Acoustic guitar design has changed a lot of over the years. I was going to continue my article on ‘what makes a good guitar player’ but the workload took over. So I thought I’d write a short post about some of the changes happening in guitar. One of the most notable ones is the Baritone guitar…think guitar on growth hormone steroids mixed with good things musical and you’ll get an idea about what I am talking about. The Baritone guitar looks, smells and acts like a normal guitar but is bigger and is tuned a little lower, in fact, instead of bottom E, think bottom A and move all the other strings up in ratio A D G C E A. As a solo instrument this is an obvious advantage, because it enables the soloist to have an extended range in the bass, as the fingering is the same, there is no need to relearn the instrument.
The best baritone guitar I’ve heard to date is the one that Linda Manzer (a great acoustic and semi acoustic guitar builder) built for Pat Metheny. Metheny used it on his recording One Quiet Night. No doubt this is only the beginning of a new generation of instruments.
I remember sitting in a room with Don Andrews, George Golla and another guitar player Mark(?) over thirty years ago and each of them had a seven string semi acoustic guitar, at that time they were unheard of, but over the last so many years we’ve started to see them in guitar catalogues from various makers. Both the baritone and the seven string allow solo musicians greater creative opportunities. The acoustic guitar is beautiful and complete within itself as it is but as musicians we are always looking for new ways to create music.
Check out Linda Manzer’s guitars, it’s worth a visit to her site.