A 7 string guitar is an instrument that has become increasingly popular over the years. It is a guitar that has an extra string, which is usually a low B string.
The additional string provides more range and versatility, allowing guitarists to play a wider variety of music. While there are many advantages to playing a 7 string guitar, there are also some disadvantages that must be considered.
One of the most significant disadvantages of a 7 string guitar is the added complexity of tuning and chords. The extra string can make it challenging to tune the guitar correctly, and it can also be difficult to play chords that require all seven strings.
Additionally, the extra string can make it harder to play some of the more common chord shapes, which can be frustrating for beginners.
Key Takeaways on Disadvantages of a 7 String Guitar
- The extra string on a 7 string guitar provides more range and versatility, but there are also some disadvantages to consider.
- Tuning and playing chords can be more challenging with a 7 string guitar, especially for beginners.
- The suitability of a 7 string guitar for different music genres and physical challenges should also be considered.
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The Extra String: Pros and Cons
Added Range and Versatility
One of the main advantages of a 7 string guitar is the added range and versatility it provides. The extra low B string opens up a whole new world of possibilities for guitarists, allowing them to play lower notes and create heavier, more complex sounds.
With the added range, guitarists can play a wider variety of music genres, from metal to jazz to classical.
In addition, the extra string allows for more complex chord voicings and fingerings. Guitarists can experiment with new chord shapes and progressions, creating unique sounds that are not possible on a 6 string guitar.
Challenges for Beginners
While the added range and versatility of a 7 string guitar are certainly appealing, there are also some challenges that beginners may face. The extra string can be overwhelming for those who are used to playing a 6 string guitar, and it may take some time to adjust to the new layout.
One of the main challenges is the wider neck, which can make it difficult to play certain chords and fingerings. Additionally, the extra string can make it harder to navigate the fretboard, especially for those with smaller hands.
Another challenge is the increased string tension, which can make it harder to play for extended periods of time. This can be particularly challenging for beginners who are still developing their finger strength and dexterity.
Tuning and Chords
One of the main disadvantages of a 7 string guitar is that it can be challenging to tune and play chords. The additional string can make it difficult to achieve the correct pitch and intonation, especially for musicians who are not used to playing a 7 string guitar.
In standard tuning, the 7th string is typically tuned to a low B, which can make it challenging to play certain chords.
For example, playing a simple G chord can be difficult as it requires the player to fret the 3rd fret on the 6th string and the 5th fret on the 5th string, while also muting the 7th string to avoid a dissonant sound.
Drop tuning can also be challenging on a 7 string guitar, as it requires the player to adjust the tuning of the 7th string while also tuning the other strings. This can be time-consuming and frustrating for musicians who are not used to this type of tuning.
Alternate tunings can also be difficult on a 7 string guitar, as the additional string can make it challenging to achieve the correct pitch and intonation.
For example, playing in open G tuning can be challenging as it requires the player to tune the 7th string to a D, which can be difficult to achieve without proper technique and practice.
Impact on Playing Style
Adding an extra string to a guitar can have a significant impact on the player’s playing style. While some musicians may find it easy to adapt to the new string, others may struggle to adjust to the new sound and feel of the instrument.
For lead guitarists, playing on a 7-string guitar can be challenging. The additional string can make it difficult to navigate the fretboard, especially when playing fast solos. It can also be challenging to play arpeggios on a 7-string guitar, as the added string can get in the way of the player’s fingers.
String bending can also be more challenging on a 7-string guitar. The added tension from the extra string can make it harder to bend the strings, which can affect the player’s ability to play certain riffs and solos.
The Influence of Bands and Guitarists
The introduction of 7-string guitars was initially popularized by jazz guitarist Howard Alden in the 1980s. However, the use of 7-string guitars in metal music became more prevalent in the 1990s, with bands like Korn and Deftones incorporating them into their music.
One of the most influential guitarists in the use of 7-string guitars is Steve Vai, who has used them extensively in his music. Vai’s playing style is known for its technical proficiency and virtuosity, and his use of 7-string guitars has allowed him to explore new sonic territories.
Another band that has been influential in the use of 7-string guitars is Meshuggah. The band’s use of extended-range guitars has become a defining characteristic of their sound, with their complex rhythms and polyrhythms being made possible by the use of 7 and 8-string guitars.
Dream Theater is another band that has incorporated 7-string guitars into their music. Guitarist John Petrucci has used them in a number of the band’s songs, allowing him to explore new tonal possibilities and create a heavier sound.
While there are certainly advantages to using a 7-string guitar, there are also some disadvantages. For example, the wider neck can make it more difficult to play certain chords and can be uncomfortable for players with smaller hands.
Additionally, the increased range can make it harder to find the right notes, especially for players who are used to playing on a standard 6-string guitar.
Suitability for Different Music Genres
The 7-string guitar is a versatile instrument that can be used in various music genres. However, it may not be suitable for all styles of music. Here are some examples of how the 7-string guitar can be used in different music genres:
The 7-string guitar is commonly used in metal music. It allows for lower tunings, which can create a heavier and more aggressive sound.
The extended range of the instrument also enables guitarists to play complex riffs and solos. Many metal guitarists prefer the 7-string guitar for its versatility and ability to create a unique sound.
While the 7-string guitar is not typically used in jazz music, it can still be a suitable instrument for jazz guitarists.
The extended range of the instrument allows for more complex chord voicings and can add depth to jazz compositions. However, it may not be necessary for all jazz styles, and some jazz guitarists prefer the traditional 6-string guitar.
The 7-string guitar can be used in rock music, but it may not be as common as in metal. It can create a heavier sound and add depth to rock compositions. However, it may not be necessary for all rock styles, and some rock guitarists prefer the traditional 6-string guitar.
The 7-string guitar is not commonly used in blues music. The extended range of the instrument may not be necessary for most blues compositions, and the heavier sound of the instrument may not fit the traditional blues sound.
However, some blues guitarists may find the extended range useful for creating unique chord voicings.
The 7-string guitar is not commonly used in funk music. The extended range of the instrument may not be necessary for most funk compositions, and the heavier sound of the instrument may not fit the traditional funk sound.
However, some funk guitarists may find the extended range useful for creating unique chord voicings.
6. Modern Music
The 7-string guitar can be used in modern music, but it may not be necessary for all styles. It can create a unique sound and add depth to modern compositions. However, some modern guitarists may prefer the traditional 6-string guitar for its simplicity and versatility.
Playing a 7 string guitar can present some physical challenges, especially for guitarists with small hands. The wider fretboard and neck can make it difficult to reach certain notes, especially when playing chords that require a lot of finger stretching.
Additionally, the wider neck can make it more difficult to wrap your hand around the neck to play certain chords or notes.
The nut width and neck profile can also present challenges for some guitarists. The wider nut width can make it difficult to play certain chords or notes, especially if the guitarist has smaller hands. The neck profile can also affect playability, as some guitarists may find a thicker neck uncomfortable to play.
Hardware and Amplification
When it comes to hardware and amplification, there are a few disadvantages to consider when playing a 7 string guitar.
The additional string can put extra stress on the neck and bridge, which may require more frequent adjustments and repairs. This can be especially true for lower quality guitars or those with weaker hardware.
Additionally, the pickups on a 7 string guitar may not be optimized for the additional string. This can result in a less balanced sound and difficulty in finding the right tone. Active pickups can help to mitigate this issue, but they can also be more expensive and require additional power.
Amplification can also be a challenge with a 7 string guitar. Many guitar amps are not designed to handle the extended range of a 7 string guitar, which can result in muddiness or distortion. It may be necessary to invest in a specialized amp or effects pedals to achieve the desired sound.
Community and Media Discussions
Discussions about the disadvantages of a 7 string guitar are common in guitar-related forums and communities.
Many guitar enthusiasts argue that the additional string makes the instrument more complicated to play and can be overwhelming for beginners. Some also believe that the seventh string can interfere with the balance and tone of the guitar.
One popular forum for guitar-related discussions is r/guitar on Reddit. Here, users often ask questions about 7 string guitars and share their experiences with the instrument.
While some users praise the extended range of the guitar, others express frustration with the added complexity of playing with an extra string.
In addition to online communities, guitar-related media outlets also discuss the pros and cons of 7 string guitars.
Some guitar magazines and websites offer articles and reviews of 7 string guitars, highlighting both the advantages and disadvantages of the instrument. These discussions can be helpful for guitar players who are considering purchasing a 7 string guitar.
Manufacturers and Models
When it comes to 7-string guitars, one of the most popular and well-known manufacturers is Ibanez. The company has been producing 7-string guitars for over 25 years, and their models are often used by professional musicians in a variety of genres.
One of Ibanez’s most iconic 7-string models is the Ibanez Universe. This guitar was first introduced in the early 1990s and was designed in collaboration with Steve Vai. The Universe has since become a staple in the world of 7-string guitars and is known for its unique sound and playability.
Other notable manufacturers of 7-string guitars include Schecter, Jackson, and ESP. These companies offer a range of models to suit different playing styles and preferences.
While there are many benefits to playing a 7-string guitar, there are also some disadvantages. For example, the wider neck can make it more difficult to play certain chords and the extra string can take some getting used to.
Additionally, some guitarists may find that the added range is not necessary for their playing style.
While 7 string guitars offer some unique advantages to experienced players, they may not be the best choice for beginners or those looking for a more traditional guitar sound. The additional string can be difficult to learn and master, and may not be necessary for many styles of music.
One of the biggest disadvantages of a 7 string guitar is the added complexity it brings to playing.
The extra string can be challenging to incorporate into playing, and may require different techniques and fingerings than a traditional 6 string guitar. This can make it difficult for beginners to learn, and may require more time and practice to master.
Another potential disadvantage of 7 string guitars is that they may not be suitable for all styles of music. While they are popular in metal and progressive rock genres, they may not be as well-suited for other styles such as blues or country. This can limit their versatility and appeal to some players.
Despite these drawbacks, 7 string guitars remain a popular choice for experienced players looking to expand their range and explore new sounds.
While they may not be the best choice for everyone, they can offer a unique and rewarding playing experience for those willing to put in the time and effort to master them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are 7 string guitars difficult to play?
7 string guitars can be more challenging to play for beginners who are used to playing 6 string guitars.
The extra string can take some time to get used to, and it may require a different playing technique. However, with practice and patience, most guitarists can adapt to playing a 7 string guitar.
Is it worth getting a 7 string guitar?
The decision to get a 7 string guitar depends on the individual’s playing style and preferences. If you are interested in playing heavy metal or other genres that require lower tunings, a 7 string guitar may be worth considering.
However, if you primarily play music that doesn’t require lower tunings, a 6 string guitar may be more suitable for you.
What are the cons of a 7 string guitar?
One of the main disadvantages of a 7 string guitar is that it can be more challenging to play for beginners.
Additionally, the extra string can make the guitar heavier and more cumbersome to carry around. Furthermore, 7 string guitars can be more expensive than their 6 string counterparts.
What’s the point of 7 string guitars?
The main point of a 7 string guitar is to provide an extended range of notes and lower tunings for guitarists who play heavy metal or other genres that require lower tunings. The extra string allows for more creative freedom and versatility in playing.
Are 7 string guitars suitable for beginners?
7 string guitars can be more challenging for beginners to play, but they are not necessarily unsuitable. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to play a 7 string guitar, it can be a rewarding experience.
How much harder is it to play a 7 string guitar?
Playing a 7 string guitar can be more challenging than playing a 6 string guitar, but it ultimately depends on the individual’s skill level and experience.
The extra string may require a different playing technique, but with practice, most guitarists can adapt to playing a 7 string guitar.
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)!