Tenor ukulele tabs and chords are, for the most part, exactly the same as soprano ukulele chords and tabs. Both are usually tuned GCEA with the G string being re-entrant (i.e. higher than the C string). That means you can take chords and tabs written for soprano or concert ukulele and play them on the tenor ukulele without any need to adapt them at all.
You might have noticed I used words like ‘for the most part’ and ‘usually’ rather a lot in the last paragraph. That’s because it’s not always that simple. It’s much more common for tenor ukuleles to have a G string which is lower than the C string (Low-G tuning). This means that soprano ukulele tabs will not necessarily work on the low-G ukulele. It will be possible to adapt it somewhat so it does work.
However, this does not apply to low-G tenor ukulele chords. What matters with the chords is the overall harmony rather than the specific notes. So chords for soprano ukulele should work on the tenor ukulele (even if it is tuned to low-G).
Photo by Paxsimius under CC Lincense.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to left handed ukulele playing. One school says that left handed people should just play the ukulele right handed – the thinking being that both hands are equally important. However, I’ve only seen that argument advanced by right handed people.
The alternative is to swap the order of the strings around. Because of the way the ukulele is strung, it shouldn’t require you to adjust the ukulele itself in any way. For the effort it takes to change the strings round, I think it’s worth doing it this way.
If you want know what order the strings should be in, I wrote about it here: how to string a ukulele.
If you’re looking to buy a ukulele in London, there’s only one really option: Duke of Uke. It’s where all the hipnoscenti go to get their ukes. Rumour has it, that’s where Pete Doherty got his ukulele and you can read the long list of celebrity visitors on their site which includes The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Danielle ‘Rio En Medio’ Stech-Homsy and Patrick Wolf.
You can find the Duke of Uke on Hanbury Street.
Photo by emsef under CC license
I did a post a couple of days ago about how expensive koa ukuleles are, yet there are many ukuleles around calling themselves koa that sell for less than $200 (such as the Oscar Schmidt OU5).
This is most likely because they are laminated. The expensive koas are made from solid koa wood. The cheap koa ukuleles will almost certainly be made from cheap wood with a thin covering of koa wood (i.e. laminated).
When you buy a laminated ukulele, the koa wood is almost solely to improve the look of the instrument. It won’t make any noticable difference to the sound. That’s not to say you shouldn’t buy a laminated koa ukulele. I have one myself and I love it.
How can you tell if it’s laminated or solid koa when you’re buying on the internet?
That can be tricky. General practice is to say the ukulele is to use the term ‘solid koa’ or ‘solid wood’ when it is solid, but to keep quiet if it’s laminated. It’s a bit sneaky if you ask me. If you’re unsure whether a uke is solid or laminated and the description doesn’t say, it’s best to assume it’s laminated.
The baritone ukulele is becoming increasingly popular thanks to acts like Patrick Wolf and Rio en Medio. It’s even being used to help you learn Einsteinian physics.
There are plenty of sites on the net offering ukulele tab, but very few of them offer tabs and chords for the baritone ukulele. One excellent site that does is Tab-U-Learn. Usefully, all it’s tabs are arranged by difficultly into grades.
As well as baritone ukulele tab and chords, there is also a selection of sheet music for tenor and soprano/concert ukulele.
As the baritone ukulele is tuned the same as the top four strings of the guitar, it’s usually easier to transfer tab for the guitar onto the baritone. Similarly with the chords. For the most part, you can just play the same chord shapes and ignore the lower two strings.
There are also a few baritone ukulele books on the market. For chord charts there’s Mel Bay’s Baritone Uke Chords. For chords for songs there’s Jimpin’ Jim’s The Bari Best. And for tabs there’s Mel Bay’s Easy Baritone Ukulele Tablature Method
When you’re buying a new ukulele, there are usually plenty of places you can go and compare prices. But if you’re looking to buy a vintage ukulele, it’s much more tricky.
There are a few places to go to discover the value of a certain vintage ukulele. The best place is eBay. More vintage ukes are sold online there than anywhere else. Go to the advanced search section, click where it says, “Show completed listings only,” and type in the make of uke you’re interested in. That will show you those ukuleles sold on eBay in the last two weeks, which sold and at what price. Granted, it’s not a very long time period. But it will at least give you some idea.
Another option is Elderly Instruments. They have a wide range of vintage instruments for sale and they know what they’re doing when it comes to pricing. I’ve found the way to search the site is via Google, rather than on the site itslef, since that way it shows you instruments that have already been sold.
How much is a plastic Maccaferri Islander baritone worth?
The subject of this post arose when I mentioned that I was flabbergasted that someone was trying to sell a baritone Islander with a Buy-It-Now price of $500 and a starting bid of $300. A bit of research shows that Elderly had one for sale at $100.
There’s plenty of information on the ukulele available online as it is, but recently publishers have been allowing Google to put extracts of their books on the web (often quite extensive extracts).
If you search Google Books for ukulele you get a very large selection of excellent books including Jim Beloff’s classic The Ukulele: A Visual History and Ian Whitcomb’s Ukulele Heaven: Songs from the Golden Age of the Ukulele.
photo credit: strollers
There are a whole boat load of ukulele lessons on YouTube, but one of the most important aspects of lessons is being able to ask the teacher questions and get an instant response. Well, you can do exactly that with Aldrine Guerrero’s live lessons. You can watch them live and chat with him here.
There are no shortage of chord shapes for the standard C-tuned ukulele (GCEA) – if you’re looking for one of those check out the ukulele chord chart: standard tuning post. But chord diagrams for the more traditional D-tuned ukulele (ADF#B) are much harder to come by.
But, there is an extensive chord chart for D-tuning here (via the Ukulele Hall of Fame).
The other option is to use Sheep Entertainment. D-tuning is the default setting on there. It’s not quite as straight forward to use as a traditional chord chart, but it is a lot of fun (particularly if you check out some of the links on the right hand side).
Many people want to include ukulele chord charts in their Word documents. The easiest way to do this is to install Chordette. It works like any other font, you install it and you can add chord diagrams to Microsoft Word Documents or any other word processing programme.
To make things easier, it comes with a handy doodad so you can find the chord you’re looking for (which is a nightmare without it).
Photo by jugbo under Creative Commons license.