Why You Should Try a Baritone Guitar

You may not be aware of it, but you already know how to play a baritone guitar. That is, if you already know how to play guitar.

So what exactly is a baritone guitar?

The baritone guitar has been around for a long time and came into common use in the 1950s with the Danelectro as a way to score western films and make surf music. The standard tuning for a baritone guitar is a perfect fourth lower than a typical guitar. So your low E is tuned down four steps to B. Your low A is tuned down to E and so forth with standard tuning being B E A D F# B. On a regular guitar, tuning this low would render your strings too loose to play but baritone guitars have a longer scale length which allows it to maintain a comfortable tension while keeping the tuning low.

This means that all the chord shapes and scales you already know are still usable on a baritone. This allows you to play the same open chord shapes you already know well. Baritones are just plain fun to play and now with the Squier Paranormal Baritone Telecaster, they are affordable tools that can add extra options to your tonal palette. 

An example of this is the Arctic Monkey’s song “If You Were There, Beware” where Alex Turner plays a baritone which allows him to get different voicing for the chords than he would have on a standard guitar. 

Today, baritone guitars are used on all genres of music, allowing metal musicians to access lower and darker riffs or in country music it’s used to double the bass line.

Baritone guitars are also useful for those singers who have a lower singing voice and allows for players to write in keys that a standard guitar doesn’t typically lend itself to. Like Ian Mackeye, who uses it in his band Coriky and The Evens.

Baritones can even be used as a standard tuning guitar with the help of a Capo on the 4th fret, like Phoebe Bridgers, who plays a Danelectro baritone with a  capo so it plays in standard tuning. 

The baritone guitar is a fun instrument that opens up new options without having to learn a new instrument entirely, which is why so many studios keep a baritone guitar on hand, just in case the song needs a little extra low end. 
February 14, 2022 — Webteam Member

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