If you’re looking for an introduction to baritone guitar chords, you’ve come to the right post!
What You Should Know About Baritone Guitars First
A baritone guitar doesn’t have a completely strict definition. Sure, these are instruments with longer than usual scale lengths. In most cases, it’s anything that’s about 26.5 inches and above. Although longer, such a scale enables you to use lower tunings without your strings feeling like rubber.
Another thing to bear in mind is that there’s no consensus on a standard tuning with baritone guitars. The most common one, however, is B standard, so this one is exactly one perfect fourth below the E standard. Some may also use C standard or even A standard that’s one perfect fifth below E.
The B standard tuning goes B1-E2-A2-D3-F#3-B3. Although it allows you to use the same chord and scale shapes as with E standard, these fingerings won’t produce the same chords. Things might feel a bit confusing at first. But it’s not that difficult once you get used to it.
Baritone Guitar Chords
To make things easier for you, I’ll also add a fingering equivalent in the E standard tuning. This will simplify the process for anyone who’s not used to other tunings.
However, I highly advise you not to rely on these for too long. After all, these aren’t the same chords. Use this for a reference and to easily memorize them as a newbie to baritone guitars.
- E standard fingering equivalent: E major
This one is the same as the E major chord. This also includes the open position. Put your ring finger on the 4th string 2nd fret, middle finger on the 5th string 2nd fret, and index finger on the 1st fret of the 3rd string.
With this fingering, all strings are in the E major chord. Just strum or pick all of them or those that you need. This is the easiest one to start with.
- E standard fingering equivalent: E minor
This one has the same fingering as the E minor chord in standard tuning. So take the fingering that I explained above and remove the index finger. Again, all of the strings will be in the B minor chord. It’s another really simple one.
- E standard fingering equivalent: F major
Now we go one half-step higher. Put a barre chord over all six strings. Ring finger goes to 5th string 3rd fret, pinky goes to 4th string 3rd fret, and middle finger is on 3rd string 2nd fret. As you can see, it’s like the F major chord that you’re used to.
- E standard fingering equivalent: F minor
Absolute beginners might not be used to the F minor chord in E standard. But don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. It’s easier than the F major. For baritone guitars, you’ll get a C minor chord.
So take the fingering that we had for the C major chord. Just remove the middle finger from the 3rd string. Strum all six strings and you’ve got yourself a C minor.
- E standard fingering equivalent: C major
By now, you can see how it’s all one perfect 4th interval below what you’re used to. If you need a G major chord, use the open C major fingering.
The ring finger goes on the 5th string 3rd fret. Then place the middle finger on the 4th string 2nd fret and the index finger on the 2nd string 1st fret. Technically, with this fingering, all strings fall within the G major chord. However, I’d advise you to avoid the 6th string. It will sound more balanced if you keep the G note as the bass.
- E standard fingering equivalent: C minor bar chord
Now, this might be a bit trickier for absolute beginners. But if you’re playing a C minor bar chord on your regular guitar, then you won’t have any trouble.
Do a barre chord on the 3rd fret on all strings except for the bottom one. The ring finger is on the 4th string 5th fret, the pinky is on the 3rd string 5th fret, and the index finger is placed on the 2nd string 4th fret. You can play all strings except for the 6th.
- E standard fingering equivalent: A major
Then we get to the E major which has the same fingering as A major in the standard tuning. Index, middle, and ring finger all go to 2nd fret on 5th, 4th, and 2nd respectively.
Once again, all strings with this fingering belong to the E major chord. But you should avoid the bottom B string. The chord just won’t sound good if you strum them all.
- E standard fingering equivalent: A minor
For the E minor chord, we have a different fingering. Middle and ring fingers go to the 2nd fret of 4th and 3rd strings respectively. Then you place the index finger on the 1st fret of the 2nd string.
Again, all strings belong to the same chord. But avoid the 6th string if you want it to sound properly.
By the way, does the chord fingering ring any bells? Well, it’s the same as with the A minor chord in the standard tuning.
- E standard fingering equivalent: D major
This one’s the same thing as the D major fingering. The index finger is on the 3rd string second fret, ring finger on 2nd string 3rd fret, and middle finger on 1st string 2nd fret. Likewise, just strum the top four strings, or five if you need it to sound fuller.
- E standard fingering equivalent: D minor
For the A minor chord on baritone guitar, use the standard D minor fingering. This one has the middle finger on the 3rd string 2nd fret, ring finger on the 2nd string 3rd fret, and index finger on the 1st string 1st fret.
- E standard fingering equivalent: G major
D major on baritone guitar is pretty simple as you can just use the good old G major chord fingering. The middle finger is on the 6th string 3rd fret, the index finger is on the 5th string 2nd fret, while the pinky is on the 1st string 3rd fret.
You can also add the ring finger on the 2nd string third fret. But other than that, you can strum all six strings.
- E standard fingering equivalent: G minor
But for G minor, we have to do something a bit different. You can use the same bar chord fingering as you did with C minor but you just move it up to the third fret.
- E standard fingering equivalent: E7
For B7, you can just alter the B major fingering a little. Remove the ring finger from the 4th string. Let the 4th string ring open.
- E standard fingering equivalent: A7
It’s a similar situation with the E7 chord. But the only difference is that you just remove the middle finger from the 3rd string and leave it open.
- E standard fingering equivalent: D7
But for the A7 chord, it’s a bit different. You have to do the same fingering as with D7 in regular E standard tuning. Middle and ring fingers are on the 2nd fret of the 3rd and first strings respectively. Other than that, just add the index finger on the 2nd string 1st fret.
Baritone Guitar Chords: Conclusion
I hope this article has helped you think through baritone guitar chords and how to play them!
And if you want to read more about the baritone guitar on this blog, then check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!