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#779634 10/21/23 01:37 PM
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I came across a group of people of all ages, playing the ukulele outside when visiting a town near me last weekend. The music they were making was great, I spent about fifteen minutes listening to them before moving on. What a happy little group.

https://ballymenaukes.com/

Since then I have been thinking, what a nice little instrument to learn to play and have been doing a bit of googling, seems there are four different types, concert being the smallest, soprano, tenor and baritone being the largest.

First three I believe are tuned from fourth string, G, C, E and A with that bottom G actually the G above the open C string to help bring out the tone of the instrument.

I am tempted if I do actually buy a Uke to go with the baritone that is tuned to the top four strings of the guitar, and coming from the guitar would make it a bit easier. The others would be ok too as a lot of the chord shapes as the same as the guitar I believe.

I do want to mess around with some melodic stuff, playing a few melodies so another reason to go with the baritone.

I thing the group uses this songbook,

https://www.belfastukejam.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Belfast-Uke-Jam-Christmas-And-Singalong-2021.pdf

So just asking if anyone else on here plays the Uke and any advice appreciated.
Thanks.


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With a uke tuned to G_C_E_A the fingering is the same as a guitar but the chord name is a 4th higher than the guitar chord name, i.e. a uke fingered like a guitar G chord is a C uke chord. See chart below:

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Yep, I have a couple to strum on, and they're fun.

As you mentioned, the baritone is tuned the same as the top four strings on a guitar. The soprano has a different tuning, but if you're a guitarist it's the same fingering, just different pitches.

I've also got a Hadean UKB-22 NM bass, which is essentially a knock-off of the U-Bass. Thick silicone strings on a ukulele-sized body. Great if you're looking for an electrified upright bass sound without all the baggage or cost! Plus, it's fun looking at people's faces when I play it and they hear the sound that comes out.


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My first stringed instrument was a uke, bought in 1968 in Matchetts, Belfast, for the princely sum of 1 UK pound.
I currently tutor a small group in U3A at Gransha, 11.30 a.m. Mondays.
A couple of weeks ago we entertained about 50 OAPs on a train trip to Coleraine as part of Positive Ageing Month promoted by local GPs.
We also have an upcoming gig as part of the Guildhall Christmas Craft Fair.

The naming is determined by scale length (distance from nut to bridge saddle) Soprano-14", Concert-15", Tenor-17", Baritone-19".
These measurements can vary but are a reasonable guide.
The original instrument was Soprano sized and was a Hawaiian version of a small instrument brought over by Portuguese migrants ( Machete )
You are correct about the tuning intervals though in the early 1900s, a D F# B was considered standard. With g C E A tuning your guitar D chord becomes G,
F becomes Bb, etc. As Mario said everything is a fourth up.
The octave higher 4th string is called re-entrant tuning and is what gives ukes their distinctive sound.
For melody linear tuning would give you greater range than re-entrant, but you lose the distinct sound.
In my opinion Baritones can sound like a typical small guitar marketed for children, they're neither one thing nor the other.
I would recommend nothing bigger than a Tenor, but bear in mind that the only scale for gentlemen is Soprano wink

Since we are in the same neck of the woods, why not drop in and see us on a Monday session.

Good Luck
Vintage

re the Song book you mentioned, I've seen that and several others, all of varying accuracy.
These seem to be put together by people "copy and pasting" from various sites without any checking or editing.
I would recommend Jim's Ukulele and Guitar Songs, https://ozbcoz.com/Songs/index.php# as a good source to compile your own song book from.

Last edited by VintageGibson; 10/21/23 06:54 PM. Reason: additional info
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Bought my wife one, she was learning. I picked it up and was playing in no time. easy to learn chords. sounds great. I nice KOA body and built in electronics. great to sing along to. I might learn it a little better.


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I've got one. I've also got a mandolin. I tend to play the mandolin more.

A friend of mine has a mandolin and his wife got interested in learning to play an instrument and decided on the ukulele. She's in a ukulele band and they go out to different events and perform.

Maybe I should tune up the uke and give it a shot. Maybe not.


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I kind-of play a uke.
I started a few months back and persuaded Sue also to have a go. She always protests "but I can't read music, you know that!". For the record, I'm also pretty poor at reading. You don't have to read to be able to strum chords and sing along.

So we both do a bit; we go to a local ukulele jam session and it's quite good fun. We tried here to get a local U3A group going, but with too few takers.


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Thanks a lot folks for all the replies which were very helpful. Looks like the Uke is getting even more popular, and is fun to learn and play.

Now if I didn't hear that group playing I wouldn't be even asking for advice or even thinking of buying one. So it seems the groups themselves are even making the Uke more popular by just going out to perform.

When you think about it how often do you see a group of thirty or forty people in a public place playing only guitars.

Vintage has given some good advice and I will now buy a tenor rather than a baritone, I can see the point its neither a guitar or standard ukulele and will sound differently to a standard Uke with its guitar like tuning.

Its great to know there are classes where I live, so definitely will be keeping that in mind, thanks a lot for the invite.

Now back to browsing ukes on Amazon, not the greatest I know for delivering instruments well packed.

Last edited by musiclover; 10/22/23 02:51 PM.

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Originally Posted by musiclover
Vintage has given some good advice and I will now buy a tenor rather than a baritone, I can see the point its neither a guitar or standard ukulele and will sound differently to a standard Uke with its guitar like tuning.
I'd planned to buy a baritone, but visited the local uke sessions and tried several instruments. In practice I found both tenor and concert were generally OK and even soprano didn't seem too small for my rather chunky fingers (I have trouble with synth keyboards where I can play F#, G and Ab with just one finger on the G).

I ended up buying from a ukulele-dedicated store here in the UK, having been by the "we know how to set them up properly and we do set them all up properly" pitch. Their prices were reasonable, they didn't sell junk and postage was included. I used southernukulelestore.co.uk but I think others are likely also good. They have very useful video reviews.


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Thanks Gordon, that sure looks like an Aladdins Cave of Uke's.


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Originally Posted by musiclover
Thanks Gordon, that sure looks like an Aladdins Cave of Uke's.
They go in and out of stock a bit, so the reviews aren't always up to date. Alex also runs a YouTube channel "Ukes with Alex".
The other well specialist dealer I know here is WorldOfUkes.co.uk. I don't know if there's comparable in Ireland. A web search shows plenty of dealers and the like.

As a total beginner with ukulele I also find the playalongs useful. I rather like one on YouTube, aimed a children, called ukulaliens.

USGB.co.uk has good info and song-sheets. doctoruke.com ozbcoz.com gotaukulele.com
enough :-)


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You guys may get a smile out of this. The ridiculous debate over how to correctly pronounce ukulele" rages on... And I have seen it in person!

"OOK-a-leh-lay?"


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Originally Posted by eddie1261
You guys may get a smile out of this. The ridiculous debate over how to correctly pronounce ukulele" rages on... And I have seen it in person!

"OOK-a-leh-lay?"
Hehe. FWIW, I personally always try to defer to the pronunciation in the original language/dialect for any word. The obvious exception is in Xhosa, because like most non-native speakers I just can't get those clicks to work. laugh


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"Hehe. FWIW, I personally always try to defer to the pronunciation in the original language/dialect for any word."

Following that logic do you pronunce Paris as Paree, Munich as Munchen or Minga in Bavarian dialect?
Try this placename for a laugh; Ahoghill. smile

Musiclover, check out gotaukulele.com.
Baz is UK based and has been reviewing ukes for a few years and seems pretty honest in his reviews.
He also has a few articles on what to look for and what to avoid.

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Got a £50 tenor arriving from Amazon tomorrow, not a big outlay and I'll see how I get on with it.
Can always get a better one if I decide it's worthwhile.

I have got a few good deals in guitars from Amazon in the past, good enough playable instruments, only caveat is Amazon simply don't know how to package an instrument, they will more or less send it in a cardboard box without any packing or bubble wrap and in a lot of cases it's in pieces when the buyer gets it, happened once with me.

So hopefully this cheapish one will survive the journey. Will have a look at a few Uke's on that website Vintage.

Last edited by musiclover; 10/25/23 12:48 AM.

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Originally Posted by VintageGibson
"Hehe. FWIW, I personally always try to defer to the pronunciation in the original language/dialect for any word."

Following that logic do you pronunce Paris as Paree, Munich as Munchen or Minga in Bavarian dialect?
Try this placename for a laugh; Ahoghill. smile
Well, there was a try in my sentence, but yes I would prefer to pronounce Paree and Munchen (though Munich of course is an anglicised spelling). I try. Quite hard. In reality there are several languages with which I sometimes struggle ... some Dutch words and many eastern European words, but I try. My guess on Ahoghill wasn't far from the online pronunciation I found, but I have to presume that was reasonably correct (aHOh'l)


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While we're completely off topic, when I visited I was reminded by the local fraternity that 'Munchen' was the correct pronunciation, and I respect that they could offer their own help to correct my mistaken dialog.

A fantastic city, by the way. Absolutely enjoyable.

Now, back to the main program....


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Well arrived in one piece today better packed than I thought it would be, seems a nice little instrument has a mahogany body, very light, I was a bit apprehensive tuning it up, as I have never tuned anything up to A 440 before. Had a little play around with it, glad I didn't go for any of the smaller sizes than the tenor.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B78PGRK?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

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Looks pretty good.
From the photo it seems to be strung re-entrant, if you decide to go linear you may need to widen the G string nut slot.
Good luck.
Vintage

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