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drewp
12-22-2013, 06:06 AM
Hi everyone, I've been playing a Koaloha tenor exclusively for the last 2 to 3 years or so. I'm the type that prefers to connect with one instrument rather than have a quiver of instruments to choose from. After seeing (and hearing) a few videos of a baritone uke, I am becoming interested in maybe trying one out. I can appreciate the warmer, lower tones....similar to a guitar. My question (and I've googled and searched this topic) is: does the baritone uke play more similarly to a guitar (chords, etc) since I believe it is tuned completely different than my tenor? Does this mean I will have to completely learn (or re-learn for that matter) the chords played on a guitar/baritone vs what I've learned on my tenor? Thanks for any info....particularly by you baritone lovers out there!

Johnny GDS
12-22-2013, 06:16 AM
All the same chord geometry will work fine and transfer directly to the baritone. It is tuned a fourth lower than tenor gcea so the chord letter names differ (and match guitar chords). The baritone typically doesn't use re-entrant tuning so its very similar to a "low G" tuning where the 4th string is the lowest in pitch.

If you play a G major (tenor chord shape) on a baritone, it will be a D major. If you play a C major it will be a G major. You won't have to relearn the instrument, although you will have to make some mental adjustments. If you capo a baritone at the 5th fret, it will be tuned just like a tenor low G uke.

Hope this helps/makes some sense! I'd say go for it, baritones are super fun!

Patrick Madsen
12-22-2013, 06:19 AM
If the baritone is tuned D,G,B,E then it is the same key as a guitar. Chord shapes are chord shapes, they are just in a different key. If the tuning for your tenor is G,C,E,A, the chord shape for a G would be a D for the baritone.

It's not a matter of learning new shapes but is a matter of learning the new names for the chord shapes played. A G in C (tenor) tuning is a D in G tuning(baritone) etc. Hope that makes sense.

mattydee
12-22-2013, 06:24 AM
The above responses are technically correct, but there are plenty of strings out there which will allow you to tune the Baritone GCEA so you won't have to learn to transpose chords.

Personally, I like having instruments in different timings handy, as it keeps me on my toes, musically, and allows for different voices on the same song. But if that sort of thing scares you, just get some Bari GCEA strings.

drewp
12-22-2013, 06:25 AM
Yep, you guys...this does make sense. Thanks for the responses. So I suppose that any songs that I've learned either on my own OR via tablature...I will simply have to transpose to the other key (or play it a fourth lower). Is the baritone the only uke that is affected by this? That is to say, does a soprano, concert, etc. play the same as a tenor?

Macmuse
12-22-2013, 06:36 AM
My question (and I've googled and searched this topic) is: does the baritone uke play more similarly to a guitar (chords, etc) since I believe it is tuned completely different than my tenor? Does this mean I will have to completely learn (or re-learn for that matter) the chords played on a guitar/baritone vs what I've learned on my tenor? Thanks for any info....particularly by you baritone lovers out there!

So the answer is yes AND no.

Searches are fickle creatures and the answers you get will depend somewhat on the way you ask a question. Some of the info that's useful is buried in threads that don't have titles to indicate that.

Baritones are fairly flexible instruments. While traditionally tuned like the top four strings of the guitar (DGBE - some call Chicago tuning I've lately learned here on UU), they do not have to be tuned that way. I have one tuned DGBE and I have one re-entrant (dGBE - thanks to coolkayaker1).

This thread:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?83599-Baritone-with-reentrant-AECG/page2

talks a bit about alternatives and points out the Southcoast site that has information on tunings as well.

We have another baritone in the house now (still waiting for that new -old- uke day to appear) ;) so I'm considering trying out a different tuning on my gambler special lanikai. :)

I enjoyed this thread, but without some music theory background it can be a bit complex: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?87889-does-a-tenor-guitar-a-baritone-ukulele

This thread gave good comparison for a guitarist regarding chording:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?83171-guitar-player-wanting-to-learn-uke-need-some-advice

And just to confuse things more (and illustrate the flexibility of the baritone) -- quatro tuning:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?76209-Cuatro-Strings-on-Barry

(Yes, I'm enamored with my baritones)

ralphk
12-22-2013, 06:58 AM
One point not mentioned, is that if you are playing solo (in private or in public) and you voice is lower than you are comfortable with tenor scale tuning, a baritone gives you options.

Tuned DGBE, you are 4 steps lower, as noted above. You can play a song, that is using C, F and G7 chords, using key of G chording (which in a tenor would finger like an F, Bb and C7), or you could just play it like your GCEA tenor and be lower in tone. Or you can add a capo and, for example, play and sing in Bb with a capo on the 3rd fret. Or get a set of Southcoast linears and tune it to A (up 2 half tones from the standard baritone DGBE) and play and sing in A, Bb (capo 1), B (capo 2) or with a capo on the 3rd fret, play and sing in C. And the tone will be lower, more full, more like a mellow tenor with a low g.

Much more flexible than the other uke sizes. I have a baritone that sounds great in re-entrant dGBE with Southcoast strings.

The debit -- for those with minimal flexibility in their left hand fingers, the extra reach might be more difficult to achieve. In those cases, such as folks with some arthritis, a concert or soprano might be the better option. But it you are comfortable with a tenor, or can play a guitar or banjo, the scale length should not be a problem.

Macmuse
12-22-2013, 07:04 AM
The debit -- for those with minimal flexibility in their left hand fingers, the extra reach might be more difficult to achieve. In those cases, such as folks with some arthritis, a concert or soprano might be the better option. But it you are comfortable with a tenor, or can play a guitar or banjo, the scale length should not be a problem.

Very true. I sometimes avoid mine when the hands are stiff (or try it and switch to a smaller uke).

I also don't bother to transcribe pieces at all and just play them in a diff key. Many pieces as tabbed for uke are just fine on my baritone as long as it's just me and not group play.

TheCraftedCow
12-22-2013, 10:26 PM
For those who do not want the size and reach of a bari, a tenor can also be tuner as DGBE--linear with the low d-- reentrant with a high D, or cuatro tuning where the d is low and so is the e string low, by putting a low d on each outside string, and just tune the d up a whole tone to an e. I have even done this tuning on a soprano. For blues, it is a killer sound! I do not like my baritone tuned GCEA in any way. They are solid mahogany Giannini of Brasil.

hammer40
12-23-2013, 01:42 AM
I always get so confused when folks start talking about the various tunings. I have no musical theory, so while i would like to try some of it, my head just aches and I give up the thought of doing it.

Cornfield
12-23-2013, 02:07 AM
I always get so confused when folks start talking about the various tunings. I have no musical theory, so while i would like to try some of it, my head just aches and I give up the thought of doing it.

Reminds me of this


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evlrs5Bi_6E

hammer40
12-23-2013, 12:20 PM
Reminds me of this


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evlrs5Bi_6E


Why yes, that just about sums it up. :agree:

wistah
12-23-2013, 01:43 PM
To really monkey things up, I like to take the low two strings from a DGBE set, and the high two strings from a GCEA set, and tune it in full fifths CGDA... like a tenor guitar, mandola, or tenor banjo.

iamesperambient
12-23-2013, 03:04 PM
Hi everyone, I've been playing a Koaloha tenor exclusively for the last 2 to 3 years or so. I'm the type that prefers to connect with one instrument rather than have a quiver of instruments to choose from. After seeing (and hearing) a few videos of a baritone uke, I am becoming interested in maybe trying one out. I can appreciate the warmer, lower tones....similar to a guitar. My question (and I've googled and searched this topic) is: does the baritone uke play more similarly to a guitar (chords, etc) since I believe it is tuned completely different than my tenor? Does this mean I will have to completely learn (or re-learn for that matter) the chords played on a guitar/baritone vs what I've learned on my tenor? Thanks for any info....particularly by you baritone lovers out there!

the baritone is the lowest in tone of all the ukuleles in the family.
its the only one who's standard tuning is different. Its tuned DGBE
like the highest 4 strings of the guitar. The chord shapes you know on
soprano, concert, and tenor will be EXACTLY the same just the name changes
and you will need to transpose the chords ex: a one finger C major on a soprano/concert/tenor
would be a G major on a baritone, also another thing the chords also will match guitar chord shapes
too as if the 2 bass strings are missing so its easily adaptable to both guitar and ukulele players.
It has a much more mellow tone as compared to soprano, or concert or even tenor and has a more
guitar like tone but still retains a lot of its uke tones, it is exactly as the name of the instrument is
a baritone ukulele. A wonderful instrument too!

iamesperambient
12-23-2013, 03:06 PM
I always get so confused when folks start talking about the various tunings. I have no musical theory, so while i would like to try some of it, my head just aches and I give up the thought of doing it.

I started as a guitarist and all my friends were into using alternate tunings and while
i messsed with all of the i always came back to standard tuning. I'll experiment but
i think the standard tunings suit the instrument best as always, and im usually always
looking to just learn to play more instruments anyway if i want a new sound.

mainiac
12-24-2013, 01:38 AM
Southcoast linears tuned to A are the way to go.

drewp
12-24-2013, 02:01 AM
Thanks everyone, I think I now have a good working knowledge of what to expect. Kind'a relatedly.....what are some good, say middle of the road baritone ukes to consider (brand wise)? I don't see a whole lot of them out there on the "used" sites. I suppose they're not as popular. I know cheap, middle of the road, and good brand soprano/concert/tenor ukes. Is it the same for the baritones? Thanks. I may look into this more seriously after the holidays....

Cornfield
12-24-2013, 02:58 AM
Thanks everyone, I think I now have a good working knowledge of what to expect. Kind'a relatedly.....what are some good, say middle of the road baritone ukes to consider (brand wise)? I don't see a whole lot of them out there on the "used" sites. I suppose they're not as popular. I know cheap, middle of the road, and good brand soprano/concert/tenor ukes. Is it the same for the baritones? Thanks. I may look into this more seriously after the holidays....

Watch the Marketplace if you don't mind having an older instruments with character (scratches and scuffs). There are a few available now that look awful nice.

strumsilly
12-24-2013, 03:58 AM
Thanks everyone, I think I now have a good working knowledge of what to expect. Kind'a relatedly.....what are some good, say middle of the road baritone ukes to consider (brand wise)? I don't see a whole lot of them out there on the "used" sites. I suppose they're not as popular. I know cheap, middle of the road, and good brand soprano/concert/tenor ukes. Is it the same for the baritones? Thanks. I may look into this more seriously after the holidays....

yep, almost all of the makers make or made a baritone, Kala, Lanikai, Rogue to Kamaka, Martin, Favilla. There are tons of good ones out there used in every price range., and many times the vintage baris are cheaper than there tenor cousins. I just got a mint Martin bari for much less than a Martin tenor goes for. shoot, I have a solid spruce top Lanikai I bought cheap on ebay cause it had a crack in the top and a chip on the back that plays and sounds great I could sell pretty cheap if you want to try one out. i REALLY DON'T NEED 4 BARITONES. Pono makes a nice middle range one.

ichadwick
12-24-2013, 05:46 AM
H...does the baritone uke play more similarly to a guitar (chords, etc)...
Some uke aficionados may disagree, but the uke and guitar are basically the same, except for the scale.

A baritone is a longer scale and lower pitch than a tenor (so your G chord on the tenor is now called a D on the bari), but the shapes, the strumming, the plucking are all the same.

Yes, you need a baritone. For the lower pitch, for the added tone and simply because everyone needs more ukuleles.

SonSprinter
12-24-2013, 06:39 AM
The G chord on the tenor ukulele is a D chord on the baritone ukulele.

The F chord on the tenor ukulele is a C chord on the baritone ukulele.

etc.

strumsilly
12-24-2013, 07:03 AM
Yes, you need a baritone. For the lower pitch, for the added tone and simply because everyone needs more ukuleles.
I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE UKULELES! I really need to sell some. they are taking over my house and my wife thinks I'm obsessed. go figure.

mm stan
12-24-2013, 07:31 AM
I gone throught alot of baritones...all are different like any size ukes and they all have their own voice and comfort and playability....thin necks on them really help for me
I've had alot and played most...but one really stands out....a kanilea thin neck gloss baritone....even much more than my vintage, martin, gibson, kamaka baritones...I love the
simplicity of my harmony and rogue too though...good luck finding what you want and works for you..and Happy Strummings..

iamesperambient
12-24-2013, 08:49 AM
I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE UKULELES! I really need to sell some. they are taking over my house and my wife thinks I'm obsessed. go figure.

mine thinks so too, however the last two baritones I purchased
are my favorites. I have baritone ukulele obsession I like soprano and concert but I can't get enough of baritone. if you don't have one you should get one the sound and feel so so different.

iamesperambient
12-24-2013, 08:53 AM
yep, almost all of the makers make or made a baritone, Kala, Lanikai, Rogue to Kamaka, Martin, Favilla. There are tons of good ones out there used in every price range., and many times the vintage baris are cheaper than there tenor cousins. I just got a mint Martin bari for much less than a Martin tenor goes for. shoot, I have a solid spruce top Lanikai I bought cheap on ebay cause it had a crack in the top and a chip on the back that plays and sounds great I could sell pretty cheap if you want to try one out. i REALLY DON'T NEED 4 BARITONES. Pono makes a nice middle range one.

I actually like my rogue baritone it's got a really nice deep clear tone and perfect intonation.
it looks cheap but sounds great it really is a great cheap affordable baritone ukulele
totally recommend it !

strumsilly
12-24-2013, 02:54 PM
I actually like my rogue baritone it's got a really nice deep clear tone and perfect intonation.
it looks cheap but sounds great it really is a great cheap affordable baritone ukulele
totally recommend it !

Stan and I have had this conversation before, he likes them, both I had were junk and unplayable, luckily Amazon takes them back, no questions asked.

iamesperambient
12-24-2013, 05:02 PM
Stan and I have had this conversation before, he likes them, both I had were junk and unplayable, luckily Amazon takes them back, no questions asked.

could be bit or miss even lanikai is bit or miss.
lucky for me my rogue baritone uke is perfect
could not be happier for the price. I still want
to get a more professional acoustic baritone
but this one will hold me over and will make a
great beater.

drbekken
12-24-2013, 10:12 PM
Every baritone ukulele enthusiast (and the others too) should check out the Humble Baritonics blog.
humblebaritonics.blogspot.com
Great videos and info on baritones.

ichadwick
12-25-2013, 04:41 AM
I DO NOT NEED ANY MORE UKULELES! I really need to sell some. they are taking over my house and my wife thinks I'm obsessed. go figure.

Ah, the takeover is started... let go. You cannot fight us. Give in. Resistance is futile...

iamesperambient
12-25-2013, 05:00 AM
Every baritone ukulele enthusiast (and the others too) should check out the Humble Baritonics blog.
humblebaritonics.blogspot.com
Great videos and info on baritones.

been following his blog I also did a review
on his blog for my baritone konablaster great site
it's great to know someone out there has a passion
for baritone ukes!