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Thread: Baritones - Pros and Cons

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    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    Baritones - Pros and Cons

    Do any of you play a baritone guitar? What do you like and dislike about them. I know they are meant to be tuned down, but do they sound right if tuned to standard 440? I wouldn't mind trying one for low drop tuning, but wouldn't want to be limited to tuning options. What can ya'll teach me about Baritones? I've done some web searching but didn't really find the answers I was looking for.

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    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    Do any of you play a baritone guitar? What do you like and dislike about them. I know they are meant to be tuned down, but do they sound right if tuned to standard 440? I wouldn't mind trying one for low drop tuning, but wouldn't want to be limited to tuning options. What can ya'll teach me about Baritones? I've done some web searching but didn't really find the answers I was looking for.
    The longer scale is going to make it very difficult to play in Standard tuning becasue of the string tension. Could it be done? Sure. Would I? No.

    It's the main reason I play a 7 string. Low tuning without compromising the scale length and comfort.
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

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    Senior Member aduayer's Avatar
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    I tried a 7 string guitar a long time ago (when those Ibanez Universe were first released) and the B string confused me a lot. I got a Baritone a couple of years ago and it's not my main guitar. I use it from time to time, only for recording and to add textures, so I mess a lot with different tunings and sounds with it (mine has a piezo system installed).
    Right now I am looking forward to get my hands on a 7 strings guitar just for another test drive so I can see if, this time, I can get along with it.

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    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! ..Themike, that is exactly what i wanted to know! I read articles online for 2 hours and all it took was asking the question here to get an answer LOL.. I do know more about Baritones today than I did yesterday though!

  5. #5
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogeyman View Post
    Thanks guys! ..Themike, that is exactly what i wanted to know! I read articles online for 2 hours and all it took was asking the question here to get an answer LOL.. I do know more about Baritones today than I did yesterday though!
    No problem man, glad to help.

    Basically a baritone is a longer scale length (the neck is longer) which is meant to keep string tension tight for lower tunings. It is possible to play in standard on it but the strings will be brutally tight and just generally uncomfortable.
    On a 7 string, instead of drop tuning everything, the guitar simply has a low B string added to it. This allows you to have standard tuning and drop tuning all in one beast

    Baritones are great and serve special purpose, but like you said, you want something to play in E with as well as drop tuning so thats why I bring up the 7 string.
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I tune my baritone B, E, A, D, F#, B, strung with 14s. So, you play it like it's a standard tuned guitar but it's a half octave down. The advantage I see is that it eliminates the confusion of having that 7th low string, and keeps the fretboard from being wider than it needs to be. Plus, you can configure it with different pickups and whatnot to give you some alternate tones.

    It's pretty cool. I use mine because it changes things up and sounds different than a regular tuned guitar. When we're writing new material I will usually try out some of the riffs I write on a standard tuned guitar on the baritone. On the fretboard it's all played the same way, but it's obviously in a different key and just sounds different. For some stuff it works really well, it can take a boring riff on a regular guitar and give it new life. For other stuff it doesn't work at all.

    I don't know how else to describe it than "different" because it's still a guitar. It just provides a whole new landscape of tones and textures to have at your disposal.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

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    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    The main appeal of a baritone to me is that it lets me play in a key I could sing in - as opposed to a standard guitar which is the key my brain thinks I could sing in when I write.

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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinbuster View Post
    The main appeal of a baritone to me is that it lets me play in a key I could sing in - as opposed to a standard guitar which is the key my brain thinks I could sing in when I write.
    Ah ha! That's what's wrong with my singing.... I need a new guitar!

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    I sing flat, but rather than tune a half step down I took the easy option of not singing and letting the guitar be my voice (instrumentals FTW)

    The reason all these NU Metal bands (ala Slipknot etc) tuned down was cos the extended range guitars were not that popular and when they did become popular they made it worse by tuning down even lower. 7 strings i can handle but now 8 strings are the norm and 9 strings are available, pretty soon we'll be cutting one string of our 12 strings just to keep up with the Jones's

    I think Ibanez or Schecter done a 7 string baritone a few years back (i remember hearing something but not 100% sure).

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    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    FWIW, you don't need a long scale for a baritone. I have a 25.5" scale Ibanez Talman I've thought off and on about converting to baritone. You'd need a new nut, maybe tuners if the current ones won't take thick strings. Tweak the rod and setup and you have a reversible baritone.
    --Garrett--

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    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrett View Post
    FWIW, you don't need a long scale for a baritone. I have a 25.5" scale Ibanez Talman I've thought off and on about converting to baritone. You'd need a new nut, maybe tuners if the current ones won't take thick strings. Tweak the rod and setup and you have a reversible baritone.
    I have had three 25.5" scale guitars strung with thick strings and tuned to baritone tuning over the years and it does work. However, there's a certain je ne sais qua that the longer scale length (or something about this guitar) brings to the table that makes my current Baritone more unique, and sounds more like baritones I hear on recordings. That said, I'm not opposed to going back and the SE Lowery is definitely high on my list of guitars to check out whenever it's available (at 25.5" scale).
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  12. #12
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    I used a Epiphone Prophecy 25.5 scale for baritone tuning with 13s and it did great. I ended up putting it back in standard tuning with 11s and it did well. I'm not sure how something like Mushok's 27.7 would do in standard.

    I will be buying Lowery's SE and using Drop D tuning.
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY
    SE ZACH MYERS, SE TREMONTI, SE20 COMBO

  13. #13
    Member Boogeyman's Avatar
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    Good stuff guys! Thanks for the replies... I had a freind that had a Schecter 7 string several years ago, but I never played it. I wish he still had it so I could play around with it some.

  14. #14
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    I have had three 25.5" scale guitars strung with thick strings and tuned to baritone tuning over the years and it does work. However, there's a certain je ne sais qua that the longer scale length (or something about this guitar) brings to the table that makes my current Baritone more unique, and sounds more like baritones I hear on recordings. That said, I'm not opposed to going back and the SE Lowery is definitely high on my list of guitars to check out whenever it's available (at 25.5" scale).
    I imagine the fundamental would be better on the longer scale, like a 30" vs 34" scale bass. More of that piano-like ring.
    --Garrett--

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