. If you like the site please spread the word.

01-15-2011, 05:20 AM
I like the site! I will try and spread the word.