The commercially available baritone guitar has woven its way through nearly seven decades of music, adding resonance and low-end to a lot of great tracks over the years. Here is part one of our BaritoneGuitar.org list of essential baritone tracks.
Songs listed are not considered essential because they represent the high water mark for a particular genre or generation of baritone players. Songs have been selected because they typify a particular genre or common use of the baritone guitar.
" Kommotion" by Duane Eddy, 1960
Duane Eddy's work often featured Danelectro's original "56" style baritone (check out our review) or the Danelectro Long Horn baritone model. On Duane Eddy tracks, the baritone can be heard both up front, in the form of rhythm and lead lines, and in the back, in the form of "tic-tac" palm-muted bass lines.
"Back in the Saddle" by Aerosmith, 1976
The inclusion of this track will be controversial. In researching this project, some sources have stated that "Back in the Saddle" was recorded using a baritone electric. Others have said the track's swaggering verse hook was played on a Fender Bass VI (check out our review), an instrument that is marketed by fender as a bass guitar, not a baritone. I think of the Fender Bass VI as a hybrid baritone guitar/bass, so I am fine including this track. Have opinion on this mater? Make it known in the comments section of this post.
"The Space Between" by Dave Matthews Band, 2001
The humble $400 Danelectro 56 Baritone is front and center in this Dave Matthews tune. It's hard to imagine the tack without the extended range of the Danelectro 56 providing a gripping opening hook to the verse.
"These Walls" by Dream Theater, 2005
On the Dream Theater track "These Walls" John Petrucci uses his Music Man JP6 Baritone, a limited-run signature model axe that is now out of production. The baritone can be heard throughout the track, but it comes out most distinctly in the hard-hitting intro and outro of this progressive metal tune. Also, be sure to check out the baritone guitar solo that starts 4:45.
"Blue Liquid" by Andy Mckee, 2010
Andy McKee is a virtuoso guitarist and an exceptional composer. He also happens to be a champion of the baritone guitar, particularly in its acoustic form. This track is an excellent example of the growing number of solo artists using the acoustic baritone to create engaging and distinctive work.
Well, there you have it. The first of our two-part series on essential baritone tracks. In part two, we will explore the baritone's use in styles ranging from Jazz to surf ruck to country and beyond. If you have enjoyed this article, you might want to check out our full list of acoustic baritone reviews or our full list of electric baritone reviews. Or, if you are new to baritone guitar, check out our Start Here page to learn more about the baritone.
As always, we welcome your social shares and ecourage you to scroll down and check out the comments and feedback. Thank you.