I have been rather distracted this week with the arrival of my new ukulele last Friday, a Pono MB Baritone ukulele. As a result there won’t be any Ukulele Weekly World Tour this week.
I ordered my Pono baritone from ukebox.fr , a French website selling ukes. I can really recommend the site as I received top service and the owner was very helpful and friendly when I called to enquire about my uke.
This Pono Baritone MB is made of solid mahogany, with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge and came with Ko’olau strings.
A baritone ukulele is very different from the other ukes and the best way to discover its character is to play it till your fingers are sore. That’s exactly what I have been doing instead of looking for ukulele videos from around the world.
First thing is to get used to having bass strings _ the GCEA ukulele is my first instrument. The baritone ukulele is tuned DGBE which means you have to re-learn the names of the chords. For example, if you play a C chord on the baritone like you would on a GCEA uke, it is in fact a G chord. And this can quickly become rather confusing when you switch from the baritone to your soprano or concert uke.
I didn’t have the patience to take the time to re-learn all the chords so I’ve just tried some chord shapes I use on my concert uke and made up a melody as I went along, experimenting on intensity, picking and strumming. I’ve actually used a lot of the fingerpicking I do on my concert uke and that gives it a completely different feel on the baritone. I love the way you can play on volume and emphasise mood changes in your music with the baritone.
Here is an original instrumental called Maelström played on my Pono baritone to give you an idea of its sound.
There are plenty of things I’d like to experiment with my baritone uke. I read somewhere that you could tune it so as to have the re-entrant tuning and that would be using DGBD tuning (the two D’s being one octave apart) but it seems like you need a different set of strings in order to do this. I wish I had more ukes as I don’t want to change the strings on the uke I have just received. So I’ll keep it DGBE for the time being.
You can hear a baritone played in re-entrant tuning here.