Bass Guitar or Bass Ukulele? Some people have trouble adjusting to the soprano and concert ukes. These instruments are ideal for those who like to have a fret board that allows them great agility and reach but, for players with larger hands, they can sometimes be a bit challenging where accuracy is concerned. The baritone and bass ukes offer great alternatives to more traditionally sized ukuleles and may be just what you’ve been looking for if you have a hard time dealing with the smaller frets on soprano and concert ukuleles.
Tenor ukuleles have a larger fret board than soprano or concert instruments, but the fret boards don’t start approaching the sizes that players with larger hands and fingers generally prefer until you get into the baritone range. Bass ukes are generally the same size as baritone ukuleles, but they are sometimes a bit larger.
The bass uke differs from the baritone in terms of tuning. The baritone ukulele is traditionally gunned DGBE, which corresponds to the highest four strings on a guitar. The bass uke is tuned the same as a bass guitar: EADG. This gives it the full low range that some instrumentalists prefer and that is certainly capable of offering an entirely new dimension in sound to an ensemble.
The differences between a bass guitar and a bass uke are principally found in size and tension. Most bass guitars will have a great deal more tension on the strings. They also have a larger size. The bass uke is more manageable in terms of size and the strings are typically a bit easier to fret.
The role of the bass uke is much the same as the role of the bass guitar where ensembles are concerned. If there is percussion, this ukulele generally adds tone to the percussion hits and follows the percussion quite closely. In ensembles without percussion, this bass uke fills out the sound and adds a backbeat, particularly if the player has a good sense of rhythm and knows how to get great sound out of their instrument.
The bass uke isn’t played as widely as the higher voices, so those instrumentalists who choose to take it up may find that it’s very easy to get in on ensembles, given the fact that they play a more rarified instrument than most.
The bass ukulele can be amplified. This can be done with a pickup or it can be done by putting a mic in front of the instrument; either can give great results. The amplification does tend to bring out the sound a bit more. Bass sounds are easily lost in an ensemble where louder tenor and soprano instruments are taking the lead and the amplification can balance things out a bit.
These are great instruments for those who want to play a role in an ensemble that has less to do with melody and more to do with rhythm. The instruments are great for those who simply find the uke too small to play comfortably as well.Return to Types of Ukuleles from Bass Ukulele
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