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Thread: Help me understand the Baritone

  1. #1
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    Default Help me understand the Baritone

    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.

  2. #2
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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.

  3. #3
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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.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    Chord shapes are chord shapes...
    Yes and no. A standard G-chord on any of the 3 ukuleles have the note of G. If you do the same shape on a Baritone it would be a D. Hence why I am confused.

  5. #5
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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.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    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.
    Hmmm....I hear ya but still something doesn't seem right. Whatevs!

  7. #7
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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.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerguy View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Swamp Yankee; 08-13-2019 at 05:59 AM.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee View Post
    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.

  10. #10
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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
    Last edited by 70sSanO; 08-13-2019 at 06:42 AM.

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