Baritone uke advice

Sunny88

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I purchased a pono mbd a year ago. I want so badly to love it, but am having a difficult time. Does not stay in tune very long, strumming sounds super muddy, not to mention the constant buzzing from the third string. Seeking advice on how to love my uke! I play it a lot and I changed my strings to D’addario baritone strings still buzzed a ton. String suggestions or other advice greatly appreciated!
 

Cat M

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Hmmm... several different issues here.

Frequent tuning isn't a problem per se. It's common to fine tune after every song or two. Which type of D'addario strings are you using? When strings are no longer stretching, they stay in tune longer, but tend to sound less lively. How often are you changing?

Muddy sound -- since the bari is much lower pitch than traditional ukes (the lowest note on the bari is almost a full octave lower than the lowest note on traditional uke) many bari players like to have wound strings on the two lowest pitch strings. Have you tried that? Unwound nylon sometimes doesn't give the most satisfying low notes and wound strings tend to have more punch on the low end.

Buzzing -- you might need a pro to look at this. Check that the ends of the string are trimmed neatly at the tuner and the bridge.

Don't give up on your Pono. It should be a really good instrument but perhaps you might end up having to get some professional help to resolve all your issues.

I have a page about strings for baris here: https://baritoneukes.com/choosing-strings-for-baritone-ukuleles/

My favorite bari strings are Galli UX780.

Good luck!
 
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Do you have any pictures of the uke, particularly the saddle height and angle? Where does the buzzing happen, like with which frets? Or is it coming from the nut?

Could you also post some pics of you playing in case that is related to the issues?
 

Mezcalero

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I purchased a pono mbd a year ago. I want so badly to love it, but am having a difficult time. Does not stay in tune very long, strumming sounds super muddy, not to mention the constant buzzing from the third string. Seeking advice on how to love my uke! I play it a lot and I changed my strings to D’addario baritone strings still buzzed a ton. String suggestions or other advice greatly appreciated!
This is a very nice ukulele! My first thought is that it either needs a proper set up, or depending on where you live, the weather may necessitate a tweak of the truss rod. Strings are a personal choice, but I personally find that Pono baritones sound better with wound D and G strings and medium high to high tension. Photos might help folks here to ascertain what is causing the uke to buzz ~
 

SoCal

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I purchased a pono mbd a year ago. I want so badly to love it, but am having a difficult time. Does not stay in tune very long, strumming sounds super muddy, not to mention the constant buzzing from the third string. Seeking advice on how to love my uke! I play it a lot and I changed my strings to D’addario baritone strings still buzzed a ton. String suggestions or other advice greatly appreciated!
It sounds like a set up issue -- not necessarily the strings. That said, with the baritone uke sets on D'Addario, I have tried nyltech, nylon, carbon and titanium sets. Nyltech is by far my favorite and has a nice set of overtones that make them sound more in tune for the baritone (to my ear).
 

Wiggy

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A quick and easy check of setup: (Others may want to chime in on my method or recommendation.)

Put a towel on a table. Lay the uke on its back on the towel.

1. Measure the gap between each string and the top of the fret at the 12th fret. It should be about 2.5 to 3mm. Less than 2.5 could cause string buzz.
[Saddle too low, or neck back bow?]

2. For each string, simultaneously press and hold frets #1 and #12.

Then, using a free finger, lightly tap the string at the 5th fret. Look carefully; there should be at least some tiny gap. If there is no gap at all, that may a source of buzzing. [Neck back bow?]

3. For each string, press and hold at <correction> fret #3.

Now tap the string at the 1st fret. Again, look for a very tiny gap, as no gap there could also cause string buzz when strumming open string. [Nut slot cut too deep.]
 
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Cadia

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Just wanted to mention, Sunny88, that you might get more attention and responses if you posted this in a better place than the Marketplace. Not that you haven't gotten good advice already, though.
 

Sunny88

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Do you have any pictures of the uke, particularly the saddle height and angle? Where does the buzzing happen, like with which frets? Or is it coming from the nut?

Could you also post some pics of you playing in case that is related to the
Just wanted to mention, Sunny88, that you might get more attention and responses if you posted this in a better place than the Marketplace. Not that you haven't gotten good advice already, though.
Ah thank you! I apologize, I’m new on this site and had no idea I posted in the wrong place lol but thank you everyone for the amazing feedback! Definitely starting to think it’s a set up issue, I’ll try that method from Wiggy to see if this is the source! Thanks everyone! :)
 

bbkobabe

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I purchased a pono mbd a year ago. I want so badly to love it, but am having a difficult time. Does not stay in tune very long, strumming sounds super muddy, not to mention the constant buzzing from the third string. Seeking advice on how to love my uke! I play it a lot and I changed my strings to D’addario baritone strings still buzzed a ton. String suggestions or other advice greatly appreciated!
The tuning issues may be related to the tuners... Does it have those Grover closed back tuners with a thin white plastic discs in them? They are miserable! The little plastic dish/washers wear out, and sometimes crack and break. My older Pono PB and and an older Oscar Schmidt concert I own both had this issue. I was able to find some thin nylon sheet material, that I then (laboriously) cut out and shaved down to fit. Lots of work! If you have these tuners, you are doomed! Replace them and that should fix the "won't stay in tune" issues.

As for strings: I put Worth browns on this Pono Mahogany baritone and it sounds glorious now!
 

Arik

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I think folks have given some good advice. I had a pono baritone before and I had swapped out the strings for some titanium’s and got some crazy buzz. The guage on those were a thicker so it didn’t sit well in the groves on the nut. It was also were much more floppy. I ended up ordering some uke logic’s baritone strings which are wound strings and fluorocarbon and the buzz when away. These strings were thinner so it sat in the groves perfectly and had some better tension.
 
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Gordon777

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My 2 cents: baritone ukes don't sound much like ukes and tend to be less lively. If you want that crisp clear happy sound without going too small get a nice tenor uke. I know many will disagree, but baritone ukes don't do much for me, just a personal view. I've played a few and heard a few and never been excited or impressed.