Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Humble Uker || Birmingham Daddy

Well here goes another one. Brace yurselves...

This video is from the November 2011 Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz open mic. night recorded by Sandor .  The song was inspired by Lew Dite who has generously created a vast library of Old-Timey tunes on YouTube. Birmingham Daddy is from 1929 and was sung by Gene Autry.  I asked LD about posting the lyrics for this song about a year ago because I enjoyed the playfulness of the lyrics and the pseudo-yodeling. Can you tell that I’ve never yodeled before? (Perhaps I still haven't)

Cornbread Charlotte is a member of a lodge that I attend in Lafayette, Ca.  She was curious about what I had told her about the UCSC and was ready to join in even before hearing me sing. Along with making the best cornbread I’ve ever tasted, she has great courage and a better memory than I. Clearly, she also brought some style to the performance. Thank you Charlotte – you were spectacular!

Peter and Donna are founding  members of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz. Meetings were held in their home long before the club meetings moving to Bocci’s Cellar. They were very kind and willing to participate in my madness. I thought that their harmonica and spoon expertise would add to the feel of the era so I took a trip down to Santa Cruz and we played and sang the song 5-6 times and they were ready to go. Gracias El Presidente y Mamasita Primero.

Practicing and performing is much more fun than listening to my singing afterwards. I am playing a 1950’s Favilla baritone ukulele with Worth “medium brown” strings, Low D set. The strings are all nylon and I like the tone that they provide. The Favilla has a real deep body (3-3/4”) and a rich tone.

You can find Lew Dite here…
Lew Dite Birmingham Daddy karaoke style

I had fun tweaking around with the song. Sometimes a subtle chord change will make a difference. I got out my chord book and found that a G5 [0033] adds a bit sharper sound. I played around and came up with the intro based on the wonderful line, “If love was liquor and I could drink, I’d be drunk all of the time.”

[If you like the sound of a baritone ukulele, check out my “Humble Baritonics” blog. I find videos, tutorials, photos of players, bands that have bari-uke players, sites with songs, and sites with tablature (TAB) specifically for the baritone ukulele. I also have a second blog called “The Baried DoGBonE” which focuses in on some of the more musical or prolific baritone ukulele players from around the world.]

Practicing and performing is much more fun than listening to my singing afterwards. Any voice teachers out there? Wanna real project?

SKIFFLE - The Jive Aces || Mama Don't Allow

No Bari but some Skiffle to contemplate! The Jive Aces put on a great show.

Thanks Uke Hunt Al for sharing great videos via UkeToob.
Since, I'm off the Bari for a moment I would like to share a "Perspective" I heard on KQED radio, about electronic gizmos in our lives... Les Blach "The Screen"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Juniata Boys || Whisper in the Valley

Not much in the video department. Not much of a slideshow either. BUT wow that's quite a haunting song and that vocal reminds me of somebody, who could it be... it's on the tip of my tongue. Makes me wonder if someone found an old Johnny Cash recording and added their music. It has a fantastic sound. Can you hear a little bari accompaniment in there? Perhaps at 0:56 and ???

They have printed their lyrics on YT if you are so interested.

George O'Brien || Hackin' with a Baritone Ukulele

Hackin' jus' hackin' -- something all of us doodlers like to do.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Roger Ruthen has been busy creating some more arrangements. Here's a selection of some familiar tunes...

Blowing in the Wind (B. Dylan)
Blue Moon (Rogers and Hart)
Cry Me A River (Arthur Hamilton)
Days of Wine and Roses (H. Mancini)

There are many arrangements that I have doodled around with. Kemp's Jig is in the key of G for a baritone ukulele. It starts off with a 0787 G chord and ends with a 5xxx G note. I have been doing a study of music in the key of G just to focus in on a chord family and what can be done with it. Roger Ruthen's arrangements use many chord fragments and inversions and they're all great for study, developing finger dexterity, timing practice, and simply enjoying.

Krista looks at Shane

Krista looks at Shane by equivocality
Krista looks at Shane, a photo by equivocality on Flickr.

Krista Muir

Krista mingles

Krista mingles by equivocality
Krista mingles, a photo by equivocality on Flickr.

Todd Baio || You Don't Know My Mind

Is Todd amazing?
There's something about this style of playing
That's simple, graceful and soulful.
I jus' cain't get 'nuff.

Todd Baio || SKIFFLE Pay Me My Money Down

[REMINDER: Research more Skiffle]

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wyatt DiveBomber101 || Various Performances on Baritone Ukulele

I have come across Dive Bomber 101 before with his cover of Sugar Magnolia and just came across him again with some more Grateful Dead and some old rock tunes.

Dorm Room "Ukes Gone Wild" Ripple (Grateful Dead cover)

Dorm Room "Ukes Gone Wild" The Joker (Steve Miller cover)

High School Talent Show Stand By Me

Sacramento's Ukulele Stu || Fly Me to the Moon (Baritone Ukulele)

Phil Hendricks || Sidewalk Shuffle Blues (Cigar Box Uke Making info too)

Phil plays a wonderful bluesy tune followed by instructions on how he makes a cigar box bari-uke. Phil also goes into some more thoughts about stringing a ukulele.

Jethro Wilbury || One Last Breath (Creed on Baritone Ukulele)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bruce Emery || Baritone Ukulele from Scratch (Comments)

I have been moving slowly thru Bruce's book since we've had the Thanksgiving Holiday family get togethers. Been looking ahead in the book and see that he's perfected his music book skills. The book is definitely a treat and spiral bound to sit nice and flat for study. It moves thru finger placements, hows & whys, basic ideas and theory concepts in a gentle way. 

I think someone with some experience will move quickly thru the beginning of the book and gather the concepts quickly. For a "newbie" it (theory) will be a bit of a headscratcher for a while but Brue's eloquence will surely clarify each topic. Bruce writes in a friendly way, taking you along on the beginnings of a musical journey. I'm only on page 13 of 100, and anxious to read on, but my work life calls this Saturday morning...

More later...

Jeff / Humble Uker

Dr. Bekken || Low End Strut (on Baritone Ukulele)

All the way from Norway to you...

Adie of We Happy Few || Ring of Fire (on Baritone Ukulele)

Thanks Adie for cheering me up with this beautiful rendition of Ring of Fire. The bari-uke lends itself well to the country and blues sounds. I will surely study this carefully and try it out for myself. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick Clips from the November Open Mic @ the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz

For the baritone ukulele player...

Sandor just released the second video for the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz Open Mic from last week, November 17, 2011. Each clip is about 20 seconds long. At 0:40, you can hear me starting off the song, "Birmingham Daddy" with a little intro. This time I have friends joining in: Cornbread Charlotte (singing), and Peter (harmonica) & Donna (spoons) Thomas. I expect to pick up the full length version from Sandor and share it in the next couple of weeks.

At 1:57 Rhan Wilson plays his vintage Kent bari-uke with Pipa singing and Patti Maxine doing her magic. I think this song will be part of Rhan's Altared Christmas show.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rhan Wilson || All In Good Time Music (The Musical Conversation)

Happy Thanksgiving to all:

Rhan Wilson is a treasured friend and teacher of mine from the blessed Kingdom of Santa Cruz. He is also a multi-instrumentalist that has a bari-uke in his arsenal. His "All in Good Time" blog is quite popular and shares insights into the musical world of a lifelong musician and creative person. He's a detail man and a one who can step back and see the overall picture. Here he takes time to remind us how to play well with others.

Rhan is currently preparing for his long running Christmas extravaganza called, An Altared Christmas on December 10th,

Pip Lagenta videos Friends of Old Puppy [with Electric Bari]

People know me that I enjoy a broad range of music and that Steven Strauss is my friend, teacher and definitely one of my favorite ukulele players. Pip Lagenta is the videographer of the Friends of Old Puppy band as they play weekly at the Nabolom Bakery in Berkeley California. Well the video comments on the YT video go into more detail. But in this video Billy Wilson plays an electric baritone ukulele. FoOP also includes Ed Johnson (bass) and Cynthia Johnson (perc.)

["My Romance" was written around about 1935 by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Lyrics are not used in this performance.]

"La Nopalera" is a polka. We are going to blame Santiago Jimenez Jr. for this polka until someone better comes along. Lyrics are not used in this performance. The Friends of Old Puppy features Steven Strauss on electric soprano ukulele, Billy Wilson on electric baritone ukulele, Ed Johnson on wash-tub bass ("gutbucket"), and Cynthia Wilson on the drums. This music was recorded on November 12, 2011.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Roger Ruthen shares his "String Theory"

Roger Ruthen has a website called pdf-Minstrel where he uses his vast experience to create songsheets for your musical exploration. He has extensive classical experience and has created TAB for us bari players as well. His arrangements also include other traditional music and are well worth doing some exploration. Roger's arrangements range from simple to quite challenging. Be sure to check pdf-Minstrel out and put it on your bookmarks.

Here's Roger's quick e-mail. I labelled it "String Theory," but it is more about string frugality...

Hi Jeff,

I would just like to share a tip with your readers.

If you have a 'steel wound on nylon string' on your baritone ukulele, as most of us have, and it has a tendency to wear and break more often than you would like. Just leave an extra length string after the knot that secures the string to the bridge. When you see the fret starting to wear the string badly, just take off the string, untie the knot and re-tie it a quarter of an inch further down the string. The wearing areas will no longer line up with the fret when the string is retuned. With this method I have found that the strings lasts a lot longer before breaking. Just don't leave it too long, i.e. when the metal wind has already broken.

On second thought, I think it would be better for people to leave extra length on their tuner end. Then when the string wears they can let more out and re-tie the knot further into the string. That way the wear from the knot (on the face of the bari) doesn't come into play. It wasn't a problem for me, but it is best to be sure and this way is the best when advising people.
Hope this helps,

Roger Ruthen

P.S. I should have pointed out in my last email to you "String Tip", that as the wound G string on the Bari seems to go first, I use a classical guitar "D" string and tune it up to G. The shorter scale length allows this. Consequently, I have plenty of string length to play with.

ShaniFawni || Come Away With Me

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adie of WeHappyFew has been searching for a new Bari...

Adie wrote,
"I'm trying to decide on which new bari to get and have been going around the bend searching the internet for ideas. Anyone got any opinions about the following short list which I've found for sale?? 1950's Favilla Baritone Ohana BK-35 Mainland Classic Mahogany Baritone Kala KA-ASAC-B Baritone Pono MB mahogany (if I can find one in stock!)."
I currently have two Favilla baritones and I enjoy the deeper tone that they produce with the old mahogany and thick body. I also have strung them with an all nylon set of strings of Worth Medium Brown baritone strings. It sounds great for my "at home" playing. I have found less-than-perfect cosmetic ones for about $350 on-line. So Adie, perhaps one of these vintage Favilla's would be good for that bluesy sound that you like in your music.

I have an electric Kala KA-BE which can be purchased in the U.S. for about $200. It is unfinished. I have been enamored with the Fav's as of late and have not played it much recently. It is a quality instrument and won't break the bank. I have a local bari-playing friend, Chris E., that has the Ohana bari. It also came unfinished but Chris, who has professional experience in boat building and maintenance, has beautifully added a clear light satin finish that makes the instrument stunningly beautiful. Chris also installed his own pick-up. I think that the Ohana and Kala differences are marginal.

I don't have any experience with the Pono except vicariously though Armelle in her Maelström video,

I have also picked one up at Gryphon Strings, affectionately know as "The Candy Store", and these instrument are beautiful. So aesthetically, I would say that the Pono is a step above the Ohana or Kala and the price ranges somewhere about $375. 

I don't really know much about the Mainland, but here's Grumpy Coyote with an original blues song for you Adie...

READERS, If you have another bari that you love. Please share information about it along with the approximate price. What comments do you have about the construction, playability, overall quality? Also, I would like to know if you have some favorite strings that you use on your bari.


Jeff / Humble Baritonics

L'Uke, Proffessor Pete & Doctor || I Want You To Be My Baby

Listen to the bari, notice anything different?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ariel Rubin || I Have No Music (Adjust Your Speakers!!)

She's got a powerful voice...

Ariel Rubin || Miss Ohio (Gillian Welch cover)

Here's Ariel and Duey in a duet...

Thanks Alistair, Ukulele Hunt, for the lead to another fine bari-uke player. Al has been my inspiration for several years now. I find it hard to believe that many are unaware of his site. Al has a solid music background and is the world's most prolific ukulele advocate. Be sure to investigate his site if you haven't yet.

Ariel's YouTube Channel

Saturday, November 12, 2011


( Lew Dite, Doogey9)

My work load is heavy right now. Will come back to this later. Jeff

Dougy Sings || Ukulele Tutorials

I don't often post GCEA tunes here. There are plenty of other sites for that but I like this song and tutorial. I'll try the same fingers and positions on my bari-uke and see how it sounds. It may need a high 4th string to sound right with this specific tutorial. I just bought a second 1950's Favilla B-2 bari and may string it with a high D. These old Favilla's have a very delicious deep sound.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bruce Emery || Baritone Ukulele from Scratch

Here is the first Baritone Ukulele Book that I have been teasing for the last couple of months. Bruce Emery has written several Guitar books and I have seen them at my favorite music stores. His titles include:
  • Guitar from Scratch
  • Guitar from Scratch: The Sequel
  • Fingerstyle Guitar from Scratch
  • Blues Guitar from Scratch
  • Travis-Style Guitar from Scratch
  • Musical Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist -- Vol 1: The Big Picture
  • Musical Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist -- Vol 2: The Fretboard
  • Musical Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist -- Jazz
  • Christmas Strumalong Guitar
  • Christmas Fingerstyle Guitar
I purchased the Travis-Picking book to see how I might apply this style to bari-uke playing. After reworking a song from the book I contacted Bruce and sent him a copy of my rough adjustments. We had a couple of e-conversations and he said that he had been considering doing a ukulele book and that he had played the bari as a youngster.

Bruce has a very comfortable writing style and I am excited to get the book in my hands. His other books are all spiral bound and I expect this one will too. I have seen the table of contents and I think that it's going to be quite an interesting guide and have already ordered three copies. One for me, one for a Christmas Gift and another to send to my son Joshua in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Inside the Travis-Style book I purchased there are some short reviews...

Elderly Instruments wrote, "Emery is a teacher who apparently has ESP when it comes to learning guitar. Things are broken down into sensible pieces that you'll wonder why everyone doesn't teach this way."

David McCarty, Acoustic Guitar Magazine wrote, "Focused and vastly readable... Conversational approach is warm and engaging... Humor, insight and patience."

Also check out the Skeptical Guitarist Website he talks about his early Bari-Uke experience.

Thanks Bruce!

Jeff / Humble Uker

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More from Alison Self || Live @ WRIR Studios

Alison let me know of these additional videos. Great tunes with Bari & Harp. These old songs have some great lyrics. Great blues.

Alison Self (Beauty of Silence) || Single Girl, Married Girl

I always like to see a new player and a song that I haven't heard before. I am working on an old Gene Autry song from 1929 that Lew Dite shared. Will be playing it at the next open mic. night of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz. These old songs are fun to dig up and play. Thanks Alison. 

The Carter Family Page

Jake Wildwood || Another Restoration of our Cuzin' from 1925

c.1925 Supertone TG
Read more, Seymore.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cinderella Lifestyle || Impromptu Birthday Wish for Tim

Kersey Williams & Ophelia (Roger Lanfranchi) || Concert on the Green

Johnson City Blues

John Miller does a great guitar tutorial video. I like to watch to see if I can use some of the techniques when playing ye' olde DoGBonE uke.

PHOTO: Adie with his Baritone Ukulele

I asked Adie to share a picture of himself with his baritone ukulele and he sent one all the way from the U.K. I am thankful that he stumbled across Humble Baritonics because I really enjoy this style of country blues music. On his YouTube channel he has a couple baritone ukulele videos along with his many We Happy Few band and practice videos. And if you would like to hear more he does have MySpaceiTunes, and CDBaby.

ALSO, We Happy Few has (3) albums available for some preliminary listening. Be sure to check them out...

On A Low Down Track (2011)
Empty Boxes (2010)
Should Have Seen It Coming (2008)

Karl Senior || Not Just the Weather

Karl writes, "A little musical visual project. I asked my friend Pete to take some footage of me playing this song and then I had a go at making a little music video. It's a bit jerky because I had to compress the footage so my PC could handle it. Also it was done with Window's Movie Maker."

Tenor guitar, Cajon, and Baritone Ukulele.

Mele Super Curly Koa Baritone Ukulele

Daniel O Jeremiah || Scarborough Fair (Bari-Uke & Flute)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sonnenberg in Exile || Spindrift (Out of the Blue) (Original Song)

Here's an original song from a new bari-player on my list.

We Happy Few || Fighting Man Blues

Adie has been keeping me posted on some of his latest song creations. This is his early version of Fighting Man Blues for the band's upcoming album. It's pretty cool to see songs being developed and played on the ol' DoGBonE instrument. Adie, in his e-mails, also gave thumbs up on the Mya-Moe baritone ukulele and to the recently featured The Haunted Windchimes band. Here's Adie's song...

Will hafta add Adie to The Barried DoGBonE blog too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Haunted Windchimes || Little Bones

Desirae Garcia plays the baritone ukulele in the band.

The Haunted Windchimes - Don't Be Afraid - Live at The Western Jubilee

Here's a link to a Flickr photo of the band at Stargazers Theater. And some more links, photo1photo2photo3 of Desirae Garcia with her baritone ukulele.

NEW Baritone Ukulele Book

Just got another e-mail about the progress of a FABULOUS BARITONE UKULELE BOOK. I got a sneak peak of the table of contents and it starts out for a beginner but has fresh style and builds into chord families, some music theory and chord shape studies. I think the advance topics will be of benefit to intermediate players as well. I shouldn't say any more right now but I'm excited to see the advancement of books for the baritone ukulele. Sometime in early December there could be books available. Stay tuned in...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ElleChen89 || Despair (Original)

Linda plays one on the Bari-Uke...

Tara Linda & Steven Strauss || Promo Video

Tara Linda & Steven Strauss
Song: Siren Swimming
written by Tara Linda
performed at L'Amyx, Oakland, CA
On the album "Torch and Sass" 2011

Check her out at :

Tara Linda & Steven Strauss

I saw this photo of Tara and Steven on FaceBook they both have bari-ukes in their musical arsenals. Tara's band website has another lovely image of her with her bari. The website is and you can see it by clicking here. It is full of music, photos and info. and must be checked out.

Steven Strauss has been a friend and mentor for about 5 years now. He is my favorite ukulele player and I have started taking classes from him. He's an amazing talent, he knows more about music than is humanly possible and sometimes he makes my mind explode. I am just a humble bari-uke hobbyist, so Steven's patience is well tested.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Emma Dryden || Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash Cover on Bari-Uke)

I am becoming a big fan of Emma. I love all the emotion that she packs into each song. She's got a cute little sidekick too!

Emma Dryden || Don't Fight It (The Panics cover on Bari-Uke)

Emma Dryden || I'm on Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Here's a gutsy and emotional performance by Emma. Love it.

AJ the Fool || The Denial Twist

AJ posted this song last month and I missed it. Very nicely done AJ. Care to share the chart?