what defines a cigar box, baritone guitar

Ive been looking for data for a baritone build.   I have read a 26.67” scale helps to define the guitar as baritone.  Before I get down to this, I wondered if I could get the parameters, is scale length, fret count, 3-4 string, typical tuning, what type of strings and any other parameters that define the build as baritone.

if this is info that is easily found, I would be happy for a link.  But finding cigar box baritone guitar plans or parameters were not easy for me to find. 

Thanks for your consideration

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  • The term Baritone does apply to scale length, but as Jim Kurtz points out, heavy gauge string can get you convincing Baritone sound.

    A Baritone scale is going to be tuned lower than a regular guitar scale and that brings lower tone like the heavier strings will also do while not technically being a Baritone scale. 25.5 isn't very far off from Baritone scale anyway.

  • My first build was a 25.5” scale acoustic pencil box.

    Everywhere I read was Open G.

    I wanted lower and found Open E. 

    So the strings I used are E .046, B .035, E .026

    Now I found Open D or Drop D tuning.  

    I purchased a set of Dunlop Heavy Core for drop D tuning.  .054 is heaviest string in the pack.

    (these are electric guitar strings)

    I think as long as you have the mix of strings to get you the deep you need scale could be anywhere from 25 to 30.

    My second build is a 25” inch Gitty made neck.  Going to buy the Shane Spiel Open D strings for it.  Will be my Grumbler.  :)

  • I have 2 guitars that are Baritone scales 27" and 28". You can find a "fret calculator" on Stewmac's site.

    I use the mm measurements because they are so close and almost impossible to mess up Get a metal yard stick at Harbor Freight or similar store that has standard and metric measurements on it.

    • Thanks Paul,

      ill ask about strings and tuning after my build.   

      I appreciate your help on this remarkable journey.   I struggled with the standard 6 string and blues are my gig.   I have never enjoyed instruments like a personal made, 3 string, open G tuned CBG.  But I enjoy branching out to new and challenging builds.

      its guys like you that help guys like me, and I want you to know that i really appreciate it.

    • You can use regular gauge strings up to 28" scale(if they are long enough). I use D'Addario 10's on 24.5" scale on up to 28" scale. Tuning has to be lower than what you do on a 25.5" scale though. My 28" scale is tuned drop C - drop B while 26" to 27" can usually be tuned drop D - drop C.

      Shorter scales(19" to 24") usually require heavier gauge strings like 11's or 12's.

      10's - 11's - 12's refers to the size of the highest string in a set of 6 strings(High E).

    • Pardon me for resurrecting a four month old post, but what's drop C or drop B tuning going to be?

      I'm imagining that drop C is going from DAD to CAD...But I haven't a clue on what 'drop C-drop B' means, nor am I quite sure what tuning you'd be dropping from to get to drop B.

      I'm enamored of the idea of a baritone CBG after watching some of Shane Speal's videos, but I'm trying to figure out what sort of tuning (he says something about drop C in one of his videos).


    • A standard Bass is tuned with the same notes as the guitar except they are one octave lower than what is tuned on the guitar. So people that wanted darker tones on their guitar's would "drop" the tuning of their guitars to a lower than standard tuning.

      A drop C would be C/G/C lower than the usual G/D/G on a 3 string CBG. It is hard to drop more than 2 or 3 notes because the strings start to get too loose on a standard length CBG/Guitar(24.5" to 25.5"), but a Baritone scale guitar(26" to 28.5") will take out that looseness of the strings for lower tunings.

      Of course a lot of this depends on what gauge strings are being used and on what scale length is being used.

    • Intonation is a whole other can of worms. Haha

      Not every string will have intonation at the same length.

      Ever see a guitar with the bridge at an angle? That's the right way to get intonation for every string. If your bridge is straight up and down, you won't have intonation for every string.

      A single piece bridge like a screw/bolt/key should be at the right scale length(from fretboard side of the nut to bridge), then the low string side should be moved 3mm towards the end of guitar while the high string side gets moved 3mm towards the fretboard. If this doesn't achieve intonation, then a little tweaking will do it.

      If you have individual saddle pieces, then each saddle will need adjusting  separately but with the same idea of angle.

    • It’s more than just an angle it needs to be movable and not glued

      I love the hard tail rollers, great flexibility.   If I can’t make art and intonation, I don’t keep it.

      my last two build intimated to a sharpe or flat, but the same not different octave.  That’s an allowable tolerance, isn’t it?

    • As long as the 12th fret is a octave above the nut, your in good enough territory. ;)

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