Blog: Why Do I Need A Seven-String Guitar?

Simon Hetherington talks about seven-string guitars - and why YOU need one   12-Feb-14

Blog: Why Do I Need A Seven-String Guitar?

Amped blogger Simon Hetherington made the decision to buy a seven-string guitar 10 years ago, and hasn't looked back since. Here he muses on what the next year will hold in store for players of extended range guitars...

Why do you need a 7 string?

This is what I was always asked for the last 10 years since I've been playing 7-string guitar. Since then there have been 8-string guitars and now at NAMM 2014 Ibanez and Schecter have released 9-string guitars.

When I bought my first 7-string I was able to pick one up cheap as they weren't that popular at the time, then shortly after they became rare, now they are more popular than ever.

Ibanez, Schecter, Jackson, PRS, Dean, BC Rich, and Chapman all have released new 7-string models which is really good to see.

You can now pick up a 7 and 8 in all price ranges from budget instruments to high end with a good variety of shapes and tones.

The amount of available signature series guitars is impressive, this year Ola Englund has a new signature from Washburn and there are two new ibanez Korn Signature models and a cheaper Meshugga model. Keith Merrow and Jeff Loomis have new Schecter signatures.

Progressive metal seems to be the dominant scene pushing the extended range instruments, artists such as Tobin Abassi, Messhuga, Periphery and instrumental artists such as Tony Mc Alpine, and Steve Vai.

Randall have released the Satan Ola Englund signature amp which has separate gain controls for the added low and regular frequency ranges.

Personally I think this is a great idea to make use of the tonal ranges of 7 and even 8-string guitars. Schecter also have the Hellraiser amp with different EQ options for 6, 7, and 8-string guitars.

My predictions for next year would be a continued development of the 7 and 8-string ranges with Ibanez possibly releasing one with a Korg Kaoss pad built in.

Schecter and Ibanez further developing their 9-string ranges with cheaper models, I expect maybe Jackson to release a prototype 9-string. More amps being developed to handle the broad range of frequencies. A bigger range of pickup options from EMG, Seymour Duncan, Di Marzio and Bareknuckle Pickups.

What I would like to see is more contemporary designs on traditional shapes. The telecaster seems to be a popular shape second to the super strat shape but I would like Fender to make their own 7-string telecaster and a 7-string Jaguar based on the Jim Root signature.

There are plenty of models for metal genres but more needs to be released for the alternative market. I would also like to see preamps and distortion pedals specifically designed for extended range instruments.

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