Have you decided to start learning baritone ukulele but don’t know where to start?
Well, online ukulele lessons are a great option if you want to practice by yourself.
But why not learn a couple of chords first?
That will give you an excellent starting point, and you’ll get to know your instrument.
The baritone ukulele is tuned differently than the other most common types. Therefore, you’ll be learning from different charts.
If you’re an absolute beginner, we will explain everything about the uke charts and show you how to read chords.
Playing baritone ukulele chords really isn’t that hard, and you’ll realize that in a moment!
Baritone Ukulele Chords
The baritone ukulele is the largest instrument of the ukulele family. It also has a rich, deep sound.
As it has bigger frets than the popular soprano ukulele, it’s great for guitar players.
Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, learning how to play the baritone ukulele won’t be difficult.
But it’s important to learn in a step-by-step manner. Mastering the basics is essential if you don’t want to have any problems later on.
And the crucial part of the ukulele basics is, of course, learning how to play chords.
Unlike its counterparts, the baritone ukulele is tuned D, G, B, E. And standard ukulele tuning is G, C, E, A.
The baritone uke is tuned like this:
String 4 = D,
String 3 = G
String 2 = B
String 1 = E
So, in this article, we will focus on D, G, B, E tuning. The string notes will look familiar if you’ve played guitar before.
And once you learn basic Major and Minor chords, you’ll be able to play many beginner songs.
But you should get to know the baritone ukulele chords chart first.
How to Read Baritone Ukulele Chords
Baritone ukulele chords charts are relatively easy to understand.
Just like in mandolin and banjo charts, a ukulele diagram is a visual representation of a fretboard.
So, the vertical lines are the strings (D,G,B,E), and the horizontal lines are the frets.
The dots will tell you where to place your finger. In the example above, you need to put your index finger on the third fret of the E string.
Empty circles indicate open strings.
Sometimes you’ll also see numbers at the sides. They refer to fret numbers, in case the chord is played higher up the fretboard. If there are no numbers, you can treat these frets as 1 to 4.
And if you spot an ‘X’ on the top or the bottom of a string, you’ll have to mute that string. So, the strings with an ‘X’ simply shouldn’t be played.
When you feel more confident about reading charts and playing chords, you can get acquainted with uke tablature (or TAB.) TABs are also easy to understand as they’re quite logical once you learn the standard music notation.
You can even use guitar TABs and chords to play on the baritone ukulele; you’ll just have to ignore the other two strings on the guitar part.
All in all, once you start playing, you’ll realize it’s really not that complicated to read chords (especially with the help of the charts.)
Baritone Ukulele Keys
Another thing that is important to understand is the key of the instrument.
Every ukulele has the open strings’ tuning pitches rooted on a certain pitch.
And as the ukulele is a chromatic instrument, it can be played in any key (considering its tuning though.)
However, the baritone ukulele is traditionally in the key of G. That’s simply because that’s how it’s the most commonly played.
That said, most ukulele songs are based on a G chord. So, let us teach you how to play it, along with the other most popular baritone uke chords.
Basic Baritone Ukulele Chords
The easiest chord to pull of on a baritone ukulele is G Major. We’ve mentioned how to play it earlier: you need to put your index finger on the third fret of the E string. That’s it!
If you put your index finger on the first fret of the G string and your middle finger on the second fret of the D string, you’ll get E Major.
For A Major, hold down the lowest three strings at the 2nd fret. You can barre (press) the three notes with one finger or play it with three fingers.
This is very similar to the A chord on the guitar.
This is one of the easiest ukulele chords. To play C Major, put your index finger on the first fret of the B string and your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the D string.
D Major is the same as the D chord on the guitar. You need to put your index finger on the second fret for an A note, your ring finger for D, and your middle finger on the 2nd of the E string.
When it comes to Minor chords, the most common one is the same as the guitar. Try to play it with the help of this chart:
And if you play just one note on the D string at the second fret, you’ll get E Minor.
With these basic baritone ukulele chords, you can start learning your favorite songs!
But make sure to feel really comfortable playing them first.
How to Play Baritone Ukulele Chords
As we’ve just mentioned, it’s important to play chords smoothly before getting into more complex variations and complete songs.
So, after you learn how to read uke diagrams, try to memorize the chords we’ve shown you.
The best way to play and memorize chords is by strumming and then switching to another chord. Mix them up and practice until you can change chords smoothly.
If you’ve never played a stringed instrument before, it will take a while until this feels natural. Your hands need to learn how to operate independently, and you’ll probably have to be very focused during your practice.
But with time, playing chords will become very easy. And then you’ll be ready to use these chords to play songs!
However, you have to be patient and persistent.
Also, practicing chords doesn’t have to be repetitive or dull; try to change the rhythm, keep mixing them up, but also make sure you’re playing them correctly.
Using proper fingering and playing techniques is important, especially in the beginning when you have to form good playing habits.
And as you progress, you can try other advanced chords. You can easily find all the uke chords charts online. Just make sure they’re for the same tuning.
Learning basic chords is the best way to start playing the ukulele.
Since the baritone ukulele is quite specific when it comes to the way it’s tuned, you’ll have to get used to it if you’re switching from a soprano or a tenor ukulele.
On the other hand, guitar players will find the baritone ukulele rather easy to master.
Either way, it’s a great instrument to play both for beginners and experienced soprano/tenor uke players.
The basic Major and Minor chords will help you learn your first songs, but practicing them will also help you improve your coordination, rhythm, and technique.
And once you understand how the ukulele chord chart works, you can learn any chord you want!
Hopefully, this article inspired you to start practicing right away.
After all, the baritone ukulele is a very fun and versatile instrument to play, and once you master these basic chords, only the sky is the limit!