This B-to-B-tuned 6-string is easy to play and boasts versatile, articulate, wide-ranging tones.
We guitarists can get pretty low. (Should I tell the story about the time I played a pizza parlor in Willimantic, Connecticut?) But starting in the ’90s, blooming re-interest in the baritone guitar made that an emotionally healthier proposition. By the time we were rolling into the oughts, it seemed like everybody—from Korn to Dave Matthews—had baris in their hands.
Baritones produce heavy, dark, dreamy, twangy tones and have done so since the late 1950s when Duane Eddy grabbed a Dano example and cut “Rebel Walk”—with the Beach Boys (“Dance, Dance, Dance”), spaghetti western soundtrack genius Ennio Morricone, and Glenn Campbell (“Wichita Lineman”) on his tail. The current baritone guitar renaissance sparked in the late 1980s, when metal outfits like Cannibal Corpse and Carcass, and alt-rockers like Soundgarden and Deftones, began using them to add growl, depth, and mystery to their arsenals of tone.
Baris Conquer the World
Today, baritone guitars are no longer novel. Open the door to almost any bar, arena, or studio and there’s a good chance you’ll see one being brandished—especially by club bands covering modern metal hit-makers, from Metallica to Staind. And that’s where PRS entered the game. Although the Maryland-based guitar maker had built custom one-offs for several artists before, in 2008 it began production of the Mike Mushok SE Baritone, a signature model bearing the name of Staind’s lead guitarist. It had a solid mahogany slab body and humbuckers. When that guitar’s run ended in 2014, PRS wanted to continue with baritones, of course, and the result is the humbucker-rigged SE 277 and its cousin, the semihollow SE 277, which comes with soapbar single-coils. Both guitars have a 27.7” neck scale length, providing the instrument with its designation.
PRS chose the 27.7” scale for the popular B-to-B baritone tuning (B-E–A–D–F#–B), leaving C-based tuning and other lower tunings to instruments with longer scales. B-to-B and the 27.7” scale is welcoming to guitarists who have little experience with baritones, since the string size—the SE 277 came gauged .014–.068—and tension isn’t radically different, and it’s easy to do the math with the usual chord shapes and positions.
Lover, and a Biter
While the Mushok model was a rock machine, the SE 277 can do that and more in all three of its pickup settings. Running through a Fender DeVille, a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier with an Eminence 50-watt speaker cab, and a custom-built Sandora 18-watter with an Eminence 50, the test model—a tobacco sunburst-finished solidbody—was superbly versatile and cut crisply through sonic mayhem with its bridge pickup.
This do-it-all bari adapted to effects, from radical modulation to demonic overdrive, like a hero, but stayed warm and smooth when plugged straight into the clean-set amps. New-generation, lower-output PRS Tone Furnace humbuckers, which are especially nurturing to mids, made the SE 277 more versatile than the company’s earlier production-model baritone. Players outside of the heavy rock realm took to requesting those guitars with a coil tap, with a default setting wired to single-coil. A tone pot had to be pulled up to activate humbucking mode. But the SE 277 is a humbucking six-string for all seasons, and its standard three-way selector switch and single tone pot unleash a bevy of sounds.
The Usual, Please
The build of any instrument from Paul Reed Smith hits a high bar for quality and playability, and the SE 277 falls right in line. Its 22 frets are smooth and comfortable for fast runs and bending, and beautifully tapered to the edges of the neck, which PRS describes as “wide fat,” but has a classic, smooth-tapered late ’60s Gibson feel with a bit more broadness to the fretboard at it approaches the guitar’s maple-top-and-mahogany-back body. The SE 277 wears comfortably around the human neck—not too heavy, at less than 7 pounds—and the guitar’s maple neck with rosewood top balances well, avoiding the downward tilt of some baritones. PRS’s usual bird inlays decorated the test model’s fretboard, and the tuners were sturdy and easy to turn. The guitar arrived nearly in tune in a gig bag tucked inside a cardboard shipping box, and stayed that way even when I insisted on playing in open-D and E derived tunings. (Slide baritone, anyone?)
Try as I might, I couldn’t find a dang thing wrong or even slightly unsatisfying with the PRS SE 277. It’s comfortable, fun, and easy to play; has a wide range of versatile, simple-to-control tones; and proved a gleeful partner in sonic mayhem as well as a suave traditionalist. And hey, it’s really nice looking, too. The SE 277 is more expensive than some common baritone model guitars at a $749 street price, but there’s a lot of quality, versatility and charm—sonic and otherwise—attached to that sticker.
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.