Did you know about the existence of the Baritone Ukulele? If you’re a ukulele player of any skill level, you would probably know that ukes come in several different shapes, sizes, and styles. And, even if you’re just starting out or hoping to learn how to play, it’s incredibly helpful to know about all of the different options that are available to you.
The most common types of ukuleles are soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. Each of these ukes has its own characteristics, including its size, shape, and overall tone. That being said, baritone ukuleles definitely stand out from the rest of the uke family. The baritone ukulele has a far more unique size and sound than other types of ukuleles, and the way that a baritone is tuned adds another level to its uniqueness.
So, in this article, we’ll break down the dynamics of a baritone ukulele, what sets it apart from other types of ukuleles, what makes it an advantageous instrument to learn how to play, as well as giving you some of our top picks for the best baritone ukuleles available on the market for players of all skill levels.
The Shape and Size of a Baritone Ukulele
The most noticeable thing about a baritone ukulele is its appearance, specifically when it comes to its size and shape. The body is noticeably larger than other types of ukes, and the neck is definitely longer. However, the thickness and width of a baritone uke’s body is comparable to soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles.
The width of a baritone ukulele is comparable to smaller ukuleles.
Its larger body size contributes to the baritone’s deeper, bassier sound, plus the larger size can often be more comfortable for players who have a larger body frame or larger hands since there is a wider space between the frets on the neck. Also, if you choose to play the uke standing up while using a strap, a baritone ukulele can make your playing experience even more comfortable compared to a smaller uke.
The Tones and Tuning of a Baritone Ukulele
As mentioned, the larger size of a baritone uke gives it a deeper and richer tone than smaller ukuleles. When compared to soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles, it’s very noticeable that a baritone will have a lot more bass. It may not be all that noticeable when a baritone is played by itself, but when played in unison with a smaller style of ukulele, the baritone definitely fills out the lower end of the tonal spectrum.
The larger size and lower tuning of a baritone ukulele contribute to its rich sound.
The tuning of a baritone uke is another aspect that sets it apart from other styles of ukuleles. The standard tuning for soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles (from the top string to the bottom string) is G, C, E and A. Whereas the tuning for a baritone uke (from the top string to the bottom string) is D, G, B and E.
The lower tuning of the baritone contributes to its deeper, bassier sound, and the D string is always a low D. With soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles, you have the option of having either a high G or a low G depending on your personal preference, which is never a factor for baritones. In other words, you never have to worry about using a high D or a low D with a baritone. Again, a baritone ukulele is always a “low” D string.
The Baritone is a Great Transitional Ukulele
If you’ve never strummed on a stringed instrument and want to learn how to play the ukulele, or if you are a guitar player who is interested in playing the uke, or even if you’re a ukulele player who wants to learn how to play the guitar, learning how to play a baritone uke is a great option for all of these scenarios.
The baritone ukulele is a great transitional instrument to the guitar and vice versa.
Since the strings on a baritone are tuned the same way as the last four strings on a guitar (D, G, B and E from the top to the bottom), the transition from one instrument to the other is much more seamless since the strings and notes are the same, and the basic chord structures are very similar.
Also, due to the larger size of the baritone ukulele, transitioning from guitar to baritone ukulele, or baritone ukulele to guitar will be much less complicated than if you were transitioning from a smaller ukulele to guitar or vice versa. Whether you prefer to play sitting or standing, the size, weight, and balance between a baritone uke and a guitar won’t feel too extreme.
Top Picks for Baritone Ukuleles
If you’re looking to buy and learn how to play a baritone ukulele, you may find that there aren’t as many options available compared to other types, styles and sizes of ukes on the market. However, there are still some great baritone varieties available for players of all skill levels and price ranges at our online store. So, here are some of our top picks for the best baritone ukuleles.
Ohana BK-10 Enterprise Baritone
The mahogany and laminate materials of this ukulele provide a warm and deep tone, along with a lot of projection. This baritone uke is a great option for beginners and players looking for a good ukulele at a reasonable price.
Pono MBD Laser Sword Baritone
This baritone uke has a solid mahogany body, along with an ebony fingerboard, offering a strong sound with great sustain. It also has a rosette rope inlay, and the nut and saddle are both made of bone.
Romero Creations RC-GT-M Blast Baritone
This “baby” baritone is also known as a grand tenor, providing a big sound to go along with its big body. It’s made from solid mahogany wood with a high-gloss finish, as well as an ebony fretboard with an abalone rosette.
Kanile’a K-1 B Ripple Baritone
This baritone uke is made from authentic koa wood that is only grown in Hawaii. The tones, sustain and overall craftsmanship of this uke are outstanding, which help to give it a very authentic and unmatchable Hawaiian sound.
Baritone ukuleles are very unique instruments because of their shape, size, and overall sound. They may not be as common or as easily found as other types and styles of ukuleles, but their uniqueness only adds to their overall contribution to the uke family. Whether you’re just getting started or even an advanced player, a baritone ukulele is a great option to keep to consider when it comes to your learning and overall playing experience.
Enjoy your shopping and playing!