Help me understand the Baritone

fingerguy

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So you have Soprano, Concert, and Tenor all with the same tuning. Then you have the Baritone which is the first 4 strings of a guitar and naturally the same tuning as a standard guitar. So I ask, if that is the case then the ukulele chords don't carry over at the Baritone. So for instance the G-shape chord on the other 3 is a G, but with the Baritone being the guitar tuning that would come out as a D. So why would someone who wants to learn ukulele use one that differs greatly from the others past the sound difference? You would have to learn totally different chord shapes.

I am itching to know ones thoughts on the matter.
 

Patrick Madsen

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Chord shapes are chord shapes, no difference. Just different keys. Ukuleles can be tuned to different keys also. I know in British Columbia, Canada, they tune their ukes to D. I like a baritone because of it's deeper sound and larger body. Has nothing to do with how it's tuned or what key it's in.
 
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For me, I don’t want to learn different chord shapes, but...

If your mind works that way - it works. Same chord shapes as guitar. Some people switch between guitar, mandolin, ukulele with ease. Years ago I played both clarinet and saxophone. With ease.

I’m thinking of getting a baritone because I’ve heard that there are CGEA strings for a baritone.

OTOH
If you play by yourself, the baritone is simply in a different Key. You don’t need to learn different fingering. It will play exactly the same.
 

Croaky Keith

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The chord shapes are the same, they just give different chords. :)

Baritones are mainly used because they have a deeper tone, & more sustain.

Some use them because they are like a small guitar, just having 4 strings - I always found 6 strings more than I could manage, with just 4 fingers & a thumb. :D
 

fingerguy

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The chord shapes are the same, they just give different chords. :)

Baritones are mainly used because they have a deeper tone, & more sustain.

Some use them because they are like a small guitar, just having 4 strings - I always found 6 strings more than I could manage, with just 4 fingers & a thumb. :D

Hmmm....I hear ya but still something doesn't seem right. Whatevs!
 

Arcy

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It's a pretty natural change once you get into barre chords and start thinking of chords shapes as movable shapes and not specific open chords.

Take your open-F chord on your GCEA tenor: 0102 with the root on the second string. If you barre this at the 7th fret (7879) then it's a C-chord.
Similarly, if you play it open on a DGBE baritone it's a C chord, or barred to the 5th fret it's an F-chord.

Once you know the chord shapes and making (where's the root, etc.) and have learned the fretboards it's just a matter of remembering which fretboard you're playing on. This can take a few minutes for me to transition so that first song after switching is usually in two keys... I'm still working on that ;)

Personally, I find it easier moving between tenor and baritone ukulele than from guitar to baritone, because my concept on the guitar chords is strongly rooted (no pun intended ;) ) on those lower two strings that the baritone doesn't have.
 

Swamp Yankee

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So you have Soprano, Concert, and Tenor all with the same tuning. Then you have the Baritone which is the first 4 strings of a guitar and naturally the same tuning as a standard guitar. So I ask, if that is the case then the ukulele chords don't carry over at the Baritone. So for instance the G-shape chord on the other 3 is a G, but with the Baritone being the guitar tuning that would come out as a D. So why would someone who wants to learn ukulele use one that differs greatly from the others past the sound difference? You would have to learn totally different chord shapes.

I am itching to know ones thoughts on the matter.

Yes, you are playing a different chord when you play the G-shape chord, but if you play any given songs that you alreday know on your soprano using the same chord shapes on a baritone, you are simply playing the same songs in a different key.

The only “problems” arise if you’re playing with others that are playing GCEA ukes or if you’re singing along and your voice can’t handle the song in the key you’re playing on the baritone.... in which case you can transpose or use a capo. But other than that, what’s to worry about if you’re playing the song in a different key?

As for all the other ukes using the same tuning... not always. I have several sopranos that stay in D tuning; and my tenors are typically tuned to Bb. Only my concerts stay in C tuning. This poses no problem for me as I seldom play with others. And when I do, I typically use my concerts anyway.
 
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fingerguy

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Yes, you are playing a different chord when you play the G-shape chord, but if you play any given songs that you alreday know on your soprano using the same chord shapes on a baritone, you are simply playing the same songs in a different key.

The only “problems” arise if you’re playing with others that are playing GCEA ukes or if you’re singing along and your voice can’t handle the song in the key you’re playing on the baritone.... in which case you can transpose or use a capo. But other than that, what’s to worry about if you’re playing the song in a different key?

As for all the other ukes using the same tuning... not always. I have several sopranos that stay in D tuning; and my tenors are typically tuned to Bb. Only my concerts stay in C tuning. This poses no problem for me as I seldom play with others. And when I do, I typically use my concerts anyway.

Group settings is what makes it matter. For instance I was part of a jam session and on average we had 2 Ukuleles, 2 to 3 acoustic guitars, and a bass. We all had to be in the same key. So if someone showed up with their Baritone and only know Ukulele shapes that key would not match.
 

70sSanO

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Chord shapes are the same as a guitar. A G chord is 320003. Since you don’t have strings 5 and 6 on a baritone, you just play the strings that are there... 0003. If you want you can pretend the extra strings are there until it clicks... semi air guitar.

John
 
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Osprey

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After playing tenor sized Ukes for 3 years or more and playing with a few groups that got together for charitable gigs I decided to learn to play the Baritone just to add a bit of color to our sound. Every Saturday I play with a group that jams at a local music store. They allow you to take a uke off the rack and play it with the group. So I tried the Baritone at first it was awkward to think of the different shapes for the chords but soon I could play the Baritone chords as well as I could the standard tuning. I do switch back and forth and find that it is not that difficult. Your brain just makes the switch with the instrument and you don’t even have to think about it. I love playing Baritone.
 

Patrick Madsen

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After awhile, you'll learn there are chord patterns to most songs. C,F,G7; G,C,D7. Once you learn the shapes and the patterns it becomes almost routine to know playing with one shape chord usually corresponds to the next shape.

I hardly know the names of most chords I play up the neck. I just know if I'm playing a particular shape, the next one will normally follow the pattern. I play in a couple uke groups and guitar in a bluegrass group. Most of the instruments are tuned differently; they just play the chord. A C or F is a C or F no matter what tuning it is. If everyone plays the same chord shape in the same tuning; it sounds fairly mundane imo. I purposely play 2nd and 3rd positions jamming with others just to add some color to the sound.
 

John Colter

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"you have Soprano, Concert, and Tenor all with the same tuning"

It wasn't always so. Many years ago each of those three types would have had a different standard tuning. Tuning them all gCEA is a fairly recent phenomenon, and represents a dumbing down.

John Colter.
 

acmespaceship

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...So why would someone who wants to learn ukulele use one that differs greatly from the others past the sound difference?
First things first: If you want to learn ukulele pick one tuning and stick with it for a while. I don't know anyone who attempted to learn standard and bari at the same time.

Some beginners start on bari because they prefer the sound, or the fret scale, or they're already familiar with guitar chords... or that's the kind of uke they bought/borrowed/inherited/found. Many players never attend a uke club or group classes, so it matters not a hoot whether they start on bari or standard.

If you're in a uke club and you're a beginner, it's easier -- but not mandatory -- to use the same tuning most people use. I've never met a club that defaults to bari tuning, but it's possible.

Once you are comfortable playing in one tuning, you can branch out. For many people, the "sound difference" is a plenty good enough reason to learn both tunings. When I play bari in a group, my fallback is to remember when the sheet music says play a C chord, I count up 4 notes and play the shape I know as F. On a 3- or 4-chord song this is easy. When it's a 23-chord song I don't play bari... yet. It is good to learn new things.
 

fingerguy

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Chord shapes are the same as a guitar. A G chord is 320003. Since you don’t have strings 5 and 6 on a baritone, you just play the strings that are there... 0003. If you want you can pretend the extra strings are there until it clicks... semi air guitar.

John

Yes BUT a 3rd fret on a Ukulele (Soprano, Concert, & Tenor) is C not G. That is my whole point!!!
 
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Hmmm....I hear ya but still something doesn't seem right. Whatevs!


Think of 12 Bar Blues. Many songs, lots of Rock and Roll songs, are based on I IV V progression. Because of this, in a Blues Jam, you simply say “12 Bar in G”, and everyone will know to play G C D.
In the Key of C, this would be C F G.
In the key of E, this would be E A B. Guitar players like E, ukulele players not so much. So when I’m told to play blues in E, I place a capo at the 4th fret and play with fingering as though I’m in C, using the chord shapes C F and G.

If you took your ukulele and tightened the strings to where it was tuned to C sharp - C# G# E# A#, you would play the chords C# F# and G# exactly the same as you now play C F and G.

The baritone is tuned to G (?). So playing the chords G C and D (I IV V) are fingered the same as you play
The tenor/ concert tuned to C playing chords C F and G (I IV V)

The fingering is the same, the chord names are different.

Clear as mud?
 

fingerguy

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Think of 12 Bar Blues. Many songs, lots of Rock and Roll songs, are based on I IV V progression. Because of this, in a Blues Jam, you simply say “12 Bar in G”, and everyone will know to play G C D.
In the Key of C, this would be C F G.
In the key of E, this would be E A B. Guitar players like E, ukulele players not so much. So when I’m told to play blues in E, I place a capo at the 4th fret and play with fingering as though I’m in C, using the chord shapes C F and G.

If you took your ukulele and tightened the strings to where it was tuned to C sharp - C# G# E# A#, you would play the chords C# F# and G# exactly the same as you now play C F and G.

The baritone is tuned to G (?). So playing the chords G C and D (I IV V) are fingered the same as you play
The tenor/ concert tuned to C playing chords C F and G (I IV V)

The fingering is the same, the chord names are different.

Clear as mud?

I already know this. Going to say this one last time and then leaving this topic alone. The standard tuning of the baritone is different from the other 3 ukuleles. So the "chord" shapes will have different notes and as such I was asking what is the point of a Baritone? The open notes and the fretting is completely different. YES I know it is the same as the first 4 strings of a guitar. Yes I know the 3rd fret is a G. Yes I know the the 4 bar blues. What does that have to do with the question?

Ugh! I will leave you all to discuss this for I feel only one maybe two get it. I'm out!
 
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The point of a baritone is the deep, rich resonance and the volume that the larger size produces.

Sorry if I/we misunderstood your initial question.

I want the mellowness that I will achieve through a baritone.
 

bkrownd

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I don't know anyone who attempted to learn standard and bari at the same time.

I am. I actually got my ukuleles to help me learn to play electric guitar. They are more conveniently sized to sit down and exercise my novice fingers on than the guitars. I have a tenor and a baritone, and I switch between them without thinking of them being any different. Same shapes, which just make slightly different sounds. My original instrument was lute....also pretty much the same thing on the fretting side with a different "right hand" technique.