Baritone Ukulele: 6 Cool Things You Should Know!

What is A Baritone Ukulele?

The Baritone Ukulele is the deepest and most resonant member of the ukulele family. Although producing sounds at lower frequencies, the Baritone Uke still has the light and playful sound that is characteristic of a ukulele. It has 4 strings tuned DGBE, which is the same as the four highest guitar strings. You can tune it to GCEA like a tenor or soprano ukulele, but you have to use special strings to do that!

The Baritone Ukulele is a perfect instrument for any guitar player looking for a fun and unique sound from an instrument that they can easily play. It’s is also super portable, and can act as a mini-guitar, although limited to 4 strings!

Now that you’ve been introduced to the Baritone Uke, let me answer some common questions that you should know. And how it compares to other instruments! Let’s go!

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Baritone vs Soprano vs Concert vs Tenor Ukuleles

Where does the Baritone sit in the line-up of the ukulele family?

Tuning

Tenor, Concert, and Soprano ukuleles are all tuned normally to GCEA. Whereas the Baritone Ukulele is tuned to DGBE, but as I mentioned in the intro you can easily buy special baritone strings that tune to GCEA. If you do decide to do this, below is my recommendation.

The Baritone Ukulele uses linear tuning, so the strings (DGBE) are in ascending order, and the pitch increases from one string to the next. Similar to the Guitar, or Cello.

Soprano, Tenor, and Concert use re-entrant tuning, so GCEA, the C string is lower than the G. Violins and banjos, and many other instruments use re-entrant tuning. I find that re-entrant tuning is less intuitive and can be hard to learn but that’s just my view.

Pitch/Frequency & Size

The ukuleles get higher in pitch from Baritone, Tenor, Concert to Soprano.

They also get smaller in the same order, Baritone, Tenor, Concert, Soprano

Is a Baritone Ukulele Good For a Beginner?

Of all the Ukuleles I would recommend the Baritone Uke the most for a beginner. Because it allows you to easily transition to the guitar if you grow out of the instrument. I know many people who started out on the ukulele, just to transition to guitar! It’s actually a great stepping stone. The Baritone ukulele is also pretty big and gives more authority to the instrument… I know many people who don’t really respect the ukulele, which is wrong, but a bigger instrument might be a way to deal with it.

However, if you want to play the ukulele for the ukulele’s sake, then the Baritone is probably equal to all the other ukuleles, it just sounds deeper and more powerful. And you can easily exchange the strings as I mentioned before.

baritone ukulele in hand

What is a Baritone Ukulele Used For?

Given the unique size, timber, and tuning, the Baritone Ukulele has a unique sonic landscape compared to traditional ukuleles. There are limitless options for using this instrument, such as:

Harmony Bass Instrument

The baritone ukulele can follow in the steps of lower frequency instruments and play harmony. Strum along chords to a group of instruments, and watch as the bass tones of the baritone ukulele give a vibrant coloring to the harmony. In an ensemble of ukuleles, the Baritone will probably be playing the bass or harmony part!

The warm tones of the ukulele will also perfectly compliment playing along with a guitar, so try experimenting!

Rhythm Instrument

The Baritone Ukulele can easily play the part of the rhythm. Try muting a string, doing a muted strum, or even tapping on the hollow body. These methods of playing the ukulele can easily give way to a spontaneous rhythm section!

Inspiration

The Baritone Ukulele is only used for rhythm or bass lines, or harmony. You could easily adapt it to playing the melody or any combination of the above parts!

Check out dodie, or mxmtoon for some inspiration, as they are artists that use the Ukulele!

ukulele store

Are Baritone Ukulele Chords the Same?

Ukuleles

Capo

Baritone Ukulele chords can be played the same as other Ukuleles. To do this place a capo over the fifth fret of the Baritone Uke, and play from there! You will also want to retune the last two strings to match the re-entrant tuning!

Why does this work? Well, the standard tuning of the Ukulele is 5 half steps higher, so by placing a capo on the fifth fret, you raise your Baritone to the same pitch as the other ukuleles!

Barre

You can also barre the chord if you do not have a Capo!

Strings

Finally, just replace the Baritone Strings as mentioned before above, and then you don’t have to worry about new chords!

Although I do recommend learning the new chords, just for musical flexibility and if you ever decide to play the guitar.

Guitar

Yes, the chords are the exact same, as any chord on the guitar. But you are limited to only the 4 highest strings DGBE, so you can play a d minor chord, a chord, e.t.c. really easily. But playing a g chord will require a different fingering, mainly you just leave the last two strings out so it is really easy to adapt a guitar chord to the Baritone Ukulele.

Just use the same fingering without the final two strings, and most of your chords will convert just fine!

baritone ukulele on wood

Does a Baritone Ukulele Sound Like a Guitar?

The answer will be short and sweet, as the above probably explains this question as well!

Yes the Baritone Ukulele and Guitar sound very similar, as the strings of the Guitar are : EADGBE (Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddied). The strings of the Baritone Uke are DGBE (Dynamite Good Bye Eddie). So you see they share 4 of the same strings, so any riff, chord shape, or solo can be pretty easily transcribed from BaritoneUkulele to Guitar!

baritone uke head

Which Baritone Ukulele Should I Buy?

Here are my top 3 recommendations for a Baritone Ukulele. I have owned all three of these Ukuleles, and still have two of them. Why do I own so many, well I also play guitar and I find the Baritone uke is a nice compliment!

1) Luna Uke Vintage Mahogany Baritone

Overview

Luna is a renowned and great ukulele brand! They produce high-quality ukes, that come in all different shapes, sizes, colors.

A Vintage Mahogany Baritone Ukulele is well… made from Mahogany. This means, the back, top, and side of the ukulele are made from Mahogany, and the finish is actually Red Satin. Beautifully sculpted and tastefully made. I adore this Uke.

Sound

Not quite guitar-like, and keeping with the generally happy up-beat characteristic of the uke, the Luna Vintage Baritone ukulele sounds wonderful. The neck length is 19″ and comes with 16 frets, and the neck is easy to grip.

Mahogany is a warm-sounding wood, and given the baritone ukulele’s bigger size, you are going to get more projection of that warmer tone. This ukulele has an adequate and quality sound!

Materials

Fretboard- Walnut Wood and Mother of Pearl Inlay

Top, Sides, Bottom- Mahogany

Finish- Red Satin

Bridge- Walnut

Nuts and Saddle- Plastic Imitation

Tuners- Chrome Finish

Who Should Use This

This is a beginner’s model ukulele, it should be played by anyone looking to get into the world of Baritone ukuleles. A great introduction into the world of ukes! And although it does say beginner’s model, don’t worry about outgrowing this uke. It is a solid and basic model that will keep you happy for a while!

2) Kmise KMU30B

Overview

Sound

The Kmise KMU30B has a great sound for it’s price. I honestly believe it’s the best lower-end Baritone Ukulele on the market! It shares the same warm mahogany sound the other uke’s recreate so well, it just lacks a little in the distinction of the sound, and may come off as a little muddier than the other two ukes.

Overall the Kmise KMU30B ends up sounding very happy and lively! 30 inches in total length with 20 frets.

Materials

Fretboard- Walnut Wood

Top, Sides, Bottom- Mahogany

Bridge- Walnut

Neck- Okoume

Nuts and Saddle- Plastic Imitation

Tuners- Plastic and Chrome

Who Should Use This

Anyone that wants to impulse buy a Baritone Ukulele, or has a lower budget. The Kmise is my lower-end choice, but honestly, it sounds quite similar to the other mid-range ukes offered here.

3) Kala Ka-B Mahogany Baritone Ukulele

Overview

I absolutely love this ukulele, I’ve had it for 4 years! It’s part of the Kala Satin Mahogany series. And is a great intermediate, mid-range ukulele. Made in the traditional style, and priced extremely well I highly recommend this uke!

Sound

This ukulele sounds very chilled out. It gives off a relaxed and warm vibe, but also clearly projects its sound at the same time. It’s quite unique!

Coming with a 30-inch neck, and 18 frets it is slightly differently spaced than the Luna Uke, it also has much lower action to account for these differences.

Materials

Fretboard- Walnut Wood

Top, Sides, Bottom- Laminated Mahogany

Finish- Satin

Edging- White

Nuts and Saddle- Plastic Imitation

Tuners- Dye-Cast Chrome

Who Should Use This

Similar. to the Luna Uke, this is a beginner mahogany Ukulele, and I recommend it to anyone starting their Baritone Ukulele Journey!

This is a great sounding Ukulele, and well worth the price

$149.00
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Conclusion

I hope you learned something about the Baritone Ukulele today. And had any of your questions answered. If you didn’t leave a comment and I’ll answer it or contact us.

In the meantime, happy ukulele playing! And have fun!

Mark D.

Mark D.

Hi, I'm Mark. I've been playing instruments since I was just a little kid. I've played cello and piano for a few years, and recently picked up guitar. I've produced bad music. I also run this blog where I share interesting things I've learned. I hope you Enjoy my posts!

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