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Old 09-13-2017, 07:10 PM
DaBoz DaBoz is offline
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Default Uke puchase help for friend

A friend, who plays no instruments, what's to get a uke.... I know nothing myself and he's asking for some help on his purchase.

I see tenor, concert etc.... what's a good starting uke, type etc????

TIA!!
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by DaBoz View Post
A friend, who plays no instruments, what's to get a uke.... I know nothing myself and he's asking for some help on his purchase.

I see tenor, concert etc.... what's a good starting uke, type etc????

TIA!!
Hi DB

The soprano and alto Ukulele are tuned at the same intervals, but different notes, as a guitar (GCEA), with the G string an octave higher than on a guitar.

The tenor and baritone ukes are tuned just like the top four strings of a guitar (DGBE) and on the baritone uke in particular, you don't raise the D string an octave.

So the chords are named and fingered identically to playing them on a guitar (important if you as a friend are going to help him learn anything).

We keep a couple Baritone ukulele here at the house and I use them when teaching chord inversions to students. It's fun, and it's nearly impossible to make a uke sound sad (they always sound so happy).

Decent wooden ukes can be had as inexpensively as $60, or $100 and up for baritone ukes. Amazon carries them all (and strings and other supplies). My Kala (all mahogany) was $90 and my OscarSchmidt (Rosewood/Spruce) $150.

Soprano ukes are about 21" long, and baritone ukes about 32" long.

The OscarSchmidt lives in our living room and hangs on the wall, and gets played the most of our two. I had hoped my grandsons would be interested, but so far not. I may take one along on vacation again this year and see if them being a couple years down the road has made any difference in their interest. If there is interest, the Kala will likely live with them.

Hope this helps.



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Old 09-14-2017, 07:50 AM
CASD57 CASD57 is offline
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My All Mahogany MaKala Baritone(MK-B) cost $85 on amazon came setup perfect....
Lots of fun included for free

Good to know the Tenor is stringed the same...

The song in my signature is something new I played through my computer..on the Baritone Ukulele which is new to me also...
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:29 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
...The soprano and alto Ukulele are tuned at the same intervals, but different notes, as a guitar (GCEA), with the G string an octave higher than on a guitar.

The tenor and baritone ukes are tuned just like the top four strings of a guitar (DGBE) and on the baritone uke in particular, you don't raise the D string an octave...
Soprano and concert (alto) ukes are indeed tuned gCEA, as are tenor ukes in standard tuning; while they can be tuned to baritone DGBE with an appropriate set of strings, the drop-G or low-G tuning - where the fourth string is tuned like the third string of the guitar - is far more common. Just to muddy the waters further there are also alternative baritone string sets that allow for re-entrant (high-D) tuning, as well as "Irish uke" GDAE like an octave mando or Irish tenor banjo...

BTW our own Earl Mullins (Earl49) runs an excellent website for uke players (www.boiseukulelegroup.com) - highly recommended for beginning/intermediate players looking to get off to a good start...
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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 09-14-2017 at 09:20 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:32 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I like a tenor in gCEA-- doesn't feel too tiny, but truly has the ukulele character.

You have to go reentrant with the tuning...that's the heart and soul of uke.

Playing the uke has had a nice side effect for me too--I'm becoming a transposing wiz.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:05 AM
DaBoz DaBoz is offline
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Larry, thanks for taking the time for the explanation!
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:43 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
...BTW our own Earl49 runs an excellent website for uke players (www.boiseukulelegroup.com) - highly recommended for beginning/intermediate players looking to get off to a good start...

PS: I fixed the minor typo in that link when quoting.
Mahalo for the kind words, Steve. The "Buying Your First Ukulele" handout should be applicable here. http://www.boiseukulelegroup.com/instruction.html

My primary tenor ukulele is tuned with a low G string -- GCEA, but my second tenor is tuned re-entrant with a high G as the 4th string -- gCEA. They give slightly different tone characters. I generally prefer the low G version, because it gives me three more notes on the low end when playing melodies. It also gives me a strong low note when doing boom-chuck in 3/4 rhythm while leading the group jams. But ukulele genius Jake Shimabukuro plays a high G tenor, so that tuning is not limiting in any way. I can play the smaller ones, but the tenor just feels right to me.

We have people in our group that put slightly different strings on their tenors and tune to baritone tuning -- DGBE. It works fine, and they do it because they want to, or already have some guitar background. The big difference is that when playing in a group, baritone folks cannot just look at others to get the chord shapes. The tenor / concert / soprano "G" ukulele chord shape is the "D" chord shape on a baritone or a guitar, because the tuning is a fourth higher.

I play a tenor because of my fairly large hands, and it is less of a transition from guitar fret spacing. My wife (and many women) prefer the slightly smaller concert size. Basically mama bear and papa bear sizes.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:49 PM
CASD57 CASD57 is offline
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Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Mahalo for the kind words, Steve. The "Buying Your First Ukulele" handout should be applicable here. http://www.boiseukulelegroup.com/instruction.html

My primary tenor ukulele is tuned with a low G string -- GCEA, but my second tenor is tuned re-entrant with a high G as the 4th string -- gCEA. They give slightly different tone characters. I generally prefer the low G version, because it gives me three more notes on the low end when playing melodies. It also gives me a strong low note when doing boom-chuck in 3/4 rhythm while leading the group jams. But ukulele genius Jake Shimabukuro plays a high G tenor, so that tuning is not limiting in any way. I can play the smaller ones, but the tenor just feels right to me.

We have people in our group that put slightly different strings on their tenors and tune to baritone tuning -- DGBE. It works fine, and they do it because they want to, or already have some guitar background. The big difference is that when playing in a group, baritone folks cannot just look at others to get the chord shapes. The tenor / concert / soprano "G" ukulele chord shape is the "D" chord shape on a baritone or a guitar, because the tuning is a fourth higher.

I play a tenor because of my fairly large hands, and it is less of a transition from guitar fret spacing. My wife (and many women) prefer the slightly smaller concert size. Basically mama bear and papa bear sizes.

I'll have to chime in here about Earl49 web site....Lots of excellent info...It's my go to now.
As a beginner Ukulele player it's been a great place for info..
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:01 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally Posted by DaBoz View Post
A friend, who plays no instruments, wants to get a uke....
FWIW, I often tell people that ukulele is the easiest fretted instrument to learn. Nylon strings, so not hard on tender fingertips. Only four strings, so everything is simpler. And it's fun!

I do a two-minute lesson where:
"one finger is the chord of C"
"two fingers ins the chord F"
and "three fingers is the G7 chord".
With those three chords, you can play literally thousands of tunes.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:03 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally Posted by CASD57 View Post
As a beginner Ukulele player it's been a great place for info..
Thank you for the kind words, too. We hope to see you at one of our group jams soon. Monday SEP 25 is the next one, and there is safety in numbers. I have a 100% survival rate at jams..... [gentle hint]
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:31 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
FWIW, I often tell people that ukulele is the easiest fretted instrument to learn. Nylon strings, so not hard on tender fingertips. Only four strings, so everything is simpler. And it's fun!

I do a two-minute lesson where:
"one finger is the chord of C"
"two fingers ins the chord F"
and "three fingers is the G7 chord".
With those three chords, you can play literally thousands of tunes.
I teach it the same way! Ain't that a beautiful thing?
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:12 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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The only simpler way that I have encountered is what James Hill does for his beginning classes. He uses D7 and G6 to start.

strings 4321 from top to bottom (relative to the ceiling)
--D7 = 2020
--G6 = 0202

These are fret positions, not finger locations.

This gives a jazzy version of the I chord (G6) and the V chord (D7) for the key of G with the same shape, just shifted back and forth laterally. That works great too -- easily understood by most players, and not much "target practice" for new unsure fingers. Jambalaya is a great starting song, or "How Much is that Doggie in the Window".
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Old 09-14-2017, 07:46 PM
DaBoz DaBoz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
FWIW, I often tell people that ukulele is the easiest fretted instrument to learn. Nylon strings, so not hard on tender fingertips. Only four strings, so everything is simpler. And it's fun!.
Thanks for your input... I've sent him a link to your site.... 👍👍
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:07 AM
joeguam joeguam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
FWIW, I often tell people that ukulele is the easiest fretted instrument to learn. Nylon strings, so not hard on tender fingertips. Only four strings, so everything is simpler. And it's fun!



I do a two-minute lesson where:

"one finger is the chord of C"

"two fingers ins the chord F"

and "three fingers is the G7 chord".

With those three chords, you can play literally thousands of tunes.

Yup, I throw in the Am in there too when I teach the first lesson. "You Are My Sunshine" is also a great beginner song.

I, too, prefer the tenor. I don't have any affiliation, but I just researched for a friend and found the Kala KA-T or the KA-TG to be great ukes and easily found on Amazon.
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Old 09-15-2017, 09:53 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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That is step #2 JoeGuam. Once they get a handle on the basic three chords, I show them that the Am is just the upper half of the F chord. "Make an F chord then point at me with your index finger".

With the Am chord too, I show them the 50's progression -- C-Am-F-G7 and quickly run through snippets of a dozen songs to illustrate how powerful and common that one is. Then turn the progression around or mix it up a little and play songs like "Let It Be" and "Wagon Wheel". And the Iz version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". And "Amazing Grace". And.......

I too like the Kala tenor models, especially the thin body travel ukes. Louder than you would expect, and always set-up well and intonated correctly.
https://kalabrand.com/collections/travel-ukes
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