Many musicians today are experimenting more often with their guitar playing. Guitarists are no longer using 6 string guitars exclusively. Many of them are trying 7-string guitars. It can be difficult to find the best 7-string guitar to meet your needs. You may not know a lot about them. This guide will help you find a great 7-string guitar so you can start experimenting with different styles of music.
In a Hurry? Here Are the Best 7 String Guitars
What’s the Point of 7 String Guitars?
You might be wondering why you should play a 7-string instrument. The purpose of the 7-string guitar is to allow you to have a lower base end. It is difficult to tune a regular 6 string guitar to a low note such as B. The strings flap around too much and you don’t get great tone when you tune a regular 6 string to a low note. Six-string guitars work fine in drop D or even C, but if you try to go lower, the notes don’t sound that great. A 7-string guitar allows you to have that B note on the extra string.
The main reason for having a 7-string is it opens up your creativity on the instrument. You can play a wide range of different styles with a 7-string guitar. It’s mainly associated with heavy metal playing, but other styles are possible with this style of an instrument as well.
Are 7 String Guitars Worth It?
It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want a 7-string guitar. You’ll probably want a lot of proficiency on a 6-string before you buy a 7-string. You may find it more difficult to learn on a guitar with an extra string if you don’t know how a regular guitar operates. Start out on a standard guitar and then pick up one with an extra string when you are comfortable with your playing.
You may find it beneficial to have more than one guitar. You can have one that has regular strings on it and one that has the extra. this will give you more than one way to play music. You can spend some time experimenting with both guitars and you’ll have more options available to you.
Reasons to Own a 7 String Guitar
There are several reasons for owning a seven-string guitar. Here is why you might want to consider one of these instruments.
Guitar gives you a Lower bass in. You can tune your guitar quite low. The standard tuning for a seven-string guitar is B, E, A, D, G, D, and E. You can use whatever tuning you want with one of these. You don’t have to stick with standard tuning.
When you have a regular guitar and want to try tunings that are really low, you need to make adjustments to your guitar. You may have to file the saddle and nut slots to accommodate strings that are quite thick. It’s much easier to buy a guitar which features seven strings as you don’t have to do any of these adjustments. You can put on whatever strings you want and you’re good to go.
A guitar with an extra string will open up your experimentation more. You won’t be boxed in with a standard guitar. If your creativity is struggling, this type of instrument may be what you need to break out and start making music again. It will get you thinking more about music. You may learn how to play songs in different ways with your new instrument.
A guitar that has an extra string sounds different than the regular standard guitar. You may prefer the sound of the with that extra string. this is usually a personal preference so you’ll have to decide which one sounds better to your ear. Certain musical applications such as some genres of heavy metal sound the best with this type of instrument.
Multiple Musical Genres
Seven strings are great for many genres and not just heavy metal. This type of guitar goes way back. George Van Eps in the 1930s had one of these instruments designed for him. He was a jazz player. A lot of jazz was never meant for the guitar so the extra string cna help a lot for jazz music. Van Eps had a signature guitar made and this was perhaps the first production model with an extra string. Classical music is also easier on this type of guitar it has a lot of lower notes. You can reproduce the musical line of cellos and other instruments which are common in classical music.
What You Need to Know Before You Buy
Most solid-body guitars sold today have a scale length of 24.5-25.5 inches. Guitars with an extra string have a scale length of 25.5 to 27 inches as they need more room. An eight-string guitar will have a length of 27 inches or more. Look for an instrument with a 25.5-inch length if you’re a six-string guitar player and want to transition over to this type of guitar. A lower scale will also help you if you have a smaller hand size.
Some of these guitars have what are called fanned frets. The frets, bridge, and nut are installed at various angles. You get shorter scale lengths for the treble side and longer for the bass. This makes both the treble and bass side of the guitar easier to play. You get a great tone and more reliable intonation.
If you have smaller hands you’ll want a nut that is narrower as the guitar will be comfortable for you to play. For those with larger hands, you will want a nut with more width so you have extra space between the frets for your larger fingers. You need to experiment a bit with these instruments to find one that is comfortable for your needs.
The Guitar Neck
The neck on a guitar with an extra string is wider than a traditional instrument. The radius and curvature of the neck may feel exaggerated to you. It may take some time for you to adjust to the neck width. The neck profile is flat and thin. This allows you to pay faster, but the tone may not sound as good to you.
It’s essential that you spend a little extra on a seven-string. Cheap instruments are just not worth it. You can get away with his with a traditional guitar. The truss rod, construction, and materials may not be enough to handle the added string tension these guitars produce. Spend extra and get a high-quality guitar.
Get sets designed for these instruments. This will save you a lot of headaches trying to mix and match sets. Most string manufacturers make sets in various gauges to accommodate your requirements. You will have to experiment a lot with strings until you find sets or thicknesses that you like. The style of music that you play will also factor a lot into your decisions. Try several brands and sets until you find ones that work for you.
It may take you time to get used to a guitar that has more than six strings. 7 strings are not as balanced with your body. This is because they tend to be heavier. You should practice holding the guitar while you are standing up with a good strap. You may find it more comfortable to sit down and play this guitar. If you do plan to play it standing up, it will probably take some time until you get used to it.
The body of this guitar tends to be longer and wider so you have to adjust your comfort level. You want to make sure that the guitar conforms to your body. Don’t wear a strap that is wider than normal as this should improve the comfort level that you have while playing the instrument.
Electronics and Pickups
Most of these guitars do not feature single-coil pickups. They tend to feature dual humbucker pickups. this is because the humbuckers tend to have more output. There are a few of them that do feature single coils but most of them will have humbucker pickups. If you like the sound of single coils your choice of guitars will be more limited.
You can get some of them that have the coil tap feature. This allows you to change a humbucker pickup into the sound of a single-coil pick up with the tap of a button which is usually the tone knob that you push to engage the coil tap.
it can also be a good idea to get a decent amplifier for your new guitar. You’ll want a guitar amp that can handle the different frequencies that 7-string guitars produce. Experiment a lot with your amplifiers and effects to get the sounds that you want.
Who Makes the Best 7 String Guitars?
When looking for the best 7 string guitar you have a lot of options. Most major manufacturers make these instruments. Ibanez, Jackson, ESP/LTD, Schecter, Dean, Ernie Ball Music Man, PS, and Washburn are some companies that make these guitars. Schecter, Jackson, and Ernie Ball Music Man make some of the better instruments, but this all comes down to personal preferences. Play a few of them and see what you like. It will all come down to your own individual needs.
Who Plays a 7 String Guitar?
Steve Vai, Stephen Carpenter, Jeff Loomis, Toin Abasi, Ola Englund, and John Petrucci. There are countless 7-string players. Add your own name to the list and have fun experimenting with one of these great guitars.
Best 7 String Guitar Reviews
1. Schecter Hellraiser C-7 – Best Professional Guitar with 7-Strings
Schecter is one of the leading companies making 7-string style guitars. This instrument features a mahogany back and mahogany top. The fretboard is made out of rosewood. It has plenty to offer today’s experimental guitarist.
This guitar comes with two humbucking pickups. These are professional EMG pickups that have high output. This makes the instrument perfect for many different styles of music. The scale length is 26.5. The instrument has a set neck and it’s easy to play. The bridge system is a Tone-Pro style bridge. There is a volume, two tone controls, and a pickup selector switch. it has a deep double-cutaway to make it easy to access all of the 24 frets. On the trim is a nice herringbone style inlay which adds to the attractiveness of the guitar. When you order you get a limited lifetime guarantee. This is one of the best 7 string electric guitars you can buy.
- Great looking guitar
- Deep cutaway for easy access
- Professional pickups
- No locking nut or whammy bar system
- You need to buy a case for it
2. JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS22-7 – Best Beginner Guitar With 7-Strings
Jackson makes the low-cost Dinky Arch Top JS22-7 for those just getting into guitars with more than 6 strings. This instrument has a lot to offer today’s 7-string beginner.
The body of the instrument is made out of poplar wood. It has a one-piece maple neck. The fingerboard is made with Amaranth. the scale length for this instrument is 26.5. It has great low-end articulation. The popular body is resonant and lightweight. It features 24 jumbo frets as well as piranha tooth inlay for the fretboard markers. The fingerboard is a compound radius so it is perfect for chords or solos. The guitar features two humbucking high output Jackson pickups. You get a 3-way selector switch, tone control, and volume knob. The bridge is a fixed style and it also comes with die-cast tuners. This guitar has everything for the beginner who’s interested in 7 string guitars and just starting to use them.
- Low cost
- Easy guitar for beginners to play
- Good pickups
- Not ideal for pros or experienced 7-string players
- No locking nut
3. ESP LTD MH-417 – Best 7-String for Metal and Hard Rock
ESP LTD is famous for making hard rock and heavy metal style guitar is. many of today’s most popular players use this instrument.
This guitar features a rosewood fingerboard, maple neck, and a mahogany body. It has a neck-through construction and the scale length is 25.5. You get a thin and neck contour and a 24 extra jumbo Frets. The neck itself is comfortable and you’ll find it easy to play. It comes with Grover tuners which help to stabilize the tuning. You get to active EMG pickups which are high output and perfect for many styles of music. It has a 3-way toggle switch as well as a volume and tone control. The bridge on this guitar is a tune-o-Matic style so your guitar isn’t going to go out of tune when you play it. The guitar is suited for any hard rock or heavy metal fan that wants to experiment with their style and try 7-string guitars.
- Great metal guitar
- Double cutaway for easy fret access
- High output pickups
- You have to buy a case
- Could use better fretboard markers
4. Schecter BANSHEE ELITE-7 – Best Guitar with a Locking Nut and Tremolo System
Schecter has a wide range of 7-string guitars that are made to a high quality such as the Schecter Banshee Elite-7 which has a lot of great features for today’s modern guitar player.
One of the best things about this instrument is that it has a Floyd Rose tremolo system as well as a locking nut. This means that you can do a lot of whammy bar dives and tricks with it. A lot of 7-string guitars don’t have the sort of system. You get excellent Schecter USA pickups which sound great. The body is made with swamp ash and has a flamed Maple top. The neck is made with Maple and walnut wood. It also comes with black chrome hardware. The fingerboard is made with ebony wood and you get 24 extra jumbo stainless steel frets. The neck-through construction makes it easy to access all of the higher frets on the instrument. You can get it in six-string, 7-string, and 8-string models. This instrument can cover any style of music and it’s built two very high quality. This is the best 7 string instrument if you want a locking nut system.
- Comes with Floyd Rose locking nut
- Has good pickups
- Looks amazing
- Floyd Rose is hard to tune for beginners
- A little heavy
5. Ibanez RG752AHMNGB RG Prestige – Best Guitar Kit
This 7 string Ibanez is the ideal solution if you’re looking for a guitar kit. It has everything you need in one package to get started playing 7-string style music.
This guitar has an ash body. It has great sustain and a bright tone. It comes with DiMarzio PAF 7 humbucking pickups which give you a nice warm tone. It has a wizard 7 Maple neck and a bird’s-eye maple fingerboard. it also comes with 24 Frets so it’s suitable for all styles of music. It’s perfect for both rhythm guitar and lead guitar. It’s perfect for both rhythm guitar and lead guitar. The bridge is a Low Pro Edge design which is double-locking tremolo to keep the tuning of the instrument stable when dive-bombing. There is 1 tone, one volume, and a pickup selector switch. Extras include a hardshell case, guitar cable, guitar stand, and a tuner. You’re looking to save money and get an excellent guitar kit, this is the one you want to buy.
- Locking nut system
- Good price
- Comes with accessories
- Not as good as other Ibanez 7 strings
- A couple of the accessories are cheap
6. Ibanez Axion Label RGD71ALMS – Best Shred Machine
Looking to take their guitar playing to the next level, you need a high-quality 7-string guitar. Ibanez makes exceptional instruments or today’s modern players such as the Ibanez Axion Label RGD71ALMS. this instrument has everything you need to start reading and playing advanced guitar.
It features a black Aura burst matte finish. The guitar is a solid body and it has a Nyatoh body. the fretboard is made with Madagascar ebony. The neck is a combination of Walnut and Panga. It has Fishman Fluence modern humbucking pickups. The guitar is very easy to play and it has an amazing tone. You can get a wide range of sounds out of the pickups. You can also expand your total range by the push-pull voicing switch. You’ll find this on the master volume control. You going to monorail 7 hardtail bridge. This improves note articulation and maximizes sustained. You get high-quality Gotoh locking tuners so the tuning of the instrument is kept stable. For anyone that is looking to advance their guitar playing, this is an exceptional instrument.
- Modern look and style
- Top-quality pickups
- Premium woods
- Might be too advanced for some players
- There is no case included
You have a lot of choices when it comes to 7 string guitars on the market. You’ll find an excellent instrument for most styles of music. The top pick in our list is the Schecter Hellraiser C-7. The Hellraiser is an excellent instrument. Schecter makes top quality guitars and this is one of the best ones in their 7-string lineup. You’ll find this instrument easy to play and it’s the perfect starting point for anyone looking for a professional guitar setup that features extra strings.
For beginners look at the Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS22-7. It doesn’t have a lot of extras but it’s the perfect solution for those players that are just getting started playing a 7-string style guitar. It’s easy to pick up and play. For those that are looking for a guitar that features a tremolo system, the Schecter Schecter Banshee Elite-7 is a solid choice. Ibanez is a good choice if you want a guitar kit such as the Ibanez RG752AHMNGB RG Prestige.
Take your time with 7-string guitars and get used to them. They are quite different than normal six strings. It’s advisable that you have a little bit of experience with a 6-string before you buy one of these instruments. They are a big step up and many beginners won’t be ready for them at least until they’ve been playing regular guitar for a little while.