Many guitarists are hesitant to switch to a 7-string guitar, fearing it will be too difficult or unnecessary. However, the decision to start playing a 7-string guitar can lead to new musical opportunities and challenges. While it may take some time to adjust to the extra string, the benefits can be well worth it.
Understanding 7-string guitars is the first step in determining whether it’s okay to start playing one. The additional low B string gives the guitar a wider range and allows for new chord shapes and scales. Tuning the guitar can also be a bit different, but with the right technique, it can be done easily.
Key Takeaways on Is it OK to Start on a 7 String Guitar?
- Switching to a 7-string guitar can lead to new musical opportunities and challenges.
- Understanding the additional low B string and tuning techniques is important when starting on a 7-string guitar.
- With practice and patience, playing a 7-string guitar can enhance a guitarist’s skills and creativity.
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Understanding 7-String Guitars
7-string guitars are a type of instrument that have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are essentially the same as a regular guitar, but with an additional string that is usually tuned to a lower pitch.
This extra string allows for a wider range of notes and chords to be played, making it a popular choice for metal and jazz guitarists.
The design of 7-string guitars can vary, but many popular models are made by companies like Ibanez. These guitars often feature extended scale lengths and unique body shapes to accommodate the extra string. Some models even feature a baritone design, which allows for even lower tuning options.
While 7-string guitars can be a great choice for some musicians, they may not be the best option for everyone. They can take some time to get used to, and may require a different playing technique than a regular guitar. Additionally, they may not be suitable for certain styles of music or playing situations.
Starting with a 7-String Guitar
Many beginner guitarists wonder if it’s okay to start learning on a 7-string guitar. The short answer is yes, it’s absolutely okay. However, it’s important to understand the differences between a 6-string and a 7-string guitar before making a decision.
A 7-string guitar has an additional low B string, which can be intimidating for beginners. However, it can also be a great advantage for those who want to play heavier music genres like metal or djent. The extra string allows for lower tunings and a wider range of notes.
For beginners, the transition from a 6-string to a 7-string guitar can be challenging. The wider neck and the extra string can make it harder to play chords and navigate the fretboard. However, with practice and patience, it’s definitely doable.
It’s important to note that starting on a 7-string guitar doesn’t necessarily mean that one will become a better guitarist. What matters most is the dedication and effort put into learning and practicing.
Tuning a 7-String Guitar
When it comes to tuning a 7-string guitar, there are a few things to keep in mind. The extra string can provide more versatility in terms of range, but it also requires some adjustments to the tuning process.
One of the most common tunings for a 7-string guitar is standard tuning, which is the same as a 6-string guitar but with an added low B string. This allows for more bass notes and a wider range of chords.
However, some players prefer to use drop tuning, which involves lowering the pitch of one or more strings. This can create a heavier sound and is often used in metal and other heavy genres.
When tuning a 7-string guitar, it’s important to ensure that the low B or low A string (depending on the tuning) is properly set up. This includes choosing the right string gauge, as a thicker string is necessary to maintain proper tension and prevent buzzing or other issues.
It’s also important to ensure that the guitar’s neck is properly adjusted for the added tension of the extra string.
Chords and Scales on a 7-String Guitar
Playing chords and scales on a 7-string guitar is similar to playing on a 6-string guitar, but with an additional low B string. This extra string allows for more range in both chords and scales, making it ideal for heavier music genres like metal and djent.
When it comes to chords, the low B string allows for more depth and heaviness in power chords. It also enables players to use more complex chord voicings, such as drop-B tuning or extended chords like 7th, 9th, and 11th chords.
However, it’s important to note that some chord fingerings may need to be adjusted due to the wider neck and additional string.
In terms of scales, the 7-string guitar allows for more range and flexibility. Players can use the low B string to play lower notes, expanding the range of scales and arpeggios. This can be particularly useful for playing in lower tunings or for soloing in the lower register of the guitar.
It’s worth noting that when playing on a 7-string guitar, it’s important to be aware of the intervals between strings.
The additional low B string can sometimes make it difficult to play certain intervals, such as major thirds, without muting adjacent strings. However, with practice and proper technique, this can be overcome.
The Range of a 7-String Guitar
A 7-string guitar has a wider range than a standard 6-string guitar, with an additional low B string added below the low E string. This extra string allows guitarists to play lower notes and chords, expanding the range of the instrument.
The low B string is typically tuned to B, which is one whole step lower than the low E string on a 6-string guitar.
The longer scale length of a 7-string guitar also contributes to its extended range. A longer scale length means that the strings have more tension, allowing for greater sustain and clarity of tone. Additionally, the longer scale length can make it easier to play in tune, especially in the lower register.
Guitarists who play in genres such as metal and jazz often prefer 7-string guitars for their extended range. The low B string can be used for heavy riffing and chugging, while the higher strings can still be used for lead playing and soloing.
However, it is important to note that not all guitarists find the extended range necessary for their playing style.
7-String Guitar Techniques
Playing a 7-string guitar opens up a world of new possibilities for guitarists. With an extra string, players can explore new sounds, create more complex and interesting riffs, and experiment with different techniques. Here are some techniques that are particularly well-suited to the 7-string guitar:
The 7-string guitar is particularly well-suited to playing heavy riffs. With the extra low string, guitarists can create deep, powerful sounds that are perfect for heavy metal and other genres that require a lot of low-end. Some popular 7-string guitar riffs include:
- “The Sound of Truth” by As I Lay Dying
- “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” by Gojira
- “The Pot” by Tool
String muting is an important technique for any guitarist, but it’s particularly important for 7-string guitarists. With an extra string to worry about, it’s easy to accidentally hit the wrong string and create unwanted noise.
By using string muting techniques, guitarists can prevent this noise and create cleaner, more precise playing.
While the 7-string guitar is often associated with heavy riffs and rhythm playing, it’s also a great instrument for lead guitarists. With an extra string, lead guitarists can create more complex and interesting solos. They can also experiment with different scales and modes to create unique sounds.
Famous 7-String Guitarists and Bands
The use of 7-string guitars has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many guitarists and bands incorporating them into their music. Some of the most famous 7-string guitarists and bands include:
Korn is a band that is well-known for their use of 7-string guitars. Guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch were some of the first guitarists to popularize the use of 7-string guitars in the metal genre.
Their unique sound and heavy riffs have influenced many guitarists and bands over the years.
Deftones is another band that has made use of 7-string guitars. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter is known for his heavy use of the instrument, which has helped to shape the band’s unique sound. The band’s use of 7-string guitars has been influential in the alternative metal genre.
3. Steve Vai
Steve Vai is a renowned guitarist who has made use of 7-string guitars in his music. He has been instrumental in popularizing the instrument in the rock and metal genres. His virtuosic playing style and innovative use of the instrument have influenced many guitarists over the years.
4. Other Guitarists and Bands
Other guitarists and bands that have made use of 7-string guitars include Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, John Petrucci of Dream Theater, and Meshuggah. The instrument has become a staple in the metal and progressive rock genres, and its popularity continues to grow.
6-String vs 7-String Guitars
When it comes to playing guitar, there are a lot of options to choose from. One of the biggest decisions a guitarist can make is whether to play a 6-string or a 7-string guitar.
While the 6-string guitar is the more traditional and widely used option, the 7-string guitar has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The main difference between the two is obviously the number of strings. A 6-string guitar has six strings, while a 7-string guitar has an extra low B string. This extra string gives the 7-string guitar a wider range of notes, allowing for more complex chord voicings and heavier riffs.
For guitarists who are used to playing a 6-string guitar, the transition to a 7-string guitar can be a bit of a challenge.
The extra string can take some getting used to, and it can be difficult to navigate the wider fretboard. However, with practice, most guitarists are able to make the switch without too much trouble.
It’s worth noting that not all guitar genres are well-suited to the 7-string guitar. While it’s great for heavy metal and progressive rock, it may not be the best choice for genres like country or blues.
Additionally, the 7-string guitar is typically an electric guitar, so if you’re looking for a more traditional sound, a 6-string acoustic guitar may be a better choice.
The Role of 7-String Guitars in Modern Music
7-string guitars have become increasingly popular in modern music, especially in genres like metal, prog, and jazz.
With an additional low B string, these guitars offer extended range and versatility to musicians. They allow for more complex chord voicings, bass lines, and solos, which can add depth and complexity to songs.
In metal music, 7-string guitars have become a staple for many bands, allowing for heavy, low-tuned riffs that were previously impossible on a standard 6-string guitar.
Many modern metal bands use 7-string guitars to create a more aggressive and powerful sound. In addition, the extended range allows for more intricate and technical playing, which is a hallmark of the genre.
Prog and jazz musicians have also embraced 7-string guitars, as they provide a wider range of notes and chords to work with. This allows for more complex and interesting compositions, as well as more opportunities for improvisation.
Many jazz guitarists use 7-string guitars to play bass lines and chords simultaneously, creating a full and rich sound.
In modern music production, 7-string guitars can be used to add depth and texture to recordings. They can be used to create unique sounds and add complexity to arrangements. Many producers and engineers use 7-string guitars to layer parts and create a more dynamic mix.
Starting on a 7-string guitar can be a great option for guitarists who want to expand their playing potential. While it may take some time to adjust to the additional string, the benefits of having a wider range of notes and a lower range for heavier music styles can be worth the effort.
It’s important to note that not all guitarists will find a 7-string guitar to be the right fit for them, and that’s okay.
It ultimately comes down to personal preference and playing style. However, for those who are interested in exploring the possibilities of a 7-string guitar, it’s recommended to try one out and see how it feels.
When choosing a 7-string guitar, it’s important to consider factors such as the scale length, string gauge, and overall build quality. It’s also recommended to invest in a good quality instrument to ensure the best possible playing experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it recommended for beginners to start with a 7 string guitar?
It depends on the individual’s preferences and goals. While a 7 string guitar offers more range and versatility, it may be overwhelming for beginners.
It is recommended to start with a 6 string guitar and then transition to a 7 string guitar once the basics are mastered.
What are the benefits of learning on a 7 string guitar?
A 7 string guitar offers a wider range of notes and chords, allowing for more versatility in playing styles. It is also useful for genres such as metal and jazz, where extended range is often necessary.
Are 7 strings harder to play than 6 strings?
Playing a 7 string guitar requires more finger dexterity and hand strength, but it is not necessarily harder than playing a 6 string guitar. It may take some time to adjust to the extra string, but with practice, it can become second nature.
What are some popular 7 string guitar models for beginners?
Some popular 7 string guitar models for beginners include the Schecter Omen-7, Ibanez RG7421, and Jackson JS22-7. These models offer good value for their price and are easy to play.
Can a beginner easily transition from a 6 string to a 7 string guitar?
It may take some time to adjust to the extra string, but with practice and patience, a beginner can easily transition from a 6 string to a 7 string guitar. It is important to focus on the basics first and gradually introduce the extra string into playing.
What are some tips for learning on a 7 string guitar?
Some tips for learning on a 7 string guitar include practicing regularly, starting with simple songs and exercises, and experimenting with different playing styles. It is also important to maintain good posture and hand position to avoid injury.
My name is Howard Matthews and I have been playing the guitar since I was knee-high. My parents like to joke that I was pulling the strings even before I was born. In fact, one of my earliest memories is sitting on the couch with my dad’s guitar, wreaking havoc on the chords.
Now, 40 years later, I can attest that I play them much better than I did back then. I have followed in the footsteps of both my parents – much to their delight – and have been the main guitarist in my band for the best part of three decades.
Music has always been my passion, and until recently my life has been so consumed with it that I haven’t had a moment to have a breath (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)!