Yes it is. Why is it? Well the ukulele is more popular than ever and many of us that started off with a standard GCEA tuned ukulele have moved beyond the novelty of just playing a few songs with friends to people that have a growing love of music and getting together and playing with friends. People I know are exploring the Kala bass, mandolins, harmonicas, concertinas, lap steels, etc. Some of us now play both the GCEA ukulele and the DGBE baritone ukulele.
Okay but why is it the best time ever for the bari-uke player? I have been doing research on this blog for over two years and I have seen quite a bit of growth. Here's what I'm seeing:
- The Internet allows us access to more music than was ever possible before.
- YouTube allows us to see so many players and a wide variety of genres.
- Bruce Emery's Baritone Ukulele From Scratch is a highly detailed and a fantastic tool for beginner to intermediate players. I highly recommend this book because Bruce's book is jam-packed with information and he moves you along into a better understanding of: simple songs, chord families, essential theory, chord melody, finger-picking, Travis picking, and single note playing. I am finding the book a great value.
- Chordie.com is a website that has an ENORMOUS library of rock music. The site allows you to have chords shown for "baritone" and you can change the scale to suit your voice.
- Roger Ruthen has many tabs for songs made specifically for the baritone ukulele, including: Baritone Ukulele TABS, Flatpicking on the Bari-Uke TABS, and Tri-TAB Universal TABS. Roger has a large selection of Classical and now he's working on some Flatpicking Bluegrass and Christmas TABS.
- Lil Rev has been writing books for the ukulele. I think that 101 Ukulele Licks should be in a baritone ukulele player's library. (I have a book that I have 'adjusted' to show the appropriate chords for a baritone ukulele since it was written for GCEA tuning.) Lil' Rev also has another Baritone Ukulele Method Book upcoming.
- Hal Leonard has also published a Jumpin' Jim songbook called the The Bari Best.
- Glen Rose has made an on-line book and has made it available for purchase. Glen has been doing some great work for people that are interested in Jazz. He has Jazzy Ukulele for the Baritone Ukulele and Jazzy Ukulele Up and Down the Baritone Ukulele Neck.
- Doctor Uke has a website that has many of the old tunes and has them prepared with bari-uke chord boxes. The doctor has a prescription for some challenging chords.
- So you want to build your knowledge of chord variations. I have two books: Fretted Friends - The Baritone Ukulele Chord Bible (2,160 Chords) (To Order) and Hal Leonard's - Baritone Ukulele Chord Finder (Amazon info). But there are some on-line chord finders that can also give you many variations that are impossible to finger, check out The Ukulele Helper and look for the DGBE tuning at the top left hand corner. Play with this a bit. Try turning off a string. Some chords cannot possibly be held by a human hand but I use the tool regularly.
- I have also really enjoyed getting issues of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. The magazines are for the guitar player but there are portions that work very well for the baritone ukulele as well. The magazine has a large number of contributors.
- I have a second blog for the bari-uke called, The Baried DoGBonE. This blog is used to keep information on a band or player within a single blog post for easier referral. I update this irregularly and have some new finds to add.
- (12-12-2011) I have another site that I'd like to make you aware of. Canadian Michael Parmenter has a site called Classical Tabs for the Ukulele. Michael has been posting his arrangements for a couple of years and many are noted as good for low 4th string.
- (12-13-2011) Jen, who shares what she calls "Tutorials for Amateurs" on YouTube also has a blog and has posted some charts as "Gil's Corner Baritone Ukulele Arrangements". Scroll down the page a little below the GCEA chart list. I got the chance to meet Jen at the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz and she also plays the Native American flute.
- (12-14-2011) Another reason why TODAY is the best day to be learning the Baritone Ukulele, and perhaps I should have made this first on my list is because of Alistair Wood and his preeminent blog Ukulele Hunt which is always a source of cleverness and inspiration, i.e. today's posting Chuck Berry Run, Run, Rudolph. Now give that a try on your Bari! [NOTE: Al's site is focused on standard high G GCEA tuning.] If you don't subscribe to Ukulele Hunt as a daily feed you'll be missing the best. Or else be sure to check thru his song charts and tablatures. Al also has made some terrific How to Play Ukulele e-books with sound files. (I own 5 of these.) He's also the author of Ukuleles for Dummies.
- (12-24-2011) There is another cool ukulele song focused website that has a unique twist. The Ukulele Play Along site based in the Netherlands has an eclectic selection of songs. They have a red tuner in the upper left hand corner and you can click "Baritone" to get the DoGBonE tuning, yup D-G-B-E. You get to see a video and a moving bar of chords as they come up. What an excellent idea! Merry Christmas!
Do you have anything that you'd like to add to the mix?