There are several different types of ukulele out there. The one that I want to focus on here is the baritone ukulele.
It is the largest of the various ukuleles on the market and offers the following:
- Length: 30”
- Tuning: DGBE
- Frets: 19+
One of the reasons many people like the baritone ukulele is because it is tuned in much the same way as the guitar is. Obviously, you only have the bottom four strings to play about with. This is tuned in the same as the bottom four strings on the guitar.
The result of the way in which this is tuned is a ukulele which has a nice, deep sound. The problem, however, is that the sound is not going to be as crisp and as bright as some of the other ukulele tunings. For example; if you had used a soprano ukulele.
Since the sound is going to be nice and deep, it is unlikely that you will want to use a baritone ukulele for strumming. You can do that, but it is not going to sound that brilliant. Instead, this is a ukulele which is reserved for blues-style music where you can do a small amount of fingerpicking. The sound that it produces in this regard is absolutely beautiful. Basically, if you are the type of person into fingerpicking songs (most top blues songs have an element of that in place), then this is the route to go down.
It is probably worth pointing out that many people do not see the baritone ukulele as a great introduction to the world of ukulele. This is mainly because most of the people who get started want to learn how to strum so they can play rhythm along with their singing. As a second or third instrument to add to your collection, however, it is fantastic!
Moving to the Baritone Ukulele
If you play guitar, then moving should be simple. In fact, you can easily convert some of the guitar tabs that you find online to this instrument.
If this is the only ukulele that you own, then you can convert the baritone ukulele to sound similar to a soprano, concert, or tenor ukulele. Assuming that the open strings are in standard tuning, then all you need to do is put a capo on the 5th fret. This means that you can play exactly the same tunes as you would if you were on any other ukulele. This may be the best route to go down if this is your first instrument.
We are not going to go into depth on the various chord shapes here. This is, mainly, due to the fact that by the time you purchase a baritone ukulele you should have a solid understanding of music theory anyway. This will make it easy for you to build up your chord shapes. All you really need to know is that things are going to be slightly different. And this is a worthwhile instrument to learn.
You can buy a pretty good baritone ukulele for about $99. Sometimes, you will find a decent baritone ukulele on sale for less. For extras like premium finishes, exotic woods, and more be prepared to pay a bit more. There are some quality ukuleles in the $99 – $250 price range. Some of these are suitable for taking onstage and the build quality is good enough to let you play many years.
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