The Baritone ukulele (along with the Bass Ukulele) is the largest instrument in the ukulele family measuring an overall 30″ inches (76.2cm) in height. With its lower DGBE tuning and a low 4th string, the Baritone ukulele is tuned exactly the same as the top 4 strings on a guitar so it is popular with many musicians looking for an alternative to the guitar, or a travel guitar. In comparison to the 38 inches (96.5cm) of a full-size guitar they make great travel instruments! This may seem like a huge leap for many ukulele players, however because the intervals between the strings are exactly the same as the ukulele, ukulele players can quickly adapt to the Baritone ukulele using all the same chord shapes they know already.
Like the guitar, the Baritone ukulele has a lower pitch than the Soprano, Concert and Tenor ukuleles, so it can be a great way to play what you know already using the same chord shapes, but achieve an altogether different sound and timbre.
That's right, all of your chord shapes remain the same! If you were to use the same shapes as you’ve learnt in traditional GCEA ukulele tuning on a Baritone, you’d simply be playing in a different key. Chord 'shapes' for the key of C in GCEA tuning (ie. C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am) played on a Baritone Ukulele produce chords in the Key of G (ie. G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em). It’s like extending the neck of your ukulele by 4 frets and adding a low 4th string. Once you’ve got your head around this, the Baritone can give you immediate access to a completely different tonal range and sound!
For anyone looking toward progressing to the guitar, the Baritone ukulele makes a great stepping stone. But really, the Baritone ukulele is a wonderfully deep, and soulful instrument in its own right, that is just waiting to be discovered!