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Baritone Guitars


TheCross
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I'm planning on building my own guitar and was interested in baritone guitars... are they only usable for heavy stuff and there are disadvanatges with normal sounds due to the string tension?

I like deeper sound that sound like a bass or something.

so? can baritone guitars do fenderish stuff as well as deeper stuff or are they too undefined?

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Really depends what you mean by 'baritone'. If we're talking guitars tuned down to say B, there are advantages and disadvantages to this, such as the need to increase string gauge etc etc. If we're talking proper baritone as in a longer scale length, then again theres advantages such as using more 'reasonable' string gauges, but some people dislike them as the fret spacing is larger. As for usage, you can use whatever guitar you want for anything. Sure baritones have got an association with metal etc, but lots of people use them, seen dave matthews with one, many a jazz guitarist, and also acoustic players such as Ani DiFranco. All depends what you're gonna put in it! In terms of 'fender sounds', if you put single coils in it, i can't see why you can't get those kinda sounds out of one!

S

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Baritones are awesome, and very versatile instrument. Generally longer-scale (between 26.5" and 29" scale length), using anything from normal string sets to something like .017-.080 (what I use for my acoustic-electric, and will use for my acoustic baritone). I really dig the sound, and particular the acoustic one; they're very versatile instrument, can be used for fingerstyle, pop, rock, funk, solo or in a group. Dave Matthews Band 'Everyday' features quite a lot of acoustic-electric baritone tones, and Joe Veillette has some sound clips of his instruments on his website. I'm putting finishing touches on an acoustic baritone at the moment, and I'm pondering a 12-string bari as well...

For the record, the solidbody electro-acoustic baritone I made has a very well-defined, articulated tone. Nothing mushy about it.

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Baritones are awesome, and very versatile instrument. Generally longer-scale (between 26.5" and 29" scale length), using anything from normal string sets to something like .017-.080 (what I use for my acoustic-electric, and will use for my acoustic baritone). I really dig the sound, and particular the acoustic one; they're very versatile instrument, can be used for fingerstyle, pop, rock, funk, solo or in a group. Dave Matthews Band 'Everyday' features quite a lot of acoustic-electric baritone tones, and Joe Veillette has some sound clips of his instruments on his website. I'm putting finishing touches on an acoustic baritone at the moment, and I'm pondering a 12-string bari as well...

For the record, the solidbody electro-acoustic baritone I made has a very well-defined, articulated tone. Nothing mushy about it.

cool. so can you tell me more about your solidbody baritones? (wood pup configuration etc)... my project should be a LP style guitar(a tad bigger) with a walnut body, goncalo alvez top, padouk neck and ebony fretboard. deep set neck tenon, string through body + TOM, slightly chambered for weight issues, pups(n/m/b): filtertron, sc, p90. 5way switch(1,1+2,1+3,2+3,3), varitone, master Vol, master tone(TBX probably), SRV enhancer circuit from guitarfetish.com

is the string-tension bigger with baritones than with let's say Gibbo scale lenghts(or as well compared to Fender scales)? How easy to bend are they?

Edited by TheCross
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cool. so can you tell me more about your solidbody baritones? (wood pup configuration etc)... my project should be a LP style guitar(a tad bigger) with a walnut body, goncalo alvez top, padouk neck and ebony fretboard. deep set neck tenon, string through body + TOM, slightly chambered for weight issues, pups(n/m/b): filtertron, sc, p90. 5way switch(1,1+2,1+3,2+3,3), varitone, master Vol, master tone(TBX probably), SRV enhancer circuit from guitarfetish.com

is the string-tension bigger with baritones than with let's say Gibbo scale lenghts(or as well compared to Fender scales)? How easy to bend are they?

The two baritones I've got (one finished, one not yet finished) are both 'acoustic' in some way; one's a solidbody, Doug Fir heavily chambered (more honeycombed; lots and lots of 1" diameter holes all the way through with a forstner bit), thin (1/8") Wenge top and backplates, bound, with a mahogany/wenge/mahogany set neck. Scale's around the 28.5" mark, off the top of my head (cut the first few frets off a bass fingerboard), ebony board. Bridge is glued on, ebony, bone saddle, undersaddle pickup which I preamp off-board with a LR Baggs Para-acoustic DI box. Shape's a singlecut, acoustic shaped (so, yeah, I guess Les-Paulish), works fine. The other guitar's an actual acoustic guitar, soundbox and all.

The string tension is significantly higher than any electric guitar string set, in part because of the strings I use (LaBella's mediums, .080 lowest. They have lights with a .070 which are probably easier to play), and bending is hard work. I'd reccomend experimenting around with string sets and seeing how they agree with you; I know some builders who use normal 12-54 strings, just tuned down (think about it; you tuned down the equivalent of 3 frets or so, and you made the fingerboard longer to match, so the relative tension should stay the same). The string size/core diameter will make a difference to the sound picked up by normal pickups as well. Thing about Baritones is that there's no real 'standard'; all the ones I've seen have differed quite significantly from each other. Might want to look at Warmoth's website, see what they reccomend for use with their Bari conversion necks, etc. since they have more experience with them than most, I'd wager...

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I have a maple solidbody strat shape with a Fender 12-string neck and stock Fender S-S-S MIM pickups, 25" scale. I strung it up as a 6 with 58-13 tuned in B and it sounded great, both clean and crunchy. Clean, the tone was very articulate.

So, like you Mattia, I got inspired to try a bari-12 tuning. Just added 6 more strings, the top 3 tuned in octaves, the bottom 3 tuned in unison. Pure mud.

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I have a maple solidbody strat shape with a Fender 12-string neck and stock Fender S-S-S MIM pickups, 25" scale. I strung it up as a 6 with 58-13 tuned in B and it sounded great, both clean and crunchy. Clean, the tone was very articulate.

So, like you Mattia, I got inspired to try a bari-12 tuning. Just added 6 more strings, the top 3 tuned in octaves, the bottom 3 tuned in unison. Pure mud.

a 25" baritone? ain't that too short?

how should I know which scale length I should use???

how do baris work with a capo?

how did you do the neck joint mattia? deep set neck? I guess it has to be a tad deeper due to the longer scale...

I guess a combination of string through body and a baritone neck will absorb a whole lot of string length :D

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Just..pick one. Look at some baritone websites, and go for something. On a purely acoustic instrument, you'd probably want 28.5"-29" or so, I'd go as low as 27"-27.5" on an electric and not worry. There's no right answer.

Neck joint...as far as I can recall it was a pretty standard mortise-tenon. Bit bigger because the neck was a touch bigger, but nothing out of the ordinary. Wood and glue are pretty darn strong.

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hm ok... the longer the scale the thicker the apropriate strings? I don't want to do any 'evil' drop tunings just

how many frets do your baris have?

If I'll go for a 24 fret one using a capodaster(don't know the right word in english) shouldn't be such a loss of range(to achieve a 'normal' tuning from E to e)

can I use a normal trussrod for a bari?

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lol just checked out some baris....like the gretsch one with its insane 29.75" scale and only 22frets...

should I use bass string ferrules for my string-through-body concept?

can I do a 24 fret bari woth a 27" scale or would the distances become to ssmall between each fret? I have long small fingers so that wouldn't be too much of a problem... I guess

Edited by TheCross
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I think both have 21 or 22 frets. Don't really care to have a hojillion frets, as that's not my playing style. Regular dual action rods and two CF rods, like all my necks. (capodaster in english is just 'capo', by the way).

CF rods? two... additional to the DA rod? TALK! :D

should I use bass string ferrules for my string-through-body concept?

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I think both have 21 or 22 frets. Don't really care to have a hojillion frets, as that's not my playing style. Regular dual action rods and two CF rods, like all my necks. (capodaster in english is just 'capo', by the way).

CF rods? two... additional to the DA rod? TALK! :D

should I use bass string ferrules for my string-through-body concept?

Sorry..CF = common abbreviation for Carbon Fibre. I use a pair of 1/8"x3/8" on edge (like, in a 1/8" wide slot) to either side of the DA (= dual action) truss rod, in my case generally Stewmac HotRods.

No clue if you'd need bass ferrules. A .080 only just fits a standard guitar tuning machine.

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[

Sorry..CF = common abbreviation for Carbon Fibre. I use a pair of 1/8"x3/8" on edge (like, in a 1/8" wide slot) to either side of the DA (= dual action) truss rod, in my case generally Stewmac HotRods.

No clue if you'd need bass ferrules. A .080 only just fits a standard guitar tuning machine.

is it more of a special gimmik or is it REALLY usefull? especially with baris?

does the scale of baris affect the sound like with standard scales(Fender-Gibson) or is it striaght different and has its own sound or would a 26.75" sound more Gibsonish, and a 27.5" sound more fenderish?

Edited by TheCross
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I don't think it's a gimmick at all, and plenty of folks will agree. Carbon Fibre is stability insurance, provides a bit of added stiffness to any neck, and makes dead spots less likely, all for a very moderate weight increase. Dual action rods are quasi essential here, because your neck might a bit too stiff if you use CF rods, and require you to put some relief in, not just remove it (which is what a standard single-action rod does).

It's even more useful on longer scaled instruments (baritones, basses) than it is on guitars.

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I don't think it's a gimmick at all, and plenty of folks will agree. Carbon Fibre is stability insurance, provides a bit of added stiffness to any neck, and makes dead spots less likely, all for a very moderate weight increase. Dual action rods are quasi essential here, because your neck might a bit too stiff if you use CF rods, and require you to put some relief in, not just remove it (which is what a standard single-action rod does).

It's even more useful on longer scaled instruments (baritones, basses) than it is on guitars.

do you have any links or pics where I can see how it's done?

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I don't think it's a gimmick at all, and plenty of folks will agree. Carbon Fibre is stability insurance, provides a bit of added stiffness to any neck, and makes dead spots less likely, all for a very moderate weight increase. Dual action rods are quasi essential here, because your neck might a bit too stiff if you use CF rods, and require you to put some relief in, not just remove it (which is what a standard single-action rod does).

It's even more useful on longer scaled instruments (baritones, basses) than it is on guitars.

do you have any links or pics where I can see how it's done?

Here's a trio of acoustic neck blanks I did, which are no different from the treatment I give electric guitar necks:

Necks_a_08.jpg

Here's a shot of the fender-style necks I made most recently:

http://www.xs4all.nl/~mvalente/guitarpics4/stratele19.jpg

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There's nothing to it, really. If you can route a truss rod channel, you can route a pair of channels for CF rods and glue them in.

There's nothing to it, really. If you can route a truss rod channel, you can route a pair of channels for CF rods and glue them in.

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There's nothing to it, really. If you can route a truss rod channel, you can route a pair of channels for CF rods and glue them in.

There's nothing to it, really. If you can route a truss rod channel, you can route a pair of channels for CF rods and glue them in.

thank you. thank you. how far away from the edge do they have to be/from the rod?

thank you. thank you. how far away from the edge do they have to be/from the rod?

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I put them about 1/4" - 1/8" away from the truss rod channel at the nut, keeping/them about equidistant from the edges of the fingerboard (so splayed out somewhat). Only thing to be careful of is making sure you don't carve into them when shaping the neck. Drawing a cross section of the planned neck shape should help. I think I put them about 12-15mm in from the edge, but I tend to just re-check before doing each neck, because I rarely make two instruments with identical necks.

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ok. so I guess I should take the 24" rods for a bari. do you cut them angled behind the nut(so they go a bit into the headstock) or do you cut them before they reach the nut? aren't they pretty sturdy? what do you cut em with?

and again... does the scale of a bari change the tone like it is with 'normal' scale lenghts(´like Gibson vs. Fender) just in bari-territory? So a 26.75" would be the gibson style bari and the 27.5 would be the fenderish baritone guitar?

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Re: scale, yes, I would assume so.

When I've got the length, the rods go all the way to the head. They're easy enough to cut with regular woodworking tools, although they dull blades much faster than wood. Sands fine, but the dust is nasty, so wear respiratory protection!

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