Thursday, July 12, 2012


Roger Ruthen is a baritone ukulele enthusiast as well as a musician, thinker and tinkerer. He trained as a classical musician, and has passed music theory exams. He has created a handful sites devoted to sharing music with others. The information from these sites have been gathered on Roger's PDF-Minstrel Site . Although he started on the guitar he has also recognized the value of the 4 stringed ukulele and baritone ukulele and has devoted a great amount of time developing arrangements that suit standard GCEA as well as DGBE tunings. 

He has written many scores and tablatures that suit the baritone ukulele community. He has tinkered and created Tri-TABS, Quad-TABS, and Uni-Chord-TABS all in an effort to supply good music to a relatively small community of baritone ukulele players. (His work suits really suits all uke players but I’ll keep myself focused on the Bari.) He is constantly thinking of ways to be all encompassing for all types of players. The ukulele community has a dichotomy – The ukey sound of the High-D (a.k.a. re-entrant) and the wider range sound of the Low-D instrument. 

Roger has also contributed a few articles to this website. I am greatly appreciative of him taking the time to share his experience and allowing Humble Baritonics to be improved. I have tried his arrangements through all of his different composing styles, and although my skills are still quite humble, My musical dexterity has greatly improved. 

Roger writes,
 “…I believe that the Bari (and my Treble Guitars) should be taken as serious instruments by the classical world… (and) will devote the next few months in creating tabs that can be played by people that love the classical guitar. I have already had some great comments. One woman who is a public performer on the classical guitar thanked me for my Bari tabs, her young son was learning them on the Bari, and she said that it was a great training tool for young folk before moving on to the classical guitar proper.” 
So, I want to now introduce you to Roger Ruthen’s latest creation which he has dubbed, “Ukiversal TABS.” These arrangements use his vast experience and love of music to create arrangements that sound great whether played with a High-D or Low-D tuned instrument. Roger is a humble man but he is excited about these new tabs and hopes that you’ll give them a try. By the way, his TABS include a wide variety of Classical Music, as well as, Folk Tunes from around the world.


Working on Roger's arrangements will certainly increase your skill. I particularly like the way he uses two-note partial chords in thirds-pairs. He's convinced that the ukulele is fully viable instrument in its own right, equally challenging to playing the guitar skillfully, and I say with the added advantages of it's compact size.

On a personal note, I am a casual and regularly distracted student, but I always seem to circle back to Roger’s work. I have three bari's that I regularly play. Two are Low-D and one is Re-entrant using Ken Middleton's Living Water (all flourocarbon) strings. Roger's professed goal is that both ukuleles can play the same arrangement with equal success. Please give it a go, and be sure to leave comments here or on Roger's site telling us how you like the arrangements.

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