Even if you spend years and decades playing an electric guitar, there will always be things that you’re not that familiar with. Be it a piece of gear or a specific playing style, it’s not uncommon for even the most experienced guitar players to have that moment where they go “Oh, I never thought about that!” But while we’re at it, there’s a certain aspect of the guitar world that gets somewhat neglected and underrated. Since there are guitar players of a lot of different genres who prefer lower tunings, this is where baritone electric guitars come into the spotlight.
The main idea here is to have those lower tunings without making your strings feel like rubber. This is achieved with longer scale lengths. For those who don’t know, scale length presents the length between the nut and the bridge. Regular electric guitars have a scale length anywhere between 24 and 25.5 inches. And if we’re talking about baritone guitars, scale lengths go from 27 inches and above. Of course, these guitars often have pickups that manage to keep things sounding good in these bottom-end areas.
In case you’re looking for a way to have great performance with lower tunings and thicker string gauges, we’ve done some digging for you. Below, you can find the list of the best baritone electric guitars on the market today.
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Squier Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
For many years now, Fender’s subsidiary Squier has been impressing guitar players all over the world with their affordable yet very reliable guitars. But aside from their versions of classic Stratocasters and telecasters, we can even find one baritone model, the Cabronita Telecaster. This one comes from the company’s Paranormal series that saw Squier putting previously unthought-of combinations together. It’s a good place to kick off our list of best baritone electric guitars.
The idea here was to have a simpler and cheaper baritone guitar that still retains some of the basic qualities in there. At the same time, it’s pretty obvious that this instrument is intended for blues, rock, and indie rock music. The guitar comes with a Telecaster shape body and two simple P90 pickups. As the main body material, we have poplar while the neck is made of maple and features an Indian laurel fretboard on top of it. This is all accompanied by the standard baritone scale length of 27 inches.
The guitar comes with a standard hardtail Fender-style bridge. Additionally, we have the standard controls for volume, tone, and pickup selection. However, these are laid out without the standard plate that you’d find on a classic Tele. Either way, this is one of the best baritone guitars for the price and it’s most likely the cheapest one on the market.
Gretsch G5260 Electromatic Jet
Gretsch has to be one of the most underrated guitar brands out there, and we mean that when it comes to baritone electric guitars as well. Mostly popular among the lovers of vintage stuff, they’re offering a lot of exciting instruments with their Electromatic series. But when it comes to baritone guitars, the G5260 Electromatic Jet really stands out, especially knowing its lower price.
The guitar bears the company’s well-known Jet body shape which plays a little twist on the classic single-cutaway Les Paul body. It’s all accompanied by a somewhat unusual yet very stylish and unique V-shaped tailpiece which works perfectly with the standard tune-o-matic bridge.
But the most exciting thing here is the guitar’s scale length, which is one of the longest among today’s baritone guitars. Here we have 29.75 inches, which is noticeably longer compared to the standard 27 inches. Gretsch G5260 Electromatic Jet has a body made of mahogany and a maple neck that’s attache with the classic bolt-on construction. While we’re at it, the neck has a very comfortable Thin-U profile.
As far as the pickup and its tone go, the Gretsch G5260 model has the company’s famous mini humbuckers and an overall old school-oriented rock tone. With the right set of amps and pedals, you could achieve a lot of stuff with it, but we’d say that it fits perfectly in these classic rock settings where lower tunings are required.
Squier Classic Vibe Bass VI
Back in the old days, the early 1960s, Fender experimented with some unusual concepts. One of those was their Bass VI guitar – a standard 6-string with a very long scale length, very thick string gauges, and tuning that goes one octave below the E standard. A pioneer in the baritone electric guitars field, you could say.
Although it was abandoned and revived a few times over the decades, the concept is still interesting to some guitar players. These days, you can find Squier’s version of this old guitar. Interestingly enough, it also features the same scale length of an impressive 30 inches. This way, the guitar can also achieve the standard E tuning that’s one octave below the regular one.
And just like the old Fender from back in the day, it comes with the individual on and off switches for each of its three pickups. It’s a somewhat outdated way of switching pickups, but it still gives a lot of versatility to it, and its Fender Alnico single-coils can add some serious twang in there. Additionally, you also have a bass-cut switch that makes it possible to thin-out the tone by removing some of the bottom-end in there.
Other than that, the guitar features a poplar body and a maple neck with a classic C-shaped profile. The neck is also fitted with an Indian laurel fretboard with a total of 21 frets on it. This is a very reliable guitar and a great choice for anyone who wants to play surf rock and psychedelic rock in these low-end regions.
ESP LTD SCT-607
ESP’s subsidiary LTD is one of the most popular brands among metal musicians. And it’s no wonder since most of their guitars are designed to work perfectly in all of metal’s subgenres. However, their SCT-607 baritone guitar is just something else. This is a 7-string signature instrument of Deftones’ Stephen Carpenter and it comes with some mindblowing premium features.
In some way, we can describe it as a very stylish blend of vintage and modern features. Although it has a Telecaster body shape and the classic control plate, we have a green sparkle finish that adds a completely different twist. There’s also a Tune-o-Matic bridge, but without a tailpiece. Instead, strings go through the body, which makes some impact on the overall tone.
The body is made of alder while the neck is a 3-piece maple one that forms a neck-through construction with the body. This particular formation can add some significant sustain to the tone, making this guitar extremely useful for lead players.
SCT-607 has another very interesting trait. Sure, you have the standard dual-humbucker configuration. However, these are Fishman Fluence SRC pickups and they’re positioned in a bit of an unusual way. Instead of bridge and neck positions, we have bridge and middle configuration. This adds a very unique twist to its tone, along with the pickups that are super versatile. This fella is one of the baritone electric guitars that are kind of expensive. But worry not, as it’s worth every penny.
Dean Icon Baritone Black Satin
Among many guitar brands that are available today, Dean is one of those that manage to set the standards for both tone and quality. Of course, they’ve also ventured into the baritone electric guitars territory with their Dean Icon Black Satin.
This guy comes as a perfect addition to any metal player’s rig. In many ways, this guitar is pretty simple. However, don’t let this fool you – this is a real mean riffing and shredding machine.
It takes no more than a glance to realize that Dean has put a lot of effort in its appearance as well. Aside from a black satin finish, this guitar comes with single-ply cream binding on both the body and the neck. These features fit perfectly with Dean’s classic double-cutaway body design.
Going more into it, we also have the standard tune-o-matic bridge with a regular tailpiece. Tuning stability is also guaranteed with quality Grover tuning machines. These components keep things in check with its elongated 27-inch scale length. Additionally, the guitar really feels great under your hands, especially with the C-shaped neck profile, set neck construction, and meticulously designed cutaways and indents.
The active EMG 81 and 85 pickups combined with its mahogany body and neck give a great platform for modern metal players. It’s a straightforward guitar that gives quite a punch, both for lead and rhythm sections.
Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21
Being a very innovative gear manufacturer, Ibanez has also delved into the field of baritone electric guitars. The Iron be RGIB21 is a pretty interesting model, giving some great metal tones and a very comfortable performance with Ibanez’s ergonomic design features. Although it’s packed with essentials only and no additional bells and whistles, it comes up as a perfect mid-priced baritone guitar.
The body shape is the company’s classic Super-Strat. The body material is Nyatoh wood, while the neck is a 3-piece combination of maple and purpleheart wood. Its 28-inch scale length makes it very useful for those lower tunings. And combined with its EMG 81 and 85 pickups, you’ll get some pretty heavy tones for those chugging modern metal riffs. This is all rounded up with the Gibraltar Standard II Bridge as well as Gotoh MG-T tuning machines. It also comes with just the volume knob and a 3-way pickup selector switch, making it super-easy to use.
ESP LTD BB-600
Lastly, we’d like to wrap up our baritone electric guitars rundown by taking a bit of a closer look at another one of ESP LTD’s guitars. This time around, we have their BB-600 model that comes with some pretty exciting features. Although noticeably more expensive compared to some other guitars that we mentioned here, it’s a professional-level instrument that comes in handy for many different genres.
This 6-string baritone guitar is a signature model of Breaking Benjamin’s Ben Burnley. It bears the company’s modified Les Paul shape with that deeper and sharper cutaway. With an indent on its backside, this guitar becomes really comfortable to play at its higher frets. The body features mahogany construction with a quilted maple top fitted on it. We also have a maple neck with neck-through construction, adding some sustain in there and making it really smooth and comfortable in the higher fret areas.
But aside from its two humbucker pickups, Seymour Duncan ’59 and JB, we also have a piezo pickup with its separate output. You can either blend it with two amplifiers to create some unique tones, or even use it as an acoustic guitar. With this feature, the instrument becomes a really versatile playground for many different genres.
Yes, it’s a bit more into the higher-priced level. However, ESP LTD’s BB-600 is really worth it. Although it’s originally intended for heavier stuff, its pickups make it useful even for other stuff. And with its standard baritone scale length of 27 inches, you’ll be able to cover those low-end territories with ease. Best baritone electric guitars, over and out! Now all you need is a nice little amp.