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Let's talk about baritones
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Concretebadger
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:30 am    Post subject: Let's talk about baritones Reply with quote

It's a slow day in the office and I've been thinking about my Epi Sheraton that's tuned down to C with some bridge cable 13s that are overdue for replacement.

How many folks on here like to longscale? There've been a few threads about bass VIs (which I've always thought of as being their own thing, rather than a baritone per se) and I recall someone picking up a Squier baritone JM, which I find appealing because the JM sound and feel would be nice and familiar.

Interestingly, Hagstrom do a baritone version of their Viking, which really got my interest because it scratches that semi-hollow itch that I've had since forever, and quite frankly it looks really damn nice ("cosmic black burst"...yum). I'm shooting for a guitar/cello sound rather than a chugging NU METAL TOANZ sound anyway, so it looks like a good fit.

What's everyone else's experience of longer scale guitars? Why do you longscale? What's fun about them? Any unique quirks or problems (live or in the studio)? Like I said, I'm just looking for a slightly different sound that's more deep and cello-like, rather than standard detuned stuff. Standard scale with thicker gauge strings is one way to get there, but I'm curious about experimenting with something that most other people aren't doing.
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speedfish
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking forward to everyone's replies. The baritone is one guitar that has intrigued me and is missing from my arsenal. I have a Bass VI, but that's not the same thing. I've been thinking about a Squier Baritone, but I'm not a fan of the Antigua finish and I'm in no hurry to start another refinish project either. Had been thinking about the Gibson SG baritone.


Link


27" scale tuned B-B

The PRS looks pretty cool and is priced lower than the Gibson.


Link


27.7" scale tuned B-B



Link


27.7" scale tunbed B-B

Here's the Squier. Longer scale than the PRS. Maybe I could dig some Antigua? I do love big fat blocks!


Link


30" scale tuned A-A
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Last edited by speedfish on Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:10 pm; edited 3 times in total
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NickS
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would look so much better IMO if the pickguard wasn't Antigua'd too.
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benecol
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had four baritones (two pre-hate Dano's, a tele bitsa and a Bass VI strung as a bari) and I've loved them all; wish I still had one. The extra string length just means they resnoate so nicely and so long - while the range is near that of a cello, I always think there's a piano-like nature to the feel and sound too. I've eyed those Hagstroms as well, but for me they seem: a) pricey, b) not much longer a scale length than a regular guitar. 30" is where it's at, baby. I think the most cost-effective route into baritone ownership now (and I'm studiously ignoring Danelectros because while I LOVE them, the haet has killed them for me) is a Squier - some variation of the VI.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

benecol wrote:
(and I'm studiously ignoring Danelectros because while I LOVE them, the haet has killed them for me)
I broke the rule and bought a Dano XII recently, have seriously considered donating to an LGBT charity in Stephen Ridinger's name to compensate morally.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Let's talk about baritones Reply with quote

Concretebadger wrote:

What's everyone else's experience of longer scale guitars? Why do you longscale? What's fun about them?


Hell yeah I'm into baritones!

I've got two proper long scales right now, but I've also done plenty of low tuning standard scale instruments.
My main attraction is that low end power, but they still have the capability of going high on those skinny strings. I also cover the low end in my band with a bari from time to time.
We did a song where I covered a lot of tones with baritones -

https://theronaldraygun.bandcamp.com/track/thunderland

The pads in the beginning are all baritone into the Superego, with a delay on it, of course. When we do it live, theres only one superego track, but I sort of switch back and forth between the delay and superego as the verses dictate.
When it gets loud you can really hear the roar of the baritone, but I recorded that pretty "toppy" and added a synth sub-bass. Live there's no need, as I play through a big bass rig.

I've had a couple Vi style instruments, which are really their own thing. I don't really see much crossover in my work, but a VI is a hell of a thing. If you've got some time this is how I used to use mine.


Link


These days I've ended up writing some parts for it with The Raygun, more of a bass guitar style, with some occasional high string stuff where I back it up with synth bass.
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I play Bass VI (Schecter Hellcat VI) as my primary bass; yeah it's a different creature than a baritone - it's a bass.

I have strung my Schecter Ultra VI with light baritone strings and tune it up to B for more proper baritone sounds, but at a longer scale lenght - akin to the Antigua Squire bari JM. It works pretty well, though some of the chord shapes are a bit wide. I'd like a more standard scale bari, but that costs more money than a pack of strings Wink

It's all about timbre and range with the baritone. It sits in a really nice groove between our standard ranges, with a tight depth that goes missing with floppy guitar strings, or heavy bass strings; it's an interesting, "natural" sort of range for the ear, I think. They resonate beautifully, with very full, lush chord sounds. Even playing the same songs you'd play on standard guitar, the voicings of the chords for baritone just have a different character; sits differently in the mix.

I suppose the quirk with them when recording is making them really stand out so you can actually hear their special qualities in the mix. Because they are sitting in that in-between, they can kind of disappear, lose presence. However, if they're THE guitar in a recording, with bass, drums, etc. it can work really well.
You've gotta watch out for some muddiness with the lowest chords too - sometimes a different chord voicing will give better results.
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ekwatts
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Gretsch baritone strung as a six string bass. I never really saw the point of it when it was in A or B as I already had a guitar tuned as low as that anyway. Yeah, not really the same sort of playing experience, but I also fancied having a bass/guitar hybrid with a tremolo.

Joy Division and New Order stuff is easy enough. And for regular bass duties it's passable. I just love playing it, really. It's a huge amount of fun.
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Dillon
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like a baritone, but haven't been able to justify the cost for as much as I'd use one. Especially when a 25.5" scale guitar can easily handle strings thick enough to drop to B-B tuning. That SG is probably the only baritone I'd want to own and it's $1100. IMO 27-28" scale is proper for a baritone, 30" can conflict with a bass. That rules out pretty much any Fender / Squier, and the PRS neck heels are just bizarre, though I don't imagine playing on the upper frets with a baritone much anyway.
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speedfish
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Epiphone signature Baritone:


Link

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PV-1955
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squier's new finish for the Baritone Jazzmaster has me seriously considering one. I lthink this is a whole lot nicer looking than the Antigua version

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

speedfish wrote:
Epiphone signature Baritone:


Link


holy shit that thing is uglier than the Antigua baritone
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Concretebadger
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies guys.

Yeah, the new black-on-black/matching headstock finish on the Squier is great - a real improvment on the Antigua, and actually helps me forget about the Strat jack plate. Laughing In fact, I'd probably whip the credit card out for it right now if I hadn't just LOST MY EFFING JOB AGAIN.

@Aen: awesome vid. I've got a real soft spot for the noise/drone improv stuff. Will check out your Ronald Raygun stuff.

I still like the look of the Hagstroms, but the Squiers have some real charm of their own. That flying V, or any flying V really, isn't my thing though. I guess it works if it fits the image you're going for, but they just look too HEAVY METALZ and uncomfortable for seated playing. The "piano-like" timbre of a baritone intrigues me - there's an element of that in the JM sound already, but the hardtail and longer scale could give a same-but-different sound that could work well for me.

Heh. I'll get back to the application forms, and think about the VM Squier as a congrats-to-myself present when I finally land something.
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dillon wrote:
I'd like a baritone, but haven't been able to justify the cost for as much as I'd use one. Especially when a 25.5" scale guitar can easily handle strings thick enough to drop to B-B tuning. That SG is probably the only baritone I'd want to own and it's $1100. IMO 27-28" scale is proper for a baritone, 30" can conflict with a bass. That rules out pretty much any Fender / Squier, and the PRS neck heels are just bizarre, though I don't imagine playing on the upper frets with a baritone much anyway.

A 25.5" guitar with heavy strings tuned to baritone tunings is a fairly different playing and sounding creature than an actual baritone. String length and tension make a big difference in the overtone series, and the way the strings feel under your fingers. I mean, it works, but it gives a somewhat flubby, mushy tone... which can be really cool, but is just not the same crisp, clear notes from a properly sized baritone. The strings feel spongy under your fingers too, versus a proper tension on a baritone... a little like playing .008s or something on a standard guitar.

There's no conflict with basses at 30" scale... the tuning is still B or A, whether at 30" or 27-28"... but there are some tonal differences between the scales.

Most Squire and Fender baritones are proper baritone scale length, the only exception I know of is the Squier VM Baritone Jazzmaster, at 30".
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NickS
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concretebadger wrote:
That flying V, or any flying V really, isn't my thing though. I guess it works if it fits the image you're going for, but they just look too HEAVY METALZ and uncomfortable for seated playing.
The V gets a bad rap. It's probably Andy Powell's influence rather than Michael Schenke's that led me to choose one.
Gibson wrote:
Today’s low-tuned metal guitar bands also owe a little something to King, even if they’ve never heard his music. King answered the question “how low can you go?” by tuning his thickest string down to C and employing open E-minor tuning (C-B-E-G-B-E) or kicking things up to open F (C-F-C-F-A-D). Credit that to his interest in Hawaiian music, which uses a wide variety of open, so-called “slack key” tunings.


Andy Powell's not very metal, nor Hendrix, nor Dave Davies (Kinks)

Seated playing is very easy; stick your right leg in the notch of the V. They did introduce a rubber strip on the lower bout to allow you to rest it on your leg but mine doesn't have that.
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Concretebadger
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I look at the Squier VM bari, the more I think you could mod its control layout to be closer to that of a standard JM and get rid of that Strat jack plate. The positions of the vol and tone controls are roughly where the tone control and output jack of a regular JM would be. Assuming the body rout is standard (is it larger than a standard JM body, I wonder?), I'm guessing it would be fairly easy to drill a hole in the pickguard near the neck pickup, move the knobs along a bit, put the switch in the hole you just drilled, and fit a jack socket in the hole that was occupied by the tone control.

This would leave that jack plate and its rout to deal with, but I'm guessing you could fill it in and then either refinish the area in question (which would be easier than some, what with it being plain black) or slap a sticker over it.

There is of course an obvious lack of rhythm circuit, but that's a take-it-or-leave-it feature for many players anyway. Given the muddiness of that circuit and the tonal range of a bari, I'm even more sure that this particular model won't miss it.
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Ankhanu
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick search on Google:

The route isn't the same, but setting up a 3-way toggle on the lower bout horn where it should be wouldn't be a problem. Really, you'd want to cut a new guard in any case, or find a use for the old toggle hole near the knobs... phase switch perhaps??

I'm pretty certain the bodies are just rerouted bodies from the first run of Squier VM Jazzmasters with the same bridge and no rhythm circuit... but the bridge is moved back past the pickguard, and the bridge pickup is where the bridge used to be.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PV-1955 wrote:
Squier's new finish for the Baritone Jazzmaster has me seriously considering one. I lthink this is a whole lot nicer looking than the Antigua version



Maybe it's because it was new, and hadn't been hanging on the wall for a year or two, but this new black one sounds better, too.
I tried them both last week, back to back, and the black one was quite a bit deeper on the neck pickup, but had that high end crack you expect from a JM pickup, too. the bridge was also beefier, but I think had the same high end content. It also feels really nice, despite the satin finish on the neck. It sat really nicely on my leg when I tested sitting on a stool. I'm honestly considering selling my CIJ baritone Jaguar, grabbing the Squier blackout baritone, and throwing the rest at my car payment...

Concretebadger wrote:

@Aen: awesome vid. I've got a real soft spot for the noise/drone improv stuff. Will check out your Ronald Raygun stuff.


Thanks, man! I was actually doing that same concept last weekend after I checked out ALL THE GUITARS. Sorry to hear about your job. We just had a pretty shit month and a half, I do not miss that fear.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Let's talk about baritones Reply with quote

Concretebadger wrote:
my Epi Sheraton that's tuned down to C with some bridge cable 13s that are overdue for replacement.


This is pretty much where I started too, albeit with the Sheraton's less fancy Dan younger sibling the Dot. I slung some D'Addario Chromes 13-56 on it and, after some N00b issues with the nut, tuned it down to B-B. Then C-C as the strings were too floppy for my tastes. I eventually ended up at D-D, thereby totally missing the point of the whole enterprise.*

Then, after several years of prevaricating, I picked up a Squier VI with the intention of putting some Circle K/Kalium baritone strings on it and going for A-A/B-B. I actually love the Squier VI. Too much, unfortunately. I'm enjoying it immensely tuned E-E and want to keep it that way now.

Interested to read people's views re 30" or shorter. In my head I had thought 28" ish would be the perfect scale length but the 30" of the Squier VI is perfectly playable tbh.

My current thoughts re options are:

1) Buy another Squier VI and go through with the baritone thing this time. Not sure I want two identical guitars though. Also strings are hardish to come by due to the length needed with the trem etc.
2) Go back to my original, original plan of putting a Warmoth conversion neck on a VM Jazzmaster. Might have radius issues with this if I wanted to put a Staytrem bridge on it.
3) Buy a Squier Jazzmaster baritone. Wasn't keen on the Antigua though and not overly keen on the all black new one. Also, no trem.
4) Go mental and splunge over £1k on a Japanese Jaguar baritone (lots of monies, no trem).
5) Oppress homosexuals.
6) Gretsch?

Oh, and sorry to hear about the job situation. Hope you get something sorted soon.

EDIT: * actually, I'm getting confused. I've just checked and it's C-C and the strings are fine. Either way, it's not really deep enough for what I want.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you can toss 2, 4, 5, and 6 right out.
I say that because

1) These are very nice, and readily available

2) Warmoth baritone conversion necks always feel and tend to look goofy as fuck

3) careful spray painting can make an ugly guitar much nicer. Can't really help you on the trem though.

4) $1k is maybe too much to blow on a baritone these days, especially in light of the great options available for less money. HOWEVER if you do go bonkers, I've just had a great bit of luck installing a Bigsby vibramate on a Starcaster. Seems like a pretty sure thing on just about anything with a TOM bridge.

5) Everyone's a little bit gay

6) you talking about that 30" Jet whatever? UGH. The neck is a foot wide, and it sounds like a snore. Did not enjoy mine one bit. After the honeymoon, of course.
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