Other Guitars

Can I play Baritone through a guitar amp?

1

So I've really wanted a baritone for a long time and just won an ebay auction for one of the PRS 277 Baritones (27.7 inch scale). I'm pretty excited, but worried about damaging my amp set up. I've googled this before, and I get a lot of non-expert and conflicting answers.

I was hoping Tavo or Billy Zoom or some of you guys that are real amp techs/ designers would have a more technical answer. it will be tuned B to B. Will the low notes actually damage the amp? Or is it only the speaker that will get damaged by the low frequencies?

Will I be fine using a regular guitar amp (like my 20 watt peavey) as long as I run it through a bass speaker cab? Or is it just fine for me to use my regular 1X12?

And don't worry. I'll post photos once it gets here.

2

Ben, I don't have a technical answer to this question. But, I can tell you, as one who owns a baritone guitar that is tuned B to b, the guitar can be played through a standard guitar amp.

3

Sure. It'd be nice to have at least a 12" speaker, and a 15" would be best to show off the fat bottom end of a Bari. Bass response is all about moving a lot of air.

4

And for what it's worth, I've been playing Fender Precisions through various guitar amps for about thirty years and have yet to damage one of them. My own feeling is that so long as you don't crank out at ear-destroying volume, you should be fine.

Currently, my main amp is a Roland JC77 (2 x10"), and it's perfectly good at club volumes with the Precision. Gives enough thump to the bottom end to satisfy yet has a bit of a melodic quality for those longer, McCartney-esque lines I sometimes get lost in.

5

If you're going for traditional, clean toned baritone, you can use a regular guitar amp. Power and heavier speakers are your friend. Don't expect a lot out of a tweed champ or deluxe.. Super light speakers are easy to blow, or exceed their excursion limits with low notes.

If you're looking to play nu metal, or Dimmu Borgir, use an appropriate stack and chug away.

6

Yes you can. I try the baritone through every amp I have. They all work ... the big winners seem to be in the 35 watt and up class. Multiple speaker formats not necessary, but definitely help. As does the 1x15 option. My favorite baritone setup so far is an Allen Encore head, 12+10 open back cab with WGS ceramic speaker. It's house shaking fun!! MD

7

I played my Baris through my regular guitar amps all the time, and ditto for my 7-strings (and I tuned them even lower than the baritones I used to have - the 7th string was tuned to A!), and I had no problems. Most 8-string players use regular guitar amps, without any problems, and those are tuned down to F#, and in some cases E. Your Peavey will be fine.

8

For classic low tuned twang, only a guitar amp will do. It'll sound dull and lifeless and like a bass through a bass amp.

9

Absolutely no issue - my Danelectro baritone has heavy strings on and is tuned down to E-E; octave below guitar. I've done so much recording with it - mainly through a '65 Deluxe Reverb -

don't worry about it.

10

Hey Dawg,

What Danelectro Baritone do you have?

Ben, I play through a 13 watt amp with 15 inch speaker, and it sounds great.

11

While I'm not opposed to some classic 60's style baritone, I think Ellen has a better handle on what kind of tone I would be going for. I'm trying to decide if I should grab a used 50 watt head or something. It seems like the extra power is a good idea.

12

No harm at all to an amp's circuitry. Excursion (movement in and out) of the speaker is the question....whether or not it (the speaker) was designed for lower frequencies accompanied by significant volume.

13

I've been playing my Bari B-b through a Fender Blues Deluxe weekly for 6 years now. Not a single issue.

14

While I'm not opposed to some classic 60's style baritone, I think Ellen has a better handle on what kind of tone I would be going for. I'm trying to decide if I should grab a used 50 watt head or something. It seems like the extra power is a good idea.

– BenBradshaw

If you're talking about playing with some dirt in your tone, and in a band situation, then yes, a bit more power might help, so you don't get buried in the mix. 7-string and 8-string jazz players (yes there are a few 8-string jazz players out there), typically just use combo 30 plus watt amps with no problems. I used a Carvin X60 combo (a great amp - I should have hung onto it) with my Schecter Omen Extreme 7, 7-string, and it sounded great, though for mega volume situations, a half stack would have been better.

15

You've gotten some good advice. A Baritone will sound better through a guitar amp. With a Baritone guitar, you are probably emphasizing the lower range more than a standard guitar. As Kap'n indicated, the lower you go, power and efficient speakers with a lot of speaker area are your friend. 10" speakers are OK but you need at least two or more. Four would be great. 1 12" speaker would be OK but two are better. A 15" speaker would be ideal. You might try the Peavey Delta Blues with a 15" speaker. Not too expensive. It's about 30 watts and sounds good. You need reverb and tremolo for the classic bari sounds so that would work out well. If you could find something with more power like a Music Man 65-115, that would be even better.

17

You've gotten some good advice. A Baritone will sound better through a guitar amp. With a Baritone guitar, you are probably emphasizing the lower range more than a standard guitar. As Kap'n indicated, the lower you go, power and efficient speakers with a lot of speaker area are your friend. 10" speakers are OK but you need at least two or more. Four would be great. 1 12" speaker would be OK but two are better. A 15" speaker would be ideal. You might try the Peavey Delta Blues with a 15" speaker. Not too expensive. It's about 30 watts and sounds good. You need reverb and tremolo for the classic bari sounds so that would work out well. If you could find something with more power like a Music Man 65-115, that would be even better.

– Don Birchett

Agreed, Don. I play my Danelectro Dead on '67 baritone (which I believe you saw at the California Roundup the year that John Sebastian played it) through my 15" Executive amp and it sounds simply tremendous, despite it being only 20 watts.

18

I play mine through guitar and bass amps, 12"s and15"s, tubes and solid state. I guess it depends on the E.Q. you want at the moment and when you want it to break up. Sometimes a bass E.Q. will be worth looking into, sometimes guitar. Sometimes I play guitar through 15s.

The baritone is uniquely worth playing on both types of amps. If you're just wanting to drop your guitar playing down to B, I'd say stick with the guitar amp you like. If you're gonna play tic-tac bass or wanna sound pianoish go for an amp with 10s or 15s. I'd just drag your bari around some amp shops and plug into whatever strikes you. Yes, I think your Peavey amp will be alright. Try it with as many configurations as you can. I've got a 29 in scale tuned B to b I play through everything, Then I've got a 25 in scale with the HEAVY bari strings and a synth pickup, I just go square from the synth to the P.A. Lol I have a 6 string bass B to c I play through everything as well. I hesitate to put it through my Radio Shack battery amp with a 4 in speaker, but then it's 30 years old and been rode hard. You're not gonna hurt anything.Let your ear be your guide. If it sounds like you're tearing up the speaker,you are, turn it down and remember the limitation for that configuration.

I think if there was a baritone flavored amp, it'd just have a wider range of e.q. and probably tube out like a Fender guitar amp and have 'verb n trem.(maybe it's just me)

19

Well I just put a bid in for an amp and no one else bid. So I just won a Mesa 5:50 head for $499 plus shipping. I think I'll try running off an old 15 inch bass cab that was my dad's. This will be a lot of firsts for me. First PRS, Baritone, and Mesa head.

20

I do play my Baritone Jaguar through my Princeton or my Blues Deluxe without problem. I also play my 7 string bass (low B ) through my Blues Deluxe, no problem either.

21

Hey Dawg,

What Danelectro Baritone do you have?

Ben, I play through a 13 watt amp with 15 inch speaker, and it sounds great.

– crowbone

Crowbone - my Danelectro is the single cutaway Korean made model - same style and colour as Duane Eddy's on the cover of the 1960 LP '$1,000,000 worth of twang'

22

Dawg,

What string set (i.e., gauges) do you use for your E to E bari tuning on that Dano?

23

weakest link is the speaker


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