the Tenor Largo & Lyric Baritone Ukuleles

Tenor Largo Ukulele shown with Leopardwood Marquetry Headplate, Mexican Ebony Fretboard, Yellow Cedar Soundboard, Tamarind Sides, Nicaraguan Rosewood Back and Mexican Ebony Bridge and Removable Armrest.  Woods will vary in each instrument.  See the Availability page for photos showing specific instruments.  (click photo to enlarge)
Specifications:                                                                                                Scale: 20 inches                                                                                                Frets to the body: 16                                                                                          Total Frets: 20                                                                                                Width at the Nut: 1 7/16 inches    
Primary Recommended Tunings for the Tenor Largo: Ukulele reentrant Key of C ( g’  c’  e’  a’ ) - open & capoed Ukulele reentrant Key of B flat ( f’  b flat  d’  g’ ) Ukulele reentrant Key of A ( e’  a  c#’  f#’ ) Ukulele reentrant Key of G ( d’  g  b  e’ ) Linear Key of C (g  c’  e’  a’) Open Key of C (g  c’  e’  g’) Plectrum Tuning (f c’ e’ g’ - suggested)
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  With these Ukuleles we have a body that has a soundboard with the approximate overall dimensions of a traditional Tenor Ukulele.  However the scales are longer, having the 20” length most often associated with a Baritone Ukulele.  As a result, we’ve made the shape of these bodies a bit different - they are longer and narrower than a standard shaped Tenor.  This is by intention, as our instruments are designed from the start for the scales they have.  They are not longer fretboards stuck on a body designed for a “short-neck”.  As such, the overall proportions are more pleasing to the eye. The only difference between the Tenor Largo and the Lyric Baritone is the depth of the body.  Compared to typical Tenor Ukuleles, the Tenor Largo is just slightly thinner, while compared to many Baritone Ukuleles the Lyric Baritone is slightly deeper.  What this does above all else is affect sort of sound that’s produced.  While you might think the deeper body would also have a deeper resonance, our last production of these models featured stiff, almost Australian style back and sides.  Coupled with a lightly braced top, it means that projection is excellent, but the differences in resonance are only slight.  The character of the sound is different, however.  This is why, though there is some overlap, you also see slight differences in the recommended tunings.  The thinner TL body gets sound out of the box quicker and so in those recommended tunings, you see more of the higher, brighter sounds where that sort of quick response is often favored. The deeper body of the LB holds sound a bit, giving almost a “reverb” sort of quality; a feeling of depth.  This sort of tone is what a lot of folks look for with deeper stringing.  But don’t take those recommendations as hard and fast rules.  Any of the tunings above that are listed for one instrument can be used on the other as well.  So let’s see how they work.    Ukulele Reentrant Tuning: Ukulele reentrant tuning on a traditional Tenor Ukulele today is most often done in the modern Key of C.  That high a tuning generally requires somewhat high tension to drive a soundboard of this size with typical Tenor Ukulele bracing.   But a Tenor sized body easily handles deeper notes.  In fact, it was originally intended to be played with an Ukulele reentrant G tuning.    To get back to the Tenors natural range, the long scale and lighter bracing of these instruments improve performance in several ways.  First, on a standard 17” scale fretboard, a Key of G reentrant tuning tuning will require very heavy strings.  The performance with that type of stringing is why the original Tenor tuning was abandoned to begin with.  Our bracing does not require higher tension to project well, and so normal Ukulele tensions work perfectly.  For those who like playing up the fretboard, either with movable chords or for solos, this fretboard gives 16 frets to the body - in other words, the room you would normally only have on a standard Tenor if it had a cutaway.  Most importantly, the longer fretboard also means much greater clarity throughout the entire range of notes. You can tune one step below C to the Key of B flat, or a step lower to the Key of A, or on down to the original Tenor tuning in the Key of G.  You’ll have a richer, fuller sound, and play without high tensions.  You’ll be playing with the sound this instrument was intended for, but with a clarity and range it never before possessed.  It will feel right and sound right.  We believe this to be a much better lay-out for a larger reentrant Ukulele. But what if you are one of those who has learned to play in C tuning, and occasionally need to revert back in group situations.  Of course you could learn to transpose your chords, but maybe from time to time, you just like the higher, brighter sound of a C tuned instrument.  These instruments are excellent choices for that situation as well. If you are at all familiar with flamenco guitar playing, you may have noticed that it sounds very different from Classical guitar.  You may also have noticed that flamenco players are almost never seen playing without a capo.  As flamenco is instrumental more often than not, this is not done to adjust for vocals.  It’s because flamenco players prefer a higher, brighter sound, and most importantly, the low action that goes with capo use.  You need a certain scale length for this to be effective, and the 20” scale of these instruments does the trick. Tune to the key of G and capo to C, and on our long neck, you will still have 11 frets to work with.  This is basically how Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio played his Tenor guitar.  He always used a capo, and moved up from the Key of G to C or even D tuning.  Tune to the Key of A on either instrument and then capo to C - you’ll have 13 frets to the body.  Tune to B flat and capo to C and you have 14.  In other words, from B flat tuning with these Ukuleles, a capoed C tuning leaves you with the same fretboard length as a standard Ukulele design, the difference being, you have a lower action. With these instruments in Ukulele reentrant tuning, in effect, you have two instruments.  Played open you have a deep tuned, rich, resonant, “classical” reentrant Ukulele.  Capoed to C, you have a bright, low action, fast playing “flamenco” reentrant Ukulele.  (Maybe we should charge double.) And finally, for those who wish to tune their open strings to reentrant Key of C, you can simply use a Light or Medium Light Gauge set for a bright sound, comfortable tension, and with our light bracing still providing excellent response.  The Tenor Largo would be our recommendation for that stringing, but as mentioned earlier, either instrument can work. Cuatro & Lili’u Reentrant Tunings: Here are two forms of tuning where we have somewhat of a preference for the Lyric Baritone.  The Cuatro reentrant form is one designed in part to allow deeper sound without the use of wound strings.  To keep the two low notes clear, Cuatro tuning is relatively high.  The mass of the two low plain strings pairs well with the deeper body, giving it that sense of depth.  Maybe it’s also that this is the sort of sound we’re used to with this tuning, as layout of the LB is very similar to a traditional Cuatro Venezolano.   Our instruments are not as fragile in their construction as many Cuatros and have the lower action typical of Ukuleles and Guitars, but with a scale and body size that are relatively the same, the traditional Cuatro tuning in D sounds wonderful on this instrument.  For Ukulele players who prefer to play in the Key of C, it is also possible to drop down to that pitch with heavier gauges and Cuatro C tuning gives a much deeper sound than a linear C tuned instrument. Lili’u tuning is another deep sounding reentrant form (for more details, see the “Guide to Tunings & Strings” link above)  This arrangement, unlike the Cuatro form, is one we feel lends itself well to double wound sets, and so sustain is one of its primary characteristics.  Because of this and also because of the depth of sound, once again we have a slight preference for its use on the Lyric Baritone.    Linear & Open Tunings: These tunings are similar enough to each other, at least as far as choosing one of these instruments as a vehicle, that they can be discussed together.  The low note of a Linear C tuning - the 4th string - is the same g note as the low note of the Tenors’ original Key of G Ukulele reentrant tuning: a g note on the 3rd string.  A standard Tenor Ukulele, then, is a very viable choice for this set-up.  With our designs, however, we wanted to present another option - another voice.  Compared to a standard Tenor Ukulele, the differences in tone again arise chiefly from the longer scale and lighter soundboard bracing. The longer scale requires a move to lighter gauge strings for this tuning.  It is at this point that an all plain string set-up comes into its own.  There is none of the flabbiness or muddiness associated with a plain material 4th string on the shorter standard Tenor scale.  For those who have been wanting to play a linear C set-up with plain strings, this instrument is nirvana and our lightly braced soundboard gives these instruments the ability to respond well, maintaining projection and sustain at these light - medium tensions. If you prefer to play at high tension, the heavier strings and heavier braced soundboard of a standard Tenor Ukulele can be a good choice for this tuning.  The typical standard construction is more “guitar” oriented than our instrument, both in how it plays and how it sounds.  On the other hand, if you like playing at more traditional Ukulele tensions, and with a light, clear, full and reverberant sound -  a sound we feel has more of the traditional “Ukulele” character as well, then we recommend you consider one of these instruments. Plectrum Tuning: This in a way is also a variant of Linear tuning, but with the 4th string dropped a note, we think a single wound set is most appropriate here.  Plectrum tuning is a wonderful vehicle for “guitar-like” instrumental work, as there is more of a bass-treble contrast between the 4th string and the melody strings (for details, again see the “Guide to Tunings & Strings” link above).  As it is often used for solo play, it can be tuned simply for best feel and sound.  Our recommendation above will give beautiful, clear sound, and the long fretboard of these instruments is well suited to the “up the neck” style of much Plectrum composition.
Primary Recommended Tunings for the Lyric Baritone: Ukulele reentrant Key of A ( e’  a  c#’  f#’ ) Ukulele reentrant Key of G ( d’  g  b  e’ ) Cuatro reentrant Key of D ( a  d’  f#’  b ) Cuatro reentrant Key of C ( g  c’  e’  a) Linear Key of C (g  c’  e’  a’) Open Key of C (g  c’  e’  g’) Plectrum Tuning (f c’ e’ g’ - suggested)        for more detail on these tunings click below for:  

the Tenor Largo

& Lyric Baritone

Ukuleles        

(click photo to enlarge)

Tenor Largo Ukulele shown with Leopardwood Marquetry Headplate, Mexican Ebony Fretboard, Yellow Cedar Soundboard, Tamarind Sides, and Mexican Ebony Bridge and Removable Armrest.  Woods will vary in each instrument.  See the Availability page for photos showing specific instruments.
Specifications:                                                                                                Scale: 20 inches                                                                                                Frets to the body: 16                                                                                          Total Frets: 20                                                                                                Width at the Nut: 1 7/16 inches    
Primary Recommended Tunings for the Tenor Largo: Ukulele reentrant Key of C ( g’  c’  e’  a’ ) - open & capoed Ukulele reentrant Key of B flat ( f’  b flat  d’  g’ ) Ukulele reentrant Key of A ( e’  a  c#’  f#’ ) Ukulele reentrant Key of G ( d’  g  b  e’ ) Linear Key of C (g  c’  e’  a’) Open Key of C (g  c’  e’  g’) Plectrum Tuning (f c’ e’ g’ - suggested)
Primary Recommended Tunings for the Lyric Baritone: Ukulele reentrant Key of A ( e’  a  c#’  f#’ ) Ukulele reentrant Key of G ( d’  g  b  e’ ) Cuatro reentrant Key of D ( a  d’  f#’  b ) Cuatro reentrant Key of C ( g  c’  e’  a) Linear Key of C (g  c’  e’  a’) Open Key of C (g  c’  e’  g’) Plectrum Tuning (f c’ e’ g’ - suggested)        for more detail on these tunings click below for:  
  With these Ukuleles we have a body that has a soundboard with the approximate overall dimensions of a traditional Tenor Ukulele.  However the scales are longer, having the 20” length most often associated with a Baritone Ukulele.  As a result, we’ve made the shape of these bodies a bit different - they are longer and narrower than a standard shaped Tenor.  This is by intention, as our instruments are designed from the start for the scales they have.  They are not longer fretboards stuck on a body designed for a “short-neck”.  As such, the overall proportions are more pleasing to the eye. The only difference between the Tenor Largo and the Lyric Baritone is the depth of the body.  Compared to typical Tenor Ukuleles, the Tenor Largo is just slightly thinner, while compared to many Baritone Ukuleles the Lyric Baritone is slightly deeper.  What this does above all else is affect sort of sound that’s produced.  While you might think the deeper body would also have a deeper resonance, our last production of these models featured stiff, almost Australian style back and sides.  Coupled with a lightly braced top, it means that projection is excellent, but the differences in resonance are only slight.  The character of the sound is different, however.  This is why, though there is some overlap, you also see slight differences in the recommended tunings.  The thinner TL body gets sound out of the box quicker and so in those recommended tunings, you see more of the higher, brighter sounds where that sort of quick response is often favored. The deeper body of the LB holds sound a bit, giving almost a “reverb” sort of quality; a feeling of depth.  This sort of tone is what a lot of folks look for with deeper stringing.  But don’t take those recommendations as hard and fast rules.  Any of the tunings above that are listed for one instrument can be used on the other as well.  So let’s see how they work.    Ukulele Reentrant Tuning: Ukulele reentrant tuning on a traditional Tenor Ukulele today is most often done in the modern Key of C.  That high a tuning generally requires somewhat high tension to drive a soundboard of this size with typical Tenor Ukulele bracing.   But a Tenor sized body easily handles deeper notes.  In fact, it was originally intended to be played with an Ukulele reentrant G tuning.    To get back to the Tenors natural range, the long scale and lighter bracing of these instruments improve performance in several ways.  First, on a standard 17” scale fretboard, a Key of G reentrant tuning tuning will require very heavy strings.  The performance with that type of stringing is why the original Tenor tuning was abandoned to begin with.  Our bracing does not require higher tension to project well, and so normal Ukulele tensions work perfectly.  For those who like playing up the fretboard, either with movable chords or for solos, this fretboard gives 16 frets to the body - in other words, the room you would normally only have on a standard Tenor if it had a cutaway.  Most importantly, the longer fretboard also means much greater clarity throughout the entire range of notes. You can tune one step below C to the Key of B flat, or a step lower to the Key of A, or on down to the original Tenor tuning in the Key of G.  You’ll have a richer, fuller sound, and play without high tensions.  You’ll be playing with the sound this instrument was intended for, but with a clarity and range it never before possessed.  It will feel right and sound right.  We believe this to be a much better lay-out for a larger reentrant Ukulele. But what if you are one of those who has learned to play in C tuning, and occasionally need to revert back in group situations.  Of course you could learn to transpose your chords, but maybe from time to time, you just like the higher, brighter sound of a C tuned instrument.  These instruments are excellent choices for that situation as well. If you are at all familiar with flamenco guitar playing, you may have noticed that it sounds very different from Classical guitar.  You may also have noticed that flamenco players are almost never seen playing without a capo.  As flamenco is instrumental more often than not, this is not done to adjust for vocals.  It’s because flamenco players prefer a higher, brighter sound, and most importantly, the low action that goes with capo use.  You need a certain scale length for this to be effective, and the 20” scale of these instruments does the trick. Tune to the key of G and capo to C, and on our long neck, you will still have 11 frets to work with.  This is basically how Nick Reynolds of the Kingston Trio played his Tenor guitar.  He always used a capo, and moved up from the Key of G to C or even D tuning.  Tune to the Key of A on either instrument and then capo to C - you’ll have 13 frets to the body.  Tune to B flat and capo to C and you have 14.  In other words, from B flat tuning with these Ukuleles, a capoed C tuning leaves you with the same fretboard length as a standard Ukulele design, the difference being, you have a lower action. With these instruments in Ukulele reentrant tuning, in effect, you have two instruments.  Played open you have a deep tuned, rich, resonant, “classical” reentrant Ukulele.  Capoed to C, you have a bright, low action, fast playing “flamenco” reentrant Ukulele.  (Maybe we should charge double.) And finally, for those who wish to tune their open strings to reentrant Key of C, you can simply use a Light or Medium Light Gauge set for a bright sound, comfortable tension, and with our light bracing still providing excellent response.  The Tenor Largo would be our recommendation for that stringing, but as mentioned earlier, either instrument can work. Cuatro & Lili’u Reentrant Tunings: Here are two forms of tuning where we have somewhat of a preference for the Lyric Baritone.  The Cuatro reentrant form is one designed in part to allow deeper sound without the use of wound strings.  To keep the two low notes clear, Cuatro tuning is relatively high.  The mass of the two low plain strings pairs well with the deeper body, giving it that sense of depth.  Maybe it’s also that this is the sort of sound we’re used to with this tuning, as layout of the LB is very similar to a traditional Cuatro Venezolano.   Our instruments are not as fragile in their construction as many Cuatros and have the lower action typical of Ukuleles and Guitars, but with a scale and body size that are relatively the same, the traditional Cuatro tuning in D sounds wonderful on this instrument.  For Ukulele players who prefer to play in the Key of C, it is also possible to drop down to that pitch with heavier gauges and Cuatro C tuning gives a much deeper sound than a linear C tuned instrument. Lili’u tuning is another deep sounding reentrant form (for more details, see the “Guide to Tunings & Strings link above)  This arrangement, unlike the Cuatro form, is one we feel lends itself well to double wound sets, and so sustain is one of its primary characteristics.  Because of this and also because of the depth of sound, once again we have a slight preference for its use on the Lyric Baritone.    Linear & Open Tunings: These tunings are similar enough to each other, at least as far as choosing one of these instruments as a vehicle, that they can be discussed together.  The low note of a Linear C tuning - the 4th string - is the same g note as the low note of the Tenors’ original Key of G Ukulele reentrant tuning: a g note on the 3rd string.  A standard Tenor Ukulele, then, is a very viable choice for this set-up.  With our designs, however, we wanted to present another option - another voice.  Compared to a standard Tenor Ukulele, the differences in tone again arise chiefly from the longer scale and lighter soundboard bracing. The longer scale requires a move to lighter gauge strings for this tuning.  It is at this point that an all plain string set-up comes into its own.  There is none of the flabbiness or muddiness associated with a plain material 4th string on the shorter standard Tenor scale.  For those who have been wanting to play a linear C set-up with plain strings, this instrument is nirvana and our lightly braced soundboard gives these instruments the ability to respond well, maintaining projection and sustain at these light - medium tensions. If you prefer to play at high tension, the heavier strings and heavier braced soundboard of a standard Tenor Ukulele can be a good choice for this tuning.  The typical standard construction is more “guitar” oriented than our instrument, both in how it plays and how it sounds.  On the other hand, if you like playing at more traditional Ukulele tensions, and with a light, clear, full and reverberant sound -  a sound we feel has more of the traditional “Ukulele” character as well, then we recommend you consider one of these instruments. Plectrum Tuning: This in a way is also a variant of Linear tuning, but with the 4th string dropped a note, we think a single wound set is most appropriate here.  Plectrum tuning is a wonderful vehicle for “guitar-like” instrumental work, as there is more of a bass-treble contrast between the 4th string and the melody strings (for details, again see the “Guide to Tunings & Strings link above).  As it is often used for solo play, it can be tuned simply for best feel and sound.  Our recommendation above will give beautiful, clear sound, and the long fretboard of these instruments is well suited to the “up the neck” style of much Plectrum composition.