Baritone guitars for non-metal genres – thoughts?

Steve Hotra

Gold Supporting Member
This song reintroduced me to the coolness of a baritone solo. Its at the 3:00 mark. Along with haunting pedal steel guitar, I try to emulate this "feel" when playing pedal steel or baritone. Bought a PRS 277 SE semi hollow with soap bar a few years ago.



Gold Supporting Member
I love the lower range of baritones and have drifted towards 7 strings over the past several years. I often play my 7 strings clean, and they have a beautiful and full sound. I especially enjoy open chord forms on my 7s and baris. I had a "metal" Jackson DK27 Bari with EMG pickups, and it had a wonderful clean tone as well. I have not tried the vintage inspired Gretsch, Danelectro, or Reverend baris - but many of the "metal" 7 strings have versatility to do excellent clean and high gain. I would just avoid really high gain pickups. My 7s all have the equivalent of Duncan JB/Jazz sets, and I installed series-single-parallel switches for the humbuckers. The Ibanez 7 HH has a 5-way selector that give you single coil and parallel (N) choices that sound great clean.


Along with haunting pedal steel guitar, I try to emulate this "feel" when playing pedal steel or baritone.
I get that sound with a smooth overdrive, reverb, stereo echo, and chorus. The bass strings on the C6th neck are in the baritone range, but I don't mess around with that tuning much.

My brother has a baritone guitar, but if I tried it all I'd likely learn how to play is the solo to 'Galveston'.


Gold Supporting Member
depends on how long the scale length of your baritone is, at least somewhat.

the Thomastik Infeld jazz swing strings are quite long. I use the 13-53 set for my 27" Scale Baritone.

trick is to get rid of string #13, have the remaining 5 strings mounted one position downwards then

and find a flatwound Bass string to replace the now free place of the lowest tuned string on your guitar.
That sounds like effort!

The Warmoth conversion necks are 28 5/8". I learned the hard way that B-B tuning wasn't going to work. Getting whacked with a heavy string hurts! (A-A tuning is fine)

Verne Andru

The themes for the Bonanza TV show and 007 movies features a baritone playing melody.

I have a Dano that I switch between Bass VI and baritone strings. They are versatile but not generic.
That sounds like effort!

The Warmoth conversion necks are 28 5/8". I learned the hard way that B-B tuning wasn't going to work. Getting whacked with a heavy string hurts! (A-A tuning is fine)

I believe the Thomastiks will fit your Baritone, if you get a Bass string as the 6th.

I believe you will find a single flatwound Bass string and do not need to buy the full package.



I don't play metal, but stuff that is more rock-ish. I have always liked having some range on the instruments at times. FWIW, I'm also a bassist, and I do prefer 5 string basses.

I bought a 7 string Ibanez in 1998 and played the heck out of it in standard tuning strung with 11-49 D'addarios with a .066 low B. The catch is that you can't just finger and voice chords the same on it as you can a bari. Plus, it's 25.5" scale, so the tonality is not as snappy as a longer scale. It's what it is, an extended range guitar.

I also got a Bass VI 7 years ago and have been playing the heck out of it, too. It's a 30" scale and really does the E-e thing better than other tunings. It's what it is, a funky take on a bass, though it can be capoed up around the 5-7th fret to do some fairly convincing bari stuff.

In the end, I really wanted a proper baritone guitar.

The covid furlough gave me the time and inspiration to finally build up a proper bari, which has been on my short list for years. I wanted to keep it under $500, preferably well under that, which did happen. I don't really care for the 'throwback' Dano, Gretsch or Squier type baritones, nor the modern metal ones, either. I just wanted a Strat or Tele one that would sort of fall into the same mix and background with my other Fenders, but have cooler pickups and wiring than what I always see on most bari guitars. It did have to be green and have Super Ferrites, as they have become my favorite single coil pickup.
Got the 27" scale Fender Sub Sonic replacement neck and dropped in on a Strat body with a couple Super Ferrites, some trick wiring and mid boost circuit. I don't use it for metal at all, but rather for some stuff that's not a low as the Bass VI, but chorded and fingered like a 'regular' guitar. I like to also adapt my typical standard tuning songs to it for both the challenge of playing on a different instrument, but also for the different tonality. It really expands your skills.
I tune it B-b with a set of 13-64 (using a standard set of 10-46 guitar strings, ditch the 10, move every string down and add a single 64 for the low B. The tension is very similar to a set of 11-49 on a 25.5" scale, which was my goal. The tonality is much more snappy and strong vs the 7 string, and it's a little easier to be guitarcentric on it vs the Bass VI with it's heavier strings and longer scale. The Super Ferrites have a big, wide tone with clarity and with the mid boost, it can sound quite pushy and loud. It's really perfect for me.

The replacement neck thing was a breeze. It literally screwed onto the Strat body, then restrung it, cut the nut and set it up properly and boom! Done. It was a LOT more work to get that Squier Bass VI set up properly vs this bari conversion.


Silver Supporting Member
Exactly! Best idea is to not constrain your playing thinking a baritone is only good for metal. Play every song you know on baritone, some sound way better with a lower tuning, some do not. This applies across genres. I find myself using my baritone just as much for ambient playing as I do for metal.
Y U no mention the great baritone powered bands from America's hat?

Here's a couple non Canadian faves:

And a wild card:


Gold Supporting Member
I have two baritone guitars, one a Warmoth fretless and a PRS 277 semi-hollow with P90s. The fretless has D’Addario 12-52 XL Chrome flatwounds, and both are tuned B-B.

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