Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Guido Introduces "Douglas"

"OK, I guess I should give you some Information about my Resonator Baritone: It was made by a guy in Britain, called Gary. After an accident he couldn't play the guitar anymore, so he started to build small 4 string instruments that he still can play and he tried to get as close as possible to the sound of a steelstring guitar... The body of the uke is made of birch plywood, neck is solid Maple, all handmade. He also spun the cone by himself. It's a 7" cone, which is rather unique. Gary told me once that there have been more people on the moon than people with a 7" resonator in their instruments! The scale is 21" and it is equipped with Martin steelstrings. The sound is typical resonator and it is LOUD. The loudest uke I've ever heard, including banjoleles. One thing to consider is that the uke has to be warmed up. I'm not quite sure, but I guess the selfmade cone may be not as thin as the factory made. It takes about 15 minutes until the cone is really warm and starts to sing. I guess that's something you have to live with, when playing a unique Instrument. When I posted a picture of this uke in the German Ukulele Club, a guy wrote that it looks like somebody sprayed "Life, the Universe and Everything" on the Body. Therefore I named the Uke "Douglas", although instruments usually have female names. I've attached a colored picture also, so that you know what I'm talking about."

Thanks Guido!

Monday, November 29, 2010

PHOTO: Guido with some Bari Music Videos

Guido is a member of the German Ukulele Club and he has shared quite a few photos with me a little while back. The oversized Bari on the left is a steelstring uke and is all solid oak. He named it “Leila.” The next picture is Guido with the Reso-Bari and his dogs. I have some photos that I'll post along with a video of it being played.

Guido is also a friend to Dirk a.k.a. MagumbisMonkey who has had a few baritone ukulele videos shared here on Humble Baritonics.

I have found that the German Ukulele Club has a link to the Bulletin Board section. I have been on the chat section a few times and have always found someone glad to communicate in english. The time zone difference makes it so that I usually try just when everyone is about to go to sleep. The site is in german but is well worth digging through. The link: German Ukulele Club B.B.

BigIsleSmile || Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol Cover)

Michelle Blades || Bari & Voice

Friday, November 26, 2010

outaspaceman || Beheld

Here's a nice jam session... Bari, Glockenspiel, Guitar, Voice

Sourdough Slim || Plays a Baritone Ukulele Too!

Today Wendy and I went to Sonora, California to the 36th Annual Sonora Christmas Festival. We were on the hunt for some great Christmas gifts, good food and music. This festival has non-stop entertainment. I wanted to see Sourdough Slim again because he has that western clean corny humor that'll make you chuckle and he is an amazing yodeling cowboy. Sourdough was performing with Robert Armstrong of the Cheap Suit Serenaders.

I made it to the first performance in time to get the last seat in the front row. Robert was set and ready and Slim was bringing in his instruments and much to my delight he pulled out a baritone ukulele (as pictured above) and began to tune it! He also plays Guitar, Harmonica, and Accordian. Sourdough tuned every instrument probably because the weather has been so much colder recently. Robert played the Lap Steel, Guitar, Banjo and Saw.

Hey! -- found them performing with Baritone Ukulele & Saw!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BOOK || Jim D'Ville || The Natural Way to MUSIC

Jim co-writes this Layman's music theory book with Bill Keith. It expounds on the basics of music in a clear and concise way. I found myself having a few "a-ha" and "that's a good idea moments" while reading. There's a logic and a mathematics to music that once understood can really open doors to playing without a sheet of paper. There is also a considerable amount devoted to Solfege ear training which should be suspected since Jim has a blog entitled, Play "Ukulele by Ear." Here's a partial list of contents:

This spiral bound book has 56 pages. I just bought another copy as a Christmas gift for my #1 playing buddy and friend. I can say this here because he only plays sopranos and never looks at Humble Baritonics... but he says he's keeping his eyes open for a Bari!

...And How Do You Feel When U Play?

Montana Muse
Do think this chapeau will catch on w/ Bari players?

despairtonohair || Let It Be

Here's Andrew playing some Beatles...

Well done.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bueno Chen || Dancing in the Moonlight || Baritone Ukulele

POLL: daddystovepipe || Going Down South

This Cigar Box "Guitar" is a 4 stringer -- Do you want to see these types of videos included in this Baritone Ukulele blog or do you feel that these are too different to be relevant to your Bari playing? Are you interested in using a slide in your playing?

woodcutter610328 (Nova Scotia) || Baritone Ukulele Video

I saw this video and wondered why I had missed it. The answer was that it had only been posted for 37 minutes! But there were more from Woodcutter Stephen from Nova Scotia. He's jammin' with Brother Sonny (Doogey9, Todd Baio) to It Ain't Gonna Rain No More. It kind of embarrassing to find that you've missed out on a friend's videos. Great idea to play along with Todd. I need to give it a go!

Monday, November 22, 2010

BOOK || Ukulele Slack Key || David Heaukulani

It has been a while since I posted a book on Humble Baritonics. I would like to have this site a bit more organized. Google Blogger offers a very clean blog format that has many possible upgrades but there are also several limitations. Hopefully, you're enjoying the blog just fine. I have posted a few videos of UkeUncle and some Ukulele Slack Key. I found this book for sale on eBay or Amazon a while back and my Inner Consumer just had to have it.

This book works for both GCEA ukuleles AND DGBE Baritone ukuleles. There are 152 numbered pages in the book and it notes that there are videos on the internet that the book works with. UkeUncle plays a Baritone Ukulele in these videos. The slack key tuning for the Baritone is DGBD which is a very minor adjustment! This book is suitable for anyone wishing to learn but very well suited to an intermediate player.

Anne Murray || A Bari Beginning...

There is a lengthy history of Anne Murray in the YT comments. It is a nice read. She was from Nova Scotia. The video doesn't have a Bari image or soundtrack but it is a beautiful distraction.

"After high school, Anne spent a year at Mount Saint Vincent University, a Catholic women's college in Halifax. Her next stop was the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, where she studied Physical Education. Her passion for music continued. Her university friends talked her into auditioning for "Singalong Jubilee", a popular CBC television show. She took along her baritone ukulele to the audition."

rosepose88 || Lonesome Polecat

THIS ONE IS TERRIFIC. Beautiful voices...

"This performance was captured on December 4, 2008, just a few minutes after these four singer-songwriters finished a show at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA. The singers are (clockwise from left) Rose Cousins, Jennifer Kimball, Anne Heaton, and Rose Polenzani. "Lonesome Polecat" is originally featured in the musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954). Rose Polenzani plays baritone ukulele and Rose Cousins plays mandola. Puppet & set construction, video footage & editing by Rose Polenzani. Puppet animation by Rose Polenzani with the help of Jess (hound dog) Fox and Nicole (hoot owl) Soriano for the trio scenes. Thanks to Bobby and Nicole for feedback on the puppets."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ronnie from Botswana

I know this isn't Bari BUT this MAN is a joy to watch...

I updated this video. The other YT account had this wonderful player as a woman. Guido did some further research and it turns out that this player is from Botswana, Africa and indeed is a man not a woman as indicated in the previous video. Well man or woman -- I still enjoyed the playing. Thanks Guido!

eBay Solid Body Baritone Ukulele

Jupiter Creek Baritone Ukulele

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PHOTO: Howie, Maisy & Marley

Howie & Maisy with Bari & Marley

I feel really fortunate to have come across Howie and his Baritone Ukulele Tutorials. He played guitar in bands but says he lost his passion for playing and stopped playing for 12 years. But his son is playing guitar and his daughter Maisy has a teacher that bought a lot of ukuleles and is teaching the kids at the school in Wales. The teacher also started a FaceBook group called Ukuleles R Us. These tutorials are done for the music teacher.

Howie has his own way of doing things in his tutorials. He started off displaying his T-shirt Philosophy collection followed by computer generated cartoon images that synchronize with his head and body movements. But if you look at the TUTOR page (up above) you will find that he's playing many of the songs that young students might be listening to right now. For example, the song Forget You was on the U.S. TV show Glee last night.

I like the way that he gives his lessons along with strum patterns and sometimes while listening to the song while instructing.


Does anybody recognize this Bari?

Cheryl "Rockettedog" || Is You Is or Is You Aint My Baby

imunition || William Tell Overture on Baritone Ukulele

I like Imogen's YouTube Channel's background paper. It has a picture of the rift between the space-time continuum as seen on the BBC's Doctor Who. Here's a high energy Bari performance.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PHOTO: UkuleleLarry Sings with his Kamaka Baritone Ukulele

Larry D. has posted a just a few songs but has made a special niche for himself on YouTube singing soulfully with his Kamaka Baritone Ukulele. I am not surprised to find out that Larry is professional performer. I think the deeper LowDGBE baritone ukulele sound accentuates his voice wonderfully.

Larry has a distinctive history as a singer, educator, professional and writer. I appreciate his photo contribution and everyone who has taken the time to share a picture of themselves with their baritones. Many people are getting together to share music due to the accessibility of this humble ukulele. YouTube has really allowed many new connections to be made around the world -- it is amazing! But it also feels so ordinary as we are propelled with newer and newer technologies.

Here's another new one from Larry, doing a Joni Mitchell cover.

And Larry added a little history...

"I've been a singer all my life; and growing up in the 1960s and 70s, I'm of the generation where everybody and their pet poodle owned a guitar. I owned one, too, but I never learned to play it even passably well: I always felt like I was wrestling the guitar and the guitar was winning. I sang in small clubs and cabarets (in Southern California, mostly) in the 1980s and 90s, accompanied by hired pianists or combos - I never self-accompanied in public. I picked up the (soprano) uke in 1998, after stumbling into one of Jim Beloff's "Uke-Topia" concerts at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica (California). It was like coming home. I loved the size of it, and the fact that there were only four strings to deal with. For the first time, I became a one-man band, at 40. I played the uke circuit for several years, singing rock-era pop covers and the occasional folksy original. But because I'm a first tenor, my high singing voice and the GCEA-tuned uke always seemed (to me, anyway) like a whole lot of treble. One day at a uke jam, a fellow handed me his baritone uke; a few strums later, I knew I'd finally found my axe - the sound of the guitar with the user-friendliness of the ukulele."

Thanks for sharing your story Larry. Jeff a.k.a. Humble Uker

Sara Bareilles ||

Sara Bareilles sings a cover of Radiohead's "Nice Dream" at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles (Sept. 28, 2010)

Here's a site UKULELE TABS with Sara's songs. Notice the words "xxxx" throughout!

Monday, November 15, 2010

ukeuncle || Custom Double D Slack Key Specific Baritone Ukulele

This Bari is very beautifully made by ukeuncle. He gives a little sampling and it has a great Hawaiian sound. Does anyone know ukeuncle or Lopaka? Would be nice to hear more from this instrument.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Humble Baritonics wants to display a wide range of music. So I added the small video boxes at the right hand side column of this blog. I am not trying to support any specific agenda I just want to have a theme so that I can vary the boxes and regularly update them. Gospel music has been done by several Bari players and I thought, what a shame to change them without have a place to remember what I had done already. I've already done three themes before coming up with this idea so there may be some repeats. Your theme inputs are welcome!

#3 -- andellzov -- Disabled!

gc1968 || Original Songs on Baritone Ukulele


Obion County Fire

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lew Dite || Menuett

This beautiful piece Lew Dite learned from Wilfried Welti. In the second part of the video Lew plays a Chinese erhu.

61169janjan || I Can't Stop Loving You (Baritone Ukulele Cover)

If you listen to this song on headphones you'll notice the voice switching back and forth to each ear like it's passing thru the center of your head. Reminds me of listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer records in the late 1970's.

Friday, November 12, 2010

PHOTO: Guido & Resonator Baritone Ukulele

Guido with "Douglas"

Received an e-mail from Guido who responded to my request to have Bari players share photos of themselves with their baritone ukuleles. He has a Montana look but actually lives in Germany. Here's a copy of his e-mail describing his instruments...

Hi Jeff,

I just stumbled into your blog and really like it. I have been playing the baritone uke for almost a year now. I started with concert and tenor ukes. I still play them sometime, but the baritone is my favorite. Currently, I have three of them and two are really unusual. My "ordinary" one is a Ortega Baritone. I like it, but don't play it too often. My "working horses" are two handmade ukes with a scale of 21" and steel strings. Maybe more a tenor guitar than a baritone uke. But the tuning is the same and due to the wider neck and the scale, I call them baritone ukes. You asked for pictures of people with their ukes, so here is one of me with "Douglas", my resonator baritone.

Here is also the link to my Youtube-Channel:


Regards from Cologne, Germany

Humble Uker || Strumming "Arthur Godfrey" Vega Baritone

I was at the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz yesterday for a club meeting. Bob Rainey is a person I seek out because he always has a new or used instrument to share. He had this Arthur Godfrey model Vega Baritone Ukulele that he bought on eBay really cheap!

photo credit: Ryan Guetersloh

This uke was a bit rough when he received it and Bob sanded and refinished it. Some previous owner must have cut and reset the neck which is noticeable at close inspection and creates a minor angle where the neck meets the body. Bob also strung the uke with Worth Clear Low-G UNWOUND strings. I just had to test it out using Howie's intro for Nirvana's Come As You Are.

I am not able to state whether I think these unwound strings are ideal. That slight angle in the neck would give me some G-string "slap" whenever I gave it a good pluck. Worth makes a clear set and a brown set. Ron Hale did some research and found them for sale at the Elderly Instuments site.

Reentrant Baritone Ukulele (video in French)

Ukulele Baryton
Uploaded by nounouth. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

Thanks to Armelle (Ukuleles & Languages) for sending the link.

palauni1 || Hotel California

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ukulele Boudoir ==> Ukulelia ==> Humble Baritonics ==> You

There seems to be a kinship between bloggers. We all spend time hunting around the world and the internet searching for the latest and greatest on this humble instrument. Perhaps, in kindergarten, we were enthusiastic about "show-n-tell." Perhaps we just get excited about what we find and we just want to share. Very often the comments made on a blog come from others that also do blogs.

This video was brought to my attention by Gary of Ukulelia. It turns out that he lives within 20 miles of me yet I don't recall ever meeting him at any festival or other ukulele gathering. And Gary was perusing another blog called Ukulele Boudoir which is a French language blog.

The World is Waiting for a Sunrise (1919) [Baritone with GCEA Tuning]


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Armelle0808 || Maelström (Baritone Ukulele Original)

Armelle does a blog called Ukuleles & Languages. I have subcribed to her posts and was surprised to see that she has just received a beautiful Pono baritone ukulele. You can read her story here.

Listen to her "sweet nothings"...

Armelle writes, "I didn’t have the patience to take the time to re-learn all the chords so I’ve just tried some chord shapes I use on my concert uke and made up a melody as I went along, experimenting on intensity, picking and strumming. I’ve actually used a lot of the fingerpicking I do on my concert uke and that gives it a completely different feel on the baritone. I love the way you can play on volume and emphasise mood changes in your music with the baritone."

Listening to Armelle play I feel the emotion of her simple improvisation. The low string allows for another emotion when called upon. Her delicate touch and strum variations give it the feel of a classical composition.

Dobro33H || A Few Great tutorials

I came across Patrick by accident but really love his videos teaching strums on the guitar. I wanted to create a new page for STRUMS and started with a few tutorials. Patrick presents these techniques with great enthusiasm and simplicity. Most of his videos are for the banjo but there's a small selection for the guitar that I think are applicable to Bari. Patrick has nearly 5000 subscribers.

Mississippi John Hurt - Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me

Nine Pound Hammer

I like this one too, look here. Even some of the banjo work is applicable. He moves on into guitar mode after a while.

UKukeman || Baritone Ukulele

Mike & Angelo || Sans Bari & Showing Some More Entertainment Skills

Mike & Angelo are a recent Bari find. In this video sets aside his bari to entertain the crowd. This gets better and better as it moves along.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Belinda Underwood || It's All About the Gold

This Post Needs some further research, enjoy the videos for now...

Belinda performs her original song, "It's All About The Gold", for the Thursday Songwriter Roundup at Artichoke Music in Portland, OR. More at her site

PHOTO: Katharine Whalen

We've come across more about Katharine. Well Ron is always up for a challenge and had remembered seeing her with a Bari in a photo. Turns out Ukulala blog had a nice long article dated July 22, 2008, here...

Katharine Whalen, Chris Phillips & Bari
(Now is this a Bari obsession?)

Image from

Katharine also has a MySpace Music page. Sometimes these hunts fell like a bit of an overkill. But there's a challenge that makes it so rewarding. I was listening to quite a bit of swing music for a while and even took some West Coast swing dances with my wife Wendy. The Squirrel nut Zippers were definitely on of the top modern swing bands. Katharine has a new band called the Parlour Folk Troup, link

TODD (Doogey 9) || If I Had a Hammer

Katharine Whalen || The Virgin Song (Is Bari Sneakin' Around in Here Too?)

Super sleuth and recent Bari player, Ron Hale, has done some searching since the recent post of the Squirrel Nut Zippers to find Katharine Whalen actually playing a Bari. This music video has Katharine playing two instruments. The YT comments only mention the tenor guitar but there are quick scenes in which we believe she's playing a black baritone ukulele. See these time frames 2:09, 2:26, 2:51-2:55, 3:09. What do you think? Is Kat out there? Will she tell?

Danielle Ate the Sandwich || Ridin' Solo on Baritone Ukulele

Danielle plays a sparkling Mya-Moe Baritone Ukulele.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Squirrel Nut Zippers || Put a Lid on It

"Put A Lid On It" can be found on the 1996 Squirrel Nut Zippers album "Hot" and features: James Mathus: Vocals, Guitar, Tenor Banjo, Piano; Tom Maxwell: Vocals, Guitar, Baritone Saxophone, Clarinet, Resonator, Chandelier; Ken Mosher: Guitar, Alto and Baritone Saxophone, Baritone Ukulele, Vocals; Chris Phillips: Contraption Kit, Percussion, Announcement; Don Raleigh: String Bass, Gong; Katharine Whalen: Vocals, Banjo, Baritone Ukulele; Clay Walker: Multimedia; Duke Heitger: Cornet; Andrew Bird: Violin.

I love swing music too. You may have noted that Ken Mosher & Katherine Whalen are noted to play the Baritone Ukulele on this album. I tried my good friend Google looking for a photo -- I think I found one but it was way too small and the link was no longer working. If you come across one please share it!

tomasdrgon || Lavutari (Old Romani Song on the Bari)

Barilicious!!! Something new from something old. I love when new players pop up with something new and off the beaten path. This is a treat, thanks Tomas.

I appears to me that this Bari has all nylon strings. I have checked with a few readers/contributors and it appears that Worth makes two sets: brown or clear. These can be found at http://elderly.com/accessories/cats/STUK.html If anyone has tried them then please leave a comment below.

DIVERSION || 1834 Martin Guitar

adam2180 || Beansprout Bari Uke Show-n-Tell

Canadian Adam has a prototype Beansprout Bari Uke make by Aaron Keim. This is a quickie review, pick & strum. It sounds good! Aaron Keim is a member of Boulder Accoustic Society and the band has made it through Mike DaSilva's shop in Berkeley a few times. If you get a chance to see them perform you will surely enjoy them if Aaron remains a strong influence. Their site is http://boulderacousticsociety.net/ and they seem to have changed since the first time I saw them -- Aaron appears to be the only original member.

Monday, November 1, 2010

PHOTO: Nikki Darlin of "Those Darlins"

Nikki Darlin @ Tap Room – SXSW 2009 (Photo – Rollo & Grady)

Nikki, Jessi & Kelley
Those Darlins

PHOTO: Cheryl (Rockettedog)

Cheryl posed for Amy Foster with her Baritone Ukulele
and she was kind enough to share this piece with us.

I get the chance here to introduce Cheryl as a person and to share some of her special gifts. She sings professionally with a few different bands but has only been playing ukulele for a few years. She started playing during breaks the band took, and people loved it! I first saw her videos in a format that she calls “The Messy Desk Concert Series” where she gets her talented musician friends to perform with her on YT videos.

Cheryl and I have passed a few e-mails back and forth across the country. I learned that she was in a program which used music to reach struggling teens between the ages of 11 and 14. The "musical therapy" program was paid through a grant. They bought (4) Baritone Ukuleles and removed the low 2 strings off of two guitars. She had four classes and ten students in each class.

Cheryl used her musical background and Bari skills to squeeze a G, Em, C, and D7 out of them. These were kids that had little or no music education. She says, "It was the best thing I've ever done and I want to do more. They all played. Even the ones that vowed they couldn't." She also said there were, “...so many moments through the year really touched my heart! I would play and sing a song or 2 for them every week. Some of the kids had never been sung to before. Really heartbreaking, but they loved it.”