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Thread: Baritone tuning with guitar

  1. #1
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    Default Baritone tuning with guitar

    Hi all

    I have just dropped my tenor from low GCEA to high dGBE tuning to suit my deep voice range. I "strum and sing" as my playstyle. I really like the pitch but the tone is not as resonant and ringing as it was on my tenor, so I am thinking of replacing with a baritone ukulele.

    Does anyone have experience playing a baritone alongside a guitarist? I am worried my playing will just disappear.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davoravo View Post
    Hi all

    I have just dropped my tenor from low GCEA to high dGBE tuning to suit my deep voice range. I "strum and sing" as my playstyle. I really like the pitch but the tone is not as resonant and ringing as it was on my tenor, so I am thinking of replacing with a baritone ukulele.

    Does anyone have experience playing a baritone alongside a guitarist? I am worried my playing will just disappear.
    The main trouble is volume and preceived "brightness. A steel string acoustic guitar is much louder then any baritone ukulele. Also the brighter tone of steel strings are more dominant then nylon. If the person playing guitar is sensitive to this and can throttle back so you are heard it will work fine.
    Ukuleles.............yes please !!!!

  3. #3
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    What about a tenor guitar? I have a blueridge and I basically think of it as my steel-stringed baritone uke. It is loud and resonant and bright.

  4. #4
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    I play both a guitar and baritone uke in a bluegrass band. I use a pick when playing with them. Brings out the volume and gives a clear, bright nylon sound on the bari. If you're too soft in the volume get amplified.
    For Picks I use a Dunlop pick around.073 or a Bill Stokes 1.25mm

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davoravo View Post
    Hi all

    I have just dropped my tenor from low GCEA to high dGBE tuning to suit my deep voice range. I "strum and sing" as my playstyle. I really like the pitch but the tone is not as resonant and ringing as it was on my tenor, so I am thinking of replacing with a baritone ukulele.

    Does anyone have experience playing a baritone alongside a guitarist? I am worried my playing will just disappear.
    When you say you "dropped your tenor from low GCEA to high dGBE tuning," do you mean by dropping that you retuned the strings that were on it, or did you buy a special set of baritone tuning strings made for tenor scale? As has been mentioned, a non-steel string baritone is going to sound muted compared to a guitar anyway, but if your tenor with baritone tuning sounds more muted than it sounded with tenor tuning, you may want to consider brighter strings. I'm not sure who makes baritone strings for tenor scale these days, but fluorocarbons come in both "warm" and "bright" variations, and I'd consider bright ones for more volume.

    I also recommend a steel stringed instrument. I have a steel string baritone and a couple of tenor guitars and steel strings have more punch and sustain, in case that's the sound you're going for. But don't put steel strings on an instrument not designed and built for them -- they have a lot more tension and will likely rip the bridge off of, or warp the sound board of, a tenor ukulele designed for nylon or fluorocarbon strings.

  6. #6
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    Hi

    Thanks everyone for the tips. When I say "dropped" I mean restrung and moved the strings around so I put an E string at 4 and tuned it to D, moved my low G to 3, put a C on 2 and tuned it to B, and a E on 1 tuned E (this is the same as commercial brands do for bari-tenor tuning). It felt a bit weird with two slack and two normal strings but i got used to the feeling but something about the sound was really disappointing.

    Using alternate chording arrangement was a great idea. Through this experiment I have discovered I need to play up the neck anyway as unless struck just right I have found that my tenor does not like the low G which was the problem with the sound. This was not so evident with low GCEA tuning, I think the ringing A hid the problem.

    This morning I tried tuning the same strings up a tone to A tuning. It fixed the low G problem and totally brought my instrument to life. It would also have off set me from the guitar nicely but the E string tuned up to F# was terrifyingly tight. Any looser brands of strings out there that would tolerate this without taking my eye out?

    (Edit - or any high g string dropped a semitone - doh!)

    All of this has convinced me I really have to get a baritone. Someone please tell my wife. I am thinking about a steel stringed instrument. Problem is i need to move from low intermediate price to advanced price for that (which i need to do anyway just to get the sound i feel i deserve) but the leap is hard to make when you have short arms and deep pockets as they say in Scotland. In the meantime I am avoiding open G and Aflat on that string.
    Last edited by Davoravo; 12-10-2018 at 10:28 AM.

  7. #7
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    I don't feel that a baritone guitar suits a "deep voice range" any better than a GCEA tuned uke. In fact, a C6 tuned uke will probably contrast with the guitar better than the baritone uke would. A C chord on any instrument will allow you to sing in the same range, whether it's a high pitched C chord or a low one.

  8. #8
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    I
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Yates View Post
    I don't feel that a baritone guitar suits a "deep voice range" any better than a GCEA tuned uke. In fact, a C6 tuned uke will probably contrast with the guitar better than the baritone uke would. A C chord on any instrument will allow you to sing in the same range, whether it's a high pitched C chord or a low one.
    Thanks Jim, I was quite happy playing GCEA and singing for several months. Once I moved from tunes in key of C I had trouble with chords higher up the neck. Specifically at E (7444 version) it just sounded silly with my voice. It was partly excessively harsh strumming but Once I had heard it I couldn’t un-hear it.

    I tried tricks like only strumming the low 3 strings but I thought I could do better than work arounds with a different tuning. I only have One instrument so it has been a bit hard swapping tuning back and forth for a decent trial and to be sure I wasn’t just having a cantankerous day.

    I am grateful for everyone’s input. I have some Craig Chee GHS dGBE strings to try next and after that I will probably go back to a variant to C6 tuning for a trial to firm up my next purchase.
    Last edited by Davoravo; 12-11-2018 at 08:00 AM.

  9. #9
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    I will often use 444X rather than 4447 or 4442. I don't like the high E at the 7th fret either, especially when it's played with first position chords and the B at the 2nd fret just duplicates the B at the 4th fret of the 4th string. Sometimes a C6 (4444) will work in jazzier songs.
    I am assuming that you are showing your strings from A to G, while I show mine from G to A.

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