Best 7 string guitar

7 string guitar

Want to find the best 7 string guitar? Then you’re in the right place. In this product review, we’re going to show you 8 of the best 7 string guitars, why you might want to buy a 7 string guitar and some helpful tips and tricks that will help you master your electric guitar purchase.

What is a 7 string guitar?

A 7 string guitar is very similar to a standard guitar, however, you guessed it, it has 7 strings instead of 6.

Usually, a 6 string guitar would be tuned as follows: E, A, D, G, B & E. However, a 7 string guitar is tuned like this: B, E, A, D, G, B & E. This low B adds thickness and depth to your tone and sounds huge.

However, this isn’t the only that these guitars can be tuned. Some 7 string guitarists will tune their B string down to an A note, this is known as ‘Drop A’ tuning and sounds suitably demonic.

With that in mind, let’s look at what the best seven string axes are.

Best Premium Seven String Guitar

Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty


John Petrucci is arguably one of the best guitarists on the planet today. Most known for his work with Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment and his own solo work, John Petrucci’s guitar playing is lightning fast with extreme precision and clarity.

Teaming up with Ernie Ball Music Man, John Petrucci has created one of the best 7 string guitars available on the market today.

The Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty is the creme de la creme of seven-string guitars and is only one of the best 7 string guitars available. Although it is expensive and may only be considered by professional musicians and fans of Petrucci’s work, when you dive into the specifications, you soon see why it is at such a price.

As expected, the guitar is made in the U.S.A and features a basswood maple top body and flame maple top neck. The guitar also uses Dimarzio Illuminators, piezo pickup and onboard gain boost of up to 20db. The electric pickups are coil splittable, this provides the guitar with excellent versatility and works well for a variety of genres, not just metal.

As well as this, we have a 25.5″ scale length with a neck radius of 17″. The extra string of course allows for a deeper radius but it isn’t too far from a standard six-string, so players new to the 7-string game can easily adjust.

If the colour doesn’t appeal to you, Musicman also offers many other choices of colours with these 7 string guitars. These models include a quilted maple top, as well as exotic colour choices like Hydrospace, Titan Blue, Lava Flow and Ember Glow.

Clearly influenced by the floyd rose system, the floating tremolo bridge allows for dive-bombs and shimmering chords, all while staying perfectly in tune.

Our main criticism of this 7 string electric guitar, is simply how expensive it is. If you’re just dipping your toe into low-tuned waters, this guitar may not be for you. However, if you’re an experienced 7-string virtuoso or just a manic dream theater fan, this guitar is worth checking out.

Pros

  • Available in a wide range of interesting colours including, Arctic Dream, Polar Noir and Glacial Frost as well as other exotic quilted maple tops.
  • Features a floating tremolo with its own built-in piezo system.
  • Build quality is excellent with a neck-through scale, basswood body and 24 medium jumbo frets.
  • The addition of Dimarzio pickups offer outstanding tonal quality and are perfect for metal and lead guitar playing.

Cons

  • Some could consider this guitar to be too expensive.
  • Although the body shape helps playability, the design isn’t for everyone.

Best 7 String Guitars Under $500

Schecter C7 Deluxe


Schecter guitars are the unsung heroes of the guitar manufacturer world. Initially started as a guitar repair shop for Gibson, Fender and other existing guitars in Van Nuys, California. However, since the early 80s, they have gone from strength to strength in building guitars, basses, amps and effects at a range of prices.

One of their best 7 string guitars is the Schecter C7 deluxe.

The Schecter C7 Deluxe is one of the best 7 string guitars for players who are wanting to get into 7 string guitar playing without having to put out too much financially.

In terms of specification, this 7 string electric guitar is simple and straight to the point. Featuring either a satin white or satin black finish, chrome hardware, bolt-on neck with a rosewood fretboard, basswood body, tune-o-matic string through bridge and Schecter’s own diamond plus magnetic pickups. The guitar is extremely solid and designed to work extremely well with heavy rock and metal genres.

On many guitars in this price range, the 7th string can often buzz and be a little loose to play. And although there is a little buzz on this instrument, overall the set up of the guitar feels tight and firm. As well as this, you get a reassuring low-end bark that you would expect from 7 string guitars.

The playability of this guitar is excellent. With smooth frets, a comfortable neck and sturdy tuners, the guitar performs exceptionally well. Although the pickups do lack a little clarity compared to higher-end models, they’re perfectly adequate and will do the job for heavier genres of music.

Often, guitars in this price range can be accused of having too much of a gloss finish. However, Schecter has gone the other way and provided a satin finish. This feels classy and elegant and allows for a pleasurable playing experience.

Overall, if you are new to the extended range market, this is one of the best 7 string guitars in this price range.

Pros

  • Available in both black and white.
  • Features a tune-o-matic bridge, graphite nut and string-through body to improve tuning stability.
  • The longer scale of 26.5″ and a thin C shape neck ensure excellent playability.
  • No unnecessary flashy parts, just a straightforward rock machine that you can rely on.

Cons

  • The seventh string can buzz slightly.
  • The pickups could be of higher quality, however at this price they’re perfectly adequate.
  • No gothic cross inlays like on other models.

Best 7 String Guitars For Versatilty

Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Ash HT7


With the influence of Eddie Van Halen, Jackson initially rose to fame during the 80s with several super-strat models. They were initially founded by Grover Jackson in 1980 in California, however, in 2002 they were purchased by Fender.

Over the years, these electric guitars have been used by famous artists on the metal scene. This includes Mick Thomson (Slipknot), Misha Mansoor (Periphery) and Phil Collen (Def Leppard), as well as a whole host of other famous guitarists.

One of their most famous models is the ‘Dinky’. This is available as a six-string guitar, however, the model we’re going to be focusing on today is the Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Ash HT7.

The Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern ASH HT7 is a seriously impressive guitar and manages to strike the balance between excellent craftsmanship at an accessible price. Although the guitar is above $800, the specification speaks for itself and is one of the best 7 string guitars for guitarists who want a gigging and recording axe that will handle any musical situation that you can throw at it.

The body woods on this guitar are perfect for the modern guitarist. Featuring a sandblasted ash body in a transparent blue burst, bolt-on three-piece neck made of maple and wenge with reinforced graphite and a satin finish, the guitar plays beautifully and works perfectly for guitarists who like to fly around the fretboard and play crushing riffs.

In addition, the slightly longer scale length of 26.5″, 12″-16″ compound radius, ebony fingerboard and 24 frets mean that the guitar feels extremely stable in lower tunings and doesn’t succumb to buzzes on the other extended range guitars can fall victim to.

As well as this, the Fishman fluence open core bridge and neck pickups. These pickups are controlled by the guitars five-way blade selector switch, single volume and tone control and a push/pull system to access coil split tones. This makes the instrument extremely versatile compared to many seven-string guitars and as a result, you can access searing leads, chugging rhythms and sparkling cleans.

Furthermore, the tuning stability on this axe is exceptional. This is helped by the hipshot bridge, lock tuners and graphtech tusq nut. However, one small criticism that we have of this model is that there aren’t many colour options available and if you want to transport it from studio to stage, you’ll have to invest in a case.

Despite this, we still believe this is one of the best 7 string guitars, so if you’re looking for a quality electric guitar, the Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Ash HT7 should definitely be on your list to check out.

Pros

  • Fishman fluence pickups and the 5-way selector switch and push-pull function on the tone control allow for a range of guitar tones.
  • Hipshot 7 bridge, Gotoh machine heads and Floyd rose locking nut offer excellent tuning stability.
  • The body is made of swamp ash, neck is a 3 piece bolt-on maple neck made of maple and wenge and the 24 jumbo frets allow guitarists to gain the full frequency spectrum of the instrument.

Cons

  • Gig bags and hard cases have to be purchased separately.
  • Limited colour range for 7 string guitars.

Best 7 String Guitars For Shred

Ibanez Universe Steve Vai 7 String Guitar


Out of all the guitar greats, Steve Vai has pushed guitar music to places that are unimaginable. Producing virtuosic songs such as ‘Tender Surrender’, ‘For The Love of God’ and also being responsible for that iconic guitar battle in the film ‘Crossroads’. Steve Vai is easily one of the best guitarists in the world.

Vai was one of the first guitarists to popularise the 7 string guitar, so it’s no wonder that he has his own signature model with Ibanez.

The Ibanez Universe Steve Vai signature guitar was one of the first commercially available 7 string guitars. The addition of the low B string, basswood body, rosewood fingerboard, 5 piece maple and walnut neck with KTS titanium rods scale and Dimarzio pickups make this the perfect shred machine.

Crafted in Japan, the Universe model is an enjoyable guitar and could be exactly what you are looking for if you’re a huge Steve Vai fan.

The guitar is fitted with an edge-zero II-7 bridge and locking tuners designed exclusively by Ibanez, so if you’re into aggressive dive-bombs and advanced tremolo techniques, the Ibanez Universe can handle it with ease.

The Dimarzio pickups work fantastic for many genres of metal guitar. Although not suitable for more modern genres like death metal and djent, the neck pickup delivers liquid-like leads, where as the bridge is perfect for progressive rock riffs that Vai is so famous for. As well as this the single coil allows for more blended clean tones too.

In addition, the guitar is extremely lightweight and the frets have been treated to premium treatment, meaning the neck of the guitar is smooth and effortless to play.

Although this is a fantastic guitar, the green colour scheme can look a little garish. From green pickups, tone knobs and a green dot inlay frets it definitely does standard out from the crowd. However, you can’t deny that you would be able to see your frets with ease on a dark stage.

Overall, it’s hard to deny Vai’s influence on metal guitars and the Universe model is one of the best 7 string guitars available for virtuosic playing.

Pros

  • Dimarzio blaze bridge, middle and neck pickups ensure maximum tonal quality.
  • The floyd rose bridge enables dive bombs and tremolo techniques with limited tuning fluctuation.
  • The 5 piece wizard neck is extremely thin and perfect for fast-paced solos.
  • Excellent build quality and surprisingly simple to use.

Cons

  • The black and green colour scheme isn’t for everyone.
  • Doesn’t work well for more extreme genres of metal.

Best Signature Seven String Guitar

PRS SE Mark Holcomb


Since the development of tech metal and ‘djent’, the band Periphery have been at the forefront of the genre since the early 2010s.

Although Misha Mansoor was initially the main writer for the band, in 2011 Mark Holcomb joined Periphery as a stand-in for guitarist Alex Bois. Later in 2012 he became a full-time member and has since been a key contributor to their recordings and live work.

As one of the pioneers of the genre, it’s no wonder that Mark Holcomb now has his own signature with PRS.

The PRS SE Mark Holcomb 7 string is one of the best 7 string guitars available. The guitar itself has many key features that make it stand out in the guitar world. This includes a flamed maple top that sits on top of the mahogany body, maple neck, ebony fretboard, 24 frets, 26.5″ scale and PRS’s famous bird inlays.

The guitar comes in both a purple natural fade that looks extremely attractive and a natural satin finish. So whether you want something that is simple and understated or a more striking flamed maple top neck, both options are available to players.

The guitar works extremely well for pretty much every playing style in the metal genre. This is of course helped by the addition of Mark’s signature Seymour Duncan pickups, with these jumbo pickups, you are able to coil tap them to give a wider breadth of tones. As well as this the wide thin neck is very comfortable and works fantastic for high-paced metal.

However, some users have complained about certain issues. These include a plastic nut, unstable tuners and an overall dryness to the guitar. However, we suspect that this may just be an issue with certain models rather than over the whole range. PRS are an excellent company and if there are any models that don’t reach their standards, their customer service can usually be relied on.

Overall, if you want one of the best metal guitars on the market, the PRS SE Mark Holcomb 7 string is a fantastic extended range guitar.

Pros

  • Quilted maple veneer top wood with a mahogany body.
  • Mark Holcomb’s signature seymour duncan pickups come in the bridge and neck position of the guitar.
  • 24 frets and 26.5″ scale enhance tuning stability and give the full range of the instrument.
  • Comes with a padded PRS gigbag.

Cons

  • Signature guitars can often put people off who aren’t fans of the band’s music.
  • Bird inlays aren’t for everyone.

Best 7 String Guitars Under $1000

ESP LTD EC-407


ESP guitars are a Japanese company, initially founded by Hisatake Shibuya in 1975. Initially starting off by creating guitars that worked with the craze 80s heavy rock, ESP have rose to fame by providing guitars to some of the world’s greatest heavy metal guitarists.

One aspect that ESP shines in is creating excellent guitars for under $1000. Let’s check out one of their best models, the ESP LTD EC-407.

The ESP LTD EC-407 is one of the best 7 string guitars for the metal genre. Featuring EMG pickups, excellent build quality and stunning looks this guitar is perfect for thrash riffs or sweep picking and legato lines.

This guitar is extremely well priced. One of the main reasons for this is that it is made in Indonesia. This allows for an extremely high specced guitar at a lower price. However, don’t let its birth place fool you, guitars coming out the far east are of excellent quality nowadas and this is no exception.

Although the addition of a 7 string can take some getting used to, the low action and slim neck quicks this process and makes playing effortless. Out of the box, the guitar is well intonated and set up and feels extremely solid.

With a set neck made of maple, pau ferro fretboard and a fixed bridge. The guitar simply sustains for days, so whether you want to play intense metal riffs or long singing-solos, you’ll be able to do this with this instrument.

The EMG pickups work fantastically well with distorted tones and for metal and hard rock, however if you’re looking for something with dynamics, you may be best looking elsewhere. It would be nice if ESP LTD offered a version with passive pickups.

To conclude, if you want an axe that is going to deliver night after night, the ESP LTD EC-407 is one the best 7 string guitars available.

Pros

  • Features an EMG 81-7 and EMG 707. These active jumbo pickups are perfect for more modern styles of metal.
  • Slick and elegant black finish complete with black satin hardware.
  • The onboard volume and master tone controls are simple and easy to use.
  • The ESP LTD EC-407 features a Maple top and body which is made of mahogany. This combined with the set neck and fixed bridge provides heaps of sustain.

Cons

  • Floyd rose system is available but only on much more expensive models.
  • The clean tones aren’t the best.

Best Budget 7 String Guitar

Ibanez GRG 7 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar


Although most of Ibanez’s best 7 string guitars can be expensive, one element that the company is so good at is creating all types of guitars at a variety of price ranges.

Since the evolution of seven-string guitars in modern metal, Ibanez has kept up with the trend by introducing 7 string guitars into their budget range the ‘GRG’ series.

One of our favourite models is the GRG 7-String, let’s learn about this affordable 7 string guitar.

When looking for cheap 7 string guitars, it’s hard to look past the Ibanez GRG 7 string. The guitar has a traditional Ibanez RG shape, we’re also treated to  a poplar body with a quilted maple veneer, neck that is made of maple and a bound purpleheart fretboard with white dot inlays and 24 jumbo frets. These are specifications that would easily be found on a guitar that is twice the price.

In addition to this, we have Ibanez’s infinity jumbo ceramic pickups. These are controlled by a master volume and master tone control song with a 5-way selector switch. Although this guitar doesn’t have a coil tap, the selector switch does move between humbucker and single-coil sounds, making this an extremely versatile instrument.

The playability of this guitar is very good. Usually, on a new guitar like this, we would experience numerous quality issues like sharp frets, bad intonation and high action. However, the GRG 7 string is not like this at all. The guitar is well set up, with decent action and is well intonated. Although the scale (25.5″) is closer to a six-string, the guitar holds its tuning and low range relatively well.

However, our main criticism of this axe is that the fretboard could be of better quality as some users have complained about the dryness of the neck. But, it should be noted that this guitar is available with either a rosewood or maple fingerboard, which is certainly unique when looking at guitars with seven strings.

Despite this, we still think this is easily one of the best 7 string guitars in its price range and is worth considering if you’re looking for a new guitar in the 7 string market.

Pros

  • Available with both rosewood and maple fingerboard.
  • Offers an introduction to the 7 string genre without too much financial outlay.
  • The guitar uses a poplar body with a quilted maple veneer, neck made out of maple and super slim neck.
  • Black hardware, Ibanez’s infinity pickups,24 jumbo frets and a hardtail bridge make one of the best seven strings in its price range.

Cons

  • The jumbo nickel pickups could be better, but it’s hard to complain at this price.

Buying Guide

When searching for the best 7 string guitars, there is a number of factors to consider. From the wood used, scale length, pickups and much more, all of these factors have a huge factor on the overall quality of a guitar.

This can often be overwhelming for some people, however, fear not. In this buying guide, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about mastering your 7 string guitar purchase.

Body Wood

The body wood of a guitar has a huge effect on the overall tone of the instrument. On guitars there are a variety of wood types used, these include:

  • Mahogany.
  • Alder.
  • Swamp Ash.
  • Basswood.

Mahogany

Out of all the wood types, Mahogany is easily the heaviest and densest wood. In terms of tone, a Mahogany neck or body offers a lot of sustain so works fantastic for lead guitar. As well as this, it boasts a rich-mid frequency with warm lows and is super resistant to wood rot.

Alder

Alder is one of the most popular woods used on electric guitars. It’s harvested mainly in Europe, Russia and South Africa. Tonally, it works fantastic for blues and rock genres but is unseen on 7 string guitars. Alder has a rich top end that cuts through the mix excellently and the wood itself has a slightly red tint and underrated grain.

Swamp Ash

Swamp Ash is taken from trees that have roots cemented in water. The wood itself looks creamy and has a very attractive grain. A swamp ash body has a bright, spanky tone with naturally scooped mids, this can often work extremely well for heavier genres.

Basswood

Out of all the body types, Basswood is seen frequently on modern guitars. The main reason for this is that it’s lightweight, affordable and has a transparent tone. 

Basswood often gets a bit of a bad name for itself, however, it has been seen on signature models from Guthrie Govan, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, so it’s a bit of an underdog when it comes to tonewoods.

Neck and Fingerboard Material

As well as body wood having an effect on tone, the wood material of the neck and fingerboard also plays a contributing factor in the overall sound of the instrument.

The main woods used here are:

  • Rosewood.
  • Ebony.
  • Mahogany.
  • Maple.

Let’s dive into learning more about each wood.

Rosewood

Rosewood is one of the most common neck and fingerboard woods. It has a warm, tone that isn’t too dark or too bright and is known for not being too bright.

Over the past few years, Rosewood hasn’t been seen on many guitars due to CITES restrictions. It got briefly replaced by woods such as Pau Ferro and Ebony. However, now these restrictions have eased, Rosewood is now back in production on many modern guitars.

Ebony Fingerboard

Ebony is a dark black wood that looks elegant and classy. It’s featured on many fingerboards and provides the player with a slick, fast fingerboard. It often looks very shiny so doesn’t need much care or attention due to its natural oil-like surface.

Mahogany

As mentioned earlier, Mahogany has excellent sustain and rich mids. It’s often used as a neck material because of this.

Maple

Maple also known as a maple cap neck is the brightest of all the tonewoods and offers a bright, spanky tone. This is great for players who want more punch in their tone. It can sometimes feel a little stiff to play depending on what cut you get, however it is a classic due to its unique tonal features.

Scale Length – What is it and why is it important?

When looking at extended range guitars such as 8 and 7 string guitars, different scale lengths play a crucial role in the overall construction of the instrument.

The scale length is how we measure the length of the guitar from the bridge to the nut. On six strings guitars, the most common scale lengths are:

  • 24.75″.
  • 25.5″.

Whereas a 7 string guitar can have a scale length of up to 27″. A longer scale length aids tuning stability and helps lower tuned notes project more efficiently.

Multi-Scale or Fanned Fret Guitars

Multi-scale guitars or guitars with fanned frets are a newer construction of guitars that have the frets and fretboard set at an angle. This provides the player with more even string tension, better playability and can also aid the tuning of the guitars.

This was initially seen on many custom guitars however it has seen grown in popularity and now companies such as Ibanez, Esp and Schecter all have models with this design technique.

Nut Width

When playing 7 strings on a guitar, you have to compensate for the extra string. This often results in an extra-wide nut.

A 7 string guitar can have a nut that ranges between 47mm and 48mm.

If you’re a regular six-string player, this can feel strange at first. However, it doesn’t take long to get used to the extra width.

Pickups & Pickup Types

There are many different pickups and pickup types, however, the most common ones used on 7 string guitars are:

  • Humbuckers.
  • Single coils.

Humbuckers provide a thick, dense sound that is perfect for rock and metal styles. Whereas single-coils are much thinner and spankier in sound.

A single-coil is pretty much never used as the only pickup on a 7 string guitar, it is often used to compliment a humbucker to provide more clarity for cleaner sounds.

Passive Pickups

Passive pickups are more traditional and don’t require a battery to be powered.

In terms of sound, they vary from vintage to modern sounds depending on how they’re made. A pickup is usually made from types of magnets, ceramic and alnico. Ceramic has a more aggressive sound and alnico is a lot smoother.

However, this type of pickup can be noisy and sensitive to feedback when pushed too hard.

Active Pickups

Active pickups are powered by batteries and often have preamps and active circuitry built into them. You’ll often see active pickups come with built-in EQ systems that control the bass, middle and treble frequencies of the pickups.

This type of pickup is less susceptible to noise than passive pickups, however can lack dynamic range. Active pickups are often favoured by metal players due to their high output aggressive nature.

FAQ

What Are 7 Strings Good For?

The best 7 string guitars are excellent for genres of music such as metal, rock and djent. However, this isn’t the only type of genre that these guitars are used in, often jazz guitarists will use 7 string guitars to access bass lines and extended chords.

Who Popularized 7 String Guitar?

The 7 string guitar was popularized primarily by bands such as Korn, Periphery and Tesseract. Their low tuned guitars provided the pathway for the genre ‘djent’ and have since been used in other metal genres.

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