Baritone Ukulele – Can I Play That One, Too?
Yes, You Can!
There are some key differences between a baritone ukulele and all of the other sizes (tenor, soprano, and concert), but with a little work you can easily transition from one to another.
The baritone ukulele is the largest member of the uke family. The scale length is typically 19 inches, 2 more than a tenor.
The body is bigger than other ukes as well, and the tuning is fundamentally different. The baritone is tuned down a 4th from the other sizes. In other words, the baritone is tuned DGBE, while the other sizes are tuned GCEA.
For all of these reasons, some players find that the baritone ukulele has a more guitar-like feel than any other size. The instrument is still distinctly ukulele in sound, but with more bottom end and less chiming treble.
Now heres the really fun part... since the baritone ukes four strings (DGBE) are tuned exactly the same as the top four strings of a guitar (EADGBE), it can be very easy to transpose songs from one instrument to the other. You can play all of your familiar guitar chords on the baritone ukulele by simply ignoring the bottom two strings. (In another article, I mentioned doing this as a quick-and-dirty way to play the other ukulele sizes. While it does work for any ukulele, it results in a direct transposition on the baritone youll be playing in the right key from the get-go.)
Wont the chords sound funny if I play them the same way without the lowest two strings?
They certainly may, so the next thing to work on is inversions playing the same notes in different positions and octaves on the fretboard. The best ukulele players (and guitar players!) can play a Gmajor7 in 4 or 5 different positions with ease. The baritone ukulele is a great instrument to practice this technique on!
So there you have it I recommend trying out a baritone ukulele in one of our stores to see if the feel, tone, and tuning are for you. If so, youll be up and playing in no time!
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