The Best 7 String Guitars: A 2021 Buyers Guide

In this post we are going to look at the best 7 string guitars available. It’s sort of strange to look at a 7 string guitar as we are so used to and conditioned visually to the traditional 6 string. 

The purpose to an additional string is to extend the bass range (typically a low B). The intent with the extra string is also to extend the range of the treble. 

The history of the 7 string guitar can go back to the Renaissance period. As popularity began to increase worldwide they moved on from just being used in classical style music. 

From Jazz, Rock, Progressive Rock, and Heavy Metal, you will see 7 string guitars being used. 

Famous guitarists such as Steve Vai, Jeff Loomis, Stephen Carpenter, Tosin Abasi, and Ola Englund are known for what they can do with the 7 string guitar. 

Best 7 String Guitars: Review 

In this guide we will look at a variety of different models for the 7 string guitar. From best overall, to best budget, best under $500, best under $300, best for Jazz, and a couple of alternative options if you are really feeling daring.

We will give you all the information that you need to know to make a sound purchasing decision. After the reviews we will look at some frequently asked questions to expand your knowledge even more.  

So sit back and relax as we get started with our first 7 string guitar. 

Best Overall 

Schecter C-7 DELUXE Satin White 7-String

Our best overall pick for the best 7 string guitars is by Schecter. This guitar is a beast!!!! The C-7 was built for shredding. 

You have a hardtail bridge with a string thru body. The chrome hardware with the rosewood fingerboard and dot inlay just makes this guitar look very pleasing to the eye. 

At a very reasonable price, you can’t help but notice the high quality of tones that this guitar brings. This is a very fun guitar to play as you will experience some growls which will be great for your heavy playing. 

The neck feels very slick and the frets will feel super smooth on your fingers. The Schecter C-7 deluxe will sound amazing clean and super heavy with some drive added to it. The addition of the low B string really adds a lot of low end sound. 

With a unique crunchiness this is perfect for metal and rock styles of music. Like with any guitar, the setup may need to be adjusted. You may need to adjust the truss rod to avoid any string buzzing.

The thin C shaped neck and 24 jumbo frets will give you all the room to make your rock and roll just the way you like it…..LOUD!!!

Weighing in at 13.5 pounds, you can just feel how solid this guitar is the minute you pick it up. This guitar stays in tune as you are cranking out those hot highs and mid range tones. 

It’s a rival to the higher priced and end guitars. That along with it’s overall quality is why it made our list for best overall. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Budget friendly. 
  • Great tones and solid electronics. 
  • Perfect for playing rock and roll and heavy metal. 
  • Beautiful satin white finish. 
  • Nice clean tones and crunchy heavy tones. 
  • Slick C shaped neck. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Pickup switch feels a little flimsy. 

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Best Budget 

JS Series Dinky JS22-7 Satin Black 

The Jackson JS22-7 in satin black makes our list for best budget. This guitar features a one piece maple neck and a string-through-body hardtail. 

This guitar will give you everything you need to obtain from a 7 string guitar so you can SEEK and DESTROY!

With a 26.56” scale length this is better for low-end articulation. The bolted on neck with the graphite reinforcement gives you that stability that you need with a 7 string guitar. 

Featuring 24 jumbo frets and those classic shark tooth inlays, you’ll be ready for quick playing and lighting quick solos. 

The JS22-7 comes with a three-way blade switch along with your volume and tone controls. 

With a nice and comfortable thin neck and a nice low range, you won’t have to change the tunings frequently. 

From jazz to death metal, this is perfect to explore those genres of music. With an extra string, if the action comes set up high, it may be in your best interest to lower the action which makes it easier to play. 

The pickups are stock and that is okay as they provide a nice balance in sound. However, if you are looking for something more than eventually upgrading them may not be a bad idea. 

Overall it’s a killer price and a great way to get used to how a 7 string guitar is played. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Amazing price.
  • Clean satin look. 
  • Easy to play. 
  • 24 jumbo frets. 
  • Nice balance in sound. 
  • Stays in tune. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Frets could use a nice polish. 
  • Pickups could use an upgrade down the line. 

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Best Under $500

ESP LTD EC-257 7-String Electric Guitar

This ESP model makes our list of best 7 string guitars under $500. With their classic “Les Paul” style body and beautiful stain black look, this will give you the opportunity to explore so many musical sounds. 

From the depths of lower pitches to today’s more modern sounds you will love playing this guitar. 

With ESP designed pickups and a comfortable mahogany neck, this will slide comfortably into your arms allowing you easy playability. 

The EC-257 features 22 jumbo frets and a jatoba roasted fretboard. The attention to detail on this guitar is unparalleled.

Capturing the low end sounds of down tunings will give you what you are looking for from rock  to jazz to heavy metal. It’s aggressive in nature but also allows for some beautiful and clear clean tones. 

With Dual ESP humbucking pickups you can easily get that “chug chug chug” sound or move the pickup switch in the middle for a nice and bold full sound. 

There is also a set neck as opposed to a bolted on neck. This allows for the vibration transfer from the neck to the body to be quicker which is good for long lasting sustain.  

The TOM bridge tailpiece also helps with the sustainability of the tuning as opposed to the string through bodies which also hold tuning well just not as long. 

If you have some money saved up to buy a 7 string, then this is a great option.

Pros

Pros:

  • Aggressive tone. 
  • Mahogany body. 
  • Duel ESP humbucking pickups. 
  • Set-neck construction. 
  • Full range of sound. 
  • TOM bridge/tailpiece.

Cons

Cons: 

  • Only available in matte finish. 
  • If you want to play in lower tunings, restring the guitar with lower gauge strings. 

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Best Under $300 

Ibanez GRG 7 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar-Translucent Black 

The Ibanez makes our list for best 7 string guitars under $300. With high infinity pickups and 24 frets, this guitar is perfect for those heavy sounds that you are craving. 

You’ll get a fat and distorted sound by the humbuckers and unlike most Ibanez guitars, it has a fixed bridge. 

The GRG’s poplar body has a quilted maple art grain top and features a high glass finish and a very eye pleasing translucent black.  

Now you don’t have to play metal or heavier music to get the full tone of this guitar. It’s super light and comfortable to play making it very easy for you to play.

The guitar’s intonation is very close to perfect and sounds beautiful when played clean. You can use the neck or the bridge pickup and still experience a great depth of sound. 

The volume knob and tone knob will help you get the sounds you want and the 5-way selector will give you that freedom to do so. 

If you use this as your main axe, then down the line you may want to look at upgrading the pickups.  

Overall this guitar gives you a great bang for the buck as you will be able to experience the fascinating sounds of a 7 string guitar. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Translucent black finish. 
  • 24 jumbo frets.
  • Wide range of sound and tone. 
  • 5-way selector. 
  • Infinity pickups. 
  • Easy to play. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Frets will need to be polished. 
  • Pickups may eventually need to be upgraded. 

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Best for Jazz 

Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF7

Jazz guitars have been known for playing 7 string guitars. So why is there popularity for 7 string guitars among jazz guitarists? The extra string gives a great depth and more options for walking bass line, chord voice, and lower tones. It’s basically adding another dimension of sound  in their arsenal of options. 

With that said, the Jackson X series is a great option for those jazz musicians out there. You get a one piece maple neck, 3 position toggle, and a staggered individual saddle bridge. 

The reason why this was chosen as best for jazz is due to the amount of possibilities you have with this guitar. It’s multi-scale and accommodates two lengths on one fingerboard. This will help with the overall playability. 

The consistent clean tones and durable nature will make it a go-to choice for your jazz playing. From chord shapes, scales, and standard tunes, this guitar will give you the ability to do just that. 

Weighing in at 10 pounds, gets the job done and stays in tune perfectly. It’s great for beginners and advanced players. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Mahogany body. 
  • 3-position toggle. 
  • One piece maple neck. 
  • Multi-scale to accommodate two lengths. 
  • Rosewood fretboard. 
  • Consistent and durable. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Staggered bridge can take getting used to. 

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Alternative 1

Sterling By MusicMan 7 John Petrucci Signature Guitar Neptune Blue

Our alternative choice is a John Petrucci signature model. John Petrucci is a founding member for the metal band Dream Theater. He’s been active since 1984 and is known as one of the best guitar shredders of all time. 

This signature model comes in a very nice Neptune Blue finish. It’s built with an African mahogany body, roasted maple neck, and 2 sterling musician man humbuckers. 

Combined with a modern tremolo, these guitars are great for exploring a wide range of sounds. Very comfortable to play as you will feel your handing moving quickly through the neck and your fingers on the fretboard. 

The Sterling by Music Man pickups have a “push push” boost on the volume control which really allows you to take control of the sound. 

Pros

Pros:  

  • Neptune blue finish. 
  • Roasted maple neck. 
  • Smooth playability. 
  • Equipped with Ernie Ball strings. 
  • Beautiful range of tones. 
  • Humbuckers with “push-push” active boost. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Higher priced. 
  • Sharp fret ends. 

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Alternative 2

Ibanez RG8 8-String Electric Guitar White

Our second alternative choice is the Ibanez RG8…….what????? This is supposed to be a review of 7 string guitars. We thought we would throw in something if you are feeling bold and daring. 

This 8 string model has a maple/walnut neck and mahogany body. A rosewood fretboard and jumbo frets and this guitar looks intimidating. 

The factory tuning on this is D #, A #, F3, C#, G#, D#, A3, and F. This guitar is very playable despite it’s size. You will find the neck is slim making you able to work on your speed. 

For the tone you will be able to reach down deep and discover sounds that you have never heard of before. 

The pickups are very impressive as well. With bridge will have the most gritty and grainy feel, the middle displays a punch, and the neck will make bass lines fun to play. 

With a beautiful arctic white finish and an affordable price, if you are going to take a chance on an 8 string guitar then this would be the one. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Thin neck for fast playing. 
  • Affordable price. 
  • Clean arctic white finish. 
  • Strong input jack. 
  • Pickups are of quality. 
  • Bold range of tones. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Heavier guitar and bigger body size which could take getting used to. 
  • Stock strings cause buzzing due to their gauge. 

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Best 7 String Guitars FAQ’s/Buyers Guide 

We have reviewed some great choices for 7 string guitars. From best overall, best budget, best under certain price points, to even an 8 string option! There is something for everyone. 

Now let us take a look at some frequently asked questions as we dive into our buyers guide that will help you make a more clean and well informed decision on your path to 7 string righteousness. 

How are 7 string guitars tuned?

The 7 string guitars of today are with a lower B for the 7th string. The tuning would then be B1-E2-A2-B3-G3-B3-E4. 

There are other common tunings that also exist. Your jazz and heavy metal musicians like to tune in dropped A tuning. That tuning would look like this: A1-E2-A2-D3-G3-B3-E4. This assists with the ability to improvise bass lines and play power chords easier. 

In your research, it is best to know what tuning your potential instrument choice is best suited to handle. The guitars with longer scales and heavier strings, may be best designed to be tuned down a whole step or sometimes even more!!!

What string gauges are recommended?

You never want to assume that 7 or 8 string guitars can just accommodate any string gauge. Some guitarists may find that the lowest string is too loose therefore a heavier gauge would be the way to go. 

Some guitars may actually have a hard time sustaining strings that are of a certain width. If the action on the guitar is naturally low, then it may have a challenge with those heavier strings. This will cause that annoying-as-ever fret buzzing. 

Remember that hardware can be replaced or updated so if you have a particular liking then hardware modification may be something to look at. 

Are 7 string guitars worth it?

7 string guitars are worth it if it’s the sound that you are striving for. If you like to play dropped tunings such as drop A or B, then yes it’s worth it.

Remember that having a 7 string guitar doesn’t mean you have to play the 7th string. It’s just an expansion of your tonal range. If you tune your guitar to standard tuning, then the other 6 strings are the same. 

If you are really looking for a broad range in tone then they will satisfy your needs. 

Why do you need a 7 string guitar?

Again, it’s all about the tone that you can achieve. If you want lower tuning and a more brooding and menacing sound, then you will need something extra. 

Six string guitars can also handle lower tuning but they may be intonation issues. If you want to cover some bass ranges, then this is where the 7 string comes into play. 

When the bass is doing something else, then the 7 string guitar can step in and compliment it. Also, you can get some innovative two handed tapping patterns. 

For those wanting to explore jazz, then the extra string will be better for your soloing range.  

Are 7 string guitars hard to play?

This depends on the player in our opinion. Everyone is going to have a different learning curve. In essence a 7 string guitar isn’t harder to play than a traditional 6 string. 

There will be an adjustment as the fretboard is wider and you will have to get used to the extra string. 

By it’s appearance, a 7 string guitar seems intimidating especially to a new guitar player. It will take some reprogramming of the mind as we are used to the 6 string. 

Like anything, it will take practice. The muscle memory of holding chords, the muting, and strumming will take some time to develop. 

With the larger fretboard and a longer scale length, the string tension is tighter which can also take some getting used to. 

The good news is you will have a lot of expression in the form of tone at your disposal so your creativity will peak with a 7 string guitar. 

You may need to do some finger stretches prior to playing one but you will eventually adjust. 

What bands use 7 string guitars?

There are quite a few bands and guitarists out there that are devoted to the 7 string (or 8 string) sound. 

Stephen Carpenter of the Deftones has worked on giving that band a unique and full sound. The track “Hexagram” from the bands self-titled record shows this dark take on the band’s version of metal. 

Tosin Abasi of the bands Animals As Leaders, is one of the most popular 7 string guitarists out there. His goal was to create a rich and expansive pallet of music in that intriguing “progressive” genre of rock. 

Tosin has also been known to rock the 8 string guitar as well.

Steve Vai  has basically taken the 7 string and brought it into the mainstream. Fun fact, but the first mass-produced 7 string guitar was a Steve Vai signature model.

He is a very technically proficient guitarist and known for his amazing shredding abilities. 

Other bands to use 7 string guitars are Korn, Unearth, After the Burial, Meshuggah, Periphery, Emmure, Jeff Loomis, and Fear Factory. 

Why aren’t there 7 string guitars made with a higher string?

The extra string is a lower string. You might be wondering why it’s not a higher string? With regards to the overall tone, is because the lower strings have more of an advantage than higher when playing heavier music. 

Low notes will give you the ability to capture those bass notes. If tuned to an A, then it will make playing keyboard transcriptions easier. 

The low notes will also allow you to play cello transcriptions which is pretty cool. They have a unique punch that allows for the sound to resonate with your ear and the listener. 

Electric guitars naturally have a lot of high range. The range you can get from the lower strings are more of a practical range. 

The high E string is already super super thin. Any higher, than you will notice that the guitar won’t be able to sustain and that affects the sound quality. You will have plenty of high notes to hit to ensure that you are incorporating them into your play. 

Best 7 String Guitars Conclusion 

We hope that you have enjoyed our article on the best 7 string guitars available. It’s fascinating to hear how sounds can expand so greatly just with the addition of one string. If you haven’t taken the time to listen to the artists mentioned above, please do so as you won’t be disappointed. 

There are plenty of options to choose from for a variety of likes and price ranges. The most important aspect is to find something you connect with and feel comfortable playing. Then let your creativity run wild as you will have a blank canvas to play with. 

7 string guitars are a lot of fun to play with and expand your musical capabilities. Remember this isn’t something that should stress you out. It should instead cause more excitement as you will be able to to expand on what you love.

Thank you for reading this article and always HAVE FUN!!!!

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