The baritone guitar gives you a unique tone.
It works especially well in certain genres.
But only if the baritone guitar players know how to use it and if it is mixed correctly.
Otherwise, baritone and bass guitars can blend into an incoherent mess.
Today, we bring you 5 famous baritone guitarists who definitely know how to use the baritone guitar.
Some use it exclusively, while others use it as one tool in a larger arsenal.
Keep reading to learn about 5 of the most famous baritone guitar players alive and to hear some samples of their work.
Table of Contents
- 1 Famous Baritone Guitar Players
- 2 Baritone Guitar Players: Final Thoughts
Famous Baritone Guitar Players
All of the following baritone guitar players have used to baritone guitar to great effect. The first two have used it occasionally, when they needed its unique tone. The other three use the baritone as their weapon of choice.
If you are looking for some great songs with baritone guitar in them, check out this article.
John Petrucci of Dream Theater & Liquid Tension Experiment (Prog Metal)
Dream Theater is one of my all-time favorite bands simply because they made progressive metal accessible. Even though they typically use standard 6-string guitars in the Standard E tuning, there are a couple of albums where they either played a baritone or tuned down to Standard B.
Train of Thought comes to mind, especially songs like This Dying Soul, Vacant, and In the Name of God. As the lead guitarist of Dream Theater, John Petrucci not only owns dozens of guitars, he even helped create some of his signature models.
He’s been endorsed by Ernie Ball for quite a while, and they made the JP BFR 6 Baritone in his honor. It is unknown whether John ever used this particular baritone guitar on any studio recordings, but it is a fantastic guitar that wonderfully complements his style.
Even though John Petrucci is not primarily a Baritone guitarist, he is among the most prolific musicians in the metal world, and one of the most skilled artisans of this craft.
He almost pioneered new ways of playing a baritone, by blending a variety of exquisite effects and pedals with his idiosyncratic playstyle. He is definitely one of the most famous guitarists who plays baritone guitar, at least some of the time. And he understands the difference between baritone guitar and standard better than most.
Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains
I can’t emphasize this enough, but there’s “nothing” ordinary about Alice in Chains or its lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell. Not only did these guys pioneer grunge metal, they took it to such a high level that they’ve remained superior and relevant decades later.
The first thing that most fans of Alice in Chains notice is that most of their songs sound drastically different. Apart from the fact that Jerry can play any number of music styles or genres, the main reason for this is that AiC uses different tunings between records. And sometimes even between songs on the same album.
Jerry Cantrell has played a host of different guitars ever since he co-founded Alice in Chains with Sean Kinney. One of his first axes was Warmoth’s version of the Telecaster. It is believed that Jerry heavily modified this guitar to the point that it was more of a ‘Frankenstein’ than an actual Telly.
He moved onto G&L Rampage’s exotic Blue Dress several years later, before settling with the ‘No War’ version from the same brand for several years.
In the early 90s, Jerry completely switched over to Gibson guitars. From the custom LP Red and D-Trip to their Black and Blue counterparts, Cantrell played these large, full-bodied instruments for quite a while.
Although I couldn’t verify this, I firmly believe that it’s the larger-than-life tone and weight of these Gibson guitars that eventually drew Jerry to a Baritone guitar. As the story goes, Roger Griffin of Griffin Guitars was the one to give Jerry a Griffin-style LP Baritone several weeks before the band went on to record Degradation Trip, his 2nd solo album.
In addition to Degradation Trip, Jerry is believed to have briefly used a borrowed baritone guitar (not sure which model) and his Custom Shop Gibson LP when recording the The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here album.
The Bunn of Venns, Foreigns & WTLANDS (Sludge Metal)
The Bunn is a YouTube sensation and a breath of fresh air in the metal industry. With a skateboard underneath his feet and a Baritone guitar in his hands, he composes ultra-heavy sludge music.
He owns several Baritone guitars, including The Fender Jazzmaster E1 Standard, Gretsch Baritone G1 Standard, Ibanez RGIB Baritone A1 Standard, PRS Mushok Baritone A1 Standard, and many others.
Due to the nature of his preferred music genre, The Bunn primarily uses Baritones with a scale length of 28 inches and upwards. Fans of heavy music understand that sludge metal is almost impossible to play, much less to produce, in the Standard E tuning.
The Bunn purposefully uses ultra-tall, ultra-wide, and ultra-deep-sounding Baritones, so that he can naturally achieve that bellowing sound while playing with Foreigns, WTLANDS, Venns, or solo.
Jeff Rosenstock of BTMI (Punk)
You don’t often hear a punk band helmed by a baritone guitarist. Jeff Rosenstock is more than that. He is a multi-instrumentalist and a record label owner.
He cut his teeth in Long Island by doing covers of Green Day tunes until he eventually formed ASOB, which reigned over the punk scene in the coastal NYC area for almost a decade.
Jeff later resurfaced with another band called BTMI (Bomb The Music Industry), carving his own niche in the punk rock and indie rock spaces. After achieving success with BTMI’s first record, he launched his own label called “Quote Unquote Records”.
Rosenstock then went on to have a very shining solo career, which is still as vibrant as ever. The common denominator in all of his musical ventures was his trusty Fender Jazzmaster Baritone.
Some of his songs are upbeat and funky. Most of his tunes are remarkably energetic, although there are a few tracks he made throughout his career that border on being ballads.
Whichever his source of inspiration was and continues to be, he channels the Jazzmaster’s punchy tones to create a unique punk atmosphere.
Nico Audy-Rowland of Trocadero (Alternative Rock)
The founder of Trocadero and one of the lead songwriters for Rooster Teeth during the RvB web series sessions, Nico Audy-Rowland is a French-born guitarist and composer who migrated to the United States early in his life.
Mainly recognized for his session work, Nico either created full compositions or contributed chunks of music while working on the all-popular anime series RWBY & Red versus Blue, as well as the video game Halo 2.
Nico is plays baritone guitars exclusively. Trocadero is heavily invested in creating moods and unique atmospheres, and the deep, bassy tone of the baritone guitar fits perfectly into the band’s sonic direction.
Baritone Guitar Players: Final Thoughts
I know there are many other great baritone guitar players out there like Duane Eddy, Brian Wilson, and Dave Matthews, to name a few. I simply wanted to highlight a few of my favorites and not let this list get too long.
That said, I may add to it on future updates. If you know of any other famous baritone guitar players that you feel should be included (especially ones you favor the baritone guitar), please feel free to let me know in the comments below. If you feel the need to call me an idiot for overlooking your suggestion, go for it, though I prefer if you didn’t.