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View Full Version : does a tenor guitar = a baritone ukulele



Cornfield
10-22-2013, 12:40 PM
So does a tenor guitar equal a baritone uke when it comes to the seasons? What thinketh the seasoned seasonistas

TCK
10-22-2013, 03:39 PM
I say it does if it is tuned in fourths and has four strings...what those strings are made out of does not seem to be the deal breaker, but what do I know? Seems my electric solid tenor counts, and it has steel strings.

Cornfield
10-22-2013, 03:52 PM
I have an old tenor banjo set up with nylonish strings that I call a baritone banjo uke. Now t b at I have a National tenor guitar I want to use it

redpaul1
10-23-2013, 12:00 AM
I have an old tenor banjo set up with nylonish strings that I call a baritone banjo uke. Now t b at I have a National tenor guitar I want to use it

I think you need to post us a tune, so we have some evidence to go on (and not be one little bit jealous, no not one little bit at all!)

Edit: Hey! Guess what I ran across on YT! Still want to hear from your National, John!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iXztZXiPIo

Jazzbanjorex
10-25-2013, 06:05 AM
I play tenor banjo and tenor guitar as well as ukulele. The tenors are tuned in 5ths like a mandolin while the ukulele is not. I, as well as others, have taken ukulele strings and put them on a tenor banjo and have called this ukeifying or ukeified. You can search youtube for "ukeifying" or "ukeified". It creates an interesting instrument. I have not done this with my tenor guitar for I have a baritone ukulele already. I don't know why you couldn't ukeify a tenor guitar except the grooves in the nut might be to small, fixable.

I would call it a ukeified tenor guitar.

Cornfield
10-25-2013, 06:15 AM
I have the National tenor guitar tuned DGBE , that's the same as the Lanikai baritone

decaturcomp
10-25-2013, 07:10 AM
Seems legit to me. After all, some folks play guitarleles tuned like guitars so I don't think you'll get much push back.

FWIW, I bought a set of strings for my bari to tune it like a high g uke and feel that it makes a different and agreeable sound that way. It's different anyway and folks sometimes want to know why it sounds the way it does.


I have the National tenor guitar tuned DGBE , that's the same as the Lanikai baritone

Jazzbanjorex
10-25-2013, 09:25 AM
In banjo circles it's called Chicago Tuning when you tune a 4 string banjo like the 4 high strings of a guitar (DGBE).

My first ukulele was a baritone that I tuned like my tenor banjo (CGDA) because I was doing a lot of tenor banjo playing. I liked the sound so much I decided to start playing Ukuleles.

I've since tuned the baritone back but I still think about getting another baritone and tuning it like a tenor banjo to capitalize on all the songs I know on the banjo .

strumsilly
12-01-2013, 05:37 AM
I'd say any flavor instrument tuned in 4ths would qualify, no matter the shape or size or scale. I mean come on, a tenor guitar tuned Chicago is just a steel stringed jumbo uke with a skinny neck.

lakesideglenn
12-01-2013, 06:28 AM
Yes...we have super sopranos, super concerts, super tenors...
Why not 'super' baritones?

Jnobianchi
12-04-2013, 06:10 AM
I'd say "No" to this. Not from being a "purist", but because of scale length and sound. For example, you take a small tenor guitar, like a Martin T-16 or T-18 or a Stella or Stromberg-Voisinet venetian and their scale length is about 21 inches - nearly the same as a baritone ukulele. Tune it with nylon in 4ths and it's going to sound very much like a baritone uke. But, take a Gibson or Epiphone tenor with a 24-inch scale length and a big jazz guitar body and what you get when you tune in 4ths is, well, lousy sounding. Doesn't sound like a uke or a tenor guitar. What happens is you get a muddy sound with either variety of string.

So I'd say it really depends on the instrument as to whether or not 'uki-fying' the instrument is going to work. One other point - tenor guitars were tuned in Chicago tuning LONG before the baritone ukulele was even invented in the late 40's. Our orientation is very uke oriented, but to a guitar player, tuning in tenor in fourths is nothing novel, and it's not something you'd ever classify as a 'ukulele'. I started on uke and tenor guitar simultaneously in the early 80's and alternated between both tunings; tenor tuning with steel strings is bright and high-pitched, great for punching through the noise and taking solos - chicago tuning has a lower tension and it's good for backing strums in a quieter setting. I used whatever the gig demanded.

So I say tune how you want with the strings you want, but a tenor guitar with nylon strings tuned in 4ths is still a tenor guitar.

UkeCan1
12-04-2013, 10:08 AM
Okay, please don't laugh at the newbie, okay? (New to uke and all things stringed August 31, 2013.)
But why is GCEA or DGBE called "tuned in 4ths"? The middle interval is a third, no? Am I missing something?

Okay, please stop laughing now and explain it to me.

- Wendy

cb56
12-04-2013, 10:22 AM
Okay, please don't laugh at the newbie, okay? (New to uke and all things stringed August 31, 2013.)
But why is GCEA or DGBE called "tuned in 4ths"? The middle interval is a third, no? Am I missing something?
Okay, please stop laughing now and explain it to me.
- Wendy
You are absolutely right.

RichM
12-04-2013, 10:35 AM
Okay, please don't laugh at the newbie, okay? (New to uke and all things stringed August 31, 2013.)
But why is GCEA or DGBE called "tuned in 4ths"? The middle interval is a third, no? Am I missing something?

Okay, please stop laughing now and explain it to me.

- Wendy

Because "mostly tuned in fourths" is awkward to say? :)

A guitar is tuned in fourths, except for the B string, which is a major third, as you observe. So somewhere along the way, I think the world said, "5 out of 6 ain't bad" and referred to it as tuning in fourths, while we all quietly said to ourselves "except for the B!"

In ukes, it's a bit more apparent, since we only have four strings. So we're still mostly tuned in fourths, but now it's 3 out of 4 instead of 5 out of 6.

But 3 out of 4 ain't bad. :)

UkeCan1
12-04-2013, 11:16 AM
Because "mostly tuned in fourths" is awkward to say? :)

A guitar is tuned in fourths, except for the B string, which is a major third, as you observe. So somewhere along the way, I think the world said, "5 out of 6 ain't bad" and referred to it as tuning in fourths, while we all quietly said to ourselves "except for the B!"

In ukes, it's a bit more apparent, since we only have four strings. So we're still mostly tuned in fourths, but now it's 3 out of 4 instead of 5 out of 6.

But 3 out of 4 ain't bad. :)

Or, as Meatloaf said, 2 out of 3, because it's intervals we're counting, not strings. (Or 4 out of 5 for guitar.) Okay, I feel better now. I guess "tuned in 4ths" is just shorthand for "-ish". Thanks for explaining!

redpaul1
12-04-2013, 12:22 PM
Okay, please don't laugh at the newbie, okay? (New to uke and all things stringed August 31, 2013.)
But why is GCEA or DGBE called "tuned in 4ths"? The middle interval is a third, no? Am I missing something?

Okay, please stop laughing now and explain it to me.

- Wendy

Oh Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, that G-B interval is not a 3rd, it's a flattened 4th! ;) Just kidding! More below.


Because "mostly tuned in fourths" is awkward to say? :)

A guitar is tuned in fourths, except for the B string, which is a major third, as you observe. So somewhere along the way, I think the world said, "5 out of 6 ain't bad" and referred to it as tuning in fourths, while we all quietly said to ourselves "except for the B!"

In ukes, it's a bit more apparent, since we only have four strings. So we're still mostly tuned in fourths, but now it's 3 out of 4 instead of 5 out of 6.

But 3 out of 4 ain't bad. :)

To follow up on Rich's post. It's really to emphasise that a uke is not tuned in 5ths, which is the most common form of chordophone tuning (violins, violas, cellos, mandolins, mandolas, tenor guitars† and tenor banjos etc are all tuned in 5ths). The technical, and more accurate, description for how a 6-coursed* guitar and 4-coursed ukulele is tuned, is that they're 'close tuned'; but to say "it's 'close tuned'" is not exactly self-explanatory. Hence, as Rich says, we say 'tuning in 4ths', for short.

It's noteworthy that the guitar is the only chordophone of any significance in the Western tradition that uses more than 4 courses (the 5th string on a 5-string banjo is really just a drone - and I'm not sure either if you can classify a banjo as being in the Western tradition; or even a chordophone: there's a fairly strong case to be made for classifying it as a tuned percussion instrument).

The modern guitar evolved from a 5-coursed predecessor tuned ADGBe. In other words, the low E string was the last to be added‡. But in any case, guitar (and uke) tuning is unusual for not being 'symmetrical', as you (Wendy) rightly noted. A bass (guitar or double) is, of course, tuned symmetrically, purely in 4ths, EADG, and is the only widely used close and symmetrically tuned chordophone.

The opposite of 'close tuning', intuitively, would be 'open tuning', but as we know, that's come to mean any one of a number of non-standard tunings for guitar that allows you to play a major chord simply by strumming the open strings. Which is why tuning in 5ths is referred to as 'wide tuning'. HTH

†Conventionally, tenor guitars are tuned in 5ths, either CGDA or GDAE (Irish tuning). If they're close tuned, to DGBE, they're in Chicago tuning.
*A 12-string guitar is double-coursed 6 times. A 6-string uke has 2 double and 2 single courses. A 6-coursed ukulele is a guitarlele.
‡And Keith Richards, famously plays his Telecaster without that lower E. He says he's heard lots of bands trying to cover 'Start Me Up', but none of them get it right because their guitarists hang on to that low E string.

UkeCan1
12-04-2013, 12:53 PM
Thanks, Paul! You made my head spin, but that's a very helpful overview. This is my first stringed instrument (except for extremely brief long-ago bouts with viola and guitar ... too short to have gotten curious about the tunings, or even remembered them). So it's helpful to understand a bit more about how it fits into the larger family. Especially since people talk about it All The Time. ("People" being, now that I think about it, mostly FiL. And other people talking with FiL.) And ... I'm around a lot more guitars and other non-uke-y stringed things than ukes. And I will one day (soon, probably) need to learn to read chords off guitar fingers.

Thank you so much!

- Wendy

Oh, and "flattened 4th" ... very funny! (I was trying to think in what key that would be a 4th. :))

redpaul1
12-04-2013, 12:58 PM
Thanks, Paul! You made my head spin, but that's a very helpful overview. This is my first stringed instrument (except for extremely brief long-ago bouts with viola and guitar ... too short to have gotten curious about the tunings, or even remembered them). So it's helpful to understand a bit more about how it fits into the larger family. Especially since people talk about it All The Time. ("People" being, now that I think about it, mostly FiL. And other people talking with FiL.) And ... I'm around a lot more guitars and other non-uke-y stringed things than ukes. And I will one day (soon, probably) need to learn to read chords off guitar fingers.

Thank you so much!

- Wendy

Oh, and "flattened 4th" ... very funny! (I was trying to think in what key that would be a 4th. :))

Next time FiL asks, you can tell him that you're playing a 4 by single coursed chordophone in asymmetrical, close, re-entrant tuning. :cool:

UkeCan1
12-04-2013, 01:02 PM
Next time FiL asks, you can tell him that you're playing a 4 by single coursed chordophone in asymmetrical, close, re-entrant tuning. :cool:

I think I'm way out of my depth trying to top FiL about that stuff. I'll just teach him a few new jazz chords. That usually works.

bonesigh
12-04-2013, 03:45 PM
Back to the original question. Just my 2 cents. I think, when it comes to the seasons, it should be a uke and not a ukefied instrument. That being said, I so want, want, want a tenor guitar (:

So does a tenor guitar equal a baritone uke when it comes to the seasons? What thinketh the seasoned seasonistas

Tootler
12-05-2013, 07:22 AM
Oh Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, that G-B interval is not a 3rd, it's a flattened 4th! ;) Just kidding! More below.

It's noteworthy that the guitar is the only chordophone of any significance in the Western tradition that uses more than 4 courses


Viols and the Renaissance Lute all had six courses and were tuned in fourths - with a third in the middle. The Lute later had many more courses but they all eventually died out but were revived at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The Renaissance lute had six courses with all but the top string being doubled they were tuned in unison not octaves. The "Standard" tuning was G C F A d g. There were many variations but the pattern seemed to be mainly the same with intervals (from bottom to top) of 4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 4th. (cf guitar 4th, 4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th) though other variants were found. Lutenists seemed to be as willing as guitarists to experiment with and use a variety of tunings to suit the demands of the music. Renaissance Lute music was almost exclusively written in tablature. I did a "try a lute" session at an early music summer school I went to some years ago and we were playing from tablature. Lute tablature is slightly different from guitar/uke tablature but the principles are the same so it shouldn't be too difficult to adapt if you were interested.

A couple of sites suggested retuning the G string on a guitar to F# will give you the same pitch intervals as a lute. If you then put a capo on the 3rd fret, you get G C F A d g. If you take a uke tuned to Bb tuning then tune the 3rd string down a further semitone, you get the same tuning as the top four strings of the tuning above. As the extra two strings of a guitalele are bass strings a tenor scale guitalele should work OK in G C F A d g without having to buy special strings - should you be interested, that is.

Viol tuning uses the same set of intervals, D-G-c-e-a-d' for the bass viol with the treble viol the same an octave higher. The tenor viol is tuned G C F A d g like the lute. Again, there are other tunings and the bass viol sometimes has an additional low A string. Viols are fretted. I once tried a bass viol but I found my hand wasn't big enough to reach comfortably between the frets.

Ukeval who has contributed to the seasons plays renaissance music on a ukelele as well as playing lute.

myrnaukelele
12-05-2013, 11:55 AM
Back to the original question. Just my 2 cents. I think, when it comes to the seasons, it should be a uke and not a ukefied instrument. That being said, I so want, want, want a tenor guitar (:
My tenor guitar story- I have always loved the close harmonies of the Delmore Brothers. They played guitar and tenor guitar (a rare combination). Listen to their instrumental playing - it's fabulous. So, I decided it was time for a tenor guitar (not that I could ever sound like Alton and Rabon but hey). So I logged onto Elderly Instruments and typed in "tenor guitar". A baritone uke appeared as I was searching. I asked myself- is a tenor guitar the same thing as a baritone uke?? Looked a lot like it and it was the only large four stringed instrument available at the moment. So I bought it. My Favilla baritone arrived a couple weeks later and I fell in love. While looking for info on my baritone uke I found the UU website and started hanging out. I dusted off my old Martin soprano and began tuning it GCEA (for 20 years I'd played in ADF#B- I thought that was standard tuning...) One thing led to another and here I am typing this story. All because I was looking for a tenor guitar and found a baritone uke instead.

bonesigh
12-05-2013, 02:14 PM
Cool story Myrna. Did you ever get a tenor G?

myrnaukelele
12-05-2013, 03:10 PM
Cool story Myrna. Did you ever get a tenor G?
Nope. I started buying ukes instead. I now have 3 baritones, 2 concerts, ???15??? sopranos (not all playable- some are just wall hangers) and three banjo ukes. No tenor ukes yet. If the right tenor guitar came along I'd consider buying it but right now I'm having fun with all my ukes.

bonesigh
12-05-2013, 05:26 PM
Only about 20 ukes Myrna? I think ya need a few more (:

Jnobianchi
12-06-2013, 09:23 PM
Back to the original question. Just my 2 cents. I think, when it comes to the seasons, it should be a uke and not a ukefied instrument. That being said, I so want, want, want a tenor guitar (:

:) It's funny, since this thread started, even since I posted earlier, two of my ukulele playing friends bought tenor guitars (a 1930's Gibson and a 1932 Stella) and tuned them in chicago tuning (both decided on steel strings). Both sound great.

I'd say, if you have the $, do it. I loved mine. They were undervalued just a couple of years ago - so were tenor banjos - but those prices are starting to go up. Maybe other uke players are thinking along the same lines as you; it certainly seems that way! :)

bird's eye view of my ukelele
05-13-2015, 10:43 PM
bumping

because

guys, I just GOT one! :cool:

it's dgbe

and i'm upstrumming

and I like it!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNuuMV7xxyI

I've brought my steel string, electric, solid body baritone uke (20 inch scale) to the seasons before... gosh nine times! more than I thought! eg. here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvAekPgpEco

this new baby, the tenor guitar, is a 23 inch scale

wanting it and choosing it and buying it, and tuning it and playing it how i do, was/is all an extension of my baritone uke-ing...

but I dunno if it would be welcome on the seasons, to me it's like a steel string bari, and i'd love to bring it, but technically it's a tenor geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetar and I dunno how people would feel about it

redpaul1
05-13-2015, 11:21 PM
bumping

because

guys, I just GOT one! :cool:

it's dgbe

and i'm upstrumming

and I like it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNuuMV7xxyI

I've brought my steel string, electric, solid body baritone uke (20 inch scale) to the seasons before... gosh nine times! more than I thought! eg. here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvAekPgpEco

this new baby, the tenor guitar, is a 23 inch scale

wanting it and choosing it and buying it, and tuning it and playing it how i do, was/is all an extension of my baritone uke-ing...

but I dunno if it would be welcome on the seasons, to me it's like a steel string bari, and i'd love to bring it, but technically it's a tenor geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetar and I dunno how people would feel about it


Haha! When you bumped this thread, I found myself reading Tootler's post and wondering why he'd suddenly jumped in after all this time. I only looked at the May 12 part of the date!

BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar / In my mind & in my heart, / you can't rewind, / you've come this far

As the proud owner of a 23"-scale baritone uke (it's a long-neck bari!! Just like you can get long-neck sops, sez I!), I feel your trepidation. My position (as always) is it's for whoever's hosting to decide. Leave it up to them. After all, it's their party.

*sings to fade* BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar / BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar / BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar

:smileybounce:

mythinformed
05-13-2015, 11:25 PM
Birdy I'm gonna get you on that programme called 'Hoarders' , can you actually get through your front door with all those ukes now ? Lol

Back on topic, In very simplistic and untechnical terms I like a uke to sound like a uke and a guitar to sound like a guitar so the difference for me is the sound/tone. I started off with a baritone uke and it sounded too deep, much like a guitar for me.
Its all down to preference and I can appreciate and listen to any stringed Instrument played well.

RAB11
05-14-2015, 05:53 AM
2 cents from a Seasons lurker:

There seems to be nothing purist about the Seasons--the rules seem made to be broken. There is also so much fusion among uke-makers that, if a U-bass or guitarlele can be considered a uke, why not anything else? The monstrosity called the banjo uke features regularly. Guitars, drum boxes, kazoos and whatnot frequently pop up in the clips as equal partners to ukes and uke-alikes. Ukes are electrified out of any semblance to the cozy, played in the shade plinkers that define uketivity.

Mainly, the seasons are about song sharing, creativity, testing your bounds and having fun. As long as you mention you're playing a bastard instrument, anyone who thinks the purity of Seasons is being defiled can just skip on to the next clip (and take a chill pill). Now get off my lawn.

I would mostly agree with this.

If in doubt, Thornton.

UkeCan1
05-14-2015, 07:34 AM
So first of all, this was really fun revisiting this old thread, and my newbie tuning question tangent, and all the helpful answers I got, which I understand so much better now than I did then ... and Myrna's fun tenor-guitar-leading-to-uking story, the comparison video, and everything. All of it makes heaps more sense to me now than it did back then.

Secondly, congrats, Lynda, on your newest acquisition - it sounds great!

Third, okay, so I'm still pretty much a newbie, if only slightly less of one than then, but it seems to me, of course yes you can play it in the Seasons! It seems to me that anything uke-tuned is a whole lot closer to a ukulele than a u-bass or guitalele is - and people have featured those in Seasons videos without asking permission.

Plus, yeah, Thornton. I say go for it!

Plus, yeah baby, I wanna hear it!

RAB11
05-14-2015, 09:26 AM
I do think there is a certain point at which you're taking the piss.

Which is why I don't play my electric guitars.

UkeCan1
05-14-2015, 11:02 AM
I think guitars are a fairly obvious line. Unless you remove two strings and put a capo on 5. :)

bird's eye view of my ukelele
05-14-2015, 01:06 PM
*sings to fade* BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar / BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar / BEV-o-mu brought the tenor guitar

that's a beautiful song!



can you actually get through your front door with all those ukes now ?
no

but so long as i'm on the inside and can't get out, rather than on the outside and can't get it, it's cool!



a bastard instrument
everyone told its parents they were all wrong together................ but they DID get married ;)

CeeJay
05-14-2015, 02:26 PM
2 cents from a Seasons lurker:

The monstrosity called the banjo uke features regularly.


Crushed I am .....simply ....crushed ........I own two ....monstrosities .....I'll have to tell them gently :(

bird's eye view of my ukelele
05-14-2015, 02:39 PM
one person's monstrosity

is another person's dream instrument

to call another person's dream a monstrosity is a bit insensitive, I think

Tootler
05-14-2015, 03:10 PM
Crushed I am .....simply ....crushed ........I own two ....monstrosities .....I'll have to tell them gently :(

I too own a monstrosity. It has a proper banjo body on to which is grafted a concert ukulele neck and it's LOUD and I love it. I don't play it very often because I really have to sing up for my voice to carry over it. It was made in China and is very well made with a good quality finish. It and my Uke'Ellie arethe most expensive ukes I own and the Uke'Ellie has the potential to be even louder. I really have to reign her in :)

Icelander53
05-15-2015, 07:29 AM
I think you need to post us a tune, so we have some evidence to go on (and not be one little bit jealous, no not one little bit at all!)

Edit: Hey! Guess what I ran across on YT! Still want to hear from your National, John!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iXztZXiPIo

I liked that tenor best and I don't do reentrant.