A Guide to Baritone Strings
Strings impact your baritone's tone through three major factors: material, type of winding, and gauge. However, for most makes of baritone strings, gauge options are limited. Winding options are also limited: You can pretty much only get roundwound baritone strings. Thus, we will focus on materials.
To make things simple, we will analyze materials based on brightness versus warmth of tone, attack (or bite), and longevity (resistance to wear and grime). We've also opted to focus only on materials used in major commercially-available baritone strings.
Our Baritone Guitar.Org Picks:
For acoustics, the Martin MSP7700 Lifespan Phosphorous Bronze Baritone: $13.85 strings take our top honors. The brightness typical of phosphorous bronze strings seems to be slightly subdued by the string coating. The result is a great tone and and a great feel.
For electrics, D'Addario takes top honors, with their D'Addario EXL 158 Light Electric Baritone: $8.99 being an intriguing option for standard electric players who want an easier transition between baritone and standard instruments.
We'd love to hear from you.
We hope you have found this crash course in baritone strings interesting and informative. If you are just getting started in your exploration of all things baritone, check out our start here page. You can also jump to our complete listing of acoustic baritone reviews and our complete listing of electric baritone reviews.
As always, please share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section and please feel free to share this article with a friend.
10/9/2016 10:44:39 pm
Hi there...I just finished building my first baritone acoustic guitar ( floating jazz bridge style)..I ordered a set of D'addario EXP23 s...my neck is 28.5" scale...I found the string tention to be so tight that its uncomfortable to play, plus it feels like the neck could snap off from the tention...any suggestions for me...lighter gauge strings?
Sorry for the late reply here. Just to check, did you build your baritone with a baritone specific neck? I am assuming so based on the scale. next, you might try using the D'Addario EXL 158 Light Electric Baritone - these strings are lighter and should have less tension.
9/15/2019 01:14:45 pm
8/2/2020 11:34:34 am
Gretsch Jet baritone, and I love it, but I'm having a hard time finding strings long enough for the long scale of the instrument. I wrote to Gretsch to see what they put on it at the factory and they said D'Addario NPS .14 - .68. All the sets I've purchased aren't wound at the tuner end. Any thoughts? thanks!
So, the Gretsch Jet has a scale length of 29.75. Which is one of the longer baritone electrics out there. D'addario says on the back of their packages that the test strings on 29.75 scale length guitar. So, in theory, that should work. The absence of winding at the string end might be a pain, but as long as the string is wound when it crosses the nut, I don't think it would impact sound or playability. What have you found? How is it working.
12/18/2020 12:12:28 pm
Hi, I have a baritone electric guitar with a very long neck.
1/18/2023 01:06:33 am
Hi from Greece.
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Matt is a musician, educator, and baritone guitar enthusiast living in Washington state.
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