How to Choose a 7 String Guitar? The Best Buying Tips

Choosing a 7-string guitar can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the instrument. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start.

However, with a little bit of knowledge and guidance, anyone can find the perfect 7-string guitar to suit their playing style and preferences.

Understanding the 7-string guitar is the first step in choosing the right one. Unlike traditional 6-string guitars, 7-string guitars have an additional low B string, which adds depth and range to the instrument.

This makes them ideal for playing heavy metal, jazz, and other genres that require a broader tonal palette.

When choosing a 7-string guitar, there are several key considerations to keep in mind, such as scale length, tonewood, and pickups. Popular brands such as Ibanez, Schecter, and ESP offer a wide range of 7-string guitars to suit different playing styles and budgets.

By taking the time to research and explore different options, anyone can find the perfect 7-string guitar to take their playing to the next level.

Key Takeaways on How to Choose a 7 String Guitar

  • Understanding the 7-string guitar is essential to choosing the right one.
  • Key considerations when choosing a 7-string guitar include scale length, tonewood, and pickups.
  • Popular 7-string guitar brands include Ibanez, Schecter, and ESP.

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Understanding the 7-String Guitar

Is it OK to Start on a 7 String Guitar

The 7-string guitar is a type of guitar that has an additional seventh string, which is typically tuned to a lower note than the rest of the strings. This extra string provides players with an extended range of notes, allowing them to play lower notes without having to tune their guitar down.

The 7-string guitar has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in genres such as metal, where the extended range of notes allows for heavier and more complex riffs. However, it is also used in other genres such as jazz and fusion.

When choosing a 7-string guitar, it is important to consider the type of music you will be playing and the sound you are looking for. Some 7-string guitars are designed specifically for metal and have a heavier sound, while others are more versatile and can be used in a wider range of genres.

It is also important to consider the scale length of the guitar, which is the distance between the nut and the bridge. A longer scale length can provide better intonation and a tighter sound, while a shorter scale length can be more comfortable to play.

In addition, the type of wood used in the construction of the guitar can also have an impact on the sound. Mahogany and maple are popular choices for the body, while rosewood and ebony are commonly used for the fingerboard.

Why Choose a 7-String Guitar

A 7-string guitar is an excellent choice for guitarists who want to expand their range and tonal capabilities.

With an additional low B string, a 7-string guitar provides extended range that allows for a wider variety of musical styles and genres. Here are some reasons why you might consider choosing a 7-string guitar:

1. Range

One of the most significant advantages of a 7-string guitar is the extended range it provides. With the additional low B string, guitarists can play notes that are lower than a standard guitar.

This extended range opens up a wide variety of musical possibilities, especially for metal, jazz, and fusion guitarists. The low B string also provides a richer and fuller sound for chords and arpeggios.

2. Tones

The extended range of a 7-string guitar also allows for a wider range of tonal possibilities. The low B string can provide a deep and powerful bass sound, while the higher strings can still provide bright and clear tones. This versatility allows guitarists to explore new tonal territories and create unique sounds.

3. Versatility

A 7-string guitar is a versatile instrument that can be used in a wide variety of musical genres. While it is commonly associated with heavy metal and progressive rock, it can also be used in jazz, fusion, and experimental music.

The extended range and tonal possibilities of a 7-string guitar make it an excellent choice for guitarists who want to explore different musical styles.

4. Extended Range

The extended range of a 7-string guitar also allows for more complex chord voicings and arpeggios. Guitarists can play chords with more notes and create more intricate harmonies. The low B string also allows for more complex basslines and walking bass patterns.

Popular 7-String Guitar Brands

When it comes to 7-string guitars, there are several brands that are worth considering. Some of the most popular brands include Ibanez, Jackson, Schecter, and PRS.

Ibanez is a well-known brand that offers a variety of 7-string guitars. One of their most popular models is the Ibanez RG7421, which features a mahogany body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard. This guitar is known for its comfortable playability and versatile tone.

Jackson is another brand that offers a range of 7-string guitars. Their models are often favored by metal guitarists due to their aggressive tone and sleek design. The Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS22-7 is a popular choice, featuring a basswood body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard.

Schecter is a brand that is known for their high-quality guitars, and their 7-string models are no exception. The Schecter Omen-7 is a great option for those looking for a budget-friendly 7-string guitar.

It features a basswood body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard, as well as Schecter Diamond Plus pickups.

PRS is a brand that is often associated with high-end guitars, but they also offer more affordable options through their SE line. The PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN is a 7-string guitar that was designed in collaboration with Mark Holcomb of the band Periphery.

It features a maple top, mahogany back, and ebony fingerboard, as well as Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups.

Key Considerations When Choosing a 7-String Guitar

When choosing a 7-string guitar, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. These include the neck and fretboard, tuning and string tension, pickups and electronics, hardware and build quality, as well as price and value.

1. Neck and Fretboard

The neck and fretboard of a 7-string guitar are crucial elements to consider. The neck should be comfortable to play and easy to navigate, while the fretboard should be smooth and responsive.

Look for a neck that is not too thick or too thin, and a fretboard that is made of high-quality materials, such as rosewood or ebony.

2. Tuning and String Tension

The tuning and string tension of a 7-string guitar can greatly affect its playability and sound. Make sure the guitar is tuned to your desired pitch, and that the string tension is comfortable for your playing style.

Some 7-string guitars have longer scales than others, which can affect the string tension and overall feel of the instrument.

3. Pickups and Electronics

The pickups and electronics of a 7-string guitar are responsible for its tone and versatility. Look for pickups that are suited to the style of music you play, such as the Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega or the DiMarzio Blaze pickups.

Consider the type of electronics, such as a 5-way switch or Fishman Fluence pickups, and how they can affect the sound of the guitar.

4. Hardware and Build Quality

The hardware and build quality of a 7-string guitar are important factors to consider. Look for hardware that is durable and well-made, such as locking tuners and a sturdy bridge.

Check the build quality of the guitar, paying attention to details such as the intonation and the placement of the dot inlay.

5. Price and Value

Finally, consider the price and value of the 7-string guitar you are interested in. While it is important to invest in a quality instrument, make sure the price is within your budget and that you are getting good value for your money.

Look for guitars that offer a balance of quality and affordability, and consider purchasing from reputable brands and retailers.

Playing Styles and Genres

When it comes to choosing a 7-string guitar, it’s important to consider the playing style and genre of music you plan to play. The extra string can open up new possibilities for playing different genres of music, but it’s not always necessary for every style.

For metal players, a 7-string guitar is almost a necessity. The extended range allows for lower tunings and heavier riffs, which are common in the genre. Bands like Fear Factory and Deftones have utilized 7-string guitars to create their signature sound.

Jazz and rock guitarists may not need the extra string, but it can still be a useful addition. The added range can allow for more complex chord voicings and solos. However, it’s important to note that not all jazz or rock guitarists use 7-string guitars, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

For those interested in playing djent or death metal, a 7-string guitar is a must-have. These genres rely heavily on extended-range guitars, and the extra string allows for even more possibilities in terms of low-end riffing and chugging.

Influence of Artists on 7-String Guitars

Many famous guitarists have contributed to the popularity of 7-string guitars. These artists have demonstrated the versatility and unique tonal capabilities of the instrument. Here are some of the most influential artists and their contributions:

1. Steve Vai

Steve Vai is a well-known guitarist who has been using 7-string guitars since the early 1990s. He is known for his virtuosic playing style and innovative use of effects.

Vai’s signature 7-string guitar, the Universe model, has become an iconic instrument in the music industry. The Universe model features a longer scale length and a wider neck, allowing for greater range and more comfortable playing.

2. Mark Holcomb

Mark Holcomb of Periphery is another prominent 7-string guitarist. He is known for his unique approach to the instrument, incorporating complex chord progressions and tapping techniques.

Holcomb’s signature 7-string guitar, the PRS Mark Holcomb SE, features a satin finish and Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups, which provide a clear and articulate tone.

3. Stephen Carpenter

Stephen Carpenter of Deftones is known for his heavy and aggressive playing style. He has been using 7-string guitars since the early 1990s, and his signature model, the ESP Stephen Carpenter SC-607B, features a baritone scale length and EMG pickups, which provide a thick and powerful tone.

4. Korn

The band Korn is often credited with popularizing 7-string guitars in the mainstream music industry. Guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch are known for their heavy and distorted playing style, which relies heavily on the low B string of their 7-string guitars.

5. Meshuggah

The Swedish band Meshuggah is known for their use of extended-range guitars, including 7-string guitars.

Guitarist Fredrik Thordendal is known for his complex and technical playing style, incorporating polyrhythms and unconventional time signatures. Meshuggah’s use of 7-string guitars has influenced countless metal bands around the world.

6. Dream Theater

The progressive metal band Dream Theater has also contributed to the popularity of 7-string guitars. Guitarist John Petrucci is known for his virtuosic playing style, incorporating complex sweep picking and tapping techniques.

Petrucci’s signature 7-string guitar, the Music Man JP7, features a custom piezo pickup system and a floating tremolo bridge, which provide a wide range of tonal options.

Additional Accessories for 7-String Guitars

When it comes to playing a 7-string guitar, there are a few additional accessories that can enhance the sound and playability of the instrument. Here are some accessories that guitarists may want to consider:

1. Amplifiers

Amps play a crucial role in shaping the tone of a guitar. For 7-string guitars, it’s important to choose an amp that can handle the extended range of the instrument.

Guitarists may want to consider amps with a higher wattage and extended frequency range to ensure that the low B string doesn’t get lost in the mix.

2. Pedals

Pedals can be used to add different effects to the guitar’s sound. For 7-string guitars, pedals such as overdrive, distortion, and wah can be used to enhance the low end of the instrument and make it stand out in a mix.

Additionally, guitarists may want to consider a compressor pedal to even out the volume of the instrument across all strings.

3. Individual Saddles

Some guitarists prefer to use individual saddles for each string on their 7-string guitar. This allows for greater control over intonation and can help ensure that each string is in tune across the entire fretboard.

4. Evertune Bridge

The Evertune bridge is a unique type of bridge that uses a spring system to keep each string in tune.

This can be particularly useful for 7-string guitars, which can be more difficult to keep in tune due to the additional string. The Evertune bridge can also help to maintain the guitar’s tuning stability over time.

5. TOM Bridge

The TOM (or Tune-O-Matic) bridge is a popular type of bridge for electric guitars. It allows for easy adjustment of the string height and intonation. For 7-string guitars, guitarists may want to consider a TOM bridge with extended range to ensure that the low B string is properly intonated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular brands for 7-string guitars?

There are many popular brands for 7-string guitars, including Ibanez, Schecter, Jackson, and ESP. These brands are known for producing high-quality instruments that are suitable for a variety of playing styles.

What is the average cost of a good 7-string guitar?

The average cost of a good 7-string guitar can vary depending on the brand and model. However, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $2000 for a high-quality instrument.

Are 7-string guitars only suitable for metal music?

No, 7-string guitars are not only suitable for metal music. While they are commonly used in metal and heavy music genres, they can also be used in a variety of other styles, including jazz, blues, and rock.

What are some important factors to consider when choosing a 7-string guitar?

When choosing a 7-string guitar, it is important to consider factors such as the scale length, neck profile, pickups, and overall build quality. Additionally, you should consider your playing style and the type of music you will be playing.

What are the benefits of choosing a 7-string guitar over a 6-string guitar?

One of the main benefits of choosing a 7-string guitar over a 6-string guitar is the extended range. This allows for lower notes to be played without having to tune down the guitar.

Additionally, the wider fretboard can provide more space for playing complex chords and solos.

What are some common scale lengths for 7-string guitars?

Common scale lengths for 7-string guitars range from 25.5 inches to 27 inches. However, some manufacturers may offer longer or shorter scale lengths depending on the model.

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