Best Baritone Guitar. Deep & Dirty: 5 Dangerous Guitars

This is the Best Baritone Guitar review. If you’re looking for more power to play with between your fingers, or a new rabbit hole to disappear down. The Baritone guitar should be something you may want to consider.

I reviewed several Baritone guitars and organized my top 5. As always, I’ve considered the best options for beginners, the best value for money, ease of playability, versatility, best added extras, quality of build, and something for the ultimate enthusiast.

Baritone guitars offer a completely different experience for the musician. With lower and more aggressive tones to be had, it will completely change the way you look at playing the guitar.

My favorite Baritone Guitar was the Reverend Descent W Baritone Electric Guitar.

Let’s take a quick look at 5 of my favorites, then we’ll jump into each guitar’s special features.

Our Top 5 Quick Glance


Editors No.1 Choice

Reverend Descent W Baritone Electric Guitar

  • Gut Punching Legendary Tones
  • Flexible
  • Value for Money
  • Perfect Starter Guitar

Best for Low Budget 

PRS SE 277 Baritone Electric Guitar

  • Unique PRS Beasty Tone
  • Great Low Price
  • Mahogany Body with Beveled Maple Top
  • Classic PRS Bird Inlays
  • Coil split available for single-coil tones

Best Beginner Option

Gretsch G5260T Electromatic Jet Baritone Electric Guitar

  • Adjusto-Matic bridge with V-Stoptail
  • Beautiful Clear Tones
  • Piano like Articulation and Definition
  • Tremolo Bar

Best For Heavy Metal Riffs & Chaos

ESP LTD Stephen Carpenter SC-607 Baritone 7-String

  • Dual Fishman Fluence pickups 
  • LTD locking tuners
  • Easy Access To Upper Frets
  • Lightweight

Best Choice For The Pro Guitarist/Enthusiast

ESP E-II HRF NT-8 8-String Baritone Electric Guitar

  • EMG 81-8H (Bridge) & EMG 85-8H (Neck) Pickups
  • Hipshot w/ String-Thru Bridge
  • Gotoh Locking Tuners & Schaller Strap lock
  • Classy Build
  • An Absolute Monster

What Is A Baritone Guitar?

A Baritone guitar has a longer neck and different tuning compared to the standard-sized guitar. A baritone is used to get a lower raunchier tone.

Although some players complain about the long neck, impractical sized frets, and huge strings. These factors also work in their favor.

The neck on a Baritone can have 27 frets, compared to 22-25 on standard guitars. The longer style neck is essential, as it provides the correct intonation for the strings to remain taut. This in essence gives you the fatter lower tones.

Tuning Differences

The tuning is lower than your standard guitar. As you know E-A-D-G-B-E is what we’re used to.

Baritone Guitars are tuned in either ‘Standard B‘ or ‘Standard A’.

  • Standard B = B-E-A-D-F#-B
  • Standard A = A-D-G-C-E-A

So, the Baritone guitar is a 4th or 5th lower than standard tuning. 

The bodies can be larger than a standard-sized guitar, Although Baritones are a part of the guitar family. To be fair, by looking at most baritones, you wouldn’t know the difference.

Traditional Baritones come with single-coil pickups for a clearer all-round sound, some designs carry the humbucker for maximum aggression. Perfect for heavy rock and huge riffs.

Songs You May Know With A Baritone Guitar?

  • “Chain Of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
  • “Minerva” by Deftones
  • “Back in the Saddle” by Aerosmith
  • “Space Between” Dave Matthews 
  • Twin Peaks Theme!

Baritone Guitarists 

  • Devin Townsend & Brian Welch (Korn)
  • Stephen Carpenter (Deftones)
  • John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
  • Robb Flynn (Machine Head)
  • Pat Smear (Foo Fighters)
  • Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)

Our Top 5 Best Baritone Guitar Winners.

1- Reverend Descent W Baritone Electric Guitar

Best Overall

Best Baritone Guitar
 
  • Super Good Looking
  • Gut Punching Legendary Tones
  • Flexible
  • Value for Money
  • Perfect Starter Guitar

The Reverend Descent is a favorite of mine. Its gut-punching earthy tones are right up my street. Deep down filthy tones and clear low bass thump make this weapon a must.


Not only that, you’re going to look amazing playing this guitar. It reminds me of the Fender Mustang a bit. A how cool did Kurt Cobain look playing that?

Available in Ocean Green or Transparent White. I would definitely say the Reverend is the best-looking instrument in my review. The Rosewood fingerboard gives the guitar a look of a much higher-priced instrument.

The neck is very similar in size to the standard electric guitar. If you’re already a guitarist you’ll notice it has a comfortable medium oval-shaped profile and 22 jumbo frets. With a 12 inch radius, the Reverend is one of the smaller Baritones in my review. This style of baritone would definitely aid the faster player.

The tasty-looking Humbuckers are dual ‘Railhammer Humcutters’. This gives the player a tight low end, rather than a deep wide thump like other guitars in this review. This is a great feature if you’re playing with a bassist. The sound you could create together can be ground splitting.

The Bass Contour knob gives you the option to build many unique aggressive tones that suit your music. This asset alone was why I love this guitar. The contour feature enables a massive amount of versatility, flexibility, and so much aggression. The tone options are endless. This benefit alone will keep you tweaking and exploring for a very long time.

Considering The Reverend is only a little bigger than your standard electric, there is a massive difference in the depth of bass available. The low-down dirty tones I got from it were so satisfying. An extremely comfortable guitar to play and very well made.

Why spend a small fortune when you’ve got it all in this affordable package? I just connected with this guitar almost instantly. I didn’t have to try very hard to get comfortable and it’s so easy to play. 

That for me is a massive green flag!

Here’s a great example of the dirty Reverend in action.

Number Of Frets:22, Scale Length: 26-3/4″, Nut Width:1.69″, Neck Shape:Medium Oval, Fingerboard Radius:12″, Body Style:Double Cutaway, Neck Type:Bolt On, Neck Wood:Roasted MapleFingerboard:RoastedMaple, BodyWood:Korina, PickupConfiguration:H-H, BridgePickup:Custom Reverend Nuevo 90, Neck Pickup:Custom Reverend Cleancut, Bridge Type:Wilkinson WVS50 IIK Tremolo, Tuning Machines:Pin-Lock, Orientation:Right-Handed, Other Features:Bass Contour, Series:Bolt-On Series Descent W, Model:Descent HC90 Baritone Electric Guitar


2- PRS SE 277 Baritone Electric Guitar

Best for Low Budget 

PRS SE 277
 
  • Unique PRS Tone
  • Great Low Price
  • Mahogany Body with Beveled Maple Top and Flame Maple Veneer
  • Classic PRS bird inlays
  • Coil split available for single-coil tones

Paul Reed Smith guitars are already a popular choice in the electric guitar world. They are well built, reliable, and meant to cranked up into oblivion, blasting out heavy riffs and power chords. 

PRS Players like Brad Delson (Linkin Park) and Carlos Santana have brought this brand of guitar to the mainstream with amazing unique tones of their own. A stunning looking guitar which to be fair is a great price. 

The PRS has a unique sound that you cannot get with any other guitar in this review. The voicings sit perfectly between an electric guitar and bass. So you’re getting the best of both worlds when it comes to the versatility of tone.

The PRS 227 was definitely the easiest to play, a comforting shape that sits nicely into your body and is generally small in size.

The neck is the same length as a standard guitar with 22 frets (27.7’ scale length). It is easy to play, which might be a major factor for you if this is your first baritone.

It’s a beautiful-looking instrument and gives you the player a wide range of low-end colors to explore and play with.

Perfect for recording sessions or releasing huge riffs live to melt some faces.

The Humbucking setup gives you the raw power, it can be split into single coils if you need to take your foot off the gas and play something intricate and clear.

The PRS is certainly versatile alright. If you need to set a club on fire with aggressive riffs or power chords this is your guitar. If you need to play some beautiful melodies and give your fans a dreamy tone, switch down to the single coils, and away you go.

100% my vote for the best budget Baritone. Many hours of fun to be had with this beast.

Number Of Frets: 22, Scale Length 27.7″Nut Width 1-11/16″Neck Shape WideFat BodyStyle Double Cutaway Neck Type Set Neck Neck Wood MapleFingerboard Rosewood Body Wood Mahogany Top Maple with Flame Maple Veneer Pickup Configuration H-H Bridge Pickup 85/15 “S” Neck Pickup 85/15 “S” Bridge Type PRS-Designed Plate-Style, String Through Tuning Machines PRS-DesignedOrientation Series SE Series Model SE 277 Baritone


3- Gretsch G5260T Electromatic Jet Baritone Electric Guitar

Best Beginner Choice

Gretsch G5260T
  • Solid mahogany body
  • Bolt-on maple neck
  • 12″-radius laurel fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and pearloid Neo-Classic thumbnail inlays
  • Dual Gretsch mini humbucking pickups
  • Three-position toggle switch, master volume, and master tone controls
  • Bigsby B50 tailpiece
  • Anchored Adjusto-Matic bridge
  • White binding with black/white purfling
  • Chrome hardware

Gretsch guitars are a special breed to themselves. They offer a piano like articulation and definition. Humbucker pickups give you thundering lows and a precise clear sound in the typical vintage Gretsch style. This would suit players who like the shimmering dreamy tones of the 50s and 60s.

A friendly price considering you’ll be getting a very famous brand in Gretsch. Gretsch guitars came in at a time when Rock N Roll exploded and appealed to the youth of the 50s, out selling Fender! That should tell you something.

They’re reliable and well built. The Gretsch would suit a beginner to intermediate as its super easy to play and as clear as a bell.

The G5260T gives you that famous deep growl that’ll have you wanting more.

Squeaky clean shimmering tones and piano-esch bass tones. Added tremolo arm to give you a surf-type 50s effect or a country-style clang. Dial-in some spring reverb and slap back and you’re literally playing back in the 50s

It’s affordable and reliable. I can’t see anyone not liking this guitar, it’s a perfect starter instrument for a player dipping his/her toe into the baritone world. A beautiful-looking addition to your guitar collection.

Go get yourself a part of music history. Ladies And Gentlemen The Gretsch G5260T.

Category Solid Body Electric Guitar Number of Strings 6 Body Style Electromatic Jet Scale Length 29.75″ Number of Frets 22 Top Wood Mahogany Body Wood Mahogany Neck Wood Maple Fingerboard Wood Laurel Color Other Orientation Right-Handed Series Electromatic Jet Model 2506001506


4- ESP LTD Stephen Carpenter SC-607 Baritone 7-String Electric Guitar

Best For Heavy Metal Riffs & Chugging

Stephen Carpenter SC 607
 
  • Dual Fishman Fluence pickups 
  • LTD locking tuners
  • Easy Access To Upper Frets
  • Lightweight
  • An Absolute Menace

If you’re looking for that ‘Deftones’ alternative metal sound, look no further than the Stephen Carpenter ESP.

It guarantees a hard-hitting low end tone fed by the dual Fishman Fluence SC signature pickups with push control. The Fishman are Monster of pick-ups.

The signature pickups give the choice to switch between active and passive voices. Basically, the active voice gives the metalheads among us the chance to really push the pickups hard, without the worry of interference and feedback.

A real player in the Metal/Alternative rock genre, the spec on this axe is far superior to any baritone so far.

The Classic rock neck shape is designed for easy access to higher frets. As it’s a 7 string guitar you have extra octaves to play with, giving you a whole new world of guitar playing and melodies to discover.

The neck is a ‘U’ shape, and purposely built with comfort in mind for people who practice for long periods.

24 Extra Jumbo frets enable you to bend into oblivion and smash heavy power chords until your heart’s content (or the police have been called).

It’s worth mentioning, as I feel it’s a major benefit. The LTD locking tuners are a major plus and well worth the money. It’s a mechanical process that locks the string down, preventing it from slipping, stretching and going out of tune.

This process takes the place of the standard ‘wrapping’ strings around a pole when changing them.

If you’re laying into big bends or chugging away, the strings can loosen or snap. This usually ends up putting the guitar out of tune. If you’re playing live, it’s soul-destroying, especially if you’re in the middle of a song. The LTD process puts these worries to bed. So if you’re a guitarist looking to avoid situations like this, the LTD benefit is a superb addition. 

Category Solid Body Electric Guitar Number of Strings 7 Body Style Double Cutaway Scale Length 27″ Number of Frets 24 Body Wood Mahogany Neck Wood 3-Piece Maple Fingerboard Wood Macassar Ebony Pickup Configuration H-H Orientation Right-Handed Series Signature Series Model LTD Stephen Carpenter SC-607 Baritone


5- ESP E-II HRF NT-8 8-String Baritone Electric Guitar


Best For The Pro Guitarist/Enthusiast

ESP E ll 8 string electric guitar
 
  • Alder Body
  • Black Satin Finish
  • 27″ Baritone Scale Thin-U 3-Piece Maple Neck w/ Ebony Fingerboard
  • EMG 81-8H (Bridge) & EMG 85-8H (Neck) Pickups
  • Hipshot w/ String-Thru Bridge
  • Gotoh Locking Tuners & Schaller Strap lock

If you’re looking for the ultimate baritone guitar, one that’ll stand up to every challenge. Then look no further than the superb ESP E-II HRF.

With 24 frets and 8 strings, there is no musical direction you can’t go down. Melodies are endless with the added amount of frets strings. It easily covers a wide range of musical genres and every conceivable aspect of playing baritone guitar.

Manufactured at ‘the’ ESP factory, so you’re guaranteed the best possible build. Alder built with a three-piece neck. A stunning ebony fingerboard gives it a sleek devilish look.

The Professional hardware includes Gotoh locking tuners, and a Hipshot fixed bridge with a string-thru-body design. The set of EMG 85-8H (neck) and EMG 81-8H (bridge) active pickups supply you with numerous dangerous tones to start your one-man crusade to guitar destruction.

I was surprised by how comfortable this was, considering it looks like some futuristic space weapon. There’s ample fretboard room to cover, giving you endless possibilities and years of fresh creativity to explore.

Shredding, chugging, massive riffs, or drilling out fast high pitch solos. There isn’t anything the EMG-18 cant do.

If you woke up feeling dangerous, you may need the ESP E-II HRF NT-8 8-String Baritone Electric Guitar.

If you’re a guitar enthusiast or you’re looking for an extreme challenge, the ESP E-II HRF is the weapon for you. Just make sure you warn your local community when you’ve ordered one. They’re dangerous!

Built with pure skill and quality. A guitar for life. 

Begin your domination. 

Number Of Frets 24 XJ Scale Length 27′ Nut Width 55mm Neck Shape Thin U Fingerboard Radius 400mm Body Style HRF Neck Type Neck-Thru Neck Wood 3-Piece Maple Fingerboard Ebony Body Wood Alder Pickup Configuration H-H Bridge Pickup EMG 81-8H Neck Pickup EMG 85-8H Bridge Type Hipshot w/ String Thru Tuning Machines Gotoh Locking Orientation Right-Handed Series HRF Model E-II HRF NT-8 Baritone


Buyers Guide

Why Would I Buy A Baritone Guitar?

Owning a Baritone guitar gives you a wider musical spectrum to learn within. Not only is it suited to Metal and rock you can also achieve tones from it you cannot reach on a standard guitar. 

The Baritone is perfect for the song writer or band musician looking for something different and fresh. 

Baritones are generally low priced and extremely unique. And we all need to be unique in today’s musical world. 

What Strings Do I Need For A Baritone?

The biggest string brands supply ‘Baritone sized strings’. So when you’re next in your local music store, simply ask for a set of Baritone strings. 

In general, the gauge size starts around 13-72. If you already like a brand of strings, stick to them but buy them from gauge 13.

If you’re unsure, here are our top 3 best baritone guitar string recommendations in the market today:

D’Addario- Click Here

Elixir- Click Here

Ernie Ball-Click Here

Best Gifts for Guitarists

Important

If you’re new to a Baritone, I’ll be honest, it’ll come as a shock to play strings so thick and a neck length that may make you feel uneasy.

This may put you off to start with. It is important to know your new Baritone may need setting up by a guitar tech. It’s a cheap but very important step to take. On Average you can get your guitar set up for $25. I get ALL my guitars set up yearly.

In my opinion, new guitars from a store DO NOT come set up (unless the store tech does it for you). They are set up so the average person finds it easy to play whilst in the store. The strings won’t be of any quality so ensure you get yourself a decent set. New guitars come from the factory set up with a high intonation, so this may not help you..

The intonation of a baritone guitar is completely different to a standard guitar, as a Baritone has much heavier strings. So the Truss Rod needs to be spot on, otherwise you’ll struggle to play it and eventually give up.

The last thing you want is strings buzzing or the strings are too high for your style.

Give yourself the best chance of success and get your guitar set up to the way YOU like it.

Depending on your finger strength and what music you play, your guitar tech will take all of this into consideration.

What You Should Know 

You may find it difficult to find a Baritone in your local music store. This is because they’re a limited instrument.

They are produced to a much smaller scale in comparison to the standard electric guitar. So, even the biggest music shops won’t have them hanging around.

Baritones are becoming more and more popular, so availability will change over the next five to ten years.

Ordering your new Baritone online is a safe bet. In today’s current climate, just be aware that there may be a wait, and variations in delivery times due to the instrument being rare.

An Acoustic Baritone and Electric Baritone may come in very different string sizes. For example, Acoustic Baritones will probably come with 16-70 sized strings (which is heavy), electric guitars 13-62. Be sure to check with your supplier. The Baritone guitar links I’ve supplied above give you all the information you’ll require.

Baritone Benefits

Baritones are a very versatile instrument. They can add a diffrent flavor to your guitar playing for sure. They’ve been used in such genres as Rock, Metal, Jazz and Pop.

If you love riff rock. You need a Baritone in your life. The power of the large gauge strings and low deep tones can supply you with ground splitting riffs. Perfect for guitar bands hammering huge chords.

As the frequency of sound is much lower than the average electric guitar. The Baritone can be used in most genres of music. It can aid an acoustic singer who needs a low end. The lower thump may suit a skiffle band right up to heavy metal music and chunky power chords in heavy rock.

With fatter, punchier tones with and alternate tunings. Its time to disappear down the Baritone guitar rabbit hole to search for your soul.

Bottom Line

Best Baritone Guitar: The Reverend Descent W Baritone Electric Guitar

The Reverend isn’t by any means the most expensive guitar, or does the most tricks, or has the best hardware. It was the best in my opinion. Sometimes you just get a gut feeling when trying out a guitar.

Don’t underestimate the power of being comfortable. This will result in longer practice sessions and will eventually bring more results. Sometimes you just know! If you’re considering buying your first baritone, the Reverend is a safe option.

It’s better to spend a little more of your hard-earned cash on something you know you’re definitely going to like. Rather than spending money on something ‘other people like. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I knew straight away which guitar suited me.

It’s not to say The Reverend is the best Baritone out there, but I’ve given you plenty to contemplate depending on your skill level budget, and musical taste.

Good Luck on your journey towards rock god.

About Lee

Lee has been playing guitar for over 25 years. In the 1990s he made a few TV appearances in London and supported and few big bands at festivals. He's recently sung on radio and worked as a full-time guitarist/singer on a holiday resort. Lee is the founder of Authority Guitar, a site where he wants readers to enjoy every aspect of learning the guitar.

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