Acoustic Baritone Guitars

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by jrm, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Hey friends:

    I've been really searching for an acoustic baritone to add to the stable. I know there are a few folks on here (Brett Valentine) who have them and I was hoping you wouldn't mind sharing your thoughts and experiences. fF you have a lead on one for sale, I'd appreciate a heads-up as well!

    So, what say you? Do you have one? Do you like it?

    -jon
     
  2. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    Dunno if Rick Kelly still has it, but there was a sweet Tacoma acoustic baritone in his shop over at Carmine St. guitars earlier this year. Very playable, sounded sonorous.
     
  3. J.T.

    J.T. Supporting Member

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  4. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Yeah, that's one I'm trying to find... impossible to dig one up though! Have you considered selling yours? (j/k) :)
     
  5. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    i find these to be very, very nice:

    [​IMG]

    i'm seriously considering one of the veillette baritone 12-strings.
    (i already have a veillette "gryphon" alto 12-string --- with each course in unison ---,
    which quickly became one of
    my most used & fave ac gtrs.....)

    dt / spltrcl
     
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  6. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Whew... those are gorgeous! I bet a 12 string baritone just sounds huge!
     
  7. J.T.

    J.T. Supporting Member

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  8. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    indeed!
    they sound amazing, feel fantastic, sport great fit-and-finish.....
    and, i like they way they look.
    dt / spltrcl
     
  9. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I used to play a baritone acoustic as my main guitar. A hand injury put a stop to that, as the longer scale length caused the problems to flare up.

    The main thing that I noticed about acoustic baritones is that the acoustic tone of the lowest notes is rarely balanced with the rest. I think this is a volume (as in cubic inches) problem, as the box just isn't big enough to resonate as low as A or B. On my Goodall, I mainly tuned CGCFGC, which is DADGAD down a step. That gave me a solid low note and gave the impression of playing a BIG guitar.

    Another issue to consider is scale length. Most baritones seem to be around 28" in scale length. That works well for stretches, but it isn't long enough to support a really low note. Some have a 30" scale, but that becomes a bit of a chore to play, at least for me. Those instrument start feeling like small basses, rather than big guitars.

    Hope that helps,
    Bryan
     
  10. Steeltoe

    Steeltoe Member

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    I just scored an '04 Tacoma Thunderhawk on craigslist.
    It has opened up a whole new realm, where I shall
    dwell repeatedly, no doubt. It is hard to put down,
    and new musical ideas start forming with little or no
    hesitation. It has a very soul-stirring sound.
    The scale is 29", string guage is 16 -70, and it is tuned
    to a low B. It sounds very balanced, full and deep.
    Projection is excellent, as is workmanship. A beautiful
    sounding and looking baritone. Up on the neck, it is
    hard to tell it is a baritone, but when you get low,
    there can be no doubt. I wonder why I waited so long
    to get one.
    I am really happy with it, and glad I did not put it off
    any longer.
    Now, I am wondering, what about the Tacoma short scale Papoose 12 string? That might take one to the other end of the spectrum.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  11. jrm

    jrm Member

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    that looks fantastic! I bet it sounds great...
     
  12. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    see my comments above,
    vis รก vis my veillette gryphon hi-tuned 12-string:
    [​IMG]
    just awesome!
    dt / spltrcl
     
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  13. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a David D Berkowitz JB-30. The 30" scale length and enormous body help balance things out, as noted by Bryan. That said, the instrument doesn't project like a typical acoustic guitar... it's a quieter guitar that requires a bigger body (hands/fingers, arm reach) to play... or some extra dexterity. It probably also veers towards the "small acoustic bass" end of the spectrum and away from the "big acoustic guitar."
     
  14. drive-south

    drive-south Member

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    I want one and I've considered many options including the Tacoma, Alvarez Yairi YB1, Larrivee BT60, Santa Cruz Bob Brozman.

    I've had a chance to play a couple of Tacomas that were tuned B-B with pretty heavy strings. It feels a lot like a bass. I don't think I'm after the B-B tuning. I played a Goodall Baritone that was only dropped by 1 whole step below a normal guitar and it had a nice rumble to it without sounding flabby. I've also played a couple of 12 strings that were based on the Oscar Sshmidt Stella that Leadbelly played with 26.5" scale. I really liked the Dell Arte' version as the neck is very playable and sounds amazing.

    The Larrivee BT60 has been discontinued but they are nice guitars if you can find one. They are pretty similar to the Santa Cruz Brozman model in that they are both based on 12-fret dread bodies with slotted heads. I like them both but they are both pricy and hard to find.

    I'd love to find an Alvarez Yairi YB1 baritone as I believe this is probably the best value in a baritone with a traditional look. You find these on EBAY regularly at about $1500. I'd like to find one in the flesh I can play before I make the jump. The only turn-off for me is the laminated back/sides but that might not be such a big deal, especially if you plan to amplify them.
    The lam back/sides might help to eliminate feedback/wolftones.

    I've played the Tacoma Papoose and find them to be very fun indeed. I'd love to try a 12-string Papoose.

    drive-south
     
  15. drive-south

    drive-south Member

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    I forgot to mention that I've read about people taking guitars with bolt-on necks (such as Taylor) and replacing the necks with custom baritone necks. It would be much cheaper than having someone build you a complete custom instrument.

    I wish more companies would build bari's. I'd love to see a Guild Jumbo body with baritone neck, or perhaps a Gibson J200 with bari neck. A Guild 12-string body would probably be able to handle the tension without any mods. The possibilities are endless. I guess these companies are more interested in selling the traditional models and don't think a bari would sell in great numbers. I believe they would sell if they were more accessable.

    drive-south
     
  16. drive-south

    drive-south Member

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    I forgot to mention that National makes/made baritone resophonics. The ones I've seen have all been tri-cones. I believe NRP has discontinued these but there are plenty of used ones out there.

    The fact that NRP and Larrivee have both disco'd their baritone offerings is not real encouraging. Let's face it, this is a niche instrument. Not for the mass market.

    Personally I think they are great, especially for singers that don't have a real high range. This is especially true with old geezers like me that don't hit the high notes as well as I used to. There are lot's of tunes I'd like to play in drop tunings so I can sing them and still make use of the original chord patterns.

    drive-south
     
  17. RGB

    RGB Supporting Member

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    While not truly acoustic, (although they sound pretty darn acoustic to me), Rick Turner's Renaissance baritones look very cool....both 6 and 12, with a 27" scale. I have a standard RS6 and it's a great guitar.....always dreamed about owning his 6 string baritone and someday, I will!

    http://renaissanceguitars.com/renac.html
     
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  18. jrm

    jrm Member

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    So many options... thanks for the info fellas. Keep it coming!
     
  19. jguth

    jguth Member

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    I have 2 baritones by James Goodall which are just stunning. His models are shown on his site. I played many baritones before finding his to be the best.
     
  20. s2khawk

    s2khawk Member

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    Thought hands down the Goodall was the best for my fingerstyle approach. The Tacoma was not close to what I wanted and sounded more for the strummers out there, I guess... The couple that are 27" scale are too close to a normal scale and dont work with my idea of dropping down as low as I have planned. Heard the Alverez is great but haven't tried one, and can't afford over 4K for a goodall so I wait...
     

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