THE BURNS BARRACUDA is a Baritone Guitar with a 30-inch scale; 30 inches being the length of the top string from nut to bridge saddle.

Baritone Guitars come in a variety of scale lengths – pretty well anything between 25½ and 31 inches. Instruments tuned A to A are generally perceived as “Baritone Guitars”; however, the same instruments tuned E to E (i.e. a full octave below a regular six-string guitar) will invariably be called Six-String Basses.

Most times, Baritone guitars (the Barracuda included) arrive set up, strung and tuned A to A. But what if you fancy something a bit different?


PROBABLY THE MOST popular alternate tuning for a 30-inch scale Baritone is E to E. There are two good reasons. First, cranked up through a decent amp, that thunderous low growl from the bass string can register on the Richter Scale (sort of harks back to vintage Danelectro / Fender Bass VI sounds from the Sixties); and second, lead parts can be played with gay abandon without the inconvenience of having to transpose.

The questions are, of course, what strings do you need to drop the sound a further five frets, and are there any little pitfalls you should watch out for? Well, yes…

Let’s start with the strings themselves.

Gauges that will work admirably are as follows:

1st E 0.024
2nd B 0.034
3rd G 0.044
4th D 0.056
5th A 0.072
6th E 0.084

You can buy them separately or as a set, but one thing you must ensure is that your new strings are 35 inches long on the bass strings before their diameter reduces (which it must do to pass through the string posts on the machine head).

Strings designed to fit the Fender Bass VI are ideal; however, those designed for some other 30-inch scale Baritones – for example, the Jerry Jones – will not work because their bass strings are only 32 inches long at full-diameter. The damn things thin out before they pass over the nut, and all you’ll hear are a cacophony of scrapes and rattles. Not at all what you intend…

D’Addario make a good set of “E to Es” (set no. XL156), which are equally at home on both the Fender Bass VI and the Burns Barracuda.


SO, YOU'VE GOT your new strings on, you’re all tuned up, but I’m guessing you’re getting at least some string rattle? The reason will be the considerable difference in load on the neck between your old “A to As” and your new string set. Almost inevitably you’re going to have to give the truss rod a slight tweak, and probably lift the bridge a little.

People get a little edgy about adjusting the truss rod, and in fairness, it does need care. But it doesn’t have to be daunting.

If the truss rod could do with a little attention after a significant change to tension on the neck, just go to the Guitar Neck Adjustment page elsewhere in the Support Gallery and follow the instructions carefully.


BY THE WAY, you’ll have to accept that E-to-E-tuning a 30-inch scale instrument will give you slightly less accurate intonation on the bass strings. That said, how much time do you spend up there at what Malcolm Young, rhythm guitarist with AC/DC, is pleased to call “the dusty end”?

So that’s it; try not to undermine the foundations in the next County! And if you need a pdf file of the “Burns USA Service Bulletin No. 2 - Guitar Neck Adjustment” (514Kb), just e-mail me.


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