Collecting Vintage Uke Sheet Music-a Reasonable Treasure Hunt!
One of the great things about being able to read music on your baritone is the absolute blast one can have by learning new tunes by shopping online for vintage uke music. All you'll need is the skill of note reading, and a baritone uke chord dictionary,a chord stamp and some spare time to relax and peruse listings online. I had no idea as to how any of the songs would sound when I got them-either the cover or the title would get my attention,and if the price was right,I'd either buy it outright or place a bid. It's so much fun to see how advertising was done back then-often there is a bit of another song included promoted as "bits of hits" or some other catchy slogan to get you to buy the sheet music for that piece as well.
More often than not,your vintage music is going to be somewhat fragile-so what I do with mine is I scan a copy for my own personal use,and keep the original stored in a protective magazine cover and in a special folder of my file cabinet. I can then use a chord stamp on the scanned copy for bari chords if I don't know them by heart. The chords are more complicated than what we use today,often diminished or augmented,and the lyrics are far superior to today's drivel. Nothing like knowing your sheet music was also available on talking machine,gramophone,or for player piano!
Amazingly enough,99% of the music I have has the uke arrangements done by May Singhi Breen,whose memorial I have sponsored and have a link to on this page should you want to leave flowers and a note to the "Ukulele Lady"
Now one thing I want to warn you about is shipping fees-check those before you bid or buy-I have been known to email a seller and ask if they'd mail using media mail rate if I feel the shipping is outlandish. Most of the time the seller will do this without any fuss. As you get into collecting,you'll find yourself liking certain arranging teams-I have found I like the works of Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson. Once you discover your favorite arrangers,that will help greatly in your shopping.
Remember to look for lots as well-and should you receive some music in a lot you don;t care for,you can always place it up for sale or bid to make your deal even sweeter. Just be sure to place a cardboard backing in the envelope with the sheet music you sell to prevent it getting bent up. Happy Hunting!
A Work in Progress
It's just amazing how little there is in the way of songbooks when it comes to the baritone uke. Even more amazing at tutorials that feature songs you wouldn't be caught dead playing or have no interest in playing between the covers. No wonder there's a lack of interest. This is due to the fact most teachers/writers are confined to using tunes that are considered "public domain" lest the infringe on copyright restrictions. That means songs that were published in 1922 or before. So-I've been working on arrangements of Christmas Carols for the baritone to release as an ebook; plus I'm working on a tutorial using carols as a learning repertoire. I figure if you're going to learn tunes they may as well be ones that A: you know what they're supposed to sound like and B: You will end up playing them-and Christmas tunes fit the bill perfectly.
So far the arrangements are in a fingerpicked/classical right hand style tho I need to work on flatpicked arrangements. I have no idea as to what right hand technique is more popular on the bari. (an idea for a new poll is born!)
Updates will be forthcoming...in the meantime,Happy Holidays!
Inspiration........ - Songs on Baritone uke/various players
Blues with a Glass slide on Bari
Baritone Uke Scale Book
This is a fantastic book as it shows you movable scale positions with the root note on different strings-includes your standard modes as well as blues scales. While scale books can be daunting,it's important to remember if you're going to add scale tones to a melody line of a tune that it helps to know them! ie adding a 5th,a 3rd,over the note you're already playing.
Mandolin Babe's Pickin Parlour - Ukulele books & more!
My online folk & traditional music store where you'll find hand crafted musical accessories,Mel Bay books & DVDs,as well as ukulele books by Curt Sheller!
Great Ukulele Links
- Ukulele Guy Blog
One of the best uke blogs on the net! Very informative with tons of resources.
- UkeStar Straps
Beautiful ukulele straps-for all size uke in a wonderful array of fabrics & colors.
- Roman Numeral Converter
Need to see if that antique piece of music is copyright free (before 1922?) Go here & enter those mysterious letters,hit the button & tah dah! the year is in arabic numerals. Brilliant!
- Handcrafted Ukulele Gig Bags and More!
Mandolin Babe's handcrafted store-the etsy widget wouldn't work,so I'm adding this link. You'll find my hand knit & crocheted winter woolies here too!
- Hep-Kitten's Bari-Uke Blog
My main Baritone Uke blog-where's there's an archive of earlier articles,info,and posts-updated more frequently than this lens w/links!
Great Baritone Ukulele Books
I own a Savannah baritone uke and it's my one & only- great feel & tone and priced for those on a budget. Chord book wise,Alfreds is absolutely the best-if the chord isn't in there,it just doesn't exist!
RIght hand technique...do you-
Baritone Ukulele: A Brief History
Brief being an understatement!
For all the info on the internet, all I've found out thus far is the baritone was developed in the 1940's by Hercules (Herk) Favilla at the request of Arthur Godfrey. Not a real informative history lesson,but I will add to this article as I find out more info.