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Baritone Guitar Tuning | 8 Awesome Sounding Tunings

Want to match your favorite artist's baritone guitar tuning? Perhaps you just want to write your own music and are after some unique tunings to work with. Either way, read on to learn all about how and why baritone tuning works.

How To Tune A Baritone Guitar

Just like tuning a standard guitar, you’d need to turn the tuning keys until the strings are in tune. 

All you need to do this is either a very trained and sharp ear or a guitar tuner. Remember, the sound will differ from the E standard tuning we’re typically used to. 

Fender has free tuners on their website that allow you to train your ear while tuning, and they easily adapt to typical baritone tunings.

Baritone Guitar’s Most Popular Tunings

Baritone guitar, just like any other string instrument with similar aspects, offers a range of tunings that the musicians could explore while practicing, jamming, and composing. Like regular guitar, the different tunings could vary the chord shapes you’d use and sounds you can create. 

The thing they all have in common is that they are important for the guitarist to know. Without furth ado, we will show you some of the most popular baritone guitar tunings so you can decide which one you will use for your music.

B Standard Tuning

(B-E-A-D-F#-B)

If you are just transitioning from a regular electric guitar to a baritone guitar, this is the tuning you might want to start with. It has the same exact intervals and finger positions as E standard tuning, but on a different scale and with a heavier sound. 

Bands such as Amon Amarth, Allegaeon, and Soilwork have used this tuning to create some of their heaviest songs. 

Baritone Guitar Tuning

A Standard Tuning

(A-D-G-C-E-A)

A-Standard is another common tuning among baritone guitar musicians, it also has the same shapes as B standard, but every note is a whole step down. It has a lower pitch, perfect for some bassy riffs. The ‘90s band Korn has lots of songs played in A-standard tuning. 

C Standard Tuning 

(C-F-A#-D#-G-C)

If you’ve ever wanted to play some of the best Black Sabbath tunes, you might want to pick up a baritone guitar and tune it to C standard. 

The C standard tuning is a great bridge between a regular guitar and a baritone guitar. This tuning has a great reach between high and low-pitched notes. Heavy chord progressions and epic solos are possible with this tuning, and it’s an excellent way for the guitarist to explore the best of both worlds with just one guitar. 

Drop G Tuning

(G-D-G-C-E-A)

Here’s where it gets exciting. Every string in Drop G is the same as in A standard tuning, the only difference is that the last string is tuned a whole step down to a G. 

Since this is not a standard tuning, shapes are going to be completely different compared to the standard tunings’ chord forms. 

Yet, chord shapes are the same as any other drop tuning, like drop D on a standard guitar. 

It has an aery and melancholic sound that you can turn into an aggressive blast of noise. Popular bands that have used this tuning are Whitechapel and Within The Ruins.

Baritone Guitar Tuning

Drop B Tuning

(B-F#-B-E-G#-C#)

Drop B tuning is very common among the heaviest genres. One example is the guitarist from the doom metal band Pentagram, Victor Griffin

He has used this tuning to create the darkest songs he has come up with. If you want to rock with a dark and heavy sound, this tuning is for you. 

Open B Tuning

(B-F#-B-D#-F#-B)

Are you a blues player? With a baritone guitar, you’d be able to play the most incredible blues riffs with the open B tuning, especially if you like using a slider. For the people used to the regular guitar, open B tuning has the same intervals and shapes as open E on a regular guitar, 

If you're comfortable playing with open tuning and want to play some devilish chord progressions and bluesy riffs, this is the tuning for you on a baritone guitar.

Other Alternative Tunings

Maybe you checked the list, already tried all of them, and you’re still hungry for more. If you would like to learn other alternative tunings that are not as popular but also interesting, here’s a list of some that you could also explore — if you feel brave enough!

Drop A Tuning

(A-E-A-D-F#-B)

Drop A is very popular among the heavy genres due to the easy access to power chords and sound-charged strings. The low A string allows the player to create fantastic chord progressions that create a dark and aggressive ambiance.

Double Drop A Tuning

(A-E-A-D-F#-A)

If you thought things couldn’t get heavier, you’d be completely wrong. Double drop A is very similar to drop A, but you also lower the high B in drop A a whole step down. This exceptional tuning can only be played on a baritone guitar since it has thicker strings than the regular guitar.

Baritone Guitar String Gauge

Baritone guitars are a special kind of electric guitar. They are the perfect bridge between a regular electric guitar and a bass guitar. The string gauges typically used on a typical electric guitar would break easily due to the string tension between the bridge and the headstock. The most recommended gauge is the 13 gauge (0.13-0.62), but there’s a good amount of different gauges that could sound better depending on your taste. 

FAQs

Can I Use These Tunings on a Regular Guitar?

Yes, but you’ll have some very floppy strings. Regular 6 string guitars don’t have enough string tension to play these tunings and sound decent at the same time.

Are There Baritone Acoustic Guitars?

Yes, and the Jazz musician Pat Metheny is evidence of that! Taylor, Martin, and Ibanez are some of the brands that make some of the best baritone acoustic guitars.

A Little About Baritone Guitars

A-Red-And-Black-Ben-Burnley-Ltd-Signature-Model-Baritone-Guitar-Tuning

Baritone guitars are designed to have a lower voicing than the standard guitar while still being a 6-string instrument. Typically, baritone guitars are tuned to B standard, but like regular guitars, there’s a huge range of tunings that a musician can explore.

For the sharp eye and ear, it’s easy to identify when a guitar is regular or baritone. For others, it is more difficult to see or hear a difference between them. One thing to keep in mind is that baritone guitars are just as important as regular guitars in the development of music, especially heavy genres. 

Brands such as Paul Reed Smith (PRS), Ibanez, Eastwood Guitars, and Fender make great baritone guitars and most baritone guitarists own at least one from these brands.

Another important aspect of these instruments is the strings. Even the lowest string gauge on a baritone guitar would be thick compared to the strings you’d rock on a standard guitar. Naturally, the sound that this type of guitar produces is heavier, perfect for genres such as metal, hard rock, and even blues.

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Chris Daniel Playing Guitar in a nightclub
About The AuthorChris Daniel
My "day job" used to be teaching but I decided to give that up to play music full time. I have gigged all over the world playing in bands or as a solo act since then. I still have a passion for teaching others anything related to music. Writing content for InciteMusic.com gives me an opportunity to combine my love of music and education.
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