Difficult bends and legato on Baritones - true or not?

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by Cyborg_Ogre, Jul 6, 2018.

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  1. Cyborg_Ogre

    Cyborg_Ogre SS.org Regular

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    Often I see negative statments about non-multiscale baritones on guitar forums. Most common are:

    1) Due to higher string tension bends and legato are more difficult on baritones
    2) Higher strings sound glassy, which makes baritones less suitable for leads
    3) Longer scale -> Bigger finger stretches -> Harder to shred

    I personally didn't notice any difference in legato difficulty. As for bends - yes, my 27' baritone requires a little extra strength on bends, but I still can do all the intervals I did on a standard scale.

    Can't complain about sharp tone. To me it sounds just like I expect lead to sound - it cuts through the mix like a scalpel. Why people wouldn't want that?

    I do agree that bigger scale is noticable on the lower frets. But at the same time, the higher frets are longer which makes soloing on 19-24th frets much less awkward.

    What do you think about these cons? Maybe you've seen another "slander" about baritones? ; )
     
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  2. Lindmann

    Lindmann SS.org Rectangular

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    I think that is true at least for the lower frets. On my 30" barirone there are certain riffs that I just can't play as fast as I can play it on a 25,5".
     
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    1 depends
    2 depends
    3 depends
    Everything is relative/subjective, so while some people may struggle with bends/stretches on baritones, I don't, partly because I've always preferred high tension strings and I have big hands, so the stretches aren't bad for me, and the bends feel easy since I'm using lower tension strings than I did on my non-baritones . I find it's pretty easy to mitigate the brighter sound of a baritone through eq'ing/pickup choice.
    For guys coming from gibson scales it might feel really awkward at first, but for people coming from 25.5" scales I'd say most baritones are pretty manageable (a 27" is like adding one extra fret or so).
     
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  4. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    The legato portion doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t feel like that is dependent on scale length.

    Shredding though, I’ve heard opposing opinions. Some guys like the extra space on the higher frets because there’s more room for their fingers. The complaint is usually about farther stretches for fingers on the lower notes.

    As far as string bending goes i think it’s totally dependent on the string gauges you choose. You can choose slinky strings if you want. Just keep in mind your setup will have to change too
     
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  5. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Frankly I would personally love to see a roughly 26” scale length. Just a tad more room for the high notes and a bit more tension for the low strings. Then again, I have smaller hands. So I have no problem being suuuuuuper picky, lol.
     
  6. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    27 scale baritones. kill me please.

    The string tension doesn't have to be higher. You can set them up to be bass like or more guitar like depending on the string set and tuning.

    As for stretching...if you can do it it doesn't make a difference. If you are bad at stretching then of course the scale length will be harder then a shorter scale length.

    but 27 inch baritones. I blame prs.
     
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  7. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    1) string tension definitely increases. I have to drop a string gauge with scales longer than 25.5” (from 10s to 9s). Otherwise, I just can’t bend comfortably (quickly and with a smooth vibrato).

    2) Tone sounds fine to me; each guitar sounds so different it’s hard to say anything is because of one feature over another.

    3). Stretching on the low frets can definitely be an issue. Much over 27” is just too long for me to span the frets that I would like. But that obviously depends on how long your specific handspan is.
     
  8. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    Huh. I need to give it some thought. The only guitar I've had for the past 7 or 8 years has been a 27" guitar.
    1. String tension does get higher, if you use identical strings as you would on a lower scale. There is a minuscule difference between 25.5" and 27" though. It's noticeable enough, and does perhaps make it slightly more difficult, but unless you're frequently doing 4 semitone bends, then it's not a problem. It gets a bit worse as you go longer with higher tension, of course. And it makes absolutely no difference to legato.
    2. Personal preference, and depends on your setup and gear. You will have more harmonic content on higher-tension, thinner strings. Adjust your settings or lower your tone knob. Done. If you want to play fat bassy leads, get something better suited to playing it if you must.
    3. Shredding is the least of your worries. I find the extra breathing room to be magnificent for shredding. It gets cramped up near the 24th fret as it already is at 27". But playing low on the neck is almost imperceptible at 27", unless you're playing chords with big stretches. When you go longer, chording does get harder, as do riffs with bigger stretches.
    I should clarify that whilst I say 27" is at times imperceptible from 25.5"... if you've spent most of your life playing 27", going to a 25.5" without fret markers really fucks up your muscle memory.
     
  9. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    Also, fanned frets might not help much for #3. If the F# stretch is too long, you’d just need a shorter scale.

    I haven’t measured, but it seems like fanned frets could make some reaches harder because the frets start moving against you?

    Tension can be worked out with string gauge. Tone can be tweaked with various other components and gear.
     
  10. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    1) Due to higher string tension bends and legato are more difficult on baritones
    If you use higher tension strings, yes. But you can just decrease gauge. That's the benefit of baritones afterall, it allows you to use a thinner gauge for a lower tuning, making lower tunings sound clearer. Drop down from 10s to 9.5s moving from 25.5 to 27. Another 0.5 to 28.625". Another 0.5 to 30". So only at near to 30" does it really become a problem at which thinner gauges are not available and lower tension is not an option.

    2) Higher strings sound glassy, which makes baritones less suitable for leads
    In my opinion, not really. The open strings sound different yes. But a 28.625 in even a high tuning like D standard, capo'd at the 2nd fret, becomes a 25.5" in E. So yes the open strings sound brighter, but once you are fretting especially up high for leads....nah. Of course there is technically a difference, but it's exactly the same difference as being on a shortscale guitar and switching tunings (thus fingerings) up or down a semitone/fret, or string gauges up or down a single increment. People use all sorts and all sound perfectly good.
    But yes, it will be brighter - one or two fret positions and one thinner string set brighter.

    3) Longer scale -> Bigger finger stretches -> Harder to shred
    27 adds one fret at the nut, 28.625 adds two, 30 adds 3. That is to say, stretching 5-8 on a 30" is like stretching 2-5 on a 25.5". Yes stretches become larger, but unless you can't play your parts 1 or 2 frets lower on a normal scale, you'll be fine. Only the stretches that are already very hard become an issue.

    All that said, short scales ARE just nice and small and easy to play, sure.
     
  11. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    That’s how I figured out that I really can’t go longer than 27”. Transposing some of my riffing and cords down a fret lower doesn’t work out well for me. But it’s going to vary person to person.
     
  12. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    yeah I don't really start having problems til about 30" scales for some of the chords I try to play :shrug:
     
  13. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Although above I have attempted to somewhat 'technically debunk' the validity of these claims, I will say, the fact that some people feel this way is enough. If they just aren't vibing with the instrument because it's a baritone and they find things more difficult or less pleasant, that's totally valid, even if it 'shouldn't' really be so true. Lots of very reputable and knowledgeable guitarists do feel this way, so there's that.
     
  14. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Exactly. I have big hands/long fingers, and standard scale lengths have always felt cramped and elastic-y to me. Baritones are actually easier for me for legato and such.
     
  15. auxioluck

    auxioluck Metal Teddy Bear

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    I'm not meaning to derail the thread here, but this seemed like a good time to ask: Does anyone know of any production 26" or 26.5" scale baritones?
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire grossly incandescent

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    nah, most of the guitars I can think of are 7 strings with that scale. most of the production 6 string baritones range from 27-30"
     
  17. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    Older Schecter 8s where 26.5”. Some ESP/LTD 8s are 25.5”.

    I have a Schecter at 26.5” and like it so much I ordered another like it.
     
  18. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I can never understand why people talk about baritones having higher string tension. That’s like saying people who lose weight all have super baggy clothes. If you buy an instrument, you buy the correct strings for the tuning you’re planning on using. There is absolutely no increased tension, unless you put the wrong strings on.
     
  19. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    Real answer : No because a 26 or 26.5 isn’t a fucking baritone.

    Helpful answer : are you looking for a six string? You can still get an Ibanez rgidx6. There are used rgd320 I think around. They used to have a prestige level 6 string with a Floyd. Reverend also has 2 26.5 scale guitars. They aren’t really metal looking though. Kiesel will make 6 strings in that scale I think on request.
     
  20. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    I’ll also say that I tune to Standard and snap .009 high e strings like crazy with 26.5” and 27” scales. If I bust out the solo to November rain, I can count on snapping that string.
     

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