Do we really need seven / eight string guitars if we're not using the guitar's extended range?

Discussion in 'Sevenstring Guitars' started by Super Crunchy Studios, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Super Crunchy Studios

    Super Crunchy Studios SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys

    First and foremost: I play a MIJ seven string Jackson COW 7 guitar myself, and I want everybody to play whatever guitar makes them happy.

    I've been playing a seven string for about six months now and I don't find myself making full use of the full range of the instrument. I play my seven like a six string, with the added enjoyment of chugging on a low B instead of a low E.

    I'm aware that a seven offers additional chord voicings in the lower register due to the addition of the low B string, as well as additional chord voicing and lead playing options due to the high E string.

    Now, there are metal guitarists out there who make full use of the whole range of a seven or eight string, and that's awesome. But these seem to be in the minority.

    Most of the time, I've noticed that seven or eight string guitarists don't really make use of the extended range of a seven or eight string guitar. To put it more bluntly, they just chug on the guitar's lowest strings, because br00tz, and that's it.

    So, without wanting to tread on anybody's toes, I'd like to discuss whether seven and eight string guitars aren't a bit of a fad, since most players don't seem making full use of their extended range.

    You see, many metal bands tune six string guitars to B standard or lower. In doing so, they reach the low tuning that a seven offers, without the added complexity (additional high string).

    Now, let's take the hypothetical example of a metal band playing on seven string guitars tuned to B. Let's pretend this band doesn't make use of the seven string guitar's high E string in any of their rhythms or leads. So it kind of begs the question... what exactly is the point of having them playing on seven string guitars? Couldn't they just use a six string tuned to B instead?

    In many cases I don't find production line seven string guitars to even differ that much from their six string counterparts. They'll both have a 25.5 inch scale and active pickups. So, if the high E string isn't being used, what's the point?

    Furthermore, there's no lack of six strings that are built for lower tunings. For example, there are baritone six string guitars with 26.5 inch, 27 inch, or even longer scale lengths, that can most probably match the low tuning of any seven or eight string guitar out there.

    So let's be honest here. Given that a significant portion of players don't seem to be making use of the extended range of seven or eight string guitars, then why are they a thing in the first place?

    Is it because players like the feel of a heftier guitar? Is it because players can buy a guitar off the shelf without having to mess with setup, tuning, intonation to achieve low tunings? Is it because it looks cool on stage?

    If you don't make use of the increased range of a seven or eight string, what exactly is your reason for playing one in the first place?

    Please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to put down anybody's choice of guitar, be it a six, seven, or eight string. Play what makes you happy. I also play a seven string, I like how it feels and plays, and in my opinion it's quite a different instrument than a six string.

    Nonetheless I'd like to understand exactly what is driving the proliferation of seven and eight string guitars, given that their extended range is not always being put to full use.

    Let me know your thoughts.
     
  2. sleewell

    sleewell SS.org Regular

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  3. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Counterpoint:

    A lot of players dont use the whole range of a 6-string either.
     
  4. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    The maker of my Ukelele could have stopped installing frets after the first 5-6.
     
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  5. Humbuck

    Humbuck Can't stop, won't stop

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    This is why there's chocolate AND vanilla.
     
  6. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Isn't this being discussed in another thread already?

    Nevertheless, a guitar is a tool, there are those who like to use professional handheld powertools to fix a chair, or to go to a grocery store with a semi-truck... What is the real use of monster trucks?

    How many of us picked up guitar because it was cool? Same as ERGs.

    I play 7s for quite some time now. The first year was "wasted" on playing my 6 string tunes on it... but I liked the chug on the B2 string...
     
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  7. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    Why is this kind of moronic gatekeeping still up for debate in 2020? ERGs have been around longer than anyone on this board has been alive.

    It's art, it's my choice, sometimes I have a use for it, but I'm not obligated to meet anyone else's standards for the what or how of that process.
     
  8. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    When was the first ERG anyway?
     
  9. eggy in a bready

    eggy in a bready SS.org Regular

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    thread should have been locked after this post
     
  10. gunshow86de

    gunshow86de Beef Jerky Time

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  11. _MonSTeR_

    _MonSTeR_ SS.org Regular

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    Wikipedia points to a patent filed for an 8 string in 1965...
     
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  12. InfinityCollision

    InfinityCollision SS.org Regular

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    Electric 7s date back to the 1930s, with George Van Eps. His signature guitar in the 60s and 70s was the first production electric 7 to my knowledge.

    8s... Ralph Patt did M3 tuning on 8s as early as the 60s, and then a few different designs popped up in the early 90s with tunings closer to current trends. Unsure as to any designs in between.

    Acoustics 7s and 8s of varying designs go back up to 200 years or so in various cultures. Classical ERGs with one or more added low strings have been around for a while, and of course there's the Galbraith/Brahms design beginning in the early 90s that adds one low and one high string.
     
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  13. cip 123

    cip 123 Vendor

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    [​IMG]

    Maestro Alex Gregory has entered the chat
     
  14. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    No, we don't. That's why I have eight different pianos with varying key lengths.

    None of them are full 88-key pianos, though. That would be such a waste, I don't know why they sell them if I don't use every single key in every song.
     
  15. mlp187

    mlp187 Burrito Master Contributor

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    “Because Br00tz” is a good enough reason as any to play an extended range guitar
     
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  16. r3tr0sp3ct1v3

    r3tr0sp3ct1v3 SS.org Regular

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    Guess I don’t need 24 frets and 2 pickups and a tone knob then
     
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  17. Zhysick

    Zhysick SS.org Regular

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    I would be happy with a 4 string, only bridge pickup and one volume knob guitar... 22 frets more than enough... probably 17 are enough BUT the band want me to play some leads and double some melodies with the lead guitar so I need the 6 strings and at least 22 frets.

    Still just the bridge pickup and just one volume knob is what I want.

    Looking for an ESP M-I. Perfect guitar! (and I can tune low for chugga chugga!!! amazing!!! :lol:)
     
  18. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Is this not the premise behind the shovel video?
     
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  19. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    I was just thinking of that a couple of days ago for some reason. Not gonna lie, I really want to try making my own djentstick.
     
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  20. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    I don't mean to sound harsh, but could you please provide links or photos of such instruments? I'm honestly curious on them...
     

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