The ukulele has become a popular instrument thanks to its simplicity to learn and the amount of enjoyment you can have from playing. Most songs sound great translated onto a ukulele, but what about a baritone version? Did you know there are many different types of ukulele. The largest one sold is the baritone ukulele. To find the best baritone ukulele out there you want to look for an instrument with rich and deep sound.
If you are interested in learning more about the baritone ukulele, you have come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll share the most basic chords for your instrument as well as some of the songs you can use them in.
Playing with Four Chords
Standard Tuning and Learning the Basics
The standard baritone ukulele tuning goes G, C, E and E which means that your instrument lends itself to the key of G. To start off with you will want to learn the three basic baritone ukulele chord charts and make sure you can transition between them comfortably. The four chords we are looking at here are G major, C major, E minor and D major. Once you have all of these mastered on your baritone uke you can easily play all of the songs featured at the bottom of our article.
Chord Shapes and Strumming Patterns
There are four basic chords you will use on your baritone ukulele. You must make sure to play each one of them carefully so that the notes sound out clearly. If each string isn’t hit in the right way and on the right fret, the chord won’t sound right. To make sure you are playing the chords properly then you can try playing each string individually. Take care to adjust your fingers as you go along if you hear any of the notes sounding muddy or muted.
The songs we have listed for your baritone ukulele below use the chords G, C, D and E minor so make sure to brush up on these before you begin. All of the time signatures sit at 4/4 as well which signifies that you will be playing four beats for every measure. Each beat here represents a quarter note. To get you prepared for your first jump into baritone ukulele songs, play each of the chords four times. Start with G and down strum at a slow tempo. Move on to the C, then the D and E minor finally. You can tap your foot as you play each baritone ukulele chord so that you are counting to four beats.
Learning each of these chords separately is an easy enough task. It’s being able to memorize the different shapes and then switching between them seamlessly that will take you time and practice. It can be frustrating to try and master this skill at first but try not to give up. With more practice your muscle memory will become stronger and eventually, your fingers will know exactly where to go without even having to think about it.
Baritone Uke Strumming Patterns
Once you have got used to downstrumming your ukulele chord shapes and tapping your foot along you can move on to strumming patterns that are a bit more complicated. A more complex strumming pattern could go down, down, up, down, down, up, down.
This pattern is relatively easy and will serve you well as a newbie to the baritone uke. Try and break it down and do each part independently so it goes a little something like this:
Down, Down-Up Down
The pattern starts out with a down strum at the beginning and then follows on with five separate groups of down-up-down progressions. The pattern ends with a simple down-up strum. To be able to strum properly you can use your thumb or a felt pick that is suitable for your baritone tuning.
Easy Baritone Ukulele Songs
Now that you know the basic chord shapes and you’ve mastered your baritone tuning and chord charts you can get ready to play the songs that we’ve detailed for you below. Remember that you will want to take it slow and steady when you first start out. As you get more comfortable with the songs and their chord chart progressions you can gradually up your tempo to the right BPM for the song. You won’t be able to play along to a recording right away so don’t be put off by this.
To start out with try to pick a song that you already know and can at least hum along to, even if you don’t know the words. Picking a familiar song like this will help you with the chord changes because you will already know the melody before you play. Once you’ve played the songs you know you can move on to ones you’re unfamiliar with and ones that involve more challenging chord charts.
For each song, we will detail the chord progressions you need to be able to play the melody on your baritone ukulele.
1. Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind
The verses follow the pattern: G, C, G, G, C, D, G, C, G, G, C, D
Refrain where the lyrics are ‘The answer my friend’: C, D, G, E minor, C, D, G
2. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
The verses follow the pattern: G, C, G, D, G, C, G, D, G, C, G, D, G, C, G, D, C, D, G, E minor, C, D, G
Refrain where the lyrics are ‘Do you remember when we used to sing sha-la-la-la-la’: D, G, C, G, D, G, C, G, D, C, D, G, E minor, C, D, G
3. Taylor Swift – 22
There is only a simple G, D, C, D chord chart needed to master this song on the baritone ukulele.
4. Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down
The verses follow the chord pattern: E minor, D, G, E minor, D, G, E minor, D, C, E minor, D, G
The choruses go: C, D, C, D, C, D, E minor, D, G, E minor, D, G
5. Adele – Someone Like You
The verses, choruses and the bridge follow the simple chord pattern of G, D, E minor and C.
The pre-chorus part uses the following chords: D, C, D, C, D
6. Loggins and Messina – Your Mama Don’t Dance
The verses have a chord pattern of G, C, G, C, G, D, C, G
The bridge follows the chords C, C, C, C, D, C, G
7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
For the verses, you will only play the G and D chords.
In the choruses you will need to play the following: C, D, G, E minor, D, C, D, G, E minor, D—-C, D, G, E minor, D—-C, D, G
8. Bring It On Home
There is a simple chord progression used throughout this song that goes as follows: G, D, G, C, G, D, G, C, G, D
9. Jay and the Americans – This Magic Moment
There are three separate parts to this song. The verse follows the chords G, E minor, C and D.
For the pre-chorus you will need to switch to an E minor, C, G, D chord pattern.
The choruses themselves go G, E minor, C, G, E minor, G, E minor
10. Bruce Springsteen – Tougher than the Rest
The verses for this one go as follows: G, C, D, C, G, D
For the bridge you will switch this up to: E minor, C, G, C, D, G, E minor, C, G, C, G, D, G
The best advice we can give for learning these songs is to try and play along to the tracks we have given you and note where the chord changes occur. There are also online tab sites that you may want to look into so you can see where a chord change happens in relation to what the lyrics are saying. We hope you found our article helpful and, as always, feel free to leave your questions and comments below.