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Extended Range Guitars Welcome to everyone from ERG.com. Eight, Nine, Baritone and beyond discussion here.

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Old 05-10-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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Entering Baritone Land

Hi all. I often check this site for advice, because I know a lot of you really know what the hell you are talking about, so I figure I come to you directly with something that I am wondering about.

I will soon be entering Six String Baritone land. I'm wondering what scale length that I should be getting, since I have the option. 27 inch, 28.625, or a 30 inch. I will most likely be tuning down to B and C, more C than B though. Before anyone tells me that a normal scale guitar CAN handle C, I don't want to put insanely big strings on the guitar, nor do I want a very dark tone due to the flabbyness, etc. I also don't wanna tune one of my seven strings to some wacky tuning, especially if I want the B or C to be the bottom string, and use six strings.

I already have a 30 inch on the way (that is real close to bass land - I am sure I like it, but who the hell has a 30 inch in a store to try out?), and I have that all too famous GAS hitting me real good still, ha. So which scale length should I get, and why? Rob Flynn from Machine Head has a 27 inch V, I believe. I am a huge Flying V guy, so his was the first that really hit me. Big on the metal/hard rock stuff too. Thank you guys.


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Old 05-11-2012, 01:23 AM   #2
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The thing is, the larger the scale, the more uncomfortable it is to play for small/medium hands. Also, if you only plan on going to C/B, 27'' will sound good (and feel better than 30). It's really about compromising comfort of your fretting hand for better sound/intonation of the lower strings. I would avoid the 30 for C tuning. It's your decision to compromise between sound and comfort though. Maybe opt for the 28.625 if you're comfortable with playing longer scales eg. Bass (and I'd recommend it more if you were tuning predominantly to B1 or lower). But if you have small hands 27 will be fine for c/b definitely.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:18 AM   #3
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I'd go 27" because that's what my eight-string is. I have rather big hands, but 27" is the limit for me for very wide chord phrasings. 28.625" isn't much bigger fret-to-fret, but that distance adds up. 27" is the limit for the chords I want to pull off comfortably.

If you're not really going to be doing wide chords, then... I'd go longer.

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Old 05-11-2012, 07:58 AM   #4
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B and C will sound wonderful on a 27" scale. The added clarity will give you the sound you are after. If you don't think you will be tempted to try much lower tunings, then 27" will do the job well. If you want to future proof the guitar for any significantly lower tunings (I'm looking at you E1) then maybe take the plunge on the 28.625". As has been mentioned, the spacing between the two is not that great, but you will certainly feel the difference on the lower frets when attempting to chord.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:33 AM   #5
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I had a 30inch scale 6 string Bich. Took a chance and bought it on ebay ~5 years ago never having tried anything other than standard guitars and basses.
I'm used to playing 4 and 5 string bass so the change from a regular 6 string to this baritone wasn't anything new.

The sound compared to a shorter scale is garbage (ya I know its a low end baritone, yet compared to an equalivalent non-baritone guitar it is still subpar in sound and playability). The sound wasn't even any better for the lower notes and the high notes were terrible. Less sustain and warmth to the tone. At this scale the guitar was nearly useless above the 12th fret as the sound became so bright and brittle sounding.

I play B and C on six strings and have never had problems with clarity using a 56-60 tuned B/C at 25.5inch. My new 8 string is only 25.5 and so far I'm having zero problems with the 70 8th string tuned F#. (LTD SC-208, D-act/PAF). Very large strings aren't necessary. I think people put too much weight on needing high-tension to handle lower tunings. A little finesse makes a huge difference. It isn't the best sound but I can jam some bloodbath or carcass using a 10-46 set if I have no choice. People who complain about sloppiness due to low tension are probably just harder players. Again this .... is all subjective, so keep in mind your personal playing style, preference and where you want to progress.

It all comes down to subjectivity. I prefer 25.5 over longer scales, others do not.
I suggest 27" at the longest for the tunings you suggested. The neck should still be close enough to a 25 in sound and feel and still give you the benefit of a baritone.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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the biggest you'll have to go for strings on a 25.5 is a 56, thats pretty tiny compared to what some of us use around here.
to answer your question go for the 27

brutalwizard- "idk what kind of heavy dicked men you have come across,

but they almost sound as interesting as you say hahaha"

"That's because if you're going to dip your marshmallow in the fire, you need to crisp that ............ up to make it all gooey and delicious.

Not opting to let the man let his artistry run wild is like lightly browning the marshmallow. Still very tasty, just not quite the same."- Valennic on daemoness guitars
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:54 AM   #7
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I tune to drop B on an Epiphone LP and I have no issues with the sound. I also tune to drop A on a 27.7" PRS and it sounds great. Personally I don't think it as necessary to jump into longer scale lengths at the tunings you want to use, but ultimately it's going to come down to your personal preference for feel and sound.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:34 PM   #8
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I'd recomment 27" as well, as it has already been said it's not a big change from standard scale and the tension is high enough to pun thinner strings on it
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:19 AM   #9
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All useful information, thank you!
Cremated, you bring up some really good points about the comfort, and all of that.
Dayn -noted. The distance does really add up, I see now.
ForThisGift - you are definitely helping me make my decision a bit easier.
RV350ALSCYTHE- You bring up good points on tension and playing style.
Big Nd Sweaty -understood - thanks.
no dice - yea, I agree. I don't want it to feel too tight.
Nagash - yes, you make valid points.

You all made this a bit easier for me. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:25 AM   #10
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I've got a 7 baritone 27" scale. To get a good tension I have to use a lighter set than on my other guitars, otherwise the tension is too great for playing comfort and ease of bending and vibrato.

Sounds great and with the right strings is a joy to play. With heavier strings it is a hideous, amateur sounding, tendonitis inducing horror.

Setup is really important with baritones. I tune mine B - E standard, but it will go MUCH lower (F# with heavy strings). You have to consider the tuning you require and choose strings accordingly. Get it wrong and the extra bulk of the instrument will be painful.
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:38 AM   #11
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I've ust recently got hold of an Ibanez MMM1 and ive got to say its incredible to play and sounds great, not too easy to come across anymore though
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:11 PM   #12
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Ryan - noted. Thanks.
Jake - I really wish Ibanez would go with some ebony fretboards! Geez.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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I have a 27 and a 28. For C, the 27 is plenty and it doesn't feel TOO much longer than a normal scale guitar. The 28 feels a little longer, but it also will go lower.
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