Baritone Guitar

I had gotten this itch to get a baritone guitar. Not sure where it came from, maybe I was listening to to much Ennio Morricone? I must have bought it in the early 2000s. I found this on sale for $199 and thought it looked like a pretty good deal. It’s a Squier Sub-Sonic. The guitar is a baritone tuned to low B. The body is basswood and constructed as a neck through design. It has 24 frets with a rosewood fret board.The body is a dark blue almost black with a metallic or sparkle finish. The headstock is reversed with the smaller strat outline. The neck has a 27″ scale.I’d say the guitar was well made for the price I paid.

It plays pretty good. The strings are much larger than a regular guitar about half way to a bass guitar. The neck through body construction makes playing the upper frets very comfortable and natural. The frets are large. The guitar has a nice balance to it like other guitars in this body style. The body has the strat style cutaway.

At some point I decided a Sustainiac would be a good thing here. Not sure why? I had the guitar routed by Gary Brawer for a 9V batter case and installed the sustainer. The sustainer is fun. I’m thinking about doing a couple posts about sustainers in the future.

The one problem I have had with the guitar has been the sound. Physically it’s just a six string with bigger strings. You’d think it would then sound like a typical six string tuned to a low B. This is not exactly the case. The G string is a solid non-wound type, but much heavier than normal. Rather than the bright sound of the typical solid strings in a regular gauge the string has a dull metallic twang. It sounds more like wire than the string on a musical instrument. From what I understand baritone strings are available with a wound G string. I think I will try a set like this the next time I change strings.

The pickups also sounded dull or muddy. I changed the bridge pick up for a Duncan Invader. This didn’t sound that great either. At this point I started thinking about what type of pick up would work well in this type of guitar. It seemed to me that the heavier strings produce more output from the magnetic coils in the pick ups. The guitar it self produces more bass. Seems this is a recipe for mud.

It seems this type of guitar would benefit from having a lower output pick up. Hopefully one that handled bass frequencies elegantly. The original pick ups measure 8.4K for the neck and 16.7K for bridge. Wow those are pretty hot. The Invader is listed as 16.8K. I think I need to go the other direction. Maybe a Jazz type pickup, something with a lower output.

 

2 Replies to “Baritone Guitar”

  1. yeah. with those frequencies, it seems a specifically designed pickup would be needed. Maybe single coils would do it, though; Sometimes I’ll whammy the low sting down on the Strat, and it seems to handle it … could be simply quality of pickup. And new strings never hurt 😉

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