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notgeorgeformby
03-11-2014, 11:01 AM
Hi folks
I'm thinking of changing my baritone from DGBE tuning to GCEA, and I wondered whether it's possible to get baritone strings in GCEA with a low G. I have a low G on my tenor and love the lower resonance.
Also which brand would you recommend for a solid mahogany baritone?

Thanks.

SailingUke
03-11-2014, 11:31 AM
Just my opinion, but I tuned a baritone GCEA and was very unhappy.
The beauty of a baritone is the deep growl, with GCEA that seemed to disappear.

mds725
03-11-2014, 11:59 AM
For exotic stuff like regular octave GCEA strings for a baritone ukulele, I would consider asking UU member Dirk of Southcoast Strings. I know that some of the major ukulele stringmakers make GCEA strings for baritone ukuleles, but I've never used any.

If you like the low baritone sound but would prefer GCEA tuning, you can always use octave lower GCEA strings. A company in Los Angeles called Guadaloupe Ciustom Strings makes them. The website doesn't seem to be working for me today, but here's the URL. http://guadalupecustomstrings.com/
And here's a link to its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/GUADALUPE-CUSTOM-STRINGS/136159083073043?id=136159083073043&sk=info

Rick Turner built me an GCEA octave lower baritone Compass Rose ukulele, and he strung it with the bottom four (AEDG) strings from nylon string classical guitar sets.

wlw4
03-11-2014, 01:06 PM
I've used both wound and unwound low G (linear) sets from southcoast ukes.

I preferred both to the standard baritone tuning. The unwound sets have a more uke sound, while the heavier gauge wound strings sound more guitar like -- deeper basses and crisper highs.

Wythe

dickadcock
03-11-2014, 01:16 PM
In Glen Rose's video tutorials, he uses a baritone tuned at GCEA to show the fingering in a less crowded manner than a smaller uke. (It looks like an entry level Kala in the old videos & an entry level Riptide in the newer ones) He has written that he recommends, for this purpose, Aquila 23u strings, which he calls long concert strings, & Aquila markets them for this. It is a high g set, so he strings them by thickness, so from 1 to 4, they are strung 1-4-2-3, the former C string becoming a low G.
I didn't have that set, but know the D'Addarios to be quite long, so I used a concert set of T2s (EJ87C) on a Riptide Spruce Baritone, knowing I risked utter failure, as they were not the same as Nylguts. In fact, one string was too skinny & buzzed. I replaced the 2nd string position with the 2nd string of a T2 tenor set. (Worked fine) That problem might not have occurred with the Aquila Nylgut ( or D'Addario Nyltech)...
At some point, I will find out, as I have enjoyed the experiment. I have decided that I like this with a tuning a whole step - 2 frets- lower than standard tuning (F A# D G).

I had a Red low G on my tenor until it snapped last night, & have wondered how it would have worked in this set-up. I do want to try the low Reds for baritone, Aquila 73u & 74u, but don't have them yet.
There seems to be a lot of possibilities, & hope to hear your experience. I don't think I would have done this if I didn't have the other baritone to fall back on...

Patrick Madsen
03-11-2014, 01:52 PM
Have you thought about Bb tuning. According to Dirk at Southcoast Bb is the optinum tuning for a bari. I have mine with hisw classical metals tuned to a Bb sounds great.

I've had a few tuned to C but didn't like it and also I have several tenors already touned to a C. A good friend just put on a set of her HL-Sw's tuned to low G. Incredible sound, best I've heard from a low G bari.

With a Bb tuning it just takes a capo on the second fret and you're playing in C.

Hippie Dribble
03-11-2014, 01:59 PM
Don't do it!!! Unless you want it to sound thinner and tighter and lose it's resonance and sustain. GCEA on a bari just sounds like a crappy tenor. Leave it in G tuning with either a High or Low D. Just my dos centavos...

Doc_J
03-11-2014, 02:31 PM
A Kamaka baritone I have in GCEA with linear lights from SouthCoast sounds great. The A string is very chime/bell-like different from a tenor in GCEA. Actually the note clarity all over is more defined than a tenor in the same tuning. Definitely worth a try.

dickadcock
03-11-2014, 03:26 PM
Have you thought about Bb tuning. According to Dirk at Southcoast Bb is the optinum tuning for a bari. I have mine with hisw classical metals tuned to a Bb sounds great.

I've had a few tuned to C but didn't like it and also I have several tenors already touned to a C. A good friend just put on a set of her HL-Sw's tuned to low G. Incredible sound, best I've heard from a low G bari.

With a Bb tuning it just takes a capo on the second fret and you're playing in C.
Agreed!
My tuner displays A#, but we get there just the same.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
03-11-2014, 03:32 PM
For less money than a set of strings, you could get a capo---a capo at the 5th fret tunes your baritone to GCEA (with something like concert scale) and you can go back to classic tuning whenever you like. The capo is one of my baritone uke's best friends, for sure. (Don't even get me started about the glorious beauty of the FBbEbG tuning with the capo at the third fret. So sweet. Oops, I got myself started.)

jcarlos
03-11-2014, 05:34 PM
No way to know if you will like it until you try it. I love gCEA baritone,
here's my Spruce Lanikai gCEA, just random playing, but I recommend listening to it with headphones,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz4okKvmVmw

itsme
03-11-2014, 06:07 PM
Don't do it!!! Unless you want it to sound thinner and tighter and lose it's resonance and sustain. GCEA on a bari just sounds like a crappy tenor. Leave it in G tuning with either a High or Low D. Just my dos centavos...
Interesting. I didn't even notice who this was from until I was already replying, and I respect his perspective.

I'm mostly a tenor person. But I wouldn't even think of restringing my one bari to be like a tenor. I bought it for the deep rich sound of a bari and I'd like to keep it that way.

JonThysell
03-11-2014, 07:10 PM
Don't do it!!! Unless you want it to sound thinner and tighter and lose it's resonance and sustain. GCEA on a bari just sounds like a crappy tenor. Leave it in G tuning with either a High or Low D. Just my dos centavos...

Yeah, that's been my experience with gcea baris.

GregT
03-11-2014, 07:35 PM
I have one of my baritones (MyaMoe) with lowGCEA tuning with Southcoast strings. For jazz and fingerpicking, it is my 'go to' uke.

southcoastukes
03-11-2014, 07:57 PM
Interesting perspectives from all. It just goes to show how versatile a Baritone can be, and so the perception can vary a lot from one player to the next. I think the main thing is to keep in mind what you're trying to accomplish.

No doubt as friend Jon points out, you lose depth on a Baritone tuned to C. I would take exception to the description of "crappy Tenor", however. A fellow named Nick Reynolds capoed his Tenor Guitar to C tuning. Those instruments are capable of more depth than a Baritone, and yet he played it way above the depth the instrument was capable of. It just so happened that that particular sound fit perfectly into the texture of his band - some say it gave his band the unique sound that helped it reach world wide popularity. That band was the Kingston Trio, and Nick Reynolds is in the Tenor Guitar Hall of Fame as a result.

We've always felt that Ukuleles can sound nice tuned above their resonance. There is a practical limit as to how far you can go - strings will get so thin after awhile that you really can't get into the realm of the ridiculous. The trick is to keep enough tension on the instrument to give a decent response, and what that tension needs to be will vary from one instrument to the next. When a high tuning on a big instrument is well set up, it should give good volume, and compared to the same tuning on a smaller instrument, will give a sound that is less immediate, but will have more "reverb" or sustain.

To friend Patrick: at one point we likely said something to the effect that B flat was an ideal tuning, but there's a caveat. The Baritone won't give full resonance on the 4th string in it's traditional tuning. Obviously a lot of people are willing to live with that. But there is room to go below B flat and still get a fully resonant 4th string note. In A tuning, the low note is an E. A typical Baritone body resonates at D#.

When you look at how you can set up your instrument, you look at more than the instruments resonance, you look at responsive stringing as well. The deep notes of typical Baritone tuning lead to heavy stringing as well as the muffled, or "choked" note from the small body on the open 4th strings. But a year or two ago, we discovered a string formula that would allow us to go a bit lower. That resulted in our HL-SW set. It gives good tension and response in an A tuning (4th string @ E). If you're looking for a clear responsive tuning with max depth for a Baritone, then that's our recommendation. There are even people who "relax" it a step to G tuning and claim good results (@ a low tension).

As for the B flat tuning, it remains a wonderful option. Ralf mentioned capo use. It once was traditional even on the Soprano. On the Baritone, as Ralf said, it's your best friend. If you want deeper sound, but need to play in C on occasion, the capo is the answer. That's one great advantage to B flat. Ralf did his best to control himself in talking about that tuning, but if you tune your instrument to that pitch, you get a wonderful sound, and to capo to C tuning, you go behind the second fret - lots of room left on your fretboard. Medium Linear (ML) or Heavy Medium Linear (HML) sets are used for B flat tuning.

If C tuning is important, then think about how far up the fretboard you may need to go after you capo. Nick Reynolds tuned "Chicago style", like a Baritone Ukulele, and then capoed at the 5th (C tuning, like Ralf) and 7th frets (D tuning), but he was playing rhythm. Capoing from G tuning leaves you with a short fretboard. Capoing from A, or even better, B flat, leaves you with a lot more. Again, it's all in what you are trying to accomplish.

To get back to notgeorge's question on linear C tuning for a Baritone, I'm not sure if there are any options but us. We've done our best to give people a wide range of sounds and tensions there - we have three sets. wlw4 pretty much nailed the range of sounds. The LL-NW has no wound strings, the lightest tension, and the softest sound. The LL-RW has a touch more tension with a single wound 4th - it's designed to be quite a bit brighter. The newer LML-RW has a pair of wound strings. It's in between the other two as far as tone, has more tension and more power on a typical Baritone. That higher tension would also likely make it a good choice for fingerpickers like GregT.

Chacun a son gout!

clayton56
03-11-2014, 11:11 PM
Wow, the Tenor Guitar Hall of Fame? Can you get through it in one afternoon?

I have a baritone and wanted it re-entrant, and ended up with A tuning, using the same strings I use on my sopranos, only longer. It sounds great. A tuning is just a step up from G, it can be capoed, and it's useful as it is for playing in sharp keys like A or E. And being a minor third off your standard tuning, it's fairly easy to transpose - just use the relative minor.

notgeorgeformby
03-12-2014, 12:47 AM
Wow! So many great responses, you've given me much food for thought, thanks.

I trotted along to Youtube and sought out some baritone tuning videos and I see what you mean. I hadn't realised the C tuning would sound so much higher - Duh! - and I definitely don't want to lose the bass sound I already get on my baritone.



Have you thought about Bb tuning. According to Dirk at Southcoast Bb is the optinum tuning for a bari. I have mine with hisw classical metals tuned to a Bb sounds great.

I've had a few tuned to C but didn't like it and also I have several tenors already touned to a C. A good friend just put on a set of her HL-Sw's tuned to low G. Incredible sound, best I've heard from a low G bari.

With a Bb tuning it just takes a capo on the second fret and you're playing in C.

I'm curious about the Bb tuning. Is that just C strings tuned down or do you need another set altogether?


For less money than a set of strings, you could get a capo---a capo at the 5th fret tunes your baritone to GCEA (with something like concert scale) and you can go back to classic tuning whenever you like. The capo is one of my baritone uke's best friends, for sure. (Don't even get me started about the glorious beauty of the FBbEbG tuning with the capo at the third fret. So sweet. Oops, I got myself started.)

I do have a capo but it does make the fingering a little awkward.

Patrick Madsen
03-12-2014, 05:35 AM
Depends on the tension of the string. I suggest you go to Southcoasts' webstie and look up his linear section. Some of his strings can be tuned to a C for a tenor and Bb for the bari. As I mentioned earlier, I put a set of his HL-SW on a friends bari tuned to G. Had a wonderful sound. The stringset can be brought up to an A tuning.http://www.southcoastukes.com/linear.htm You can also look up his in his tips section why a particular tuning and string is best for certain sized ukes.

Once I'm done with his HML-CM (classical metal stringset), I'm putting a set of the SW on my Webber and tune it to an A. For me A tuning has great versiality and if I don't like it I can tune it to G.

Southcoast are the only stringsets I use now; they made such a difference on all my ukes.

ukulelecowboy
03-12-2014, 08:05 AM
I play a Graziano Baritone for all performances. Strung with Dirk's Southcoast Linear Strings: GCEA

Here's a link to our official video page:

http://www.theukulelecowboysociety.com/VideoPage2014.html

Mike

LifesShort
03-12-2014, 09:14 AM
Bb tuning on a baritone makes even a cheap baritone sound wonderful. I have an old Harmony baritone strung with Southcoast strings in Bb and it is one of the beautiful sounding instruments I have ever heard, especially when played fingerstyle. Give it a try. You will not regret it.

cdkrugjr
03-12-2014, 05:57 PM
Timely Thread! I just added a spruce-top Bari to the stable. Definitely resonates a bit flat of Eb. The stock strings are squeaky and a thuddy. I have a couple of other options on-order . . .

SailingUke
03-13-2014, 05:54 AM
Interesting about Nick Reynolds and the K-Trio.
I always thought the reason he capoed a guitar was because as a child he played ukulele.
The image for the group was better if he played guitar.

southcoastukes
03-13-2014, 10:18 AM
I'm curious about the Bb tuning. Is that just C strings tuned down or do you need another set altogether?

Hello notgeorge,

We have one set that will do both: the LML-RWs. If you check our tension chart you'll see it's rated for both tunings - firm at C tuning, moderate at B flat. Of course that means quite a difference in feel, and also possibly response. Some instruments like a high tension (Baritones often fall into this category) while others don't.

Remember, if you're playing on your own, you can just tune them to where they're comfortable. Our recommendations are just meant for band players who need to tune to an exact set of notes and to give everyone else an idea of the range.

Tuning to your comfort zone might easily put you around a B tuning - still with a bit more depth than a C tuning. You can always then adjust your tuning exactly up to C (or down to B flat) if you need to.

southcoastukes
03-13-2014, 10:41 AM
Interesting about Nick Reynolds and the K-Trio.
I always thought the reason he capoed a guitar was because as a child he played ukulele.
The image for the group was better if he played guitar.

Hello Sailorboy,

I've heard the same thing, and there's definitely some truth there. No doubt Nick learned on the Ukulele. As a matter of fact, he never gave it up. There may also be something to the idea that the Tenor Guitar gave the appearance the group wanted, but don't discount the sound. I know this isn't a Tenor Guitar thread, but let me digress.

After all, there was already one 6-string guitar player in the group (sometimes two), and usually a banjo. They were all steel strung, and the group sound was very much that "acoustic steel" sound. If your background is as an Ukulele rhythm player and the sound of the "steel" band could use a high voice, then the Tenor Guitar - strung in 4ths - would be an obvious choice.

Capoing at the 5th with "Chicago tuning" is just more practical than stringing for C tuning to begin with - at least if you're a rhythm player and don't need much fretboard. Strings for C tuning on a Tenor Guitar are a bit weak - remember it's an even longer scale and bigger body than a Baritone. You get more power and less chance of breaking the 1st string during a performance with G tuning and a capo.

notgeorgeformby
03-13-2014, 10:59 AM
Thanks, guys.

I have found a compromise by putting the capo at the third fret which gives me (I think) FBbDG. Think I'll stick with this for the time being.:)