Any baritone guitar players here? Advice requested:

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Road Runner, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. Road Runner

    Road Runner Member

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    Hi all,

    I couldn't help myself over the weekend a pulled the trigger on a new baritone guitar. Its an Ibanez Mike Mushok model. The store had two with one right out of the box, huge almost bass-like strings, the other they had strung up with 10's and a more standard tuning B to B I think. I played the last one for a while and although I never got used to where the notes are, I really liked the tone the thing has so I bought the fresh out of the box one and am going to string it up with lighter strings like the one I played. If you play one, what strings do you use, how do you tune yours, any tips you can share how to play this thing? Any good websites or books/DVDS you can recommend to help me learn about baritones? Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

    later, Jim
     
  2. bo13bo

    bo13bo Member

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    I always used the B to B tuning. It kept me from rethinking too much. Play an E like an A isn't so bad. Basically a 7string without the top E.

    I don't know if you particularly like these bands but Dave Matthews used some Baritone on the DMB album a few years ago. Another band called Mew uses them on a few songs on their latest cd, it sounds pretty amazing with their singer who sings higher than any dude I've ever heard.
     
  3. jbro

    jbro Member

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    Hey Jim-

    I have a few baritones.. only one of them is in "standard" baritone tuning (B to B in this case). I don't know what kind of advice I can offer you since I use them mostly for jazz/fingerstyle playing and I'm not sure what you're into. If you tune B to B, start by visualizing a capo on the 5th fret - that would be the open strings of a guitar tuned E to E. All your standard movable chord shapes will work. If you know where the notes are on a standard tuned guitar, and you know your intervals, it's cake to transpose things on the bari. I don't know of any baritone-specific instruction books or videos, but if you have any questions I'll be happy to help you out.

    As for the strings, the longer scale length does require a thicker string for correct tension and intonation. I don't know how well 10's would work on a bari, but again it depends what you're after.
     
  4. Road Runner

    Road Runner Member

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    I thought of it that way myself, but have never played a 7 string either. But you're right, it makes sense that I should be able to play the top 5 strings on the baritone like the bottom 5 strings of a normal guitar ... or am I confused?

    later, Jim
     
  5. Road Runner

    Road Runner Member

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    I'm pretty sure I'll stick with the B to B standard tuning myself. 10's sounded light to me too, what gauge do you use on your standard tuned guitar? I'm thinking maybe 12's. Thanks for the offer to help. I'm sure I'll take you up on it as I try to figure this thing out!

    Later, Jim
     
  6. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    I've got a 27" scale baritone, and it's pretty versatile. With 10-46's on it I tune it to standard pitch (E to E) but can easily drop it down to B to B with heavier strings. Right now it's got 12-70's on it, and sounds pretty full and meaty. I use it mostly for Billy McLaughlin / Michael Hedges inspired stuff, as well as some indie brit pop songs I'm working on these days.
     
  7. Road Runner

    Road Runner Member

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    The one I played in the store was set up Drop-D. This one has a 28" scale so E to E may be pushing it with light strings. Does yours still sound decent with 10's at standard pitch? I'm going to try 12's and B to B myself since the full & meaty tones are what hooked me on this thing in the first place, but may try the 10's and standard tuning too.

    Later, Jim
     
  8. jbro

    jbro Member

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    I'm using La Bellas, 14-70, on the B to B guitar. They're a little stiff, but it's good for fingerstyle stuff, and I like to drop it to A sometimes.

    A set of 12's (tuned to B) on a 28" scale guitar will probably feel like 10's on a 25" scale guitar (tuned to E). If you want a slinky feel, they'll probably work for you. Do you know what gauges are on there now?
     
  9. SarasotaSlim

    SarasotaSlim Member

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    I really want a Baritone guitar.
    I lowered the tuning on my extra Strat down to a C and used some heavy strings 13-60 and it sounds OK but not a cool as a real one.

    check out ...
    Johnny's Breakfast
    and
    I'll Be Your Fool
    at
    http://www.sarasotaslim.com/music-group-13.html
     
  10. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    Only drop D? Heck, you'll be able to dial in Drop A with the right strings. :D

    The 10-46 set sounded decent when I had it last tuned to E, but the next time I do it I may go 11-46, though. With anything lower you'll probably want thicker strings. The hardest part for me in getting used to this guitar was dialing in the right gauges for the top three strings. At lower tunings I found that a wound 3rd was mandatory. For max meatiness, you might want to go with 13-70's.
     
  11. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    12's on a Mushok tuned down to B should feel pretty comfortable. My favorite tuning on a baritone is a transposed verison of open D. From low to high it would be B,F#,B,D#,F#,B. It just sounds huge
     
  12. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I have, and absolutely love, a Jerry Jones bari. Almost always tuned "standard" B to B, and you have to use heavier, baritone specific strings IMHO. No tricks needed to play it really, just transpose down a 4th and you're good to go.
     
  13. Road Runner

    Road Runner Member

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    12's sound like what I'm after then. No idea about the current strings, looked at Ibanez' website but they didn't say. I'll get a set of 12s to put on it & compare the new strings to the old to get an idea.

    Later, Jim
     
  14. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    I own a Danelectro "U2"-shaped baritone guitar. I tune it either B-B, or A-A, depending on the tune at hand. I've gigged it on a couple of tunes, but it's mostly a studio tool for me. If you do plan to gig a bari, they like amps with ample headroom, and they prefer ceramic speakers, not alnicos.

    I use the bari for traditional spaghetti western tones (lots of amp 'verb, and optionally, tremolo) and tic-tac bass lines (slapback analog delay, to taste)... I like a blackfaced 70's Super Reverb for these sounds. Also use it to ape fake cello and oboe tones with an E-bow (I like a brown Deluxe, and liberal amounts of analog delay, tempo per tune).

    Strings. I suppose I'll need to get some new ones eventually. I've honestly no clue.
     
  15. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    I have my Mushok tuned to A with GHS baritone strings.
     

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