Investing in the best 7-string guitar is just as essential for anyone who is serious about playing djent, progressive metal, death metal, or even nu-metal. A seven-string electric guitar will enable you to cover some bass range without necessarily having to learn an entirely new instrument, a bass guitar. In fact, most guitarists would only take a few hours to familiarise themselves with this enjoyable guitar; its wider neck and that extra string.
Seven-string acoustic guitars date as far back as the early 19th century. The first mass-produced electric version arrived in the 1990's courtesy of Japanese manufacturers Ibanez. It was developed with Steve Vai, who was already using its prototypes, the new Ibanez Universe model; a model that would go on to inspire great new tones and sounds.
And before long, bands such as the Dream Theater, Korn, and Meshuggah came to popularise the heaviness of the earth-shaking, down-tuned riffs that you can tap into using the best 7-string guitars. So if your current six-string electric guitar is seriously lacking in its low-end department, then lucky for you, a versatile guitar such as the 7-string guitar can help you unlock a whole new crazy level of heaviness.
We live in the golden age of having other extended range guitars, with the likes of Jackson, Ibanez, ESP/LTD, and other companies offering some of the best 7-string guitars covering all the price points. And here's a list of the best 7-string guitars you should look out for.
1. Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK2 Modern Ash HT7 7-String Electric Guitar
- Ash Dinky Body w/ Baked Blue Color
- 26.5" Scale Satin 3-Piece Maple/Wenge/Maple Neck w/ 12"-16" Compound Radius...
- Dual Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-CO7 Pickups
- Hipshot 7 - Fixed .175 Bridge & Gotoh Locking Tuners
- Case Not Included
Characterized by its lightweight swamp ash body and heavyweight tone, the Jackson ranks high as one of the best 7-string guitars. It went all-in at this year’s NAMM show while introducing all kinds of shreddable for your discerning pleasure. The updates to the Dinky Series do take the cake, though; the sand-blasted, 7-string Super Strat and its ever-popular Dinky body shape that houses a pair of active Fishman fluence humbuckers.
Of course, the finishes are super cool, but those active pickups will handle all the bass-heavy riffs that the djent lovers adore. It comes with a multi-voice functionality that can be accessed using the tone control’s coil tapping in positions one and five, which are allied to the single-coil tones. These features make this Dinky signature guitar one versatile and impressive guitar.
It plays pretty great, too, with a wide neck, fat frets, a flat fingerboard radius, all in a compact Dinky body that is bound to take your 7-string game further.
2. PRS SE Mark Holcomb 7-string guitar
- 20” Fingerboard Radius
- 26.5” Scale Length
- Signature Seymour Duncan “Alpha & Omega” Pickups
- Top Wood: Beveled Maple Top w/ Quilted Maple or Walnut Veneer; Back: Mahogany;...
- Includes PRS SE Gig Bag
Here's another exemplary 7-stringer guitar that'll truly give you versatile sounds with this signature extended range guitar. The Holcomb by PRS Guitars plays metal which is a plus for all the metal players. With the Holcomb’s smart pairing of a Seymour Duncan Alpha humbucker and Seymour Duncan Omega humbucker on its neck and bridge positions, it offers heaps of grunt and a coil tap on hand for a single-coil sparkle.
It has an excellent build with excellent tones, such flawless finish, and as you’d expect, it excels at the tones that tech-metal guitars are well known for. In addition, it has plenty of versatility that comes with a split-coil mode that taps into the more glassy tones.
The passive Seymour Duncan humbuckers are incredibly responsive and musical compared to the more compressed ceramic and active-equipped metal band guitars out there.
3. Ibanez Premium Steve Vai Universe UV70P
- Quilted Maple Art Grain top
- 24 frets
- High output Infinity R pickups
Quilted-maple fingerboard finery with smart switching at its entry-level price point. According to some, the Ibanez Premium Steve Vai Universe UV70P is an original and still one of the world’s best 7-string guitars. Moreover, it was a futuristic guitar that could harness the power of the previously untapped registers.
Also, if you're a beginner and on a strict budget, then getting this 7-stringer guitar is definitely your best bet. It has a quilted maple veneer with a transparent blue burst finish and a neat F107 hard-tail.
It is one of the best 7-string guitars that are worth your while in the modding time, and its American basswood body resonates really well while its panga panga fretboard sounds really close to rosewood. It comes with an HSH configuration that also means that there’s plenty of tonal ground to be covered, from the spikey in-betweens to the full-fat humbuckers.
4. Schecter Guitar Research DEMON-7 Electric Guitar
- BodyBody shape: Double cutawayBody type: Solid bodyBody material: Solid woodTop...
If you’re looking for a masterful metal guitar, then the Schecter Demon-7 electric guitar is definitely what you are looking for. It not only gives you a master tone but is also a mainstay. One that many artists, including Synyster Gates, Zacky Vengeance, and Jerry Horton, have had for good company.
This new guitar packs a lot for a compact instrument with a swamp ash body and the flamed maple top, which feel really comfortable and lightweight. Unfortunately, its carbon fiber reinforcement means that this flat neck is as flat as it gets and actually stays that way.
It comes with a neck-through construction for maximum resonance and ultra access through the highest frets. This beautiful but simple guitar also comes loaded with its set of Schecter Diamond Active HB-1055 humbuckers that are high-output pickups that most certainly impress, with plenty of clarity in higher frequencies. Additionally, this 24-fret fast maple neck does feel quite comfortable for a 7-string at this price point and would certainly suit most 6-string players.
The Schecter Demon-7 electric guitar also comes with a Floyd Rose 1500 Series bridge, which adds to the amount of expression this beautiful, versatile instrument can.
5. Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci 7-String Electric Guitar Arctic Dream
Crafted in ESP’s Tokyo factory, the Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty 7-String electric guitar rightfully earns its place in being one of the best good-looking seven-strings. If money is really no object, this is definitely the best 7-string to splurge on. Everything from its design to its construction, its fit and feel are incredible.
The DiMarzio blaze pickups coupled with its signature byzantine switching system offers you a beautiful cornucopia of tones, either metal and otherwise, while its in-built adjustable boost will be sure to help your solos work through the mix.
The Piezo-equipped floating vibrato makes the sound just classy and allows Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci some acoustic tones. It's also powered by a pair of some direct-mounted Bare Knuckle Warpig 7st pickups which still manage to sound brilliant despite being quite high in output.
Factors to Consider When Getting the Best 7-String Guitar
A) Neck shape
One of the most important things to consider when getting seven-string guitars is the shape of the neck. A 7 string will have a wide neck than its 6-string counterpart. The shape of the neck makes quite a difference in how comfortable the guitar is while you play. If you have storky hands, then you won’t need to think about that part, but if your hands are relatively smaller, then make sure that you choose a guitar with a comfortable and suitable neck.
B) Fanned frets
You might have seen some guitars with fanned frets and wondered what the big deal was with these frets. Basically, the idea behind fanned frets or multiscale guitars is that the longer the scale, the more string tension increases. Meaning, if the scale is too short on a 7 string, then the low string might feel a little loose.
A multiscale guitar should allow you a nice tight tension on the lower strings and much lower tension on the higher strings. As you might have imagined, playing the guitar with fanned frets is quite different from playing one with normal parallel frets.
Some guitarists prefer them, and others don't. So as much as there are some benefits to using a multiscale guitar, you also need to decide whether these benefits are worth that change in the feel.
C) Scale Length
Scale length is the distance between the bridge and nut. Most 7-string guitars have a longer scale length that measures between 25.5-27 inches. The slight differences in scale length does immensely influence the feel of the tone, string, and character of harmony or voices.
The difference in even as small as a quarter an inch will affect the guitar sound. For this reason, always purchase the guitar with an idea of what tone you'd want that is conscious of your playing style. Additionally, if you’re a 6-string guitarist who's looking to transition to the 7-string easily, then consider selecting a 25.5 inch 7-stringer guitar.
A minor scale length difference from the 6-string guitar will always allow for quick transitioning. In addition, most guitar companies now offer fanned fret guitars with multiple scaled fingerboards. Meaning that the bridge, nuts, and frets in many seven-string guitars are all installed at varying angles. The synchronization of different scale lengths in one guitar allows for an excellent tonal range.
Comfort is vital as you play any instrument. Always make sure that your guitar is as comfortable to you in every possible way before purchasing it. To check, try it on at the shop just to feel how heavy or balanced it feels.
Generally, most 7-string guitars will feel more substantial and even more extensive than the regular 6-strings. However, since it's too hard to find a light seven-string guitar, consider purchasing a wider strap. Using a wider strap or wearing your guitar higher or closer to your body should help compensate for that extra weight.
You may also find that, at times, the guitar isn’t balanced. This imbalance is probably due to the neck size being a bit longer, resulting in its headstock diving downwards. In the end, this might mean that you'll have to continually hold it with your fretting hand, which can be quite strenuous.
Frequently Asked Questions on The Best Seven-String Guitars
1. Is a seventh-string guitar harder to use?
Seven-string models aren't harder than the 6-string guitars to play. However, it may feel a little different due to the extra one string and wider fretboard. If you want, you can learn and play a 7-string electric guitar the same way you would play 6-string electric guitars.
2. Are 7-string electric guitars good for beginners?
You won't even notice the change with the right guitar, so it's perfectly okay to learn using a 7-stringer guitar. You'll still learn whatever you would have learned on a six-string guitar, plus have the advantage of also knowing how to use the seventh string in music and technique.