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View Full Version : 2012 Year of the Baritone



hoosierhiver
03-22-2012, 04:21 AM
Seems like there has been a surge in interest in baritones since New Year's. Could it be because it's the only size some people don't have yet?

1931jim
03-22-2012, 04:56 AM
I noticed I was an oddity in the 60-70's with my baritone uke but now with the renewed interest in GCEA ukes a lot of the old guitar players who are jumping on board are finding the DGBE tuning is somewhat easier on the old brain cells.
Also if you have a lot of old songs with the words tumbling around in your brain the familiarity is somewhat kinder.

GVlog
03-22-2012, 05:06 AM
I like baritones strung GCEA. It's nice to have an uke that has lots of volume, more tonal color, and longer sustain. That makes them excellent for fingerstyle.
:)

I just need baris with wide nut-widths. Wishing that Islander (Kanilea) would make a bari.

Lori
03-22-2012, 05:36 AM
I got one to play in our Ukulele Ensemble. It adds a lot when you have a lot of players and only 3 parts to play. A baritone can add a part an octave lower. Another ensemble player got one too.

–Lori

Olarte
03-22-2012, 05:49 AM
I'm waiting for a good deal to come along here in the Martketplace... :cool:

SailingUke
03-22-2012, 06:06 AM
I like the baritone for the larger finger board.
Although tenor is my go to size, some of the old jazz tunes I play sound so great on a baritone.
I also believe senior fingers like the larger spacing.

1931jim
03-22-2012, 06:11 AM
One of my baritones has Fremont low G tenor strings on it. They are long enough to accommodate the 20 inch scale with length to spare. It is low G C E A. As GVlog has written earlier.........
"""I like baritones strung GCEA. It's nice to have an uke that has lots of volume, more tonal color, and longer sustain. That makes them excellent for fingerstyle."""
PS: Edited for spelling 'accomadate' incorrectly. Naughty naughty Jimmy. 100 pushups and 10 lashes with a wet noodle for you.

ukulelecowboy
03-22-2012, 06:14 AM
I'm glad to see that the Baritone is garnering more attention. As ukuleles go, it's really a versatile and extraordinary instrument. The larger body accommodates my frame well and the extra space on the fretboard offers real flexibility with more complex chord voicings etc. I tune GCEA with Southcoast Linear strings. Below is our current list of baritone in the collection.


'12 Ko'olau CE-1 Baritone (L.R.Baggs)
'11 Pono Acacia Deluxe Baritone (MiSi)
'09 Pono Mahogany Deluxe Baritone (MiSi)
'08 Pono Macassar Ebony and Cedar top (Fishman Infinity)
'64 Guild BU-1 Baritone
'64 Favilla B2 Baritone
'72 Yasuma Model 51 Baritone
'75 C.F. Mountain Model 51 Baritone
'53 Vega Arthur Godfrey Solo Lute (K and K Twinspot)
'55 Vega Arthur Godfrey Baritone Deluxe Sunburst
'52 Vega Arthur Godfrey Baritone Standard
'55 Harmony Model 695 Baritone
'65 Harmony Model 695 Baritone
'65 Airline Baritone
'59 Biltmore Short Scale Baritone
'71 Bobby Henshaw Baritone
'55 Kent Carmencita Baritone
'55 Kustom Kraft Baritone
'68 Lyra Baritone
'70 Giannini Baritone
'66 Aria Model 1255 Baritone
'10 Eleuke Mahogany Baritone
'72 Regal Spruce top Baritone
'68 Silvertone Baritone
'09 Kala KA-B Mahogany Baritone
'11 Cordoba Cuatro (as Baritone)
'09 Jupiter Creek Telecaster Steel String Baritone
'09 Oscar Schmidt OU55CE Koa Baritone
'70 Maccaferri Islander Plastic Baritone

jackwhale
03-22-2012, 06:27 AM
What! The ukulele cowboy society does not have a Martin baritone???

Kem
03-22-2012, 06:27 AM
I own a Harmony baritone, and it's got a nice tone, but I find I don't play it all that much. In fact, I continually gravitate towards smaller and smaller instruments, and I've been playing my sopranino a lot this week. It's amusing to look at the baritone and the sopranino together. I've heard that if you plant a sopranino in fertile ground, it will eventually grow into a baritone...or, if you leave it there too long, a guitar.

strumsilly
03-22-2012, 06:31 AM
35346
What! The ukulele cowboy society does not have a Martin baritone???
or a Gibson!
http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb376/avm1/gibson%20bari/OUTSIDE008.jpg
http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb376/avm1/gibson%20bari/gib003.jpg
checkout my fat frets!

ukulelecowboy
03-22-2012, 06:49 AM
Gorgeous. You ever want to sell or trade, please let me know.

OldePhart
03-22-2012, 06:52 AM
The sudden upswing in interest in the baritone may have a lot to do with the amazing recent baritone vids by drbekken and Eugene_Ukulele! Those have certainly peaked my interest!

John

coolkayaker1
03-22-2012, 07:45 AM
question: if one was going to play a baritone, couldn't they simply play the more ubiquitous acoustic guitar? Much more versatile (despite what we'd all like to think) than the uke and fifty times as much music and tabs out there for guitars. Hmm.

strumsilly
03-22-2012, 08:00 AM
question: if one was going to play a baritone, couldn't they simply play the more ubiquitous acoustic guitar? Much more versatile (despite what we'd all like to think) than the uke and fifty times as much music and tabs out there for guitars. Hmm.no, a completely different animal

drbekken
03-22-2012, 10:08 AM
question: if one was going to play a baritone, couldn't they simply play the more ubiquitous acoustic guitar? Much more versatile (despite what we'd all like to think) than the uke and fifty times as much music and tabs out there for guitars. Hmm.
Well...I don't like to play guitar, that's one thing. I love the deeper sound of the baritone ukulele, with the 'uke' feeling intact. The question is a bit like asking Segovia if he'd care for a strat.

strumsilly
03-22-2012, 10:27 AM
Well...I don't like to play guitar, that's one thing. I love the deeper sound of the baritone ukulele, with the 'uke' feeling intact. The question is a bit like asking Segovia if he'd care for a strat.
more like asking him if he'd care for a mandolin, at least a strat is a guitar.

bynapkinart
03-22-2012, 11:35 AM
question: if one was going to play a baritone, couldn't they simply play the more ubiquitous acoustic guitar? Much more versatile (despite what we'd all like to think) than the uke and fifty times as much music and tabs out there for guitars. Hmm.

More versatile, yes, but they don't sound the same at all. I love playing my guitars, but the reason I like ukulele more (these days anyways) is the depth, warmth, and definition of every note I play. I strum away on both, and love the sounds of both, but for me the ukulele has more warmth and clarity on its fur strings than my guitar. That's partially a string difference thing...nylon or CF strings are warmer than unwound steel strings, and steel strings make the guitar sound punchier and crisper on the attack while also increasing the sustain. That's great when you have a huge (in my guitar's case, jumbo-sized) body to get the warmth and volume that you otherwise lose in steel strings. On the uke, the warmer strings and the fact that there's fewer of them is a huge plus, in my opinion. The body does a great job of projecting the right volume and keeps muddiness to a minimum.

I agree that the ukulele is probably less versatile than the guitar. I also think that a well made ukulele has the potential to be a perfect instrument for an enormous range of music styles. It also has to be harder to build that perfect ukulele because on a guitar, it is easy to add more or subtract a little from the body to balance the instrument. On the uke you're mostly working more with a set body size and style (due to popularity) and trying to make it as light and loud and balanced as possible, knowing that in the end each set of strings will change the voice of the instrument.

I'd like to pick up a bari soon, although I don't know that I want to open that can of worms just yet. Tenor is keeping me occupied at the moment, and I don't want to stray too far from the classic ukulele sound that I love!

OldePhart
03-22-2012, 12:17 PM
question: if one was going to play a baritone, couldn't they simply play the more ubiquitous acoustic guitar? Much more versatile (despite what we'd all like to think) than the uke and fifty times as much music and tabs out there for guitars. Hmm.

I'll be the oddball and (somewhat) agree with you - provided that you're talking about a 3/4 or 1/2 size classical (nylon string) guitar and, honestly, because those are mostly viewed as instruments for children it's hard to find really high-quality guitars of that type. So, yeah, you could play the four treble strings on a 1/2 size classical guitar and it would be pretty close to the sound you would get from a cheap baritone uke (close, not identical, because the guitar body of even a 1/2 size is probably still going to be deeper and thus project more bass). Still, given the caveats above the difference in tone between a 1/2 size classical guitar (playing only the treble strings) and a baritone uke would probably fall wtihin the range of variation in tones from different models of baritone uke.

The difference is this - if your main interest is ukulele, why would you buy a guitar to make uke sounds? On the other hand, if you're a guitar player with a 1/2 size classical guitar of great quality the purchase of a baritone uke might be frivolous. But, if you're a uke and guitar player and you want really top quality you're more likely to be attracted to a baritone uke than to a 1/2 size classical guitar. Even many of the laminated baritone ukes are of better quality and have better tone than most of the 1/2 size classical guitars on the market because they haven't been "overbuilt" to handle the tension of the "extra" strings and the abuse likely to be received at the hands of a child.

John

mm stan
03-22-2012, 12:36 PM
Gorgeous. You ever want to sell or trade, please let me know.

Hey Mike I tried and I'm still waiting..LOL his fingers are glued to that gibson...mine would be too....ha ha don't blame him one bit...

mm stan
03-22-2012, 12:39 PM
Absoulutely...love my baritones...I've had expensive baritones..but somehow I like My rogue baritone...nice deep richer sound when dropped tuned...lovely...
great for picking...Yes Yes

mds725
03-22-2012, 01:03 PM
Seems like there has been a surge in interest in baritones since New Year's. Could it be because it's the only size some people don't have yet?

Mike, thanks for posting. It's great to get this kind of information about fluctuations in popularity from the people who are selling ukes. I like to play baritone because of the deeper voice and the lower (DGBE) tuning, which makes it sound to me just a bit more like a guitar without losing its ukulele voice. Baritone ukuleles have their own charms, and they provide a nice harmonic voice when played with other ukuleles. When I can transpose in my head so that I can remember that a C chord on a DGBE baritone is played with the shape used for an F chord on a GCEA tenor.concert/soprano, I'm going to bring my baritone to my ukulele meetup and/or local kanikapila just to enjoy the blending of the baritone's voice with other ukuleles.


question: if one was going to play a baritone, couldn't they simply play the more ubiquitous acoustic guitar? Much more versatile (despite what we'd all like to think) than the uke and fifty times as much music and tabs out there for guitars. Hmm.

I don't see the guitar as a substitute for a baritone ukulele. For one thing, guitars typically have those two pesky additional strings, which causes differences in the chord shapes and/or requires you to learn how to strum without hitting those two extra strings. Then, as others have pointed out, they don't sound the same. The ukulele, even a baritone, has a percussive resonance (as if a gourd is being hit when the uke is strummed) that's missing on a guitar, and the sustain is different. I have a tenor (four string) steel string guitar that's tuned DGBE, like a baritone. The scale of the tenor guitar is a few inches longer and the body's a lot bigger, and they sound very different. I don't think of them at all as being interchangeable. Someday, when I become video savvy and less shy about being on YouTube, I'll post a tenor guitar / baritone ukulele comparison.

Hippie Dribble
03-22-2012, 01:54 PM
Great thread Mike!

I tssssked-tsssssked at the baritone for 5 years and basically played sopranos and concerts exclusively. Like someone else said, it was dr bekken's foray into baris over the last few months that got me interested.

3 weeks ago I bit the bullet and bought 2 having never seen one before in shops, let alone held one or played one.

One was a 1950's harmony bari, strung GCEA and the other a new Tanglewod cheapo model, with nylon strings tuned DGBE.

As soon as I got them I was besotted, especially with the DGBE tuning. Just the richness, depth warmth and well roundedness of the tone is beautiful and such a contrast to the standard sized body ukes. Add to that the greater volume, projection and sustain and it's been a real eye opener for me. I'm totally in love with them. Right now I am happy with the 2 I have but one day would like to think about buying a more expensive model.

I think they would be a great added feature in an ensemble or group playing situation, to provide that added depth and warmth to the arrangement. But individually, they are so well suited to old school blues and jazz tunes, and the fingerpicking sounds so sweet on a body of that size. I am embarrassed it took me so long to tap into this hidden joy in ukeing.

Re the guitar comparison, to me they really sound nothing like them. I always had considered them to be just a miniature guitar and so would play my 6 string when I felt the urge. But they are very much their own animal. A baritone still, to me anyway, has a very distinct ukulele voice but with that richer and more complex tone. I'm a gonner. :)

J'Ukebox
03-22-2012, 02:13 PM
Well...I don't like to play guitar, that's one thing. I love the deeper sound of the baritone ukulele, with the 'uke' feeling intact. The question is a bit like asking Segovia if he'd care for a strat.

Yes, exactly!! As usual, I'm the exception to the rule... Altho' I am a small woman, I have been playing bari almost exclusively for the past 2.5 yrs & only recently began warming up to the OTHER sizes enuff to give them some play time!! **LOVE** the baritone (DGBE) thank you!

Hippie Dribble
03-22-2012, 02:16 PM
why is the bari so unreal?

Cause of people like this...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASSXmqT2e30&context=C4f4ba66ADvjVQa1PpcFNx-Z5E_0nWQLPE535ge86xPtlc5e1zBIw=


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPB-sWjDYfM&feature=related

check out his yootoob channel, there's a whole bunch of em :cool:

ukuleledaveey
03-22-2012, 02:25 PM
must admit i am mulling it over whether to get one to now :) someone at our uke club recently got one and he did a duo with his dad last week , he was on the bari and his dad was on a sprano and they sounded beautiful together, so i ahve my eye ona cheapo kala on ebay and also i may get a tanglewood like eugine as southern ukulele store are doing them for a ton with a hard case, but just cant make my mind up wether to step over to the bari,but it is tempting :)

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
03-22-2012, 02:55 PM
Ha ha. I just walked in the door with a new Kala LU-B ten minutes ago. Here's a shot of my old pal, Dale, getting to know my new pal, Barry...

35380

Why was I drawn to the baritone? Hm, I've been a soprano guy all along---concerts and tenors usually don't turn me on. For some reason, the baritone uke started calling to me recently, saying "Ralf, I've got a bigger body than all the other ukes, and I'm tuned to lower pitches; I sound so mellow and so deep. I can be played in all the keys you like if you use a capo. Play me, Ralf, please play me." What can I say? When a uke talks, I listen.

Oh, and I got a great deal on the Kala at Portland's wonderful Artichoke Music, a terrific place for all your acoustic needs.

Hippie Dribble
03-22-2012, 03:09 PM
my new pal, Barry...



he he...Barry the Baritone. Nice Ralf. :) Bartholomew? Beaurigard? Anyone? :p

mattydee
03-22-2012, 05:48 PM
Come on you guys, I finally feel like my UAS is under control, and now this?

Sigh.

I've actually been thinking a lot about getting a guitalele, but maybe I should go Bari, instead. I guess I'm officially in the market now.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
03-22-2012, 06:25 PM
Come on you guys, I finally feel like my UAS is under control, and now this?

Sigh.

I've actually been thinking a lot about getting a guitalele, but maybe I should go Bari, instead. I guess I'm officially in the market now.

Ah, I think I hear a Milwaukee-area baritone now: "Matt, I'm so mellow and deep. Strum me, Matt, please."

austin1
03-22-2012, 08:29 PM
I played a baritone for the first time today! I always avoided them, I think the tuning always made me nervous. But I must say, picked one up today and messed around on it, it was really nice! And now I was one.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
03-22-2012, 08:43 PM
"Tina, come back to me," said the now-lonely-again German baritone ukulele.

drbekken
03-22-2012, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the nice comments on my playing, everyone. I certainly do not feel like much of a 'virtuoso', but I enjoy playing, that's for sure. I have to agree with Jon/Eugene; I had a very prejudiced view that the baritone was a wannabe guitar, and that it had nothing to do with 'real' ukuleles. For some reason, I thought I'd try one, just in case, and I liked it immediately. It was an amazing discovery that it actually wasn't a mini guitar, but an instrument all its own, with a beautiful warm sound, reminiscent of old school gut string classical guitar - but still totally unique. I have noticed that some have a wider fretboard than others, so I suppose this must make a difference concerning strumming versus fingerpicking. So far, I have only two ultra-cheapos, a Savannah and a Rogue, which are just about identical, probably made by the same factory. The Savannah is two centimeters longer than the Rogue, other than that they are virtually the same. I will stick with the baritone for some time to come, in order to really learn how to play it. There is always time to get back to the smaller sizes later. Once again, thanks for the kudos. I am, whether you believe it or not, blushing a bit.

lozarkman
03-23-2012, 02:18 AM
just to chime in on the merits of a bari, I love mine. It is interesting that so many ukers think it must be played in DGBE tuning, but just not true. You can, with proper strings, tune it to most other tunings that any other uke has, D being the most difficult to do. I really like my Bb tuning with Southcoast ukes all metal classic strings. They are Awesome!! Lozark

austin1
03-23-2012, 04:42 AM
"Tina, come back to me," said the now-lonely-again German baritone ukulele.

Hahaha, I'm pretty sure that lonely German baritone is thrilled it no longer has to deal with my blunders! But I supposed it'll just have to get used to it :D

Uke Republic
03-23-2012, 12:58 PM
We've had a surge @ The Republic as well. I have a few not on our site but it seems they are selling too. The Bari is a lot of fun. We often string them in C for customers too.

ukuleledaveey
03-24-2012, 10:51 AM
i think 2012 is defo the year of the bari i gave in to temptation today and got one as well, i had my eye on one on ebay it is a kala KA - B it was starting at 39.99 and had no bids with 23 hours to go, i got in touch with the seller and he agreed to letting me have it for 50 luckily he only lives in the next town about 10 mins away so i shot straight round, so now have something new to learn which i am looking forward to :)

KamakOzzie
03-25-2012, 06:56 PM
I jumped on the band wagon, too. Bought a Koloa KU-650 bari about three weeks ago. Solid mahogany with a gloss finish. I want to experiment with some different strings. I'm not used to two wound strings.

ukuleledaveey
03-26-2012, 01:56 AM
I jumped on the band wagon, too. Bought a Koloa KU-650 bari about three weeks ago. Solid mahogany with a gloss finish. I want to experiment with some different strings. I'm not used to two wound strings.
I just ordered some worths flurocarbons all 4 strings are fluro (hopefully)