The bari is back! Based on scant scientific data, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that interest in the baritone ukulele is heating up. Just from personal observations at recent uke fests, I’ve noticed more and more attendees showing up with baritones in tow, organizers are featuring more baritone workshops, and instructors are often rocking a bari at some point during their concert sets.
Much of this enthusiasm for the biggest member of the ukulele family can be attributed to its tuning. Typically, the baritone is tuned DGBE, exactly like the top four strings of a guitar and a fourth down from the more common GCEA tuning. Unlike the typical GCEA tuning, the baritone is tuned low to high—in other words, the baritone ukulele is not re-entrant. For guitarists, it’s an easy transition into the uke world. For performers and singer/songwriters, the bari may be a welcome alternative to the higher-pitched C-tuned uke and more suitable for thoughtful material.