baritone guitar tuning

REVEALED: Can A Baritone Guitar Be Tuned To Standard?

Do you have a baritone guitar but want to tune it to standard?

You may want to read this post.

Can a baritone guitar be tuned to standard?

Yes.  But, in order to tune a baritone guitar to E standard, you will need to change strings and your intonation to make it tune correctly.

What Is A Baritone Guitar?

A baritone guitar is a type of guitar with a longer (27.5 inches) scale length and usually played with thicker strings and heavier gauge.  Some can even have a scale length of up to 30 inches.

The main reason for having one is the sound.  It is rich, gutsy and has a more “bassy” tone.

How To Tune A Baritone Guitar To Standard

The tuning procedure is basically the same as any other guitar but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pick up some very light guitar strings like 8 or 9 gauge at the high E string.
  • You will probably need to change you intonation at the bridge of your guitar.
  • After tuning, check your neck to see if you need a truss rod adjustment.

Advantages And Disadvantages To Tuning Baritone Guitars To E Standard

However, there are a few advantages to tuning an electric baritone guitar to standard:

  • It will allow you to play more songs on the instrument so you don’t need to have more guitars to get more tuning. This is by far the biggest benefit.
  • People will big hands may find baritone guitars easier to play due to the longer scale length.
  • Light strings with good tension tend to feel amazing to play.
  • Can get a very lively sound.
  • Super rich sounding mids in the tone.

The disadvantages are few.  Basically I find that sometimes the tone is a little thin with not a lot of bottom end due to the lighter strings.

Typical Baritone Guitar Tuning

These guitars are usually tuned baritone standard which is B-E-A-D-F#-B.  this makes it a good tuning because it is half way between a standard guitar tuning and bass tuning.  And it also allows you to use the same chord shapes as a standard tuned electric guitar.

Can A Regular Guitar Be A Baritone Guitar?

Yes, technically, you can tune a regular guitar to a baritone standard tuning.  To be honest, I would not recommend it because it doesn’t sound great and the guitar doesn’t play very well.  But, if you still want to try, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Use heavier strings.  They will get floppy.
  • You may need to increase the size of the slots of the nut to accommodate for heavier gauge strings.  Not doing this can make playing chords hard to keep in tune.
  • You will definitely need to reset the intonation.  But it may not be able to be intonated properly because there may not be enough tension on the saddles.
  • The neck may need to be adjusted using the truss rod since the tension will be different than when it is tuned to standard.

How Low Can You Tune A Baritone Guitar?

You can get quite low.  How low really depends on your guitar, the string gauge you are using, scale length, etc.  My recommendation is to just experiment and go as low as you can where the guitar still maintains tune and the strings don’t get too floppy.

Other Baritone Guitar Tuning Options

Some of my favorite alternate tunings for your baritone guitar:

  • Drop A – just drop the B string down one full step to an A
  • Double Drop A – kind of similar to double drop D on standard guitar.  In this case, you do the drop A on both B strings – the top and bottom string.  Note, with this tuning, your first and second strings are no longer in a perfect 4th interval, they are in a minor 3rd.  This will change your scale fingerings – so it is something to get used to.
  • A-E-A-D-E-A – this is the baritone version of DADGAD tuning on a standard guitar.
  • G-D-A-D-E-A – this is getting very low and you can get some beautiful chord sounds with this tuning.
  • A-D-G-C-E-A – This is basically standard baritone a step lower.

Conclusion

Overall, baritone guitars make a very interesting and unique type of guitar for guitar players to play and you will probably enjoy the deeper tone that it has.  Definitely give it a try if you have the opportunity.

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