rich menga books search contact

***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Amazon links are affiliated. Learn more.

Guitar of the week #91 - Squier Vintage Modified Baritone Jazzmaster

Squier Vintage Modified Baritone Jazzmaster

Not a "proper" Jazzmaster, but oh, what a sound.

A baritone guitar is one with a longer neck with thicker strings tuned significantly lower than standard E-A-D-G-B-E tuning. You can tune one a fourth lower to B-E-A-D-F#-B or a fifth lower to A-D-G-C-E-A. Tuning to either of these allows the player to play notes and chords the same as in standard tuning. In other words, you don't need to relearn the guitar again. Everything is the same, just lower.

The best bang-for-buck baritone that has "the low twang" is the Squier Vintage Modified Baritone Jazzmaster.

What about the Bass VI?

There's some confusion here for some people so I'll clear this up right now.

The Squier Bass VI is exactly what its model name says it is. A bass. Yes, it may have 6 strings and the same 30" scale length as the Baritone Jazzmaster, but it comes strung with and is designed for bass strings. This literally means the Bass VI is tuned to E-A-D-G-B-E but one octave lower compared to a regular 6-string guitar.

The strings that go on the Bass VI are not intended for the Baritone Jazzmaster, and the strings for the Jazzmaster aren't intended for the Bass VI. One is a guitar, one is a bass. Each is tuned differently, each uses specifically sized strings for what they do.

Which is better for the guitar player to do guitar player-like things on it? The baritone.

Not proper, but it's got that sound

I said the Baritone Jazzmaster isn't a proper Jazzmaster. What I mean by that is that compared to a regular Jazzmaster, it has no vibrato system, a hardtail bridge, Stratocaster "football" output jack, one circuit with volume/tone, and a 3-way toggle positioned in the lower-middle of the body instead of the bottom horn where it usually is...

...but that doesn't take away from how unbelievably cool the guitar sounds. Those big Jazzmaster single-coil pickups take to thick strings turned low very nicely.

What does clean, twangy baritone guitar sound like?

The immediate example that comes to mind is the theme song from Twin Peaks. I never watched the show, but absolutely do remember its theme song because absolutely nothing else on TV sounded like it at the time:

I don't know if a baritone or a Bass VI was used, but that is the sound. Get yourself a baritone guitar and a tremolo effect for that "stutter" tone and you got it.

Aside from Twin Peaks, Duane Eddy's Rebel-'Rouser also has that low twang tremolo stutter tone to it:

Baritone guitars were also used here and there with surf rock music as well as other '60s tones.

Is the baritone guitar a "one trick pony"?


Remember, baritone guitar playing is no different from regular guitar. It's just lower tuning.

Could you simply lower a regular six-string to get the same effect? No, because you're missing the extra scale length and thicker strings and will buzz all over the place.

It has been said that the baritone guitar is woefully underused. I think the main reason for that is guitar players simply aren't aware the baritone guitar exists.

Well, now you know.

Is there anything cheaper than the Squier?

Yes, there is ESP LTD Viper Baritone version, but I don't recommend it. At all. Pickups are awful and the tuners aren't correct for the tuning it's supposed to hold.

The Squier Vintage Modified Baritone Jazzmaster is the best lower-cost option for a true baritone electric guitar. Right scale length, right tuners, right pickups, right everything. It's not the lowest-priced baritone, but it is what a baritone electric is supposed to be.

📰Get Rich's newsletter to be notified of new articles

Best ZOOM R8 tutorial book
highly rated, get recording quick!

⭐ Recent Posts

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

The best looking Dean Z I've ever seen
This is an example of when Dean does the Z right.

Black Sabbath - Black SabbathMy favorite Black Sabbath track from their first album
It's not what you think it is.

Epiphone Prophecy Les PaulA secret of the Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul hiding in plain sight
It's right in front of your face and you probably didn't even notice it

Fender Player MustangShorter scale guitars with the most bang for the buck
You can go short without spending too much nor getting something too cheap.

🔥 Popular Posts 🔥

Boss RC-5 Loop Station Guitar Looper PedalWill looper drums ever not suck?
It is amazing that this problem still exists.

Casio F-91WCasio F-91W cheat sheet
A quick guide on how to set the time, date and a few other tips and tricks.

Casio A700WThe one reason why you should buy a Casio A700W
All F91W type watches should be this good.

Casio G-SHOCK GWM5610All atomic watches are saved... for now
There will come a time when buying a watch with atomic time sync functionality will be completely pointless.

Fender EsquireThe 5 types of guitars you should never buy
Some guitars that exist where the day after you buy them, you know you've made a mistake.

Gibson MarauderGibson's "Norlin era" electric guitars
Norlin era Gibsons are some of the worst guitars Gibson ever made. Find out why.

Casio CA-53WHow to set the time and date on a Casio CA-53 (with video and review)
Instructions on how to set the time and date on the Casio CA53 watch