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Thread: Baritone players, was it hard to make the switch?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Windsor, VT USA
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    Default Baritone players, was it hard to make the switch?

    Pretty much the title.... Baritone players, was it hard to make the switch?

    I know the chord shapes are the same as on a regular uke but the notes are different so I'm thinking it would be relatively easy to adjust.

    A buddy is a uke builder and he stopped by last night with the 2 Bari's he built for his twin girls who are graduating high school. They are gorgeous, custom instruments. But aesthetics aside, when I held it in my hands and played it, the size and sound just really felt right in my hands.

    So I'm thinking of picking up a cheapie to try out. Any tips?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    on a sunny FL beach
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    I go back and forth on c tuned and d tuned and it's not really hard. It pretty quickly becomes implanted in your head, what chord shape is what chord on each instrument. I play Bari primarily and once in a while a stray gCEA chord will accidentally rear its ugly head in a song I'm playing, but not as often as you'd think. On the plus side, if you're a guy or alto girl, those easy things you play in C but can't sing, become the voice friendly key of G. Also that dreaded E chord is the oh so simple A.
    I had a cheapie Lanikai LU-21B for years and it served me well. If you find you want a nicer one later, it becomes a nice beater/beach/campfire uke. Just FYI, I have an old Harmony that I'm parting with, but you can find something like the LU21B used, for a song and I don't think you could go wrong.
    Last edited by bunnyf; 06-04-2015 at 08:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    San Francisco or thereabouts, CA
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    I enjoy switching back and forth, and although there's a bit of an adjustment, I think it's good for my middle-aged synapses. I also think it has made me a better uke player in that the baritone has forced me to learn fingerings that I ordinarily would avoid on a gCEA-tuned instrument. For example, to play a song in the not-uncommon key of F on the baritone requires using the same fingerings as if playing a song in Bb on a regular uke. Now that I've gotten those fingering patterns in my muscle memory, it's no problem for me to pick up a gCEA uke and play in the key of Bb. (And this is great for me because a lot of songs in C are too high for my singing voice, so being able to transpose down a step comes in handy.) It's all good.
    "The ukulele is the thinking man's violin." - Krusty the Clown

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Honoka'a, HI
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    I've found it to be super hard. Maybe I'm just lazy because I haven't done the time to memorize the names on bari. The only way I get by is thinking of chords as they relate to the root - I IV V - and knowing my home key looks like a ____, but is really not that at all. Great practice though for transposing and musical skills. Go for it - it's a worthwhile adventure!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    MARTIN-sville Indiana
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    I picked up my first baritone about a month ago and it is awesome! I now pretty much only play soprano or baritone. It has taken me about 3 weeks to have the ability to adjust between the different tuning, but now I find it relatively easy. If there is a chord that is not used often I may have to stop and look it up (or think it through in my head) to be sure, but it is not too bad and I figure another month or so and I will have it down.

    Another option is to tune your baritone to GCEA. I know Ken Middleton makes Living Waters string sets for GCEA baritone tuning (both linear and re-entrant). I don't know how it would sound, but it is an option.

    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyf View Post
    Just FYI, I have an old Harmony that I'm parting with.
    I may be interested. I have been looking for a nice vintage baritone (Favilla, Harmony, Silvertone, etc)
    Main players:

    Soprano: WC Ukuleles

    Concert: Collings UC2 | Collings UC2K | Talsma Style 3 | Ono Pineapple

    Tenor: Collings UT2 | Collings UT3SMB

    Baritone: LoPrinzi


    Others to be re-homed: Kepasa Madera koa| Kiwaya KS-1 | 16" Koa Ono | Blackbird Farallon

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Lake Villa, IL
    Posts
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    Default

    Definitely give it a try. As you said, the chord shapes are the same, so it's just a matter of remembering the names. And if you play alone, that doesn't really matter either. It has made me a better player as well, having to get used to the slightly larger fret spacing. Which was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
    Tenor Ukes
    KoAloha KTM-00
    Pono MTD-(All Mahogany)
    Big Island BI-MO-TR-(All Spalted Mango)
    Compass Rose Style B Tenor-(All Claro Walnut)
    Boat Paddle ML style Tenor-(Red Spruce/Cocobolo)

    Baritone Uke
    Pono MHBSSC-(Spruce/Mahogany)


    Tenor Guitar
    Ibanez AVT1-N-(Spruce/Mahogany)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Windsor, VT USA
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    Thank you everybody, this is very encouraging!

  8. #8

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    Really not a tough change. I played bari for a couple of years because I had a little guitar (DGBE) experience. Then I got a Boat Paddle tenor and like the sound of it so much that I now seldom pick up the bari. When I first changed from the bari to the gCEA it took about a week of 1 hour sessions to feel comfortable with the new chord names. Now I need to play the bari from time to time. I encourage you to spend the few hours it takes to feel comfortable with both tunings. You'll be glad you did.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Sumter County, FL
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    I came to ukulele by way of mandolin (GDAE) , tenor guitar and tenor banjo (both CGDA and GDAE, but mainly CGDA). Rather than go through the awkwardness of adding GCEA to the mix, simply retuned the ukes first to GDAE (the E was too screechy) and then settled on CGDA. Now, everything supports each other. Making the instrument adapt to the human just made more sense to me than make the human adapt to the ibstrument. So far, it's worked well.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    * CGDA reentrant, ***GDAE, The rest are CGDA

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Honolulu/Hawaii
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    810

    Default

    if I had to pick one size ukulele it would be a baritone.
    My favorite is the Kala Solid hog version. For some reason its sound so sweet. I also own a custom Pono Bari and Kanilea Bari. But that Kala just amazing for the price range.

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