Thinking of getting a Strandberg... How do their 8-strings compare to other 8s?

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by artorr, Aug 27, 2017.

  1. artorr

    artorr SS.org Regular

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    I've been looking at getting a Strandberg, but not sure whether to go for a 7 or 8-string. I mainly play 7-strings, though I do have an Agile 8-string that I wish I enjoyed enough to make my main guitar.

    My issues with the Agile are that it's quite heavy (around 10lbs), very head-heavy so it tends to dive down, and the neck is a tree trunk. I'm thinking the 8-string Strandberg should solve most of these problems.

    The best answer here is to just try them out myself but there are no shops around me that carry Strandberg.

    What are your experiences with 8-string Strandbergs compared to other 8-string guitars?

    Thanks!
     
  2. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire tinkerer/aspiring builder/8 string hoarder

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    I've owned 3 strandbergs (2 OS and 1 custom shop), 3 kiesel vaders and a pile of other non-headless 8 strings.
    -Personally I didn't find the endurneck beneficial to my playing or any more comfortable than my other 8 string necks.
    -Strap pin placement on the back of the top horn is annoying and I switched it to the tip so it doesn't dig into my chest.
    -Both of the OS8s I owned had very lackluster tops (which apparently isn't an issue with newer models)
    -the input jack placement isn't great for playing classical style imo (if you have a straight cable input).
    -Forearm contour is not as comfy as my other 8 strings (not sloped enough imo)
    -EMG 808x pups sucked, though I liked the x-bars in my other OS8 (not relevant for some of the newer models since they come with fishmans)
    - Tuning stability isn't as good as the hipshot headless system on the vaders (I had to retune my OS8s more frequently than my vaders)
    -Tuners are stiff and less comfortable to use than the hipshot system
    At 2k USD there are better options imo (at least when we talk about older OS models, I have no experience with the new 8 strings and can't comment on them).
    My vaders were comfier, set up better, and better specced for a pretty comparable price to the OS lineup, though I'd recommend buying a used kiesel if you go that route since Kiesel's customer service is pretty hit and miss anymore.
    Hell I have a schecter avenger 8 that was half the price of my OS8s and is a far superior korean made guitar. Better fretwork, no deadspots, better action.
    Basically if you're dead set on getting one, buy a newer model and not an older one, they are far more hit and miss quality wise.
     
  3. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, I'd agree with this. I have one, and while I do like it, and I'm glad I got it, I'm to the point where I have enough 8s in the "regular" category, so I got it just because it's a strandberg. But it's definitely a pricey instrument at $2000. The advantage is the customer service is good, so if you get a dud you can have Ola help you out.
    I also agree that the endureneck didn't benefit me at all. But then, I am super laid back about my neck profiles. Where I'm picky is fretwork and nut height, and those were good.
     
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  4. Ericjutsu

    Ericjutsu SS.org Regular

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    How would you guys say the fretwork is on the OS8s?
     
  5. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire tinkerer/aspiring builder/8 string hoarder

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    Older ones are hit and miss at times. My first OS8 had great fretwork, no sharp edges, no dead spots, frets were all properly seated. Second had some dead spots and a few of the frets were definitely not leveled. The setup was really bad too, it had ridiculously high action. You'll probably be fine with a newer model. If not, at least the guys at strandberg have great customer service and you can just kick it back.
     
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  6. UnstableinLINY

    UnstableinLINY SS.org Regular

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    I just picked up an OS8. I think it's great. It is definitely lightweight and comfortable. I think a vader would be just as nice. I stayed with the strandberg because it came with Lace pickups and for what I am am doing in particular that will work best for me. I am swapping out the bottom pickup for a custom built 8 string dimebucker from seymour duncan. I play through a randall rg3003h with a fortin grind pedal on the front so that pickup is preferable to me.

    Here is a list of ER guitars that I have owned before and pros/cons:

    Ibanez S8QM ==> Pro: Really lightweight and decent fretwork; Con: Really bad neck dive
    Agile Pendulum 92527 (Kahler trem) ==> Pro: Has a trem, action was butter; Con: Heavy, hated the khaler, sound was kind of dead.
    Dean ML 8 string ==> Pro: Neck is super nice and smallest of all 8's I have owned, guitar is well balanced; Con: Fret buzz and some unleveled frets, EMG 808 pickups are not my thing, strings are a little close together.
    Agile Pendulum 82528 ==> Pro: Plays really nice, has an almost gibsony feel; Con: Stock pickups aren't that good, heavy, string slots on nut cut too deep.
    Agile AL-3100MCC (827) ==> Pro: Thinnest neck profile, stock pickups do sound pretty decent for a cheap guitar, as close to an 8 string gibson as you can get; Con: Terrible fretwork (strings get caught under the frets on ends), saddles are actually made of plastic.
    Schecter Hellraiser FR C8 ==> Pro: Action is nice, floyd operates perfectly, great neck and fretwork; Cons: some neck dive, a little heavy.

    After all of those different brands and models I definitely feel like the Boden OS8 is the nicest of the bunch I owned but I would put the schecter up against it as almost as good, half the price, and has a trem. The third runner up for me would be the ML because it is just comfortable and easy to play and that guitar I got for $250.
     
  7. jephjacques

    jephjacques BUTTS LOL

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    Don't drop 2 grand on an OS 8 if you've never really played a decent 8 before, IMO. Schecter, ibanez, and LTD all make some 8-strings that are miles better than an Agile for 1/2 to 2/3 the price of the Strandberg. Shit, you can get a top-tier Ibanez Prestige 8 for way less than a basic-ass Strandy.

    Personally, I've owned 2 custom shop Boden 8s and returned/resold both of them. The Endurneck is cool, I guess, but nothing special beyond novelty IMO. Maybe Fishmans sound better but even the custom Seymour Duncans in my 2nd one sounded bad in that particular guitar. Fanned frets are neat but they're not some amazing gamechanger that will revolutionize your playing.

    The headless design and tiny overall size ARE pretty cool. They're very comfy to play (although I also found the strap pin position annoying) and I didn't run into trouble playing them in classical position. But I'm not convinced the OS series is worth the money. Once they start popping up on the used market that will change, but right now you're paying a premium for hype.
     
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  8. PBC

    PBC Composition Ontology

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    Echo the sentiments of the people here. Don't go all in without decent exposure to a comfortable 8, especially if you mainly play 7 strings at the moment.

    I'd recommend getting a Schecter, Ibanez, or Jackson as a next stepping stone. My Agile's are heavy as well, never encountered a lighter one. Then once you've decided what your needs might be, then go to the upper tier.
     
  9. canuck brian

    canuck brian Bowes Guitars Contributor

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    Quality wise I think they're pretty awesome guitars. I got to work on a couple in the last year and they're infinitely better than the Washburn one that I had.
     
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  10. Ericjutsu

    Ericjutsu SS.org Regular

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    I have a Ibanez Prestige 852 which I really like but would prefer having a longer scale length for the low strings. Is the Boden OS8 going to be a significantly inferior guitar to the Prestige?
     
  11. cubix

    cubix Spring of 86

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    They are on par with any Ibanez Prestige, I would say superior even. Far better quality hardware, and stainless frets alone are much better value.
     
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  12. Gorespe

    Gorespe Chopstix

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    The only advantage that I liked about the Strandberg Boden 8, is that it was stupid light and allowed me to thrash on stage without risk of torquing something.

    I recall back in the day I was playing an Agile 8, and by the time I finished my set, my back was wrecked. Same thing when I owned an old school Schecter Hellrasier C-8. I was pretty much a statue.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    I was not happy with the Boden 8 I had briefly. Just several issues with build quality. Fretwork was a mess so you could not get a low action. Chips missing from fretboard near the nut. Adjusting action was a chore due to the bridge design. Top on the Limited Edition model I had was more like Lackluster Edition.

    Didn't like the Lace pickups, felt they were too low gain and possibly due to the ash body the guitar was lacking something soundwise. Endurneck did absolutely nothing for me. Neck felt too thick near the first few frets. I felt the scale length could be shorter on the high string side. Neck heel protrudes way too high up the fretboard so overall the guitar is nowhere near as ergonomic as they try to make it. My Kiesel Aries AM7 plays and feels better in every way.

    Returned the guitar and ordered a Skervesen Shoggie 8 that I should be receiving sometime in the next few months. Cost me about a grand more than the Korean made Strandberg so I don't think the Strandberg was a very good value. They do have excellent customer service though. Saw some Japanese made Strandbergs in Tokyo recently and they were pretty great.
     
  14. sixesandsevens

    sixesandsevens SS.org Regular

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    I'm gonna break from the pack here and say that the EndurNeck is a big deal to me. I have tried a number of 8 string guitars over the years and the EndurNeck is the first one I wanted to keep playing let alone own.

    I was lucky that my bandmate had one and let me play it for a practice. I played it about three hours that day and decided to buy one. I'm not sure I would have bought it without playing it first.

    I agree that there are quality issues with the older ones in some cases (a few streaks in the finish on the back of mine, a lackluster top on my buddy's) but overall I'm happy with mine for the price I paid (clearance).

    My buddy just bought a new fusion 7 and is really happy with it so far, so hopefully those quality issues are behind them.
     
  15. ite89

    ite89 SS.org Regular

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    Ok, so I do have a few thoughts regarding this topic, I apologize for the long post.

    1. Understand why you are getting a headless guitar in the first place: You've been tuning your guitar with a headstock for as long as you have before you actually bought a headless. I'm still quite accustomed to tuning in this manner. I guess you could compare tuning this the EGS hardware to using fine tuners on a floyd except you're gonna have to get used to the tension that builds up as you tune up the guitar thus making it a little harder to tune.

    Naturally this is the case as with all tuning systems but the my personal issue is that the fine tuners have really sharp threading and as you tune up with more tension it kind of becomes more painful to do so. But this can be rectified with using a hex allen so you won't hurt your fingers. I remember restringing my 8 for the first time, my thumb and index finger had some friction burns from the tuning. After a year I'm sort of used to it! haha I think I've developed callouses around that area as well.

    I guess the main reason you wanna buy a headless is because of the Ergonomics, but understand what particular aspect of being ergonomic are you actually after with a headless? Is it the assurance of not having to deal with a massive neck dive (jackson)? Well a lot of ibanez guitars are very well balanced and will give you the stability you need. Is it the weight relief? The boden is 30-40% lighter than most production 8 string guitars. Personally, i was playing an Ibanez an RG8 before getting a boden and I was really bothered by the weight of the guitar particularly when standing up. Is it the multiple playing positions that the body shapes allow? Well as with most 27-28 inch scale guitars your fretting hand actually overextends, so you feel a lot of tension around your shoulder. The "ideal" position (don't quote me on this) is having a neck that does not extend beyond your fretting hand shoulder. This is so that you won't have to excessively externally rotate your shoulder joint. The strandberg does this in all of its suggested playing positions.

    2. Fanned Frets: There are so many guitar manufacturers out there who offer multi scale/fanned fret instruments for a reasonable price. But you will have to understand the difference in the actual "fan" as the degree of which will need some adjustment. Fan is also determined by where the parallel fret is. I've tried the Ibanez Fanned Ironlabel, the scale i think is 27-25.5? The fan was a little more pronounced than the 28-26.5 in my opinion. I prefer a little more tension on my 8th string so I like the feel of the strandberg more.

    3. Setting up: Setting up is a little bit more cumbersome. In order to adjust the action on the bridge you will have to unlock the saddle before you can actually move the height adjustment. Setting up intonation is a little but more difficult because you will have to remove the string, loosen the locking mechanism and manually move the bridge. I find it more difficult because you don't have the springs to counter when you're adjusting the intonation so you're kind of just eyeballing the distance. But, after setup is complete you will hardly ever need to adjust anytime soon. I've had the guitar for a year, I've only set it up once. With regards to tuning stability, I remember not using the guitar for more than a month due to clinical duties and when I did pick it up it was perfectly in tune.

    4. Pickups: You have so many more options now as they now offer suhr, fishman, lace, duncan and EMG's. Good pickups stock are a good bonus but let's be honest, it's the one of the things about a guitar that you can easily change if you wanted to. I loved the lace pickups mine came with, lots of clarity and dynamics.

    5. ENDURNECK: This is very controversial because some players are not picky with their neck profiles. I used to believe that the thing that makes a guitar a good one is how good the neck feels. The endurneck may be the thinnest neck you will encounter and the thickest one as well. A lot of players say that it actually helped fix their guitar fretting hand technique, thumb positioning in particular. But this is something that you can eventually develop on a traditional neck. So IMHO, it does help! but does it offer a significant advantage over all other necks? to me not really.

    TLDR: Try one for yourself and see how you personally feel about it because THAT is the most important thing. Good luck with your decision my friend.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
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  16. Casper777

    Casper777 Slow Player

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    Another thing to add, headless makes a lot of sense for 8 strings where you typically speak about 28" scale length... avoiding the headstock keeps your guitar size under "control"
     
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  17. travis bickle

    travis bickle SS.org Regular

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    let's hope PT Cort comes through, I just placed an order for a new Boden Original 8 through the Strandberg website. I've had bad experiences with Indonesian made Ibanez guitars in the past, but I hope they have improved since, and I do realize it was a bottom rung model (rg321mh).
     

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