Not sure if there are any others here, but I’m using JustinGuitar.com to learn to play the baritone ukulele (it has the same strings/tuning as the 4 highest strings on the guitar).
I’m currently a volunteer teaching English at a small rural school in the mountains of Armenia. My brother is an accomplished musician who can play more instruments than I can count. I’ve always wanted to learn to play something but it never stuck. Then I discovered the baritone ukulele.
I loved how it sounded, almost like a guitar. But with the smaller size and only 4 strings to deal with, I thought I’d give it a go. And it’s size lets me travel with it so much easier. But of the ukulele family, there’s not that much out there on the internet about learning to play it, unlike it’s smaller brothers (the tenor, concert, and saprano ukuleles).
But so far, I’ve been able to use at least the early JustinGuitar.com lessons pretty easily on the baritone ukulele, so going to stick with it for now.
Would love to know if there are any other JG students learning the baritone ukulele.
Welcome here and I wish you a lot of fun
And if there are not many or no fellow players to be found, feel free to post a video of yourself playing and maybe you will drag people into your enthusiasm for this instrument…I know there are people who play this…but who… Who???
Hello Jim & welcome!!!
I agree with Rogier @roger_holland about infectious enthusiasm… just give this community a good reason to get out & buy a new instrument & we’re on it!!!
Seriously though, I had no idea that the tuning for baritone ukulele was so similar!!! There would hardly be a learning curve for guitarists!!! Conversely, if you pick up guitar, you’ll be way ahead after you’ve played the baritone uke for a while!!!
A video demonstrating how it plays would be great but at least pictures of your instrument are practically required around here… we all have GAS (Guitar/Gear Acquisition Syndrome) & love to check out pretty much anything that is playable!!!
Hey Jim, welcome to the community. The baritone uke is an awesome instrument. My wife has one that was made in the 1950s by Harmony. She loves it and has used lessons on justin to learn various things.
Thanks for the welcome!
We’ll see about a video but might be a wait. I don’t want to turn anyone off a baritone ukulele just because of my bad playing. ha ha ha
But I can post some pictures. After returning a cheap uke I bought online, I ended up going through one of the major ukulele YouTube channels, https://www.ukelikethepros.com, and couldn’t be happier. Cost me a bit more but less than a guitar would have cost of similiar quality.
For those that want to know, it’s a Kala KA-B Satin Mahogany Baritone Ukulele “The Joker” KA-B.
For everyone else, here is the only picture I could find that shows the relative size between a bariton ukulele and a guitar.
Lovely mahogany top & I love the overall look! How’s the sound & playability?
I’m totally unfamiliar with baritone ukes… tenor & soprano ones, yes but not their big brothers!!!
Have fun with your 4-stringed buddy!!!
PS Here’s a video review of the Kala KA-B and he plays much better than I would have. Enjoy!
Like the informational video about your uke, Jim!
I also checked out a little bit of the Peace Corp information about your time in Armenia… that’s pretty amazing that you’re volunteering in a country where you don’t speak the language… I am very impressed!!! Where are you originally from? What brought you to the Peace Corps? If you aren’t comfortable answering, that’s ok… I’m just a curious Catman!!!
Oh, no worries. I’m originally from Kansas City.
Kind of late in life I started to travel and ended up teaching English in Mongolia for a few years. There I met a Peace Corps volunteer and he said I should apply. Pre-Pandemic, about 5% of volunteers were over 50 years old, so not all ‘just out of college folks’.
But my first assignment was in Thailand where I taught for 3 years. Then re-applied and ended up back in Mongolia. But after less than a year, had to quit due to my mother having a new diagnosis of terminal cancer. But she was mad that her cancer had taken me away from the volunteer work I was doing. So, I promised I would reapply. I got an invitation to serve in Nepal a few weeks after her funeral. Served there for a year until, you guessed it, the pandemic. Finally, after waiting two years, I was re-instated but this time they sent me to Armenia.
I think 4 times is enough (most people only serve once, and a few twice, but it is rare to find someone who has done so many). Might retire back in Nepal, but who knows. My service ends in 2025 and a lot can happen between now and then… like learning to play this uke!
PS. Peace Corps does a good job teaching you the local language. I’ve only been here 6 months, so my Armenian still isn’t very good but I keep working on it and I have a good tutor (which PC pays for).
The last thing I need (at least according to my wife) is another instrument, but that looks lots of fun…
Hello Jim and welcome to our community.
The Uke sounds good.
I thought it was a Kala from your first photo!
I play a Baritone occasionally, mine is a Clearwater bowl back - a composite body.
There’s no point trying to find anything about learning to play them, the best thing to do is either use guitar tuition for a D G B E tuned one or Ukulele tuition if you tune G C E A, I’ve done both, I like guitar tuning for guitar music and Uke tuning for Uke music; horses for courses!
If you ever decide to go for G C E A tuning there’s a different string set for that, you can have it with a low G or re-entrant string set, both are nice on Baritone!
This is mine:
Yeah, at first I actually had my uke tuned like a octave mandolin with G D A E. My brother is a musician and he thought that would be a better choice for me. But, even though I like a lot of mandolin music, I really wanted to take advantage of all the guitar instruction out there on the internet. So, switched the strings back to D G B E for the standard baritone uke.
And your uke looks amazing.
Welcome to the Community Jim. Uke’s not something I’ve tried but I can see the appeal and as you can see there a few players around these parts for you to share experiences with !
I got a baton rouge baritone Uke. This was after years of playing guitar and concert uke. I think the baritone is great. I play stuff from guitar and from the uke on it. Also stuff that’s in drop D on guitar works great.
Jim, welcome to the community forum. I noticed that Justin has a Ukulele beginner course with 7 lessons on his website in the course section and song lessons for ukulele.
Justin mentions that ukulele was the first instrument that he learned to play. Have fun learning on that nice baritone uke.
Thanks for the comment.
The ukulele family is kind of strange. The smaller uke’s (soprano, concert, tenor) have a G C E A tuning, so the chords are different than on a guitar. But for some reason, the baritone uke has a D G B E, like the 4 high strings on a guitar.
Justin’s ukulele course is all about the G C E A tuning. And after a quick look, it’s definitely aimed at kids (and parents). And there is also a ton of other websites and YouTube channels devoted to the smaller ukuleles. But not so much for the baritone.
So, at least for now, I’m very happy using Jusin’s guitar course to learn more about playing my baritone ukulele.
Yeah the higher ukes are like the baritone uke with a capo on the fifth fret, hope that makes sense…
By the way the tenor guitar is in the same tuning too (DGBE). But that’s even rarer than baritone uke…
I think you’ll be good with the guitar stuff