Introduction: Need a Baritone Ukulele? Restring a Guitar!

Picture of Need a Baritone Ukulele?  Restring a Guitar!

My wife and I play in the Diamond Harbour Ukulele Orchestra and for Christmas I've ordered her a baritone ukulele.  If you didn't know, concert ukulele strings are tuned GCEA but baritone ukulele strings are DGBE (same intervals but a 4th lower).  So the chord she is playing would be a C on a concert uke but is a G on a baritone uke.  Clear as mud?

Anyway, she was desperate to practice the baritone ukulele chords so when the real one arrives, she can play with the group.  As luck would have it, we happened to have a guitar with two missing strings.  So if you want a baritone Hackelele, read on....

It's not hard at all, you'll see!

Step 1: Take Off the Two Low Strings

Picture of Take Off the Two Low Strings

OK, a guitar has six strings: E-A-D-G-B-E
A Baritone Uke has four strings: D-G-B-E

So, the top 4 strings are the same.  Just take off the E & A strings (the thicker often metal strings nearest to you when playing) and start playing your baritone ukulele chords!


Step 2: My Wonky Stringing

Picture of My Wonky Stringing

Normally, you would string the top 3 strings on the right tuners and the bottom three on the left tuners, but the guitar had a broken winder so I strung it a bit wonky.

Step 3: It's Completely Reversible

Picture of It's Completely Reversible

My wife's baritone ukulele has arrived so all we need to do is add the E and A strings and we've got a guitar again!

Comments

kenizl86 (author)2013-07-30

I could be wrong, but couldn't you just put some kind of plastic or cloth over the first two strings so you don't have to re-string the guitar every time you wish to use it as a guitar?

I like your idea; as I have not thought about using a guitar as a uke, which is indeed an interesting concept.

raybob (author)2010-11-11

Isn't Uke tuning re-entrant? D, then down a 5th, up a 3rd, then up a 4th? Does this stress the guitar?

tewharau (author)raybob2010-11-11

Good Question(s)

In my experience (which isn't that extensive) Sopranos and Concerts are usually re-entrant. The Tenors go either way and I'd say most Baritones are not re-entrant.

We play in the local Diamond Harbour ukulele orchestra (OK, group) and the Tenors and Baritones are all non-re-entrant which "rounds out" the sound.

As far as tension goes, you could easily do re-entrant tuning on the re-strung guitar; just use another high E string to D or a B string up to D (which ever sounds better). Most guitars are set for much higher tension than ukuleles, and you're only using 4 strings!

I always seem to have more instruments than strings so I've also been doing experiments with flourocarbon & nylon fishing line with success. Once the anglers snag the line or are down to 10 meters, they usually throw them out. Ten meters is a LOT of ukulele string.

Cheers

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Bio: In my free time, I like building and repairing almost anything especially with found or recycled materials.
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