As the lady sings, “I need to drop it down low, and make it heavy.” Of course, in the world of heavy metal, it is not uncommon to drop it down low to get that heavier sound. But what if your six-string guitar just doesn’t give you the really low-end notes you want? If you are looking for a way to get those lower notes, it may be time to think about investing in a seven-string guitar. This will take you to a whole new level of low, in a good way.
Playing with seven strings instead of six can take a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to create some pretty amazing riffs.
Once an instrument that only a few could afford and master, the seven-string guitar is commonly seen everywhere in music stores. If you are a metal guitarist and want to drop it down low, we suggest you look at the seven-string guitars we will highlight in this article. These are among the very best, and no matter which one you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
These guitars vary in price points, so there is sure to be something for any budget. Obviously, you will be spending more on a seven-string guitar than a six-string, but if you are really serious about your heavy metal, you will consider this to be a drop in the bucket. Today, we will talk about our five favorite seven-string guitars, answer questions about seven-string guitars, and give you a quick buyer’s guide. Let’s get started.
Best 7-String Electric Guitars: Reviews
Now it’s time to get into the real nitty-gritty of this article, and that is to take an in-depth look at our five favorite seven-string guitars. These guitars range in price point, and they are made by some of the top guitar manufacturers in the world.
Of course, this list is subjective. Another article may list five completely different guitars. However, these are the ones we really like, and we want to give you the lowdown on each to help you with your purchase decision. So, let’s take a look at our top five seven-string guitars.
Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Ash HT7
If you are looking for a seven-string guitar that looks as cool as it sounds, check out the Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK Modern Ash HT7. It has an awesome finish, wood grain with a gorgeous, spooky blue, green, or red color. It also has phenomenal pickups that can perfectly handle those lower tones of the seventh string.
The tone control has a five-position coil tap, and positions one and five go perfectly with single-coil tones two through four. So if you want a guitar that will provide a great range of tones, this is one you should be looking at.
We love how well this guitar plays. The neck is designed for shredding, with nice, fat frets and a relatively flat fingerboard. The body is compact, so even though the neck is longer than that of a six-string guitar, the overall size of the guitar is not overwhelming.
- Body – Swamp ash
- Neck – Maple/wenge, bolt-on, three-piece
- Fingerboard – Ebony
- Scale – 26.5”
- Frets – Jumbo nickel, 24 frets
- Pickups – 2X Fishman Fluence Humbuckers
- Controls – 5-way selector, volume, tone (push-pull coil-tap, voicings switch)
- Hardware – Floyd Rose 1000 Series 7-String double-locking recessed tremolo
- Finish – Baked Red, Baked Green, Baked Blue
- Small body makes this guitar comfortable to play
- The pickups are amazing
- So many tones to play around with
- Finish may split over time
- Not available in left-handed models
PRS SE Mark Holcomb
Next, we have the PRS SE Mark Holcomb. While this guitar is at the higher end of the price range for this line of guitars, we think it is well worth the price. This is an excellent guitar for any self-respecting metal guitarist. It’s sleek and pretty, and there are no sharp edges, just beautiful, sexy curves.
We can’t say enough good things about the tone this guitar offers. Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions will give you that gritty sound you need for the heaviest metal. If you want single-coil action, this guitar also has a coil tap.
You really can’t go wrong with a guitar that looks and sounds this amazing, and it has that extra string you need for the deeper bass notes. Sure, it might be a bit on the pricey side, but price should be one of the last considerations when it comes to quality.
- Body – Mahogany, maple top, quilted maple veneer
- Neck – Maple, set
- Fingerboard – Ebony
- Scale – 26.5”
- Frets – 24 extra-large
- Pickups – Seymour Duncan Alpha humbucker in the neck and Seymour Duncan Omega humbucker at the bridge
- Controls – Master Volume, 3-way blade pickup selector, master tone with push/pull coil split
- Hardware – Chrome
- Finish – Holcomb Burst and Satin Walnut
- Amazing tones and tonal quality
- Build quality you would expect from PRS
- Beautiful finishes
Not available in left-handed models
Ibanez Gio GRG7221QA
Suppose you really want a seven-string guitar, but you don’t have a huge budget. If this is the case, check out what the Ibanez GIO GRG7221QA offers. This is a guitar that is comparable to the Jackson DS22-7 Dinky. It has an awesome neck profile, and the transparent finishes, quilted maple veneer, make it a truly sexy guitar.
While many seven-string guitars have super jumbo frets, this guitar has jumbo frets. That means it will be easier for those with smaller hands to play. The frets are still larger than those on a traditional six-string guitar, but they are smaller than those of many other seven-string guitars. It is an ideal guitar for anyone interested in playing a seven-string and doesn’t want to invest a fortune to do it.
The only thing we aren’t entirely crazy about is the pickups. However, switching them out for better pickups wouldn’t be that difficult, and you would still be spending less than you would on a different model from another manufacturer.
- Body – Poplar, quilted maple veneer
- Neck – Maple, bolt-on
- Fingerboard – Treated New Zealand pine
- Scale – 26.5”
- Frets – 24 jumbo
- Pickups – Infinity R humbuckers, neck and bridge
- Controls – Master volume, master tone, 5-day blade pickup selector
- Hardware – F107 hardtail bridge
- Finish – Transparent Black Burst and Transparent Blue Burst
- Great price point
- Solid neck
- Beautiful finish
- Not available in left-handed models
- Pickups could be better
Charvel Vivaldi DK24 7 Nova
This is one of the pricier models on the list, the Charvel Vivaldi DK24 7 Nova. This is like a Fender Stratocaster on steroids and ideal for the discerning metal guitarist who wants nothing but the absolute best. This guitar is everything you could ever want in a seven-string guitar, and then some.
The tilt-back headstock is unique to this guitar in the Charvel line. This design helps ensure consistent tension on the strings. The locking tuners keep your guitar in tune, even while bending like crazy, and the rolled fretboard edges make this guitar awesomely playable.
This is one genuinely sexy guitar, and while it may not have the look of a metal guitar, don’t doubt that it is indeed one for the shredders.
- Body – Basswood
- Neck – Maple
- Fingerboard – Maple
- Scale – 25.5
- Frets – 24
- Pickups – DiMarzio Air Norton humbucker for neck and bridge
- Controls – 5-way pickup selector, volume, and tone
- Hardware – 7-string 510 vibrato, gold
- Finish – Satin Sage Green
- Nice pickups
- Switching options
- Value for your money
- Amazing build
Not available in left-handed models
Why Does Anyone Need a 7-String Guitar?
Suppose you’re performing with a band, and you only bring one guitar with you. If you only have a few songs in drop D or drop C, you will constantly re-tune your guitar throughout the entire performance. If you have a seven-string guitar, you will never have to worry about this. You can have the drop tuning and standard tuning all at once, and you never have to re-tune the guitar between songs.
A beginner doesn’t need a seven-string guitar. But, anyone playing heavy metal and who wants to drop down will find that a seven-string has many benefits. If you are writing and playing heavy riffs, you will appreciate having these extra notes and tones to work with.
Pros and Cons of 7-String Guitars
It is always good to weigh the pros and cons when making decisions about any big-ticket item purchase, including guitars. There are some pretty incredible things to be said about seven-string guitars, but they also have their disadvantages. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of seven-string guitars.
More Soloing Possibilities
You can play some pretty crazy solos on a six-string guitar, so imagine what you could do with a seven-string guitar! Consider this: Instead of having just the high B and high E, along with a low E, you also have a low B to add to the mix. Think about all of the wild and fantastic riffs you can play with this additional string, giving you even more sound to work with.
More Tonal Range
When playing a seven-string guitar, you will have five more tones to play around with. While this may not seem like much, once you start playing, you will see just how much it can change how you play or create various riffs. In addition, you have a whole new range of lower tones to work with, which will help you be even more creative than ever, particularly if you enjoy using those deeper tones.
No Need for Re-Tuning
As mentioned earlier in this article, there is no need to re-tune your guitar when you want to play in a drop tuning. The regular six strings can stay in the regular tuning, and you can keep the bottom B string in the drop tuning.
Freedom for Experimentation
If you love experimenting to get different sounds, you will probably love playing a seven-string guitar. You will have more experimental freedom, with a whole new range of notes to add to your riffs.
How You See the Fretboard
When you first start playing a seven-string guitar, it may be a bit strange to see how your fingers are placed. Of course, you will be playing the same way you always played, but the added string will make things look very odd, at least in the beginning.
Palm-muting can be tricky enough, but adding a wider guitar neck and an additional string is that much more difficult. It’s not impossible by any means, but it will take a while to get the hang of it.
Not Great for Small Hands
A seven-string guitar has a broader and longer neck than a six-string guitar. Unfortunately, this means that if you have small hands or short arms, it will be difficult for you to play this instrument.
Some Things will Feel Weird to Play
If you play a lot of riffs that incorporate the low E string, it will feel weird to have another string below the string that previously had nothing below it. You’ll get used to this once you’ve been playing a seven-string for a while.
Not a Beginner’s Guitar
While having a seven-string guitar looks super cool, if you are still a beginner, it is best not to get into this, at least not just yet. Instead, take the time you need to master the six-string techniques you need to learn before attempting to play a seven-string guitar.
Before spending a lot of money on a seven-string guitar, there are several things to consider. First and foremost, you need to have more than a minimal budget.
Sure, less expensive models are available, but if you are looking for a guitar that will stand up to many years of shredding, you will need to lay out a fair amount of cash. Other things to consider when buying a seven-string guitar include:
We mentioned this several times: Playing a guitar with a broader neck may be difficult if you have smaller hands. Also, shorter arms don’t do well with long necks, but some seven-string guitars have shorter necks.
A seven-string guitar needs more tension. Unfortunately, one problem often crops up when you have a multi-scale guitar: The tension in the low B string is too low. Fanned frets can help to eliminate this problem.
Before you spend a lot of money on a seven-string guitar, you need to decide if this is something that you actually need or if you just want one because it looks fantastic.
If you are an intermediate to advanced guitar player who enjoys experimenting, it’s probably worth it to you to at least give the seven-string guitar a try. Still, you should ask yourself the following frequently-asked questions before making a purchase:
What are Your Guitar-Playing Goals?
What kind of music do you enjoy playing the most, and which techniques do you tend to use? It may be that a seven-string is perfect for you, especially if you love to experiment with those lower tones.
But, on the other hand, if your six-string is working for all of the techniques you use, is it really worth it to spend a lot of money on a new instrument that you may never need in the first place?
Do You Have Small Hands or Short Arms?
One of the most significant drawbacks of the seven-string guitar is its wider neck. This can be difficult for those with smaller hands to play. We’re not saying it is impossible. After all, look at how many people with smaller hands play acoustic and classical guitars.
But, we are saying that if you have small hands, you will have to really work at mastering the seven-string guitar. Also, seven-string guitars have longer necks than six-string guitars. So, if you don’t have long arms, it can be challenging to play this instrument.
Is a 7-String Guitar Good for Beginners?
If you are a beginning guitar player, it is better to work at mastering the fundamentals of a six-string guitar before trying a seven-string guitar.
You will use many techniques with both types of guitars, but for the time being, you will find that you learn much easier on the six-string. There is plenty of time to move up to a seven-string once you have mastered the basics.
On the other hand, if you are a seasoned guitar player, it only seems logical that you want to take the next step and master the seven-string guitar. In addition, other techniques need to be learned with a seven-string guitar, such as palm muting and string bending.
These are just five of many seven-string guitars available on the market today. But they just happen to be five of our favorites. These guitars are all ideal for heavy metal guitar shredding.
As you can clearly see, no matter your budget, there are some great guitars for all budgets. You will find what you are looking for, and we hope this article helps steer you in the right direction.