Best baritone guitars: pick up the slack with these long scale guitars

Chapman baritone guitar leaning against a wood panelled wall
(Image credit: Future)

Baritone guitars have seen something of a renaissance over the past few years thanks to guitarists seeking out lower and lower guitar tunings – without having to resort to an extended range guitar like a 7, 8, or 9 string. The best baritone guitars offer the instant familiarity and playability of your traditional six-string, whilst allowing you to drop tune without compromising on intonation and string action. 

Tuning lower than C on a regular scale guitar typically involves some serious setup work to get it playing correctly, and even then you may still run into issues with intonation and the dreaded ‘floppy’ string. Enter the baritone guitar, which utilizes a longer scale length to maintain tension at lower tunings. Typically tuned BEADF#B, you can take a baritone much lower if you want, or higher if you prefer, all the while keeping the familiarity of open chord shapes and scales that you learned on your regular guitar.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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