New Product: Kala Learn To Play Baritone + Q&A with Instructor Kevin Presbrey
For several years, Kala’s Learn to Play series has inspired ukulele learners with a quality ukulele line and approachable instruction. Up to this point, we’ve focused on ukuleles that are in standard tuning. That said, we have seen the demand for baritone ukulele increase; the D-G-B-E tuning and longer scale of the baritone ukulele make it a fantastic transition instrument for guitarists, and ukulele players looking to expand their tonal options. We are now excited to offer the Kala Learn To Play Baritone pack!
This pack comes with everything you need to start playing baritone ukulele. It’s perfect for someone just starting out, and provides an excellent transition for those coming with some background in guitar, as baritones are tuned D-G-B-E just like the 4 top strings on a guitar. Featuring a NEW Free Learn To Play Baritone course, taught by ukulele teacher and Influencer Kevin Presbrey, creator of the AllForUke YouTube channel. These lessons include how to tune, strumming patterns, chord breakdowns and even full song play-throughs made specifically for baritone tuning — accessed through the Kala Brand Music Learn To Play website.
The Learn To Play Baritone Starter Kit includes
- Kala Baritone Ukulele
- Free Online Lessons, taught by ukulele teacher Kevin Presbrey
- Kala Logo Tote Bag
- Clip-on Tuner
- Quick Start Guide
Additionally, our Kala mobile app now possesses a baritone setting to access a baritone mode within the tuner and songs with baritone chords. Coming very soon within the app is our Learn to Play Baritone content and additional bonus videos with app subscription. This link will take you directly to baritone settings within the app on your mobile device: https://kala.page.link/
Kevin Presbrey is a beloved member of our Kala Artist family, and an excellent instructor! We wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit more about Kevin, and his journey into ukulele.
Beyond the interview, at the bottom of this page: Enter to win a Learn To Play Ukulele Baritone Starter Kit (signups end 9/18 - winners will be notified directly by 9/20)!
What brought you to ukulele?
Ukulele came into my life serendipitously. I was performing in Davenport, Iowa one weekend back in 2011 and walked into a place called Grigg’s Music to pick up some strings for my guitar. When I walked in the shop, I noticed this display of ukuleles on the wall that I hadn’t seen before and I was intrigued. Oddly enough, they were Kala ukuleles! I picked up an Acacia Tenor and started trying to figure out the chords on my own to no avail. I was lucky enough to have the store owner give me a few pointers. After a few hours of tinkering in the shop, I made an impulse purchase and I’ve never turned back!
Tell us your thoughts on baritone uke.
I played standard tuning ukulele for several years before I picked up a baritone. My uncle went to quite a few garage sales and found a 1950s baritone that was pretty beat up and didn’t have strings on it. I was curious to try it out so I strung it up and plucked around for a while. I liked the feel and the larger body size.
Right around that same time, my [artist] rep from Kala asked if I had any interest in trying out some of Kala’s new baritones. He sent over a Mahogany baritone and I immediately fell in love with the mellow tone and the wider fret spacing. I feel like the baritone is a great instrument for those who have larger fingers and need that wide fret spacing. The strings are a bit easier to compress as well so that component is another positive in my book.
What is your favorite baritone model?
[The Kala] Gloss Cedar Top Acacia Baritone (KA-SCAC-B) has been my favorite for quite some time now. I’ve played just about the entire line and this one seems to end up in my hands the most often. I write with it, teach with it, and travel with it. The instrument chooses you sometimes, ya know?
How did you fall into teaching, and how has your teaching style been refined since you started?
It was quite a random occurrence. I was finishing up a performance at a local bar when one of the waitresses asked me if I knew anyone who could teach a group ukulele class at a local shop. I’d been playing for a few years at this point and decided to give it a whirl. It went so well that we kept the group class going and started signing up those students for private lessons. I went on to teach for 10+ years at the store and have continued teaching online through my AllForUKe private lesson portal.
With the experience I’ve had teaching, I have refined my style to focus more on the theory components of music rather than only learning songs. I still teach songs regularly and find a lot of value in it, but I spend more time deriving theory concepts from those songs that I did in the past.
What tips do you have for those interested in learning baritone uke?
I would recommend trying out and listening to several baritones before diving into the water. Search for an instrument that will inspire you to pick it up every day. Once you have your instrument selected, I would suggest choosing a few songs to play that you really love listening to. Not only will you be hearing your favorite song, but you’ll be improving at playing baritone along the way. In addition, I would start with learning chords in the Key of G and a few basic strumming patterns in 4/4.
What's happening for you music-wise in the near future?
The AllForUke website is getting a facelift as we speak, and I’m excited to roll out an entirely new course library for my students. These courses will give students a real path for learning where each lesson takes them another step forward. Students will have the ability to track their progress, use practice jam tracks and lesson worksheets, all while having access to an extensive library of songs and techniques for standard and baritone ukulele.
On the performance side of things, it’s been a super busy summer full of performances and festivals, and I’m excited to head back into the studio this fall to finish my fifth studio album!