Best baritone ukulele – Kids and parents alike, fantasize about becoming ukulele heroes. But for starting out, especially with young children, the uke is hard to beat. Ukuleles have nylon strings, not steel, so they’re easier on the fingers. And, the uke only has four strings as opposed to the guitar’s six. That makes fingering less of a hassle. Plus, a ukulele is smaller, so kids won’t need to start on a half-size instrument.
The strings of the best baritone ukulele are tuned exactly like the guitar’s top four strings. If kids want to tackle the big guy later, all they need to do is add the guitar’s two bass strings to the chords they’ve already learned.
In the beginning, the best baritone ukulele is simple enough for parents to teach some basics to their kids as they learn. Children are bound to enjoy watching their moms and dads struggle and have fun right along with them. And, since they’ll make music together without sinking hundreds into lessons, investing in two playable instruments is the best possible start.
What’s A Baritone Ukulele?
When most people think of a ukulele, they’re picturing the smallest member of the uke family; the soprano uke. The soprano has that wonderful Hawaiian sound, but is tuned differently, so it’s not an natural jumpstart for learning the guitar. The best baritone ukulele has a mellower sound and is easier to sing with. Ukulele strummers can join guitarists without needing to transpose or retune.
Tips for buying a new ukulele:
There are four things to check out when purchasing ukuleles
Playability simply means how easy the instrument is to play. Parents and kids can try pushing the strings down. If the action is low, meaning the strings are close to the fret board, the uke will be easier to play. If the action is too low though, the strings will buzz as they vibrate against the frets. So look for the lowest action with no buzzing.
Intonation is the accuracy of notes along the fret board. If the frets, the little metal bars along the neck, aren’t’ spaced exactly right, chords will sound like a train wreck. Customers can ask the storeowner to tune up a few ukes and give a demonstration. Every instrument will sound fine when the open strings are tuned and strummed, so customers should always ask to hear some chords. The further up the neck, the more chance for inconsistencies.
Tone is the quality of sound when the string is plucked. Different people like different sounds. The two biggest factors influencing tone will be the material used for the front and the quality of the strings. Of course, a uke with a solid wood front will sound better than one with plywood, but that’s not to say the more economical instruments can’t sound fine.
Finally, resonance can best be described as the robustness of the instrument’s sound. Customers should stand across the room and listen to each instrument they’re considering. Which one carries best?
Once parents and kids settle on a pair of ukes, they can take a look at the second part of this article covering tuning and holding a ukulele correctly. After that, they’re ready for the third installment introducing their first song!
Tuning Guitar Manual Way
At some point in your life you’ll be in the middle of nowhere playing your guitar, but something just doesn’t sound right. If you follow these easy steps you can tune your guitar as close as possible to perfection without using a tuner.
Your guitar has six strings. Each string is tuned to a specific key:
- 1st string: E
- 2nd string: A
- 3rd string: D
- 4th string: G
- 5th string: B
- 6th string: E
Note that the first string is the deepest string closest to your face when your playing the guitar. The 6th string is the highest sting at the bottom of the guitar.
You’ll notice metal rods running up the neck of the guitar, these are called “frets”. These are also numbered from 0 (playing an open string) all the way up to 20 (the fret closest to the hole in the body of the guitar) and more. If you want to play the fifth fret of a string, you start with the open string (zero) then start counting the frets moving towards the body of the guitar.
This is the downside to not having a tuner with you, you’ll have to guess. The best way to do this is by using a song as your frame of reference. You can use “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica as a guideline as this song is in the key of E minor (the minor doesn’t matter as you’re only working with one string). The best thing before you go out into the woods is use your tuned guitar and find a song that starts in the same key as your first string.
It won’t be perfect as you’re relying on memory, but since you didn’t bring your tuner it is safe to assume that your situation doesn’t include a pedantic audience. As long as the other strings are tuned accordingly, your audience won’t notice.
Once you’ve made an estimated guess at E, you can move on to the second string. Starting at the top of the guitar neck, count the frets towards you until you get to the fifth. Hold the top E string down at the fifth fret and pluck it. You are now playing A on the E string. Hold your finger there and alternately pluck the second string as well. Tune your second string until it sounds exactly like the chord your playing on the top string. Don’t fiddle with your first string, you’ve already tuned it! Once the top string (being held at the fifth fret) sounds exactly like the second string, you have a second string tuned to A. Well done.
Finding D and Further
Now you are going to do the exact same thing, but you’re going to hold the fifth fret of the second string, while playing the third. Tune your third string until the two sound exactly the same. Continue doing this until you get to the fifth string (B). Instead of holding the fourth string at the fifth fret, you are going hold the fourth string at the fourth fret. Now alternately pluck the fourth string (being held at the fourth fret) and the fifth string until they sound exactly the same.
Once you’ve tuned the fifth string to B, you can go back to tuning the sixth string to the fifth being held at the fifth fret. If you start getting light headed and dizzy with confusion, don’t worry, it’s much simpler once you’ve got the guitar in front of you.
The basic concept is that a string held at the fifth fret matches the following string, except for the fourth string (G), which has to be held at the fourth fret to match the fifth string (B). Once you’ve done this, the top E and bottom E should work together nicely as they’re both an octave apart. Strum the strings and listen for any deviant strings that might need some fine tuning.
Once you’re satisfied that your guitar is tuned adequately, call your friends and start entertaining.