There’s so much beauty in what I would call ‘foundational’ playing, like becoming a better bluest guitarist.Tosin Abasi
For a musician, especially a guitarist, a guitar is not just a guitar. It is one of the greatest ever conceived. A guitarist has this unending passion than just strumming those strings as if out heartbeat depends on it. It becomes a passion rather than an instrument. It rules the heart and the mind that they can’t seem to cease strumming.
There is something enchanting about this instrument that captivates the guitarists and music lovers. Its aesthetic is hard to ignore and stands not just like a musical instrument but a piece of art.
A guitar is an instrument with a hollow wooden body with six strings stretched over its narrow neck. It has a sound hole in the body. There are several kinds of guitars. For instance, you have the acoustic guitar, bass guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar, among others.
What is a baritone guitar?
A baritone guitar is a guitar designed with a large body and longer strings. The history of baritone guitars dates back during classical times. In the 1950s, Danelectro Company introduces the first electric baritone guitar whose popularity spread very fast as it was embraced by music enthusiasts.
Tuning A Baritone Guitar
The baritone guitar has a 27 to 30 inches’ neck. This is about 2-4 inches longer than a regular guitar. Because of the length of its strings are .012 to .014 gauge. This is the reason why some prefer using a baritone guitar than tuning down a regular guitar in reaching lower notes. Baritone guitars will not give you the risk of loose strings during a complicated fretwork. Baritones are tuned for B standard tuning (B-E-A-D-F#-B), third below standard tuning (C-F-A#-D#-G-C), and perfect fifth below standard tuning (A-D-G-C-E-A).
- B standard tuning (B-E-A-D-F#-B): The most popular baritone tuning, which provides more string tension. Increased strung tension permits more aggressive playing.
- Standard Tuning (Perfect Fifth) (Strings, Low to High: A D G C E A): this is an option for guitarists who wants to hit low. This may result in buzzing when strummed and is perfect when used with drone tones.
- Open Major Tunings: A Major (A: Strings, Low to High, A E A E A C#) and B Major (Strings, Low to High, B F# B F# B D#): These tunings are important and most commonly taught. Strum the device in an open position to create a major chord as the strings are turned to include only the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes.
How to play baritone guitar?
Playing the baritone guitar is almost similar to the regular only that the strings have different distances. The very important thing to do is to learn the guitar chords first. This is very basic. You cannot play any guitars as long as you do not know the chords. You may try and search on tutorials on learning guitar chords, which can help you like teaching you how and where to place your fingers. It is important to know which fingers go to which string: (I=index, M=middle finger, R=ring finger, P=pinky). If you have a diagram, the X represents the chord that you need to strum while the O represents the open string, which will not be played without any frets.
The difference between a baritone guitar and why should I buy it?
As mentioned earlier, a baritone guitar can produce lower sounding tunes. There is no need to use tunings, chords, and scales to achieve as it comes to the actual pitch of this guitar. This guitar is like the harmony between a regular guitar and a bass guitar. A baritone guitar can produce a tone similar to a regular guitar but with depth. Also, baritone guitars are also used as double basslines in a recording studio.
Now that you have a brief background of what a baritone guitar is, its time to see the list of the 10 Best Baritone Guitar in 2020.
1. PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 277 Baritone Electric Guitar
- Solid-body build
- 27.7″ baritone scale length
- Top wood: Maple
- Back wood: mahogany
- Fretboard Wood: Rosewood
- 85/15 “S” humbucking pickups
- Coil split for single-coil tones
- Classic PRS bird inlays
The PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 277 Baritone is the best choice for guitarists who love low-end colors for recordings and performing. This guitar is for those who like down-tuned riffing. It has an SE 85/15 S humbucking pickups which can be split and allow you to experience humbucking and single-coil tones. It is built to last as it is practically made of wood, which adds to its classic vibe. The PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 277 s extended-scale instruments that can offer new chord voicing.
Overall, this baritone guitar has the consistency and quality that is unmatched so far by other baritone guitars in the market. The PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 277 Baritone’s versatility is unmatched, and this is the best guitar if you want to play different genres of music.
2. Gretsch G5265 Electromatic Jet Baritone Electric Guitar
- Top wood: Maple; Back wood: Mahogany
- Bolt-on maple neck
- Dual mini Gretsch humbuckers Bigsby
- Fretwood: Rosewood
- Die-cast tuning machines
- Jones Designed dual mini Gretsch humbuckers
- Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
- Chrome Hardware
This classic variation of baritone guitars has a distinctly deep sound. The design is very sleek, and it is built to last as it is made of maple wood. It has a dual mini Gretsch humbucker and Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. The sound is amazing, with its master volume and tone controls. The Gretsch G5265 is built to provide low-gain music and perfect for jazz and blues. It has excellent pickups that go with a clear and crisp sound. It is stable when it comes to frets and hardware.
3. Danelectro ’56 Baritone Electric Guitar
- Single cut body shape
- 29.75″ short-scale neck
- 24 Frets
- Fully Adjustable Bridge
- 2 high output, high impedance lipstick pickups
- 1 Master Tone
- 1 Master Volume
The Danelectro ’56 Baritone Electric Guitar features a high output lipstick and impedance that can produce round bass tines. It comes with a short scale that is easy to play. It has a cutaway and 24 frets that allow you to get to the top. This baritone has a stylized pickguard headstock and an adjustable bridge.
4. Schecter HELLRAISER C-VI Baritone Electric Guitar
- Build to last
- Maple top with a mahogany body
- Rosewood Fingerwood
- Set-Neck w/ Ultra Access
- Mahogany body
- Schecter tuners
- EMG 89 and EMG 81TW pickups
- 25.5″ scale length
- Classic gothic inlays
Schecter is very famous in the metal community for making stable and incredible guitars. The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar is the perfect example of a baritone guitar that is built to last. It is made of a quilted maple top and a mahogany body. It is mid-range and has a tonal muscle pushed through the amp by an EMG 81TW by an EMG 89 at the neck. The dual-mode design gives it a classic sound. The best feature of the Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar is its mahogany neck that provided stability, its tuners to keep you in tune and onePros TOM bridge with through-body construction.
Overall, this guitar has the best quality and playability. The sound is also excellent. The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar comes EMG pickup that is meant for heavy and hard music. This baritone guitar is what you need if you want to play rock metal music.
5. Ibanez RGIB6 Iron Label RG Baritone Series Electric Guitar
- Chassis made of RG metal label
- Classic sleek design
- 28 scale Nitro Wizard Baritone neck
- EMG 60 pickup
- EMG 81
- factory-tuned as B, F#, D, A, E, B
The Ibanez RGIB6 Iron Label RG Baritone Series Electric Guitar Black comes with a classic high class and sleek design. It features a Basswood built with jumbo frets, a 28 scale Nitro Wizard Baritone neck, and a Gibraltar Standard II bridge. It comes with factory tuned as B, F#, D, A, E, B with 14 to 46 string gauges.
6. ESP LTD Viper-201B Baritone Electric Guitar
- Double-cut away design
- ESP designed humbucker
- Mahogany body
- Jatoba fingerboard
- Comes with 24 extra-jumbo frets
- 27″ Baritone
- Black hardware color
- ESP Designed LH-150B
- FINGERBOARD RADIUS: 350mm
The ESP LTD Viper-201B Baritone Electric Guitar is a 27″ baritone guitar, which is very sturdy, perfect to use, and affordable. It has a cutaway design that is designed to bring about incredible strength and tone. The body is made of mahogany with a three-piece maple neck, 24 extra-jumbo frets, and jatoba fingerboard.
7. ESP LTD SCT-607 Baritone Signature Series Stephen Carpenter Electric Guitar
- Designed for low tunings
- Built with a three-piece maple neck
- Ebony fingerboard
- Fishman Fluence SRC Signature active pickups
- It can handle low tunings while maintaining string tension
The ESP LTD SCT-607 Baritone Signature Series Stephen Carpenter Electric Guitar was designed as part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Stephen Carpenter’s first ESP Signature guitar. This baritone has a unique form with a classic look appropriate for many types of music. It has a single-cutaway for easy access to the upper frets. It makes a perfect balance of tones. The maple neck balances are used to tone out while the ebony fretboard gives the modern and unique look. The ESP LTD SCT-607 Baritone Signature Series Stephen Carpenter Electric Guitar is the perfect guitar at a premium trim level.
8. Alvarez ABT60ESHB Artist Series Baritone Shadowburst Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Made of Top wood
- Mahogany wood back and sides
- Neck: Mahogany wood
- Bridge – Bi-Level Rosewood / Pau Ferro
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Premium Die-Cast Tuner
- D’Addario EXP16 strings
- It has a pickup / EQ – LR Baggs StagePro EQ and Element Pick Up
- Abalone and Mother of Pearls inlays
The Alvarez ABT60ESHB Artist Series Baritone Shadowburst Acoustic-Electric Guitar is a classic example of a guitar build between acoustic bass and dreadnaught to produce deep tones which are easy to play. The chord shapes and scales are similar to a classic guitar or a standard six-string. The Alvarez ABT60ESHB is built with durable materials with the use of tonewoods. This artist series is one of the finest guitar available in the market and is also one of the most popular.
9. ESP LTD BB-600 Baritone Signature Series Ben Burnley Electric Guitar
- Designed together with the founder of Braking Benjamin, Ben Burnley.
- High quality-magnetic pickups
- Graph Tech Ghost-Loaded Resomax NV bridge
- Two output jacks
- The sleek eclipse body design
- 27 ” scale
- Made of the mahogany body is topped with quilted maple in an amazing see thru black sunburst satin finish
- Thin U shaped
- three-piece maple neck
The ESP LTD BB-600 Baritone is one of the most versatile models by ESP. This baritone guitar is made of a mahogany body and then topped by quilted maple to give it a see-thru appearance. It includes two output jacks for you to route the signals from magnetic pickups to an amplifier in studios or on stage. ESP LTD BB-600 is a 27″ baritone and allows down tuning without sacrificing the string tension.
10. Hagstrom VIDLXBARI-BLK Viking Deluxe Baritone Black
- Neck: Canadian hard Maple
- Tuning Keys: Hagstrom 18:1 Die-Cast
- Bridge: Long Travel Tune-O-Matic w/ Hagstrom Stop Tail
- Custom 58’c Bridge/ p-unified neck humbucking sized P-90 pickups
- 2 x volume / 2 x tone control
- H-expander truss rod
- String Gauge (Factory): D’Addario EXL158 (13-62)
- Long Travel Tune-O-Matic w/ Hagstrom Stop Tail
The Hagstrom VIDLXBARI-BLK Viking Deluxe Baritone Black is made of semi-hollow ply maple wood. It is capable of delivering deep classic tones to suit a variety of playing styles. It is designed to produce tonal versatility. The semi-open design is meant to enhance the instruments acoustic clarity and sustain even lower sub-registers.
Now you may be thinking of buying your very own and perhaps 1st baritone guitar. Finding the best guitar for you may be difficult as there are many available types of baritone guitars in the market. Either you are an amateur or a professional; there are some considerations that may matter before you purchase your very own baritone guitar.
What you need to look for a baritone guitar
If you are a novice, getting your 1st baritone guitar may be overwhelming. It can be difficult to know exactly what you are looking for. Depending on what music you want to play, it will make a difference in the specifications that you would want to have in choosing your baritone guitar. Here are some reminders that may help you in identifying which is the best baritone guitar for you.
Take into consideration that tuning stability
If you are a new guitar user, this should be on top of your priority. There are guitars that are made for beginners or novice users. For beginner-level guitars, make sure to have the equipment checked or tuned. Beginner guitars have a common issue with tuning because they lack locking tuners, poorly fitted frets, and cheap nuts. Pay attention to these details and have them checked before leaving the stores. It is important to have a fine-tuned guitar since you will need to use them as you familiarize yourself with the instruments.
Check for the pick-ups
Either its active or passive pickups, they both will matter the most on the overall impact on your tone. This is one of the most important considerations in buying you’re your baritone guitar. Depending on the type of music that you want to play, the pick-up matters the most to suit the particular type of music. Heavy metal and rock music, for example, requires a lot of high gains then a guitar with active pickups is what you need. For more versatile, mellow, or clean tones, a guitar with passive pickups would be perfect for you.
Your budget matters
The price of the guitar depends on its specification and its overall quality. Finding a good quality baritone guitar based on your budget may not be easy, but since baritone guitars have been very popular, there is a lot of merchandise and brands that you can choose from. Make sure that you but the electric guitar based on your skill and budget. It’s balancing at on finding the guitar that satisfies your need without compromising your finances. Baritone guitars cost more than regular guitars. Beginner guitars cost lower compared to high-end guitars. You, as the buyer, must take into consideration the type of guitar that you need and the budget that you have. The high-end the guitar is, the expensive it gets. The cost also goes with your skill. If you are a professional guitarist and you are looking to buy the latest and high-end baritone guitar, expect a costly price on the equipment.
Subjectively, how the guitar also looks matters. As a buyer, you want to make sure that the guitar looks good on you and speaks about you. Most musicians and artists consider their instruments as a part of who they are, self-expression and personality. The look speaks of who they are. Its more than just the look, like music it is self-expression as well. You may have known musicians that have their guitars personalized, and it is a common thing in the industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a baritone guitar used for?
Baritone guitars are used to create beautiful music, but they are not like most ordinary guitars. They are niche type of guitars that is not just for regular strumming. Baritone guitars are longer than regular guitars. A typical baritone guitar has a scale of 27 to 30.5 inches. It has longer strings and bigger bodies. This is the reason why it is easier to tune in. It allows you to tune down until the 4th or 5th.
Baritone guitars can be identified because of its chords, tunings, and scales.
What is the difference between baritone guitars and regular guitars?
Basically, baritone guitars are longer than the regular guitar. A baritone guitar has about 27 to 30.5 inches long. Baritone guitars have longer strings and bigger bodies. Unlike regular guitars, baritone guitars can play lower notes without giving the risk of losing their strings. Guitarists use baritone guitars because they are stand tuned to B standard tuning (B-E-A-D-F#-B), third below standard tuning (C-F-A#-D#-G-C) and perfect fifth below standard tuning (A-D-G-C-E-A). So you no longer need to tune the guitar for these depth notes as it comes with the pitch already.
How low can you tune a baritone guitar?
In tuning or in creating that lower deeper range, the guitar needs to be 27 inches and needs a heavier gauge. Just make sure that the is at the same pitch with the low E in standard tuning. The 8th string and the baritone’s 6th string should not be in tune with any pitches that are higher than the chart. This will increase the tension on the guitar and may cause damage. A baritone guitar can be tuned in to a perfect 4th lower than a regular guitar (B1–E2–A2–D3–F♯3–B3, 5th lower (A1–D2–G2–C3–E3–A3) or major 3rd lower (C2–F2–B♭2–E♭3–G3–C4).
If you are looking for a baritone guitar, consider this article as your guide in buying the right type for you. Today’s baritone guitars’ popularity has been rising in the music industry. It has become an important instrument to create all sorts of music, from pop, contemporary to rock to heavy metal. The artistry of baritone guitars has become limitless. Modern guitarists have taken a liking and preference in using baritone guitars because of its versatility. With celebrities showing their fascination with baritone guitars, there’s no doubt that music enthusiasts, guitarists specifically, are following the hype.
Remember that in choosing a guitar, be sure to very good research or consult a music expert so that you’d be guided accordingly. Choosing a guitar matter, especially to a guitarist who considers buying not just a hype but a passion and self-expression. Happy strumming!