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Thread: Super Tenors versus Baritones

  1. #1

    Default Super Tenors versus Baritones

    There seem to be an increasing number of 'Super Tenors' around – at least from Kala and Kanile'a.

    I know that with some models this generally means a larger body with a tenor scale (Romero Creations Grand Tenor for example, I think?). But others also seem to also have a scale close to a 19" baritone and a similar body size.

    Would anyone who has personal experience with these mind talking about how they differ from baritones? Sound, sustain, playability, physical size. Also 'ergonomics' perhaps – some of them look a bit 'bottom heavy'.

    Also, do you tune them DGBE or GCEA?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Strumaround; 09-03-2019 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    You can tune super tenors any way you like. I’ve had wide bodied super tenors and long scale regular body tenor. They seemed to be more suited for gcea tuning, to my ears. When tuned DGBE the sound seemed diminished or constrained compared to a regular baritone.

    If you want baritone sound & tuning, get a baritone.
    Last edited by Doc_J; 09-03-2019 at 06:32 PM.
    -Hodge
    Humble strummer of fine ukes.

  3. #3
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    I own a 19” LfdM super tenor along side a normal LfdM tenor and baritone. The super tenor has a deeper body, it’s a custom and my intention was for a tuning lower then gcea. The longer scale of 19” vs 17” is the key to supporting lower tuning. It is tuned E, A, C#, F# which is one full step higher then baritone DGBE. I have had it tuned B and Bb, as Doc J says they are very versatile.

    A friend and member here, sam13 has a Kamaka long neck tenor, standard body with 19” scale. His is tuned linear or low G, GCEA and sounds wonderful, string tension is on the high side.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  4. #4
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    I prefer bari because of its body size. It sits on my lap very well. If valance is good, stap button on the heal of the neck is very good. If the valance is bad, we can change the tuners.


  5. #5

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    Concerts are larger and longer sopranos. Tenors are even larger and longer sopranos.
    Baritones are even larger and even longer sopranos (that are often tuned lower)

    "Super tenor" probably fits somewhere between tenor and baritone.

    These "categories" don't really make something sound and considerably different, like you've made some quantum leap.
    They're just size variations of the same instruments, without a change in tuning (if you stick to GCEA)

    Obviously as you go from soprano size/length towards tenor, the sound and tone becomes crisper with more sustain as you add length and tension to the vibrating strings.

    So how would one expect a "super tenor" tuned like a soprano/tenor to sound?
    Exactly as you would expect, as logic dictates *shrugs*

  6. #6
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    My husband is tall with huge hands. For his comfort he plays a baritone Pono in standard uke tuning with a low G. He discovered a Romero grand tenor which he has in standard uke tuning with a low G and now Only plays it. For my ears the sound is sweeter, a littles less in your face if you know what I mean. He has a very soft touch so nothing is loud. Too me I can get them both plenty loud but the Grand sounds more “uke” and the Bari more ”guitarish”.
    My Kamaka extended neck tenor sounds different than either of them.

  7. #7
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    One of the aspects of super tenors that I enjoy is the decrease in string tension when strung with regular tenor strings in C tuning. Easier fretting and note bending. I find the tension at times too high on 17" tenors with tenor length strings, so I tune down to B or Bb or use concert scale strings.
    Last edited by stevejfc; 09-04-2019 at 06:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    "Super tenor" probably fits somewhere between tenor and baritone.
    I think super tenor has tenor body with baritone neck.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevejfc View Post
    One of the aspects of super tenors that I enjoy is the decrease in string tension when strung with regular tenor strings in C tuning. Easier fretting and note bending.
    You lost me on that one. I have used tenor strings on a 19" scale to get lower tension but lower pitch too. I ended up in A tuning, a step up from baritone G. If I tried to go to C tuning that would have been very high tension.

    I find the tension at times too high on 17" tenors with tenor length strings, so I tune down to B or Bb or use concert scale strings.
    Yes, I do that on tenor as well.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  10. #10

    Default

    Some varied replies, thanks.

    OK, here's a comparative example. A Kala Super Tenor, with key specs.

    https://kalabrand.com/products/torre...-tenor-ukulele

    Scale Length: 19 inches
    Width at Upper Bout: 7 inches,
    Width at Lower Bout: 10.062 inches,
    Body Depth: 3 inches

    Compared to a, now discontinued, but let's assume typical 19" baritone uke.

    https://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-...ne-1mhg-b.html

    Scale Length: 19 inches
    Width at upper bout: 7.75 inches
    Width at lower bout: 10.5 inches
    Body Depth: 3 inches

    Pretty close. Can we assume that these are pretty much the same kind of instrument? (I haven't been able to find specs for Kanile'a or others).

    My reason for asking, is that I like the base and sustain of baritones and I've generally found 19" baris to be very close to my ideal size of uke RE: fret spacing. But there's not many of them around, most are 20". So, obviously it's a trade-off.

    But, bearing in mind that I have to order online, I'm wondering whether I'm taking a big gamble on a Super Tenor being closer to want I want - that is, a 19" baritone.

    Or am I missing something more fundamental?
    Last edited by Strumaround; 09-05-2019 at 01:49 AM.

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