With the advent of heavier genres of music that are utilizing increasingly low tunings, a 7-string guitar is quickly becoming a must have accessory if you want to play along with your favorite modern heavy rock and metal acts. As guitars (and basses) with extra strings have become more popular it’s gotten harder and harder to know what brands are producing quality instruments and what brands are just trying to capitalize on the latest craze.
If you’ve ever had a hard time trying to choose the best 7 string guitar for your needs, you’ve come to the right place! This article will give you all the information that you need to make an informed purchase, as will as give you five great recommendations to help aid you in your search!
- Why Would I Need A 7-String Guitar?
- What Should I Look For In A 7-String Guitar?
- Uses of 7-String Guitars
- How Did We Select Our Recommendations?
- The Five Best 7-String Guitars
Why Would I Need A 7-String Guitar?
A 7-string guitar allows you to utilize a string that is tuned lower (generally a fifth) than the 6th string on a regular guitar. This is helpful for getting tones that are lower than what you’d find on your run of the mill electric.
A 7-string is pretty much required if you want to play certain types of hard rock because there’s a limit to how low you can tune your guitar before you lose definition and sustain. Sure, it’s possible to tune your guitar down to B standard (the same intervals as standard tuning but much lower) it just generally results in a flabby and muddy tone. You can somewhat compensate for this by using a heavier gauge set of string (strings that are bigger around) but there’s a limit to how much that’s going to help you.
What Should I Look For In A 7-String Guitar?
7-string guitars really aren’t that much different from any other guitar, you just have to be more careful. Just like acoustic 12-strings, 7-string guitars are under more pressure than they’re six string counterparts. So you need to make sure that you’re going to find something that’s going to hold up under that extra tension. Most brands compensate for this, just make sure that you invest in a reputable brand. Epiphone is a great example of this, and they’ve turned out their fair share of great 7-strings that won’t hurt your wallet too bad. Maestro? Not so much.
Apart from that, just check for the things you’d look for in any other guitar. Make sure that every note frets cleanly up and down the neck. Check for things like rust or stiff tuners. And definitely look as close as you can to make sure that there isn’t any structural damage like cracks or warping.
Uses of 7-String Guitars
While 7-string guitars are generally used by musicians in heavier genres of music, they do actually have some use to the average musician as well. 7-string guitars are great if you want to use some different chord voicings for jazz, and having that lower string is definitely a huge help if you want to bust out some walking bass lines.
The only downside is that most 7-string guitars are built with hotter pickups, meaning that the pickups themselves are geared more towards heavy music. It’s really easy to switch out pickups however, and if you don’t feel like trying your hand at it there are actually a few companies turning out 7-string guitars aimed at jazz musicians.
How Did We Select Our Recommendations?
As always, we try to make sure that we have something on our list that appeals to everyone. We try to make sure that people who can’t justify dropping $3,000 on a guitar can still find something off of our articles that will work for them. Just keep in mind that the best option for you may not be the best option for your neighbor, and vice versa.
The Five Best 7-String Guitars
Having trouble deciding which 7-string guitar is the right choice for you? If so, you’re in luck! The five recommendations below are all great buys and have all gotten huge amounts of praise from both members of the Reverb community and the buying public at large.
Jackson JS22-7 Dinky
ESP LTD M-17 Black 7 String Guitar
Sterling by Music Man JP70 7-String Electric Guitar
Epiphone Mett Heafy Les Paul Custom 7 String Guitar