Baritone Guitar Tuning (Standard And Alternative Tunings)

Baritone guitars are similar to commonplace guitars.

The first distinction is an extended scale size, which implies you may get a a lot decrease tone. Our article What Is A Baritone Guitar covers all of that.

What’s essential for this text is that the longer scale size makes baritone guitar tuning completely different from the tuning of a daily guitar.

Whereas the precise tuning course of is similar (we cowl it briefly beneath), the precise notes to which the strings are tuned differ.

There are two commonplace tunings for the baritone guitar and quite a lot of various tunings. We cowl the usual tunings and the most typical and most fascinating alternate options beneath.


Baritone Guitar Tuning: How It Differs

Let’s start with E commonplace tuning. That’s what regular guitars are tuned to. By “regular” guitars, we imply ones with a scale size between 24 and 25.5 inches. These are the preferred guitars and those you typically see and listen to

What’s scale size on a guitar precisely? Learn that article for all the things it’s essential to know.

In E commonplace, the strings are tuned as follows, starting with the primary string (the thinnest one, i.e. first from the underside):

  1. e
  2. B
  3. G
  4. D
  5. A
  6. E (one octave decrease than the primary string)

However that is solely commonplace tuning. There are such a lot of different fascinating tunings that you need to use with the guitar.

One that almost all intermediate guitarists flip to (stereotypically) after they start to experiment is drop D (listed here are some straightforward drop D steel songs, when you’d like to provide this tuning a strive). That’s when the low E (the sixth, or thickest) string, is lowered from E to D, in order that it’s precisely one octave decrease than the fourth string. Drop C tuning can be common.

However there’s a restrict to how low you possibly can go.

guitar neck scale length

Due to the size size (the size from the nut to their saddle), you possibly can’t tune your guitar too low. The usual guitar merely will not be lengthy sufficient for the strings to keep up sufficient pressure to sound the best way they need to, when you tune too low (i.e. loosen the strain within the strings).

That’s the place the baritone guitar is available in.

These guitars have a scale between 27 and 30 inches, permitting them to  go a lot decrease. Actually, they have been created to accommodate low tunings. That’s the large benefit of a baritone guitar.

Their commonplace tuning is B commonplace. It’s even appropriately known as baritone tuning. One other frequent tuning is a complete step decrease than baritone tuning – A normal.

Then there are alternate tunings that are actually simply relative tunings to frequent ones used on commonplace guitars – tunings like drop A, double drop A, A-E-A-D-E-A , and G-D-A-D-E-A. We’ll go into extra element about what every string ought to be tuned to for these tunings beneath.

That is all properly and good, however what does that truly imply for you as a participant?

Baritone guitars, of their typical tuning, have a really distinctive sound. They’re twangy and full – consider that particular surf rock sound.

However they may also be heavy and crushing – like after they’re used as steel guitars.

These aren’t the one genres which have made use of those devices. Nation artists, jazz musicians, and even spaghetti-western composers have all relied closely on the baritone guitar. And this range of tone is because of the truth that these guitars are tuned so low.

Baritone guitars broaden the sounds you’re capable of produce on the guitar. They’re an additional device in your arsenal and also you don’t should study a wholly new instrument to play them both.


Normal Baritone Guitar Tunings

The next are the usual tunings for baritone guitars and thus additionally the most typical.


B Normal

As coated earlier, that is the usual tuning for baritone guitars. The strings are tuned as follows, from backside to prime:

Every string is tuned two and a half steps decrease than E commonplace. That principally implies that each string is tuned 5 notes decrease than their commonplace tuning counterparts.

Nevertheless, as a result of each string is strung precisely two and a half steps decrease, the relative tuning stays the identical, so you possibly can merely transpose chord shapes to this tuning. For instance, you possibly can nonetheless play the G main chord form, with the basis notice on the sixth string’s third fret. It is going to sound high-quality, however as an alternative of being a G, it’ll be a D.

The desk beneath tells you what every E commonplace chord could be transposed to in B commonplace, utilizing the identical shapes on the identical strings and frets. We even have a whole article on baritone guitar chords that has extra information.


A Normal

The second of the usual tunings for baritone guitars, A normal is a full seven notes decrease than E commonplace. That’s three and a half steps decrease, and yet another than B commonplace. Every particular person string is tuned as follows, from the primary string:

  1. A
  2. E
  3. C
  4. G
  5. D
  6. A

Similar to with B and E commonplace, the strings are tuned relative to one another. And meaning you need to use the identical chord shapes on this tuning as properly, however the chords will probably be transposed three and a half steps down.

Relative to what they might be in E commonplace, the transposed chords are as follows:


Different Baritone Guitar Tunings

Drop A

You would possibly bear in mind the point out of drop D tuning earlier. That’s the place you are taking a guitar tuned to E commonplace and drop the tuning of the sixth string solely, happening a step from the low E to D.

You may apply the identical course of to tuning to drop A on a baritone guitar. In case your baritone guitar is tuned to B commonplace, and also you wish to tune it to drop A, merely decrease the tuning of the sixth string from B to A. This is similar notice because the fourth string, however an octave decrease.

Drop A, and certainly just about any drop tuning, are sometimes utilized in heavier music. As a result of the sixth and fourth strings are tuned to the identical notice, however completely different octaves, these tunings let you play energy chords with one barred finger. This lends itself properly to the guitar methods utilized in steel and the multitude of heavy music subgenres.

Every string is tuned as follows on a baritone guitar in drop A:

  1. B
  2. F#
  3. D
  4. A
  5. E
  6. A (one octave beneath the fourth string)


Double Drop A

This tuning is principally the baritone guitar model of double drop D tuning on commonplace guitars. To get to this tuning from B commonplace, it’s essential to drop the low B string down till it reaches A, identical to above for drop A tuning.

The distinction for this tuning, is what you do to the primary string, the excessive B – you tune it to A as properly. Because of this your two exterior strings, and the fourth string in your guitar, are all tuned to A.

That is what every string is strung to in double drop A on a baritone guitar:

  1. A
  2. F#
  3. D
  4. A
  5. E
  6. A

This tuning provides your chords a low, droning sound. That is good for ethereal, atmospheric music. Its larger pitched counterpart, double drop D, is sort of versatile. It’s used for numerous genres, so it stands to cause, that the decrease double drop A tuning can be extraordinarily helpful for a spread of various genres.



This tuning isn’t as enjoyable to say as its higher-pitched relative, D-A-D-G-A-D, however it’s simply as enjoyable to play. Nice proponents of the D-A-D-G-A-D tuning are artists who play fingerstyle acoustic guitar, like Andy McKee, who performs extremely emotive baritone guitar songs on this tuning.

The A-E-A-D-E-A tuning offers all of the hallmarks of D-A-D-G-A-D, however in a decrease register, giving it a hotter, extra inviting tone. The factor that makes this tuning so stunning, and lets you create such fantastic sounds from it, is that it’s an open tuning. When you strum the open strings, with out taking part in any notes on the fretboard, it nonetheless creates a beautiful sound.

It might be self explanatory, however every string on this tuning is strung as follows, ranging from the underside string:

  1. A
  2. E
  3. D
  4. A
  5. E
  6. A



Do you discover any similarities between this tuning, and the one above? When you mentioned that solely the fifth and sixth strings are tuned in a different way, and the underside 4 strings are precisely the identical, you’d be proper. One other open tuning, this baritone tuning’s higher-pitched relative tuning is C-G-D-G-A-D.

In G-D-A-D-E-A, the 2 low-end strings are tuned so low that the sixth string nearly reaches bass territory. Actually, it’s solely two steps larger than the low E tuning used as commonplace for bass guitars.

From low to excessive, every string on the baritone guitar is tuned as follows:

  1. A
  2. E
  3. D
  4. A
  5. D
  6. G


Tuning A Baritone Guitar

Supplies Wanted

A guitar tuner



When you’ve tuned a typical guitar, you already know precisely how to do that. The one distinction is the truth that you’re tuning the baritone guitar a lot decrease. That’s why it’s instructed to make use of the guitar tuner for accuracy, moderately than tuning every string relative to the others utilizing your ear.

Nevertheless your tuner works, if it’s a must to plug it in together with your lead or simply put it in your headstock, and even when you’re utilizing a tuning app in your cellphone (these are nice when you’re in a bind and don’t have a correct tuner, however it’s beneficial to at all times use a correct tuner when you have one helpful), flip it on.

Then play your low sixth string, and switch the tuning pegs to regulate the tuning till you hit the right notice.

Repeat this for every string.

Similar to on commonplace guitars, when you’re tuning to B commonplace, you possibly can tune the strings relative to one another. You are able to do this to examine how all of the strings sound in respect to one another, so that you simply’re positive all the things sounds as good because it ought to.

This could go with out saying, however you do wish to get strings made particularly for these guitars and their longer scale lengths. Common string received’t work. We’ve an article on the perfect baritone guitar strings for each electrical and acoustic guitars.


Baritone Guitar Tuning: Ultimate Ideas

Similar to with the usual guitar, newcomers on the baritone guitar will in all probability wish to persist with the usual tuning. However as you get higher, experimenting with various tunings could be a enjoyable method to get extra inventive. Give a few of them a try to see how they sound!

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