View Full Version : Tenor or Bari?

11-13-2011, 10:32 AM
I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on a new instrument. I need help deciding on tenor or baritone. If I go with the bari I'll string it GCEA. Outside of the obvious size difference, what are some things to consider?


11-13-2011, 10:39 AM
Well, of course, it's all a matter of opinion... but if you're asking for opinions, I'd go tenor. I have a baritone and I love it, but for me the deeper tone makes it more like a guitar than a ukulele. I already play guitar, so I've got that sound pretty well covered. I started playing on a concert, but ultimately found that a tenor was just more comfortable for me, and allowed me to play more intricate fingerstyle stuff without feeling like my fingers were getting all bunched up. But you'll find people here who are just as passionate about sopranos, or tiples or what-have-you. So there's no wrong answer; play what feels right!

mm stan
11-13-2011, 12:24 PM
Our preferences don't count.....it's what you like that matters......have you played a baritone..in GCEA??? try them both and decide then...

11-13-2011, 02:06 PM
Tenor, no doubt!

11-13-2011, 02:34 PM
between these 2 sizes , and if I could only have one, the tenor. I am blessed and have at least one in each size. hmm, except sopranino, and Eugene's Bambino looks pretty sweet.

11-13-2011, 04:13 PM
I play my Low G GCEA Baritone the most, but my tenor gets a lot of action too. It really depends for me on what tune I am playing (t least that is what I told my wife when I NEEDED both)

11-13-2011, 06:16 PM
If you're going to get into some complex finger picking stuff, then a baritone would suit that, my tenor kind of gets tricky some times when i play some Jake Shimabukuro.

mr moonlight
11-14-2011, 01:06 AM
What's your reasoning for going with a Tenor or a Bari vs. one of the other sizes?
Personally my preferred size is the Tenor, but I've also never played a Baritone. I have a Soprano and Concert and I like the sound of the Tenor plus the scale length. I find that the Tenor has just the right amount of that classic uke sound for me while still lending itself well to other playing styles.

11-14-2011, 02:18 AM
I would go for the Baritone.
In my opinion, baritone is the most versatile ukulele.

-Can be strung DGBE (normal baritone tuning)
-Can be strung GCEA, low G or high G. Personally I use a low-G on my Oscar Schmidt Baritone. Sweet sound.
I recall Southcoast ukes saying that a baritone's body size is better suited for low-G than tenors. A baritone is like a "super tenor".
-Can be strung GCEA one octave low. This is a fantastic tuning, read all about it here:
(including sound samples)
-Can even be tuned like a bass guitar (the UBASS is based on a baritone uke body), although it would need heavy modifications to do so.
-Has better sustain and deeper sound than all the other ukes.
Try playing a soprano or concert along with a guitar. You'll be drowned out like a mouse in a flood. The tenor's "getting there", but a baritone tuned either GCEA or even DGBE can play on par with a guitar in an acoustic setting.

-Larger fret spaces and longer scale may make it easier to play certain songs.

Sure, it's a little "big" for a uke.
But it's still puny compared to guitars.

11-14-2011, 02:50 AM
-Has better sustain and deeper sound than all the other ukes.
Try playing a soprano or concert along with a guitar. You'll be drowned out like a mouse in a flood. The tenor's "getting there", but a baritone tuned either GCEA or even DGBE can play on par with a guitar in an acoustic setting.

I have to disagree with this one. I own 2 ukes that can be heard when jamming with guitars. The spruce top 8 string, and the red cedar soprano. My baritone blends nicely with guitars, but don't discount the little guys. :D

As for the original question, I'd say play both. There are lots of places that sell ukes in and around Huntington Beach, so go play around a bit. I did not like my baritone strung GCEA, the strings were way too stiff. The different chord shapes can take a bit of time to get used to, and when swapping between them I need a little transition time, but it works out in the end.

11-14-2011, 06:58 AM
A baritone in low G GCEA tuning sounds very nice

11-14-2011, 07:21 AM
If you go baritone, and you want to tune like a tenor use South Coast strings to do it.

And, there are some good inexpensive Kala baritones and Mainland makes really good ones.

11-14-2011, 08:09 AM
The old Harmony and Favilla baritones are pretty nice, and the Harmony's are sometimes pretty cheap for solid mahogany. Just make sure you get one with a straight neck. Oh yea, my Gibson bari is pretty sweet, but they aren't cheap.

11-14-2011, 08:18 AM
I played baritones exclusively until I bought a Pono tenor two months ago. I had experimented with GCEA on the baritone and I thought I liked it until I played the tenor. The baritone doesn't ring like the tenor. The strings are tighter also. I also discovered Worth brown unwound strings at the same time. They have made a big difference in the tone of both. Now the baritone is back in regular tuning. I can't say I prefer either the baritone or tenor-depends on the music I guess.

You might end up with both a baritone and tenor also.

11-14-2011, 10:27 AM
I have a Lanikai S-B baritone with solid spruce top tuned GCEA reentrant with Aquilas, and I love it this way. It's punchy but still has a big sound that I like. Baritones tuned to DGBE sound rather flat to me. I am very comfortable with the scale length and the spacing of the frets. All the uke sizes are great, but I love hearing about people playing baritones!