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Author Topic: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele  (Read 4111 times)

Tom

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Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« on: January 08, 2014, 08:45:36 PM »
I finally got to the point of being able to switch between my ukes and the plectrum banjo without too much mind bending and missed chords. But, being up for another challenge ...

With a couple of hours to spare between appointments in different cities, I visited my favorite music store in Lafayette today. Browsing through their huge ukulele lineup, I spotted a couple of baritone ukes. Unlike most ukes, they have two wound steel strings, and are tuned like the bottom four strings on a guitar. These instruments had a good tone and produced a 'fuller' sound than any of my other ukes, with the possible exception of my banjo uke.

I wrestled with the idea of re-learning the fingering, and decided to think about it. Went outside, sat in the car to cogitate and do some online research. Discovered that a capo placed at the 5th fret turns the baritone uke into a regular re-entrant tuned uke. Went back in the store and asked if they had a small capo, which they did. Played the baritone with the capo, and said "wrap it up".

The capo is only an interim solution (crutch) until I've developed sufficient muscle memory to play the baritone uke without it.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 04:36:58 AM by Tom »
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Ron from Big D

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 09:20:22 PM »
We just keep learning and doing and that is good.

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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 09:45:44 PM »
Aye Ron, that's something our uke group always tells folks who ask "why do you do this?"
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SeilerBird

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2014, 05:33:28 AM »
Sounds like a great addition to your collection. Congrats. ;D
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 05:43:25 AM »
Thanks. Sites like www.chordie.com make it really easy to transpose songs between different tuning/fingering, so I don't expect to be using the capo very long.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 06:18:51 AM »
I would strongly encourage throwing the capo away. They are an unnecessary crutch that slows down the learning process. I know the fretboard really well due to a lifetime of just saying no to capos.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2014, 09:06:02 AM »
No fear, the capo just gave me the excuse I needed to buy the baritone uke.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 09:12:38 AM »
No fear, the capo just gave me the excuse I needed to buy the baritone uke.

Good call.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2014, 07:56:59 PM »
This chord chart for the baritone uke will look somewhat familiar to guitar players.

BTW the capo has already been ditched.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 08:04:11 PM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 05:34:54 AM »
This chord chart for the baritone uke will look somewhat familiar to guitar players.

BTW the capo has already been ditched.
Yep it does look familiar.

In a few weeks you will be able to switch between ukes without even giving the different fingering a thought.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 08:34:01 AM »
Aye, that's the plan/hope; Just waiting for muscle memory to kick in with the 'new' fingering. Actually, I was switching between ukes and banjo yesterday, while running through various chord progressions and playing several simple (3 & 4 chord) songs.
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 12:00:31 PM »
I suspect the musicians and music theorists here know this, but it had me scratching my head until I researched it. Two chords on that baritone uke chord chart have the same fingering; EM7 and G6 have all strings played open. I fired up a guitar chord generator and the EM7 and G6 chords again have the same fingering as each other - see attached. A little research revealed that the G6 is an inverted EM7, i.e. the same notes in a different sequence.

Playing a keyboard, I knew that the root of a chord can be played one octave higher, but I didn't know that this is essentially a chord inversion. I learn something new every day.

Back to the chord charts ... both the bari uke and guitar chord charts show the EM7 and G6 played with the same fingering; This is different from when I play the root an octave higher on a keyboard. So, is it really a chord inversion?
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SeilerBird

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 01:25:18 PM »
Yep, there are plenty of chords with more than one name. Fortunately you won't have to deal with them too often since 6th chords and m7 are not used very often. The root note can be located on any part of the scale and so can all the other notes. The only thing that really matters is that you play the right notes. Orchestras play chords and the notes are all over the place. Remember what I told you about the importance of learning music theory.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Jammer

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 02:53:32 PM »
I suspect the musicians and music theorists here know this, but it had me scratching my head until I researched it. Two chords on that baritone uke chord chart have the same fingering; EM7 and G6 have all strings played open. I fired up a guitar chord generator and the EM7 and G6 chords again have the same fingering as each other - see attached. A little research revealed that the G6 is an inverted EM7, i.e. the same notes in a different sequence.

Playing a keyboard, I knew that the root of a chord can be played one octave higher, but I didn't know that this is essentially a chord inversion. I learn something new every day.

Back to the chord charts ... both the bari uke and guitar chord charts show the EM7 and G6 played with the same fingering; This is different from when I play the root an octave higher on a keyboard. So, is it really a chord inversion?

They aren't really the same chord, although the realities of moving chords to a 4-string instrument are such that both chords are adapted to the uke the same way.

On a guitar I play G6 with a G bass.  It's the same left hand position as a G or G7 chord except that the 1st string (highest) is open.  Depending on the desired sound it might make sense to fret the 4th string up to E, also, or just mute it, to get the 7th out of the chord, but usually I don't do that.

On a guitar I play Em7 as described, with just one finger on the 5th string to provide the B.

On keys, well, who knows, but unless I'm playing with a bass player I'll try to emphasize the G or the E, as appropriate, in the bass line.
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Jammer

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 03:02:46 PM »
BTW the capo has already been ditched.

In my band we have a standing rule that the lead vocalist chooses the key.  It is not uncommon for us to play in Db major or Gb major.  I use a capo all the time and carry a spare just in case.

We have one song where I use a capo on the 5th fret just because it improves the complexity of the sound.  It's in the key of A and I'd never use the 6th string if I played it without a capo, but at capo 5 I can play in the key of E and get a much fuller sound.

Here's a video of us doing it, and you can see what I'm doing on guitar:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200422091894750

And for what it's worth, I believe Jon had his baritone uke on that day.  He switches back and forth.
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2014, 03:18:17 PM »
Thanks for the link; Looks like a lot of fun.

Quote
I believe Jon had his baritone uke on that day.

Way too small for a bari uke; Probably a concert, or possibly a soprano.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2014, 03:33:33 PM »
In my band we have a standing rule that the lead vocalist chooses the key.  It is not uncommon for us to play in Db major or Gb major.  I use a capo all the time and carry a spare just in case.
There are definitely many uses for a capo. The reason I mentioned to Tom to throw away the capo is because he is trying to learn the fretboard.

Personally I prefer to use my index finger instead of a capo.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2014, 08:52:24 PM »
Quote
Remember what I told you about the importance of learning music theory.

Actually, I've studied music theory multiple times over the years, but little of it seems to translate (for me) into the actual playing of various instruments. Last year I signed up for an one more online music theory class with a UK university; When I got into their very basic class, I was reminded of the different music terminology in the UK:

Semibrave = whole note.
Minim = half note.
Crotchet = quarter note.
Quaver = eighth note.

It was interesting translating on the fly  ???

Meanwhile, a large piece of their online class material relied on a browser plugin that didn't work with any browser I had on my computer; It was like reading a book with every other page missing, and I eventually dropped the class.

Edit: I just looked at their feedback page and see a lot of folks complaining about the third party browser plugin not working.
 
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 10:02:25 AM by Tom »
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Desertfront

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2014, 05:35:41 PM »
This chord chart for the baritone uke will look somewhat familiar to guitar players.

BTW the capo has already been ditched.

That's awesome, if you take any of those chords, say for simplicity the C chord, and lay your index finger across the nut,  using the other fingers to make the chord. Then move it up a fret and press on the index too. That is a C sharp, one more fret a D, one more an Eb (E flat), and so on and so forth. Any of your open chords will do that and you can be tossing that capo away cause you'll know your barre chords!!

Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2014, 07:44:00 PM »
Barre(d) chords are a particular challenge for me; I can't get either my forefinger or ring middle finger flat enough, nor can I get sufficient pressure to keep it flat. I've tried various tricks, including using my thumb on the back of the neck, and using another finger on top of the barre finger. If I use another finger(s) to make a chord, the 'barre' finger' wants to lift at the knuckle.

I'm in awe when I see a guitarist playing barre chords up and down the fretboard.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 08:50:29 AM by Tom »
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Desertfront

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2014, 08:41:56 AM »
 Yes, I had a heck of a time too. The worst on me though were the thumb chords (a mod'd barre that uses thumb over bass strings to free up fingers for notes) I actually had to soak my thumb before attempting them and slowly had to build up to them. Nasty things to try to get fingers to do.

Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2014, 08:46:51 AM »
Quote from: Desertfront
I actually had to soak my thumb before attempting them and slowly had to build up to them.

Thanks. What did you soak your thumbs in? Your comment reminded me of a friend who played lead guitar in a band when we were 16; He used to 'soak' his fingers in denatured alcohol (we used to call it methylated spirits).
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Desertfront

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2014, 01:35:52 PM »
Thanks. What did you soak your thumbs in? Your comment reminded me of a friend who played lead guitar in a band when we were 16; He used to 'soak' his fingers in denatured alcohol (we used to call it methylated spirits).

Hot water is what I used. As hot as I could comfortably stand it to loosen the joints, muscles.

Here's my "secret" for building finger strength. (The best is playing, practice, practice)
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Tom

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Re: Another mind bender - baritone ukulele
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2014, 04:00:31 PM »
Two good tips, thanks.
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