The best baritone guitars do not have to be the most expensive.
In fact, we purposely chose models that sell for a great price, while still delivering excellent sound quality, being comfortable to play, and being well-built and reliable.
Of course, the feature set and quality level does vary from one instrument to the next.
We wanted to make sure we include options for every budget.
Whether you are a beginner looking to spend as little as possible, or a professional looking for the best baritone guitar available, there is an instrument for you in the list below.
We’ll begin with a comparison table to show you all the options at one glance, then dive into reviews of each one.
To finish it off, we have a brief buyer’s guide to help you figure out which features are most important when buying a baritone guitar. And if you want an acoustic (or acoustic-electric), head over to our article on the best acoustic baritone guitar instead.
Table of Contents
- 2 Best Baritone Guitars Compared
- 3 Top Baritone Guitars Reviewed
- 3.1 Best Baritone Guitar Overall: ESP LTD SCT-607
- 3.2 Highest Quality Baritone Guitar: LsL Instruments Adam Christianson Signature
- 3.3 Best Budget Baritone Guitar: Squier Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
- 3.4 Best Baritone Guitar For Beginners: Gretsch G5260 Electromatic Jet
- 3.5 Best Baritone Guitar For Metal: ESP LTD BB-600
- 3.6 Best-Looking Baritone Guitar: Dean Icon With Black Satin Finish
- 3.7 Best Baritone Guitar Under $1000: Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21
- 3.8 Best Value Baritone Guitar: ESP LTD Viper-201B
- 4 Baritone Guitars Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Best Baritone Guitars: Final Thoughts
Best Baritone Guitars Compared
Top Baritone Guitars Reviewed
The following 8 baritone electric guitars are the best models available for each category. As mentioned, we wanted to include options for every budget and skill level.
Best Baritone Guitar Overall: ESP LTD SCT-607
- Great build quality
- Amazing design
- Quality hardware
- Active Fishman pickups give an amazing tone
- Additional voicing controls for pickups
- The pickup configuration with the bridge and mid position might be a bit weird
- Although the design is amazing, it might not fit everyone's tastes
For many years now, ESP has made some of the best electric guitars on the market. Many of them are quite popular among professional musicians.
And this model here, the ESP LTD SCT-607, is the best overall baritone guitar on the market today. That means it gives you the best balance of price to performance. Let’s take a close look.
At the very first glance, you’ll notice the Telecaster shape. But it has a number of modern features that you don’t expect to see on a Tele. First and foremost: it’s a 7-string guitar with a baritone scale length of 27 inches.
It has an alder body and a 3-piece maple neck attached with a neck-through construction. The neck has a beautiful ebony fretboard and 24 frets. It also has a “Thin U” neck profile that feels pretty great under your hands.
But this guitar’s strongest point are the amazing pickups. It features a pair of active Fishman Fluence SRC Signature pickups that bring impeccable clarity and some pretty versatile features. They’re not just for heavy music.
Although this guitar has the same type of control plate you see on a conventional Telecaster, it includes some additional features with a push and pull volume pot. Two additional voicings are available for both pickups.
What’s also interesting is that there is no neck-position pickup. Instead, the upper pickup is in the middle position. This way, you get unique sonic dimensions that are unlike any other modern guitar model.
The whole thing is rounded out with an amazing design, ergonomic neck and body joint, and durable and great-looking hardware.
We simply weren’t able to find any flaws with this one. If you’re a long-time fan of baritone guitars and are looking for your perfect instrument, you’ll want to take a hard look at this one.
Read our full ESP LTD SCT-607 review for more.
Highest Quality Baritone Guitar: LsL Instruments Adam Christianson Signature
- Amazing build quality
- Amazing tone thanks to hand-wound pickups and guitar's overall build
- Very ergonomic
- It's very expensive and you'd expect some additional features for this price
While the world of baritone guitars has a somewhat limited audience, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any high-end or “luxurious” models available.
And although not that well-known compared to some bigger brands, LsL Instruments produce some of the best guitars on the market these days, like their Adam Christianson Signature Baritone Telecaster.
Knowing that Adam is an amazing musician playing in Architects, it’s no surprise that this guitar finds its way onto this list. After all, it’s a hand-made instrument with some of the most precisely-made components you’ll ever see. Of course, it also comes with a pretty big price tag, but it’s the ultimate choice for professionals and very devoted baritone guitar enthusiasts.
Like the previous model from LTD, this one also has a Telecaster-styled body, but this time with a more classic approach and an amazing vintage-oriented design. It’s a standard 6-string guitar, but it has a scale length of 27.5 inches.
It features a swamp ash body and a roasted flame maple neck with a maple fretboard and 24 frets. Although body and neck are attached using a bolt-on construction, a specialized design ensures easy access to higher frets.
The pickups are very interesting. It has two humbuckers that are completely hand-wired. They also come with a coil-split control that lets you get those classic “twangy” Telecaster tones. Other than that, it has the standard Telecaster controls with a 3-way pickup selector switch, and volume and tone pots.
Although vintage-oriented, this guitar includes some unexpected features, like the Hipshot bridge and the overall modern-looking hardware.
Of course, the main focus is still on simplicity. There are really no unnecessary bells and whistles. The main focus is on the tone and general feel.
Of course, we can’t ignore the price. It is very high. And for that high of a price, we would have liked to see some additional features.
Read all about this guitar in our complete review of the LsL Instruments Adam Christianson Signature Baritone Telecaster.
Best Budget Baritone Guitar: Squier Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
- Simple and reliable instrument
- Great-sounding P90 pickups
- Great build quality
- Low price
- Very basic feature set
Baritone guitars are generally a bit more expensive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a cheaper, but still reliable instrument. And it’s no surprise that Squier is the one bringing it to us, in the form of their Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster.
It is significantly cheaper than most other electric baritone guitars, but it’s more of a stripped-down variant, rather than a low quality. That makes it a great buy, if you don’t need all of the additional features of more pricey models.
This is another T-style guitar, featuring 6 strings, 22 frets, and an extended 27-inch scale length. It has all the usual basic features, including a simple hardtail bridge, regular vintage-style tuners, and the standard controls for volume, tone, and pickup selection.
It has a poplar body and maple neck with an Indian laurel fingerboard – just the good old standard selection of materials that do a great job for most Squier guitars.
What’s unique about this one is the choice of pickups. Instead of two humbuckers, or two regular single-coils, it uses two P90 pickups. It’s a somewhat specific choice, but also a versatile configuration that comes in handy for plenty of musical styles.
Overall, it’s a fairly basic guitar in terms of its features, but it’s well-made and is comfortable to play. This is mostly due to the well-designed C-type neck.
It’s basically a straightforward stripped-down instrument with the bare essentials. It will play well, it will sound good, and it easily outperforms its price range, which is par for the course for Squier guitars.
It’s a simple Telecaster with an extended scale length that makes it suitable for those lower baritone tunings. If you need a solid, reliable instrument, but you don’t have a big budget, this is the baritone electric guitar for you. Read our Squier Paranormal Cabronita review for more.
Best Baritone Guitar For Beginners: Gretsch G5260 Electromatic Jet
You wouldn’t expect Gretsch to get into the baritone territory, but they actually have some great instruments to offer in this category. The Electromatic Jet series has some pretty stylish, reliable, and yet very simple guitars. And that’s exactly what you need if you’re a beginner looking to get into the world of baritone guitars.
Of course, it’s not typical for beginners to start on a baritone guitar, but if that’s what you want to do, the Gretsch G5260 is a great way to do it.
It’s a fairly simple instrument that has a somewhat modified classic Les Paul shape to go with a very basic design and feature set. But it looks really cool, with a kind of rockabilly style.
The classic solid body is made out of mahogany, while the neck is maple one with a laurel fretboard. Although it has 22 frets, the scale length is pretty long, at around 29.75 inches.
Although it’s a noticeably longer neck, it’s still fairly comfortable to play, mostly due to its “Thin U” profile and an overall great build. The body and neck are jointed with the classic bolt-on construction. Access to higher frets is enabled by the cutaway design, but it isn’t quite as comfortable as we expected.
Despite that, it’s a pretty good guitar that manages to cover different musical styles. It comes with two mini-sized humbuckers, a standard 3-way switch, and basic master volume and tone controls. The chromed hardware adds a stylish touch.
It’s an all-round solid guitar, especially if you’re looking for a beginner option. What’s more, it will serve you well even past the beginner stages, well into the intermediate or even advanced levels. Our full Gretsch G5260 Electromatic Jet review has more information.
Best Baritone Guitar For Metal: ESP LTD BB-600
- Great feel and comfort all over the neck
- Additional piezo pickup provides you with more sonic options
- Seymour Duncan magnetic pickups provide you with great metal tone
- Very well-built and reliable
- Aesthetically beautiful design
- It may be a little expensive for some
Yes, once again we have an instrument from ESP and their subsidiary LTD, which is not exactly a surprise as they make some of the best guitars around. And the ESP LTD BB-600 carries on that tradition.
Metal is a genre that uses a lot of drop tuning, so it should come as no surprise that the baritone guitar is quite popular among some modern metal guitarists. That is why we wanted to include a baritone guitar for metal and none are better than the BB-600.
The guitar features the company’s now well-known modified “sharper” Les Paul-styled body shape. This design is more than just an aesthetic feature.
It is also ergonomic and provides great comfort when you’re accessing higher frets. The heel at the backside where the neck meets the body provides you with such comfort that you won’t even notice that you’re playing that high up the neck. And with the 27-inch scale length, you’ll be able to tune your guitar down without making the strings feel like rubber.
The body is made of mahogany and features a maple top. The 3-piece maple neck is extremely comfortable to play. But the surprises don’t stop there.
Aside from the two humbuckers, Seymour Duncan ’59 and JB, it also has a piezo pickup under the bridge. The guitar has two outputs: one for magnetic pickups and the other one for its piezo.
This configuration allows you to go into two different amps. Plus, you have the possibility to record that bright acoustic-sounding stuff in the studio or at home.
Another somewhat unconventional thing is the pickup selector switch that’s in the form of a round potentiometer with three positions. It may seem weird at first, but it works like any other standard 3-way switch. This is a very versatile guitar.
For more information, read our full ESP LTD BB-600 review.
Best-Looking Baritone Guitar: Dean Icon With Black Satin Finish
Although not everyone agrees, the overall aesthetics can be extremely important to many guitarists, especially with those long-necked baritone guitars. If you’re looking for a stylish instrument, we highly recommend the Dean Icon. Dean is popular among rock and metal players, but their guitars are actually quite versatile.
The Dean Icon comes in a few variants, but the one we’re interested in has a black satin finish and two very powerful EMG active pickups. To put it simply: this guitar performs and sounds as great as it looks.
It has a classic Tune-o-Matic bridge with a stop bar, as well as Dean’s classic double-cutaway shape. It features a mahogany body and an arched top. Combined with the black satin and single-ply cream finishes, it makes for one badass-looking instrument.
The scale length is 27 inches, which is typical for most baritone guitars. The neck has a classic C-shape profile and a dual-action truss rod for some advanced setup features. There are also individual volume and tone controls for both bridge and neck pickups, providing you with amazing tone-shaping possibilities.
The only downside, which is really not that much of a downside, is the inclusion of active pickups. While the EMG 81 and 85 are a great pair, some guitarists might not like this configuration, since it’s fairly specific and usually popular with metal players.
But we can assure you: the Dean Icon is a beast, no matter what genre you’re into. It’s definitely not just a guitar for heavy metal music.
Our complete Dean Icon review has more information on this model.
Best Baritone Guitar Under $1000: Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21
- Very simple yet reliable instrument
- Comes with amazing EMG pickups, 81 and 60 combo
- Very comfortable neck
The $1000 mark represents a barrier for many guitarists—one they’re not ready to cross. Luckily, there are some great instruments just below this barrier. The best among them is the Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21 baritone guitar.
This Ibanez baritone guitar is a reliable, great-sounding, and an overall great-performing instrument. The idea behind this one was to have a fairly simple guitar with only the bare essentials, while keeping everything it does have top-tier.
While it only has two EMG pickups (81 and 60) with a simple selector switch and only a volume potentiometer, this guitar is a pro-level instrument in every aspect.
Build quality and playability are its strong points, with a 3-piece Nitro Wizard neck made out of maple and purpleheart wood. On top of that sits a jatoba fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets. The total scale length is 28 inches, which is slightly longer than most other baritone guitars.
This is a fairly simple, but high-quality and extremely reliable instrument. There’s no tremolo bridge but rather a regular fixed bridge that’s very easy to set up. It’s all accompanied by Gotoh MG-T Locking Machine Heads.
Learn more in our review of the Ibanez Iron Label RGIB21.
Best Value Baritone Guitar: ESP LTD Viper-201B
Finally, we need mention the best baritone electric guitar that sets the standard below the $600 mark. And it’s another ESP LTD: their Viper-201B model.
Based on the classic Gibson SG shape, the Viper-201B has a more modern twist and a scale length of 27 inches. It also has 24 extra-jumbo frets and a set-neck construction. Considering the price level, it’s really surprising to see these features, but that has become a hallmark of LTD guitars.
And it doesn’t stop there. The body is made of mahogany, while the neck is a 3-piece made out of maple. The guitar also has a great set of humbucking pickups: the LH-150N and LH-150B models.
It’s a very comfortable instrument that not only sounds great but is also stylish and reliable. For this price, you won’t find a better baritone guitar. Maybe not even a better electric guitar for that matter. Our full review of the ESP LTD Viper-201B has everything you need to know.
Baritone Guitars Buyer’s Guide
As you may have already known, or learned in this article, baritone guitars have a longer scale length. In most cases, it’s around 27 inches, which is considerably longer than standard scale lengths that go up to 25.5 inches.
This allows the best baritone guitars to achieve those lower tunings without making your strings feel like rubber bands. And the longer the scale length, the more room there is for lower tuning. In some cases, they can go as low as standard A, which is one-fifth interval below the standard E tuning.
Longer scale lengths also mean wider frets, which is an important thing to consider. For instance, the Gretsch G5260 has a scale length of 29.75 inches, meaning that the frets are also wider and that it can easily achieve the lowest tunings. In some cases, scale lengths can go up to 30.5 inches.
Pickups are always one of the most important elements on any guitar. That is even more the case here, because we’re talking about somewhat specific guitars.
If you’re considering cheaper models, you’ll find pickups that are typical on standard guitars. While these definitely do the job, more expensive baritone guitars generally come with specially voiced pickups that cover those low-end frequencies better.
It’s always best to do some research into the pickups on any baritone guitar you’re considering. You want to find out whether they’ll cover these lower notes better. Of course, these specialized pickups come with a bigger price.
Access To Higher Frets
Just like with regular guitars, access to higher frets is an important issue for the best baritone guitars. But it may feel a bit different, because they have longer necks that make for a more difficult setting in which to play.
The general rule is that set-neck or neck-through constructions are more comfortable in these higher-fret areas. While this is usually a trait of high-priced guitars, some bolt-on neck and body constructions are specially designed to provide all the comfort you can get above the 15th fret.
Number Of Strings
The term “baritone” is somewhat relative in the world of electric guitars. It usually refers to instruments with a longer scale length and a standard number of 6 strings.
However, you’ll also find instruments in the baritone guitar category that have 7, 8, or even more strings. In fact, 7-stringed guitars are fairly common. Our top choice above is a 7-string: the SCT-607 by ESP LTD.
This means you get the lowest string, which significantly extends the range. It can be a quarter interval, or even a fifth interval, if you’re using those drop tunings.
Be that as it may, most baritone guitar lovers still prefer to go with the standard 6-string formation. With a large enough scale length and with thick string gauges, you’ll still be able to get those low notes you want.
Best Baritone Guitars: Final Thoughts
The best baritone electric guitars cost more than standard guitars, but we still managed to include a few lower priced models on this list that also offer solid build and sound quality. We even have a great beginner model, which probably won’t appeal to many. Very few players begin on an electric baritone guitar.
Most likely, you are an advanced player and you are looking for an instrument that will allow you to get those low notes with the richness that only a longer scale neck can achieve.
In that case, we definitely recommend paying a bit more for one of the best baritone guitars—a high quality instrument that has the features you need and can deliver the sound quality you want.