In a world of ever-evolving music, it’s important to know the things you can benefit from 7-string guitars. This feature talks about some of the things you should look for in a stringed axe. Read on to find out more!
Overview (Seven String Guitars)
There has never been a more perfect time to practice and learn guitar than today.
Thanks to a lot of artists and musicians who dedicated their time and passion to the instrument, a lot of people became invested in improving the existing range of the guitar.
Whether it be acoustic or electric, there’s just something about the instrument that makes you want to freely express who you are as an artist. For singer-songwriters, the acoustic guitar became a perfect tool for them to be able to bring out their art to the world. Think Damien Rice, think Ed Sheeran, think Taylor Swift, and think Jason Mraz and James Taylor.
These are just some of the best acoustic singer-songwriters who got popular wielding the instrument!
And don’t get me started on the electric guitar players.
We’re talking about Jimi Hendrix. John Mayer. John Petrucci. Jimmy Page. Slash. B.B. King. Eric Clapton. Eddie Van Halen. Just some of the greats!
They were responsible for bringing some of the most memorable tunes that we enjoy to this day. Of course, they all had their expensive amps and pedals and racks and all of the gear that made it possible for them to produce some of the most iconic sounds ever known to mankind.
But sometimes, even the things that these icons use can be improved and pushed to the limit.
Thanks to the ever-so-evolving nature of music, we have now the option to extend the ranges of our beloved instruments.
That’s right, we’re talking about 7-string guitars!
But how will you know if a 7-string guitar is for you? Do you need to master the traditional 6-string first before trying a 7-string variant for yourself?
We are going to try and figure all of that and more today as we discuss and take a look at some of the best 7-string guitars available out there today.
Ideally, a good 7-string for me should be comfortable to play for hours. It should also have a great build, and should sound just as precious as my normal guitar.
Who knows? Maybe a 7-string is what you needed after all!
Let’s jump right into it and get shredding!
Short History (Seven Strings)
Initially, the idea of having a 7-string guitar was born out of a concept to add certain ranges to an existing 6-string guitar. It was made to either add low-end (or a usual low B string) and also to add a range in the treble territory.
It started out during the Renaissance period (c. 1400–1600 CE) when a lot of European guitars usually had four courses. The 7-string instrument eventually garnered popularity in Russia, as it is incorporated into a variety of schools
Mass production became popular however when guitarist Steve Vai introduced his signature Universe in 1990.
Buying Guide (Extended Range Guitars)
Just like any other feature in our similarly-titled write-ups, one of the major things you should always consider is your budget.
A lot of times, we musicians get so caught up with features and design that we forget that sometimes, we can only afford budget-friendly options! But never let this be an issue for you to improve your skills and who knows? You might save up enough for a signature series soon! Luckily, a lot of companies and manufacturers produce affordable 7-strings with great value, so be sure to be on the lookout for those units and models!
The next thing is your skillset, playing style, and experience. It’s totally understandable to be floored by the tight chugging sounds of a 7-string, but what if you’re really more into acoustic guitars? Or the blues? Or even Strats and Teles? All of these contribute to your style. So best be sure to research some of the benefits and offerings that best suit your skillset and sound!
And then, of course, there will be more technical aspects to the buying guide, like wood, pickups, neck feel, and scale length. All of these will affect your playing comfort and sound, and each brand can offer something different than the other in terms of construction and build, so best be sure to check out all of these factors before purchasing.
With all of the nitty-gritty things out of the way, let’s get into the roundup of some of the best 7-string guitars out there today!
Spearheading our roundup is an offering from Jackson – a brand popular among metalheads!
It boasts an eye-catching swamp ash body, an ebony fingerboard, 24 jumbo nickel frets, and 2 Fishman Fluence Humbuckers.
For the hardware, the DK Modern Ash HT7 sports a black Floyd Rose 1000 Series 7-String Double-Locking Recessed Tremolo, making it perfect for that metal aesthetic feel.
To top it all off, this offering from Jackson boasts volume, tone with push-pull coil-tap and voicings switch, to go along with a 5-way selector.
Another particular name popular among metaliers, Shecter raises the standards for 7-string variants everywhere with this unit.
The Hellraiser C-7 has a mahogany body to go along with a glossy white finish. Players who have a fondness for heavy and tight tones would be glad to know that the Hellraiser C-7 houses EMG Active 707tw Humbucker pickups for both neck and bridge options.
It has a rosewood fingerboard, 24 X-Jumbo frets, with coil-tap volume controls and a tone knob. You won’t also have a hard time being comfortable playing, thanks to its set neck C shape. Overall, a versatile unit from Schecter.
It’s almost difficult to talk about overdrives, guitars and metal, and 7-stringed instruments without mentioning something from Ibanez.
Boasting an iconic Transparent Black or Transparent Blue Burst, the GIO GRG7221QA sports a maple bolt-on neck, Treated New Zealand pine fingerboard, 24 jumbo frets, and 2 Infinity R Humbuckers.
This is regarded as one of the most popular 7-string guitars for beginners, all thanks to its price, sound quality, and overall build. After all, it is from Ibanez, so you’re pretty much purchasing with confidence.
Cort offers a unique approach to the 7-string instrument with the KX500MS.
Immediately grabbing the attention of musicians thanks to its fanned frets, the KX500MS comes in swamp ash with poplar burl top body, a five-piece bolt-on Maple or Amaranth neck, a Macassar ebony fingerboard, 2 EMG 707 pickups, with a choice between Star Dust Green or Star Dust Black finishes.
What makes this unit shine is the multi-scale feature, allowing you to switch between low or high end options.
If you’re ready to invest in a quality and great-sounding 7-string, then this signature offering from PRS can be the one you’re looking for, and it’s the one completing our roundup!
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb signature guitar takes pride in being versatile.
It comes in mahogany with maple top and quilted maple veneer body, 24 extra-jumbo frets, and Chrome, PRS String-Through plate style hardware.
This unit from PRS also incorporates two Seymour Duncan pickups – Alpha humbuckers for the neck, and Omega humbuckers for the bridge.
To top it all off, it offers a master volume and push/pull coil-split for the master tone, making it versatile for cleans and heavy chugging.
The signature offering from Periphery’s axeman shines best with voicings and tight riffs.
With everything going on in the music world, it’s only normal to keep exploring and looking for new things to try! Hopefully, this feature was enough to let you know some of the best offerings out there today in the 7-string guitar world. Have fun trying some of them out for yourself!