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View Full Version : Finest Modern Baritone Ukuleles



Baskervils
07-13-2011, 12:01 PM
I realize that this is incredibly subjective, but I'd love to know what people think are the finest contemporary / modern baritone ukueles? This can include larger companies and hand makers / luthiers.

Generally, I'm referring to ukes that are $700 to the sky's the limit...

WhenDogsSing
07-13-2011, 12:44 PM
I have a Kala spalted maple limited edition baritone with the Tree of Life inlay up the neck. It smokes every other baritone I've ever played or owned, including a 60s vintage Martin. The tone is angelic and it projects loud and clear. The body is laminated and the top is solid spruce. The cost was under $500., it was a great deal.

I'm sure there are custom builders out there who make absolutely wonderful baritones but I expect the cost will be higher than $700.

Baskervils
07-13-2011, 12:47 PM
I have a Kala spalted maple limited edition baritone with the Tree of Life inlay up the neck. It smokes every other baritone I've ever played or owned, including a 60s vintage Martin. The tone is angelic and it projects loud and clear. The body is laminated and the top is solid spruce. The cost was under $500., it was a great deal.

I'm sure there are custom builders out there who make absolutely wonderful baritones but I expect the cost will be higher than $700.

I've got a cheaper Makala Baritone that is my beater, and it is shockingly good for the $70 I paid.

PhilUSAFRet
07-13-2011, 01:04 PM
There was an incredible custom baritone on UU recently built by ????? Wish I could remember who. I'm not a big baritone fan, but it blew me away. Maybe someone else will remember.

olgoat52
07-13-2011, 03:45 PM
There was an incredible custom baritone on UU recently built by ????? Wish I could remember who. I'm not a big baritone fan, but it blew me away. Maybe someone else will remember.

There was a boatpaddle just recently. I know I was tempted after heard David's bari with the FleaBitten dawgs. Really sounded wonderful.

I don't think it sold. It was the M series.

This is the one I was thinking of. http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?48678-Boat-paddle-M-style-Baritone-Walnut-and-Spruce&highlight=boat+paddle

70sSanO
07-13-2011, 03:51 PM
Here you go...

I was tracking the seller down on this one, but then we found out my wife's job may not be around much longer so I can't pull the trigger. It was still available today.

Boat Paddle ukuleles are considered great baritone ukes. I believe this one can be strung with either steel acoustic guitar strings or ukulele baritone strings. Good luck!

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?48678-Boat-paddle-M-style-Baritone-Walnut-and-Spruce

John

WhenDogsSing
07-13-2011, 04:45 PM
I also have a Boat Paddle tenor that is one of the best sounding tenors I've played so I can easily imagine their baritones sound just as wonderful. They truly do make a fine instrument at Boat Paddle Ukuleles.

Uke Republic
07-13-2011, 05:03 PM
I like a lot of em but the LoPrinzi Nova is a really cool design and comes in mahogany and koa flavor. Plenty of goods ones out .

ukulelecowboy
07-13-2011, 05:39 PM
Eric Devine's baritone ukuleles are incredible...

marymac
07-13-2011, 07:29 PM
There was an incredible custom baritone on UU recently built by ????? Wish I could remember who. I'm not a big baritone fan, but it blew me away. Maybe someone else will remember.

Maybe you're thinking about the one I posted about a couple weeks ago, built by Luke Heaton? http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?49469-New-uke-day!-Luke-Heaton-Baritone

One of the nicest ukes I've seen and fantastic sound.

I also agree with Ukulele Cowboy about Devine ukes. If I had unlimited money - that's where (some of) it would go.

Pippin
07-13-2011, 09:43 PM
Martin says that if the uke remains as popular as it is at the moment for a while longer, they are contemplating releasing a new baritone uke.

ichadwick
07-14-2011, 01:10 AM
Interesting. I love baritones and play mine more often than I play my tenors these days. I have three (plus a bari banjolele): A Pono solid mahogany, which I love. It has a great, warm sound. A vintage Lyra from 65 that is loud and brash and sounds almost guitar-like. It's incredibly light, too, and just rings with sound, although with none of the depth and low tones of the Pono. Then I have a handmade soild-mahogany bari by Aaron Keim (Beansprout) which has none of the attributes of either and sits unplayed unless I plug it into an amp, when it has more character. I plan to restring it as a piccolo bass, but got busy and forgot about it. Or sell it. My friend has two Ohanas and they're rich and full, too, louder than but not quite as sweet to my ears as the Pono.

I'd recommend a Pono any time, and am looking for an upscale bari like Boat Paddle.

Baskervils
07-14-2011, 02:24 AM
Martin says that if the uke remains as popular as it is at the moment for a while longer, they are contemplating releasing a new baritone uke.

Wow, that's cool. Where did you hear this?

70sSanO
07-14-2011, 04:18 AM
I'd recommend a Pono any time, and am looking for an upscale bari like Boat Paddle.

Well if things settle down on the employment side, I hope the Boat Paddle in the marketplace is still available. I really like what kissing did with his Guadalupe strings. The thought of being able to tune to G2-C3-E3-A3 and use phosphor bronze strings on a ukulele is really appealing to me.

John

Huna
07-14-2011, 04:22 AM
I have the Martin OXK soprano and love it. I imagine they could make a concert, tenor and baritone out of formica and these do sound good.

PhilUSAFRet
07-14-2011, 04:24 AM
Maybe you're thinking about the one I posted about a couple weeks ago, built by Luke Heaton? http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?49469-New-uke-day!-Luke-Heaton-Baritone

One of the nicest ukes I've seen and fantastic sound.

I also agree with Ukulele Cowboy about Devine ukes. If I had unlimited money - that's where (some of) it would go.

Yepper! This is the one. I listened to sound clip. Awesome instrument.

PhilUSAFRet
07-14-2011, 04:25 AM
Of course most if not all the K uke manufacturers make a baritone. Kanilea sounds amazing.

strumsilly
07-14-2011, 09:20 AM
I love the sound of my Gibson baritone, but I think they are kind of scarce and can be pricey. I bought a 2 '50s Harmony baris off ebay , one needs work and the other hasn't arrived yet, but they are really light and I bet will be great. There is a nice Favilla for sale here in the marketplace. I'll bet that is a player. I think these old USA made mahogany baritones are awsome, and since baritones are not a popular as other sizes they sometimes go pretty cheap. Good luck in your search.

mds725
07-14-2011, 10:58 AM
Of course most if not all the K uke manufacturers make a baritone. Kanilea sounds amazing.

KoAloha doesn't make a baritone ukulele, but I've played a Kamaka baritone and it sounded exquisite.

saltytri
07-14-2011, 11:07 AM
KoAloha doesn't make a baritone ukulele, but I've played a Kamaka baritone and it sounded exquisite.

I second that emotion: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?49471-New-Uke-Day!-%28Kamaka-HF-4-Baritone%29

Deep, rich sound just pours out of this thing.

RETSOP
08-19-2012, 05:03 PM
I once had a Makala concert. This led me to wanting a much better Ukulele. After researching like nobody's business I ended up with a very nice Kala which I dearly love. This also encouraged me to, incidently, try new strings on the Makala. With that I made two realizations: (A) the "cheap" Makala actually had a lot of potential for a basic uke and (B) once I thought about it, it only made sense that a company that could make a good cheap instrument should be able to make a GREAT "expensive" instrument.

If you like your inexpensive Makla baritone (and, actually, I've read nothing but good things about them) you should probably look at nicer Kalas (mahogany for mellow, spruce for bright).

coolkayaker1
08-19-2012, 05:23 PM
I own a Peter Hurney koa baritone and it's the cat's meow!

www.pohakuukulele.com

13down
08-21-2012, 10:13 AM
I've owned an Oscar Schmidt, a Kingston, and a Pono. The Oscar Schmidt (OU-53 I believe) was very good, with the frets a good size and the action just low enough. But I let it get warped (I was a real newbie and left it without strings for too long).

Next, I got a Johnson. For its price ($90), it was a good one, with a slightly fuller sound than the Oscar Schmidt. But its frets are a bit smaller - they're closer to the size of a smaller uke's frets. It also comes with mediocre tuners. I took it to a shop to have the tuners replaced, and I think they left it without strings for too long, because, when I took it back, the action was far lower than it had been (the neck seems to have gotten a little warped). It's still playable though, and I've actually gotten to like the smaller frets.

I played the Oscar Schmidt again after several years and it had improved. It sounded and played great. But then, one day, I picked it up and the first fret was buzzy. I took it to a shop and they told me that temperature fluctuations will do that to a uke.

So I decided to get a mahogany Pono. It was expensive, but, if I included the price of taking the last two ukes to the shop (plus the hassle of it), it didn't cost much more than they did.

Garydavkra
08-21-2012, 10:39 AM
This is under your $700 limit but, I just recently bought a Pono all solid Acacia baritone. I had only heard it on videos and I thought it sounded great. When I recieved it, I was very, very surprised. The tone is so warm and I love the bass.


I realize that this is incredibly subjective, but I'd love to know what people think are the finest contemporary / modern baritone ukueles? This can include larger companies and hand makers / luthiers.

Generally, I'm referring to ukes that are $700 to the sky's the limit...

strumsilly
08-21-2012, 03:34 PM
that KANILEA K-1 bari on FM looks pretty sweet

drbekken
08-22-2012, 03:52 AM
If you want a really good cheapo, look for the RICHWOOD baritone. It's not easy to find, but it costs about $100, and is a mahogany laminate thing. The sound and feel is great. The only weakness is the bridge, which may crack. It's the soprano-type bridge, with strings fastened in slots. I had the bridge on mine replaced (with the kind where the strings are fastened through holes) by a luthier buddy, and now the instrument is absolutely killer.

kissing
08-22-2012, 04:46 AM
I love my Kamaka HF-4 Baritone.

Kamaka (one of the first ukulele companies ever), made in Hawaii from all solid Hawaiian Koa?

Hard to beat!