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Fliss
01-01-2012, 04:24 AM
Please talk to me about baritone ukes. As a guitar player (and novice uke player!) I'm kind of tempted by the idea of a bari, but can't decide if it would be the best or worst of both worlds.

If you're a guitar player who also plays a bari, do you find yourself wanting those two other bass strings? What's the advantage of a bari uke over a classical guitar? Or compared to a tenor guitar?

What kind of music do you play on your bari?

Any other comments?

haole
01-01-2012, 07:26 AM
I play a baritone when I'm too lazy to pick up a full-sized guitar. It's a lot more portable, even if it's the biggest uke. If you're jamming with another uke player, it's fun to bring a baritone to cover the lower register.

It does create the dilemma of "why am I playing this when I could just play a guitar?", though, so in order to get the most out of it you might want to try a different tuning and make it more like a uke. I like it re-entrant (dGBE) because it plays more like a uke than a guitar, especially for fingerstyle. You can also get away with playing it in normal uke tuning; it'll just have a bigger sound than a tenor even if the notes are the same. But my favorite right now is an octave below standard uke tuning! Check out this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?50244-Never-been-so-EXCITED-over-a-new-set-of-strings-before-YOU-GOTTA-TRY-THIS!-D); with a special set of strings, you can actually tune a baritone super low and still be able to play it uke-style.

So you don't necessarily have to use it as a smaller, more limited substitute for a guitar. Treat it like a uke and you'll have something completely different!

Lori
01-01-2012, 07:29 AM
Please talk to me about baritone ukes. As a guitar player (and novice uke player!) I'm kind of tempted by the idea of a bari, but can't decide if it would be the best or worst of both worlds.

If you're a guitar player who also plays a bari, do you find yourself wanting those two other bass strings? What's the advantage of a bari uke over a classical guitar? Or compared to a tenor guitar?

What kind of music do you play on your bari?

Any other comments?

I would say for me, a baritone is very close to a guitar, unless you string it reentrant. It will be a bit confusing to play something that close to what you are used to, and you will miss the 2 strings. If you are interested in a smaller instrument, you would be happier with a guitarlele or a parlor guitar, I think. If you want to do something more adventurous, go for a tenor uke, which will still give you a bit of the rich low tones, but it will be different than a guitar. You can play anything you like on a uke. Ukuleles are great fun, and your guitar experience will help you a lot in picking up the new techniques. Ukuleles have a really nice bright sound that compliments guitars very nicely. I use a baritone to add more bottom end to a ukulele ensemble group instead of using a guitar. The shorter scale of the baritone is more comfortable on my hands than a classical guitar. When I switch from baritone to concert sized uke, there is quite a difference in sound. It is sort of like opening a window to a darkened room, and letting the sun in.

–Lori

stevepetergal
01-01-2012, 07:41 AM
I wouldn't want to play a baritone ukulele. But, the last thing I want to do is play a guitar!
If you want to give it a try, I say GO FOR IT.
Try bari tuning, standard uke tuning, low G tuning,.... Lots of possibilities. The best thing you can do is try everything you want to try, and do with your instrument everything that pleases you. It's a great opportunity to do what some of us wouldn't. The worst thing would be to do what I would.

Fliss
01-01-2012, 12:13 PM
Thanks very much for the great responses. Yes, it's that "why am I playing this when I could just play a guitar?" quandry that I'm concerned about, and I think the approach of treating it as a uke rather than a small four stringed guitar sounds wise. I love the idea of the octave tuning, that does sound like fun! But at the very least, a re-entrant string definitely sounds like a good idea.

Lori, you mentioned parlour guitars - I am actually a confirmed parlour guitar fanatic anyway, and three of my four guitars are parlours including one that has a 24 inch scale. My largest guitar is only 00 size, so I'm definitely a small guitar person! I suppose that's why a baritone appeals, because it is similar to a small guitar. I love your poetic description of the difference in tone between the baritone and the concert :)

Bill - good suggestion about taking the bass strings off a guitar, I do have a guitar I could try that with. Hmm....

mm stan
01-01-2012, 04:22 PM
Aloha Bill,
I play my baritones in a dropped tuning..and love them for picking and figuring out song chords and riffs..because it is loud and with the drop tuning it is even deeper, richer
more resonation and substain... this is how I learned to tune by ear because of the volume..worth every cent....besides I like wider string spacing for playing than the guitar...

mm stan
01-02-2012, 12:59 AM
I have alot of tunings...and get yourself a digital cherub clip on chromatic tuner...so you can fine tune...http://luthiermusic.com/index.php/accessories/tuners/chromatic-mate-wst-550c.html
one tuning I tried is D-30, F#+50/G-50, B-50, E-40.....

Ukuleleblues
01-02-2012, 02:24 AM
I play one for a change of pace. Kind of break up the sounds when we are playing. I usually start off with a D tuned concert while my wife plays a soprano. The we switch to the Bari and a C tuned Pineapple. We will end playing with a guitar and various ukes. It kind of gives the folks listening some tonal variety. This Xmas we played some of the songs with a 12 string guitar and a D tuned resonator ukulele.

I got a Guitarele for Xmas and it kind of reminds me of the baritone tonally.

EscapeTheClouds
01-02-2012, 02:46 AM
The bari's my go-to instrument. The first ukulele I bought was a Kala baritone. I love its versatility, range, and portability, the wider string spacing, and-of course-the sound. It's got a wonderful warmth to it.

I also picked up a baritone Eleuke, which has been a lot of fun. It's so compact. The tuning is also deep enough that you can get some real distortion crunch out of it without sounding tinny.


Those who are struggling with guitar are a different kettle of fish, for them getting a uke will help them access the music because it is easier to play and it would be an easier decision.

I've played guitar for a while, but was never very good at chords (beyond power chords, of course, lol). It wasn't easy for me to get the fingering and bar chords with six strings. The baritone is perfect for me, and has allowed me to dive deeper into chord structure and theory than ever before. I keep mine tuned to the standard DGBE so I can apply some of the things I've learned on the uke to the guitar.

To the original poster, for me it's certainly been the best of both worlds.

Bubba90
01-02-2012, 04:57 AM
Bill1, i'm a former guitar player now only playing ukuleles. I have a Bari tuned low G CEA, and a tenor tuned high g. I play the Bari mostly on jazz tunes and the tenor for the rest. I love them both and i also have a Kala UBass that I play with my Bluegrass neighbors. Get the Baritone and enjoy life.

ichadwick
01-03-2012, 04:36 AM
Baris have become my favourite uke for the richness of their sound. I have two, strung re-entrant and low-D to get the best of both worlds. I still play a lot of tenor, but like baritones somewhat more.

ukulelecowboy
01-03-2012, 07:29 AM
I only perform with Baritones (Pono's to be exact) They fit my large frame and hand nicely and allow me to manage complex jazz fingerings without cramping up. I tune gCEA and GCEA. I use Southcoast strings and my instruments sounds nothing like a guitar. If I want to play a guitar, I use my DGBE tuned Tenor Guitars.

Fliss
01-03-2012, 08:27 AM
Thanks folks, this is all very helpful. I should point out that I'm not expecting uke to take over from guitar as my main instrument - but never say never :) I do like the idea that the bari might be helpful with chord theory for the guitar, that's an angle I hadn't thought of. But I think the main message I'm getting is that I need to keep reminding myself that it's all about having fun - which is really what the uke is all about, isn't it?