Baritone Guitar

I heard about baritone guitars around summer 2012 while researching variations on the 6-string acoustic guitar. In listening to samples, I really liked the powerful bass and mellower highs present in the baritone. While they aren’t that much different than a regular 6-string as far as feel, the lower tones can get very muddy and so it prefers to play notes instead of chords.

Its normal tuning is B to B, which puts it right in between a guitar and a bass. While I was just beginning to work with it, I was listening to some Pat Metheny recordings and was intrigued by the sound he got. After a bit of research I discovered that he tunes his baritone from A to A, but then replaces the 3rd and 4th strings with lighter gauges tuned up an octave, making a semi-Nashville tuning. I have tried this tuning and it’s like a completely different instrument. I like the Metheny tuning because it helps reduce the muddiness of standard baritone tuning. The contrast between the low and high notes also sounds a bit like the harp guitar, which has helped smooth out the learning curve. But since I already have a harp guitar, I tend to play this one in standard B to B most of the time.

This is my second Alvarez baritone–the first one served me so well that when a chance came along to upgrade to one with pickups installed, I jumped at it. The stock Alvarez package sounds fantastic and has enough EQ to allow me to quickly adjust for variations in a given room. The range is a bit too low for my Fishman acoustic rig, so I play it through my Phil Jones bass amp and it sounds great!


  • Make:   Alvarez
  • Model:   ABT60E
  • Serial #:   ???
  • Date of Manufacture:   date
  • Made in:   China
  • Top:   Sitka Spruce
  • Back & Sides:   Mahogany
  • Bridge & Fingerboard:   Rosewood
  • Finish:   Gloss top, satin everywhere else
  • Electronics:   xxx