Baritone Uke Sizes - HELP!


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Apr 12, 2024
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So I've been playing a tenor uke for about a year now (played guitar before that for a few years), and I am really wanting to jump into a baritone for the deeper sound and longer fretboard. I started thinking I wanted the Pono Nui since it's closer to a tenor guitar, but then I just figured I should get a tenor classical guitar except I didn't want 6 strings because I love playing my uke with just 4.

Now I'm at that analysis paralysis phase where I really want a baritone, but I don't know if I want to spend a lot on one just to get a larger size. I like the Pono ULN4 series that measure 32", but the price tag on the new ones is a little too steep ATM. Does anyone think that the extra 2" is worth the price tag? I'm seeing them around $900 used and the sound is beautiful, but I don't know that having a larger baritone is really gonna be a huge deal to me in the long run.

Yah, so this is getting ridiculous and I need some folks who understand ukes to help me out!
Get a kala baritone. Under $200.
Thanks for the recommendation, but I’m not a huge fan of Kala. And I am definitely thinking something a little higher end (mid-range or better). The bigger question is just whether I’m gonna regret not buying a large sized one.

Appreciate the response!
I played a little guitar before coming to ukulele. Like you the tenor was my preferred ukulele size but eventually made my way to baritone. I have been happy with the standard size baritone for the most part, with a few wrinkles. Cheap baritones can sound dull and muddy coming from steel string guitar. The scale length of a standard baritone is almost too short for nylon strings, thee low tension is the root cause of this. High quality baritones with soft wood tops, hardwood back and side and fluorocarbon strings make a big difference

I have experience with larger baritones, my LfdM is a custom build with a 22" scale length. I owned a Pono UL, but in the steel string version, owned a Blue ridge tenor guitar as well. The Blue ridge was the same larger size as the Pono NUI and sounded much better then the Pono. Again this was steel string and the shorter scale length and smaller body size really hurts the sound of a steel string instrument.

Coming from guitar the larger size of the UL and the NUI will not be an issue for you. So yes I think you would benefit from a larger size baritone.
The options can seem overwhelming. I've owned several baritones. I haven't notice a lot of sound difference between a quality 19 inch or a quality 21 inch. I don't think a longer scale necessarily means more sustain or better sound. Of course, scale length will affect your left hand. You can find quality instruments in all sizes! I'm very happy with my 19 inch Ohana and 19 inch Favilla. I've owned a Pono UL - I enjoyed it a ton. But sold it not bc of the scale length but bc it was steel stringed and bc of its weight. It was just heavy to cart around as compared to others. Perhaps identifying additional qualities you are looking for in your bari may help give some direction. Tone woods? Portability/Travel? Steel stringed?

My journey went like this . . . discovered baritones. Experimented with steel vs nylon strings. Bought several looking for the right tone woods. Sold several to go after the "one." It was ideal - perfect quality, sustain, right tone woods, etc. Was in heaven but discovered a vintage bari that captured my heart at a third of the price of "the one." The vintage didn't have the tone woods I thought were primo. Nor did it beat out the "one" in some areas - but it was close...very very close. And it had a story - we held a birth year in common. I was smitten. So I sold the "one" and kept the vintage Favilla. This has been a 7 year journey. I've been fortunate to play some very nice baritones. And I've learned there are still very nice baritones out there that I haven't played. That's great news for the uke players around the world. But I'm happy and cherish the time I get to play. Good luck with your search.
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I have a vintage Vega with a wonderful deep tone, and just picked up a 2013 Mainland from Jake Wildwood. Both are mahogany, but sound different in a good way.
The steel string Pono baritones are heavy as noted above. I can also testify to that. Like guitar heavy.

I can’t speak to the Pono Baritone Nui yet but I hope to know someday. They’re not all that easy to come by on the secondhand market. There is only one on Reverb right now and it is priced double what it was new, so I passed on that one.
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We have all had our 2nd thoughts when uke shopping. I tried inexpensive Caramel and wasn't too thrilled at results. The Kala Ka-b was next and it was a much better instrument. So, enjoying the bari size, I opted for a Flight fireball and feel I got a great sounding baritone at a fairly midrange price with lots of design pluses. Just sold my second-the entry level Kala for a reasonable price. This strategy worked for me as experimented and learned. Good luck!
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