The baritone ukulele is a little bit of an outlier in the uke family of instruments. It is quite a bit bigger than the other three standard sizes, sounds out with quite a bit more bass than the others and not as much bright, fun sound the uke is known for. Standard baritone ukulele tuning is even different than the other three!
This does leave the baritone uke in sort of a no mans land between the ukulele and the guitar. We actually love this. We feel like this gives the baritone ukulele a special place that neither of the other two instrument fills.
The Baritone ukulele are also a great transitional instrument if you want to switch either from uke to guitar or the other way around. The baritone ukulele is much closer to the guitar than the soprano, concert or tenor.
In this guide we’ll cover the ins and outs of baritone ukulele tuning. If you don’t have your baritone uke yet, check out our detailed buyers guide to get the best instrument possible!
Standard Baritone Ukulele Tuning
Tuning a baritone ukulele is completely different than tuning any other type of ukulele. Standard baritone ukulele tuning is DGBE, the actual notes being D3 G3 B3 E4, from low to high. Those familiar with guitar tuning will notice that these four notes are the same as the highest four notes on a guitar in open position.
Thanks the the baritone ukulele standard tuning being this way, transitioning from four strings to guitar chords to baritone ukulele chords is fairly easy. Much easier than transitioning from smaller ukuleles to the baritone.
When tuning your baritone ukulele, it is important to start with the strings loose on your instrument. As you tune, you can tighten the strings until you hear the correct pitch. The sound will appear to be hollow in a way with no “warble” or squealing type sound being emitted.
Alternate Tuning for Baritone Ukuleles
There are many other ways to do baritone ukulele tuning in a way that is re-entrant as the standard method is non-reentrant. The first is to tune it in the order of G-C-E-A just like other ukuleles are. Another method is to turn the ukulele to D G B E with the D an octave higher.
To tune your baritone uke to GCEA, you will have to use a standard set of ukulele strings than what is on baritone instruments when you buy them. If you are tuning the second alternate way, you will have to replace the D string that is thinner to get the desired sound.
Using a Capo to Get Standard Tuning
To go from standard baritone uke tuning to standard ukulele tuning all you need to do is put a capo on the fifth fret of the baritone ukulele. When you do this, you will see that the exposed notes are G-C-E-A. These chords change the tuning on your baritone ukulele to match those on a soprano, concert or tenor ukulele.
Some capos allow you to adjust how hard the product is holding on to the strings on your ukulele. if you clamp the capoo down to hard, it can pull and damage the strings on your baritone ukulele.
How to Tune a Baritone Ukulele
Tune Your Ukulele By Ear
The first and most basic way to tune your baritone ukulele is by ear. You will first tune the top string to D that is below middle C. Loosen the string, then tighten until the sound is identical.
Match the pitch of the G string next to other pitch that is found when you pluck the D string. From there, you will pluck the B string to match the pitch of the G string. Finally, tune the bottom E string until it matches the pitch of the B string that you just tuned.
Some people can do this naturally, while others will acquire the skill and the ear for it after playing for months or even years.
Tune With The Help of Another Instrument
One of the easiest instruments to use to tune your baritone ukulele is the piano, another ukulele, or a guitar. This is great if you are in a band so that even if one instrument is slightly out of tune, they’ll still sound right when played together.
You will be utilizing the pitch of the D that is below middle C to match the top string. To match the second string, you will go to the next G on the piano. Matching the third string will be matched to the B that comes next on the piano. Finally, you will match the bottom string to the E that is past the B that you just played on the piano, ensuring that the pitch matches for all four strings.
Electronic Tuner for Ukuleles
You can use an electronic tuner that is marketed to be used on the guitar. You will turn the electronic tuner on, ensuring that the microphone is one to recognize the notes that are being played.
You will tighten each of the strings that are on your baritone ukulele until they are matching with the notes E4, B3, G3 and D3.
At the end, you can listen to the tunes you created via plucking the strings on your instrument to ensure the pitch is correct on all four strings as well.
The Final Note
The baritone ukulele is a fun instrument that gives you the best of both worlds. It is small, portable and bright sounding like the uke is known for, but also brings with it the sound, bass and feel of a small guitar.
Last update on 2021-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API