We're excited to release the brand new production Black Ice JM Baritone (BI-JM4000N2) and announce the baritone construction option on most RainSong body styles and series.
The Black Ice JM Baritone marries forward-thinking design, traditional craftsmanship, and alternative materials. It's an instrument with plenty of power to deliver a rich, low-strung voice with a piano-like tone. And, of course, its carbon fiber construction is nearly indestructible and incredibly stable no matter what you throw at it.
Baritone acoustic guitars are a niche thing. You may be wondering why we spent so much time crafting a high-end model. We'll answer that here. We'll cover it all, from what a baritone acoustic guitar is to what makes ours so special.
What We'll Cover
What Is A Baritone Acoustic Guitar?
A baritone acoustic guitar is specifically crafted to play in lowered tunings. (We'll get into the tuning in a sec.) They still look and play a lot like a standard acoustic guitar. They still have six strings and are tuned in the same intervals. You can play everything on a baritone acoustic that you can on a standard acoustic guitar. But because of their construction, types of strings, and the tuning itself, baritones can handle the unique challenges of these tunings.
They also have a voice unlike any other instrument. Each string punches with more power while bringing the note's fundamental to the front. Think about how a piano sounds on the lower keys, and you'll get the idea.
Let's look at the baritone's different aspects to understand how they affect its overall character.
Baritone guitar tuning
As previously stated, baritone guitar tuning is similar to your other guitars; it's just lower. While most guitars are tuned from low E to high E, baritones take it down to B.
Low to High: B-E-A-D-F#-B
Keep in mind, that while B-B is the standard, you'll also see baritones tuned in a million different ways.
Acoustic baritone guitar strings
You know how floppy the strings get if you've ever tuned a standard guitar down to B or lower. The tone suffers, losing definition and the guitar becomes difficult to play in tune. That's why getting the right baritone guitar strings is vital to getting the most out of the instrument. So what makes a string a baritone string?
What we use
Like how an electric bass' strings are much thicker than a guitar's, baritone's are too. Somewhere between the bass and guitar, their thicker gauge gives the strings the rigidity they need to vibrate in-pitch for sustained periods.
Because baritones boast longer scale lengths, their strings are longer as well. This extension stiffens the feel of the strings. Even in their lower tunings, the strings have better tension and a more muscular, more present tone.
What we use
We string every RainSong baritone acoustic guitar with Elixir 80/20 Nanoweb .016-.070 baritone strings. They offer an outstanding tonal balance and last much longer than standard strings.
Baritone scale length
Scale length is measured from a guitar's bridge saddle to the string nut. Most electric and acoustic guitars come in between 24.75" and 25.5". But, the RainSong Black Ice JM Baritone is 26.675".
This longer scale makes the baritone strings and lowered tunings work together. Extending the length over an inch pulls the strings tighter, allows for precise intonation, and keeps the strings from feeling like spaghetti under your fingertips.
What Is A Baritone Used For?
Players have played down-tuned guitars for decades. And some sound great. But baritones are purpose-built for the job. Try one for yourself, and you'll understand what we mean. Once you strum your first cowboy chord, you'll be addicted to the full sound, deep vibrations, and balance.
But what are they used for?
Pretty much anything. Players as diverse as metal guitarists, singer/songwriters, and A-list session aces all grab a baritone from time to time. Here are some great examples.
Baritone guitars also regularly pop up with fingerstyle acoustic guitarists. These players cover a song's entire melody, harmony, and rhythm on a single instrument. The baritone's extended range helps them achieve the driving bass lines and wide chord voicings that define their work.
Check out The Guitar Gallery's demo of our new bari to hear what it can do.
Down-tuned guitars are the standard in hard rock. So it's pretty easy to find a baritone in the genre. They give guitarists a huge, dark low end without a standard guitar's floppy strings and intonation issues.
A perfect example is Staind's classic, "It's Been a While." Mike Mushok's baritone proves how heavy you can get with an acoustic guitar, whether on the album or in this live acoustic rendition.
Singer/songwriters also love baritone acoustic guitars for the vocal freedom they provide. Thanks to their lower range, the guitar's voice stays out of the way of theirs. And because they are tuned similarly to a standard acoustic guitar, they're easy for the artist to transition to.
YouTube Influencer Mary Spender demonstrates this beautifully. Watch as she grabs a baritone for one of her very first times. Right away, she sounds like a baritone pro.
RainSong Carbon Fiber Construction
Of course, there are plenty of wooden baritones. And they're great instruments! But, all of them have one drawback. Combining a longer neck and increased string tension can pull the instruments out of tune, cause the bridges to rise, cause the necks to bow, and even warp the guitar's top.
We probably won't surprise you here, but the RainSong acoustic baritones eliminate these issues. And they do it - especially the JM body style - while increasing the guitar's power, clarity, and low-end presence.
Like every RainSong acoustic guitar, we craft the Black Ice JM Baritone from 100% carbon fiber. The material increases the instrument's stability and tone. And it's just the first step in our "the future of tradition" design ethos.
Next up, the entire neck is crafted as a single graphite matrix using performance shape casting. That includes the neck, the headstock, and the fingerboard. The process makes the necks so stiff and stable that no adjustment is required, and we mean ever.
We include a truss rod, which allows you to set the neck to your preferences. Once you do, you'll never need to adjust it again.
From the neck, we move on to the baritone's body. The obvious benefit of carbon fiber is its impervious nature to the elements and environmental changes. That means no cracks, raising or sinking bridges, and tonal variation from day to day. But it also means a crystalline top end and massive bottom that wood guitars simply can't touch.
And let's not forget the Black Ice Series' stunning and one-of-a-kind appearance.
RainSong baritones are available in nearly every body style and series we offer. But the Black Ice JM Baritone is undoubtedly the flagship. Part of that is due to the JM's already legendary sonic power.
While wooden jumbos are famous for their volume and pillowy low, they can only generate so much energy. And projecting low frequencies requires more energy than treble frequencies. This is why many other baritone acoustics can fall flat. Yes, they sound warm and powerful to the player. But step away a bit, and a lot of that low end dissipates.
Our carbon fiber JM Baritone picks up where spruce leaves off, making it one of the loudest acoustic guitars on the market. The entire carbon-fiber instrument vibrates as one. And it offers a voice that's louder and more balanced than any other.
Premium Acoustic Guitar Craftsmanship
No matter how great an instrument looks or sounds, it still needs to be exceptionally well made. That's why every RainSong - not just the new baritones - is a premium instrument created with meticulous attention to detail. You can be sure your RainSong baritone is of the finest quality, from their flawless fret jobs to their factory setups.
The Low Down
We're huge fans of other acoustic baritones and always wanted to see what we could do with the format. Well, here it is, finally! And, if you couldn't tell, we're excited to tell you about it.
Whether you're a RainSong fan looking to try a baritone or an acoustic baritone guitar player who's new to RainSong, you need to get one. If you're half as inspired by the instrument as we were when crafting it, we know it will be a dream come true.