The 5 Best 7-String Guitars

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best 7-string guitar is, then I’d recommend the PRS Guitars SE Mark Holcomb SVN 7 String Guitar as the best one.

After a recent development in guitars, 7-string guitars rose to fame after becoming an excellent alternative for heavier guitar styles. Serious heavy metal or rock guitarists would consider getting a 7-string guitar to level up their playing. These types of guitars can widen guitarists’ sonic horizons! 

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert in guitars, 7-string guitars can be a game-changer for you when you add this deadly instrument to your arsenal. In this article, we’ll be talking about the best 7-string guitars and why you might need them.

Here are the Best 7 String Guitars we will be reviewing: 

What is a 7-String Guitar?

A 7-string guitar is a musical instrument that is played by strumming or plucking with the fingers. It adds one more string to the more common 6-string guitar. The purpose of this additional string is to allow players to extend the range of notes. Guitarists usually use this type of guitar to expand the bass or treble range. A 7-string guitar is an essential instrument for heavy rock and metal guitarists.

History of the 7-String Guitar

The concept of adding a seventh string to a 6-string guitar dates back to the Renaissance period. Since the late 1970s, custom-made 7-string electric guitars have been available. However, they included a high “A” string rather than the modern low “B” string. Musicians wanted to explore and extend the guitar’s range of notes, hence the invention of the 7-string guitar.

The first mass-produced 7-string electric guitar is the Ibanez UV7 Universe, released in the early 1990s. The Ibanez UV7 Universe was a signature guitar for Whitesnake guitarist Steve Vai.

Types of 7-String Guitars

Like the 6-string guitar, you can choose between an acoustic or electric design for a 7-string guitar as well.

Acoustic

Acoustic guitars are simpler and more affordable compared to electric guitars. Acoustic guitars do not require a lot of accessories. They also do not rely on electronic amplification. You can easily carry an acoustic guitar anywhere.

Electric

Electric guitars, on the other hand, are more expensive. You need a lot of accessories if you want to choose an electric guitar. It might be daunting to spend a lot on an instrument, but it’s worth it. Electric guitars can produce more sound with an external amp. You can enhance the sound and even add some effects if you want. However, you can’t easily carry an electric guitar with its accessories just anywhere because of its heaviness. 

Parts of a 7-String Guitar

Tuning Pegs

Tuning pegs are responsible for holding the strings. The purpose of tuning pegs is to tighten or loosen the strings. It allows players to adjust the sound of strings.

Strings 

The strings are responsible for producing sounds in a guitar. Players can control the vibrations produced by the guitar strings because of their flexible material.

Fretboard 

The fretboard is also known as the fingerboard. It’s a thin, long strip of material laminated to the front of an instrument’s neck. Guitarists can press the strings down to the fretboard to change the vibrating length, thus changing the pitch.

Guitar Body

The guitar body consists of the soundbox (acoustic guitar) or the pickup combination (electric guitar). The type of wood used for the guitar body will affect the sound it produces. 

Bridge

A bridge is a structural component of a guitar that supports the strings. It allows the transmission of the strings’ vibration to another part of the guitar. Then, it transfers the sound to the air.

Why Do You Need a 7-String Guitar?

Essentially, you can do everything that a 6-string guitar can on a 7-string guitar. But, here’s the catch, you can do more with a 7-string guitar!

A 7-string guitar is most commonly used to play low-pitched notes in heavy music styles. If you’re into heavy rock and metal, this kind of guitar would be perfect for you. A 7-string guitar allows you to play incredibly low-pitched riffs while still being able to play higher-pitched notes.

The main difference between tuning a 6-string guitar down and playing a 7-string guitar is that the latter allows you to play higher notes. Many guitarists now use 7-string guitars to access a wider variety of musical notes. If you listen to a lot of music performed on 7-string guitars, you should consider purchasing one.

Pros and Cons of 7-String Guitars

Pros

  • You can have more tuning options
  • Wider variety of musical notes
  • Lower tunings sound better 
  • Extremely low-pitched riffs are possible to play (higher-pitched notes are still accessible)
  • You can do everything that a 6-string guitar can

Cons

  • Finding new strings can be difficult and a hassle
  • Fewer options compared to 6-string guitar models
  • Difficult to play with small hands

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Best 7-String Guitar

Scale Length

Generally, 7-string guitars fall between 25.5 inches to 27 inches in terms of scale length. However, if you want to tune down your 7-string guitar a whole step, you might want to consider getting a longer scale length. Longer scales help guitarists play heavier strings at lower tensions, making heavy strings easier to play.

If you tune significantly low on shorter scales, the lower strings will lose tension. When that happens, the guitar strings will produce a higher pitch when struck. If you want to extend to standard D with an A or G or lower like low E on the 7th string, longer scale lengths will be beneficial for you.

Multiscale or Fanned Frets

A multiscale design has frets that are fanned out instead of having it parallel. It has angeled nuts and bridges as well. A design like this lengthens bass scales while shortening treble scales, giving each string its appropriate length. It allows less tension on higher strings, making it easier to bend. On the other hand, it allows more tension on lower strings to avoid being sharp.

Neck Shape

The neck shape of a 7-string guitar is highly relevant as well. Having an incredibly thin neck can lead to a guitar sounding out of tune. 

Extremely thin necks are usually from cheaper guitars, so you should be careful of this one. A thin neck may be a result of using inferior material, making it on the cheaper side. It will be a huge problem since it won’t provide adequate neck support to have strong tuning stability. You can test its durability by playing the open strings while applying pressure to the back of the headstock like you’re pushing it forward. If the pitch drops with just a little pressure, you might want to select an instrument with a more robust and sturdy neck that doesn’t budge as much.

Pickups

When choosing a 7-string guitar, you should try playing it first through an amplifier you already have or plan on buying. Focus on the lower bass frequencies while playing clean and contorted tones to see if it fits your preferences.

If you play the bass notes and they sound too soft, or if they distort easily while other notes remain clean, there might be a bit of an issue. Consider trying out a different amplifier or a guitar with different pickups.

Playability

Playability refers to how comfortable you feel when playing the guitar. Its ergonomics should be a design that works for you to elevate the guitar experience. Most 7-string guitars have wide and long bodies, so bear that in mind. 7-string guitars are larger and heavier compared to 6-string guitars. But, you can just use a wide strap to compensate for its heaviness. A good guitar body shape can help you play more comfortably, but make sure they fit your body and arm positions. 

Body Woods

It’s essential to take into consideration the type of wood used for making the guitar. Different types of woods produce different types of sounds. If the wood used is high-quality, then expect high-quality sounds as well. The wood of the guitar has the most influence on its sound compared to the other parts. Some well-known high-quality woods are Spruce, Mahogany, Rosewood, and Maple.

Budget

You should have a budget in mind when choosing the best guitar. It helps you narrow down your options, so you won’t have to look for guitars over your budget. It saves you a lot of time! 

Just take note that 7-string guitars are more expensive compared to 6-string guitars. However, it’s definitely worth the investment as you get to enjoy more benefits.

Common Uses of a 7-String Guitar

You can use a 7-string guitar on a wide variety of musical styles. Some of which are Heavy Rock, Metal, Classical, and Jazz. They are best used in a band setting and can be great for concerts and even church worship. You can also play it on special occasions or parties.

Church/Worship

Adding a 7-string guitar can spice things up in your church service. Playing one allows more versatility in worship and elevates the experience. If you want to take your worship to a whole new level, then getting a 7-string guitar would be a good idea.

Parties

Playing a musical instrument brings more fun to parties! You can bring your 7-string guitar to play songs and make everyone sing along.

Concerts

Having a variety of guitars can thicken their sound and maintain momentum when switching from rhythm to lead. It also enables players to execute layered parts and offers variation. 

PRS Guitars SE Mark Holcomb SVN 7 String Guitar

In the PRS lineup, the SE Mark Holcomb SVN model certainly stands out. It provides comfortable playability because of its unique qualities that include a 24-fret, 26.5” scale length, wide thin satin maple neck with 20” radius ebony fretboard. It also features Holcomb’s signature Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega 7-string pickups. It includes a blade pickup switch with a push/pull tone knob for coil splitting. Its push-pull tone knob adds single-coil type tones to the guitar’s voice.

The PRS Guitars SE Mark Holcomb SVN 7 String Guitar makes Holcomb’s signature instrument reachable for a broader audience. It’s specialized for the needs of Holcomb. It also provides clear tones because of its signature pickups. 

The natural warmth of the mahogany body is wonderfully offset by the brighter tone of the maple top. These tonewoods work together to provide a well-balanced sound as well. The natural wood finish is comfortable to touch and hold. The neck provides easy access to higher frets with its double-cutaway design, and the headstock looks proportionate.

Pros:

  • 7-string pickups from Holcomb’s signature Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega 
  • 24-fret, 26.5” scale length
  • Easy rhythm playing because of its 20” radius ebony fretboard
  • Clear tones
  • Beautiful design and tonewoods combination
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Includes a PRS SE Gig Bag
  • Push/pull coil-tapping

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • The nut is harshly cut (The low E is too wide, the low B is too narrow)

Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK2 7-String Electric Guitar

The Jackson Pro Series Dinky DK2 includes premium features for advanced technical playing and ultimate high-level performance for players. It exudes an unrivaled style that highlights a 26.5 scale length with an ash wood grain and distinctive Baked Blue body finish. 

The body is a good match for its strong graphite-reinforced bolt-on three-piece maple neck and includes a satin finish on the back for elevated comfort while playing. It also features a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel. It features neck humbucking pickups and an active multi-voiced Fishman Fluence Open Core PRF-CO7 bridge. It also has a 12 -16 compound radius bound ebony fingerboard for speed and comfort. 

Pros:

  • Multi-dimensional tone
  • Ergonomic design
  • 26.5 scale length
  • Ash wood grain and distinctive Baked Blue body finish
  • 3×4 AT-1 matching headstock
  • 24 String-bending-friendly jumbo frets
  • Graphite-reinforced satin-finished 3-piece neck
  • Adjustment wheel for painless neck relief tweaks

Cons:

  • Expensive

Ibanez GRG 7 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar

The Ibanez GRG 7-string Solid-Body is a design patterned after the RG, which is the most recognizable guitar in the Ibanez line. 

The GRG is an affordable alternative to that legendary Ibanez metal monster RG. It offers the same combination of speed, fury, and expression. The body contains a quilted maple art grain top and a high gloss finish. It also features the Proprietary Infinity R7 humbucking pickups that provide the requisite fat and distorted tone that metal rockers love. Its frets are smooth and easy to access.

The Ibanez GRG 7-string guitar is an excellent deal for its affordable price. It may lose out in terms of durability and quality to expensive ones, but it’s a good buy for a budget-friendly guitar. 

Pros: 

  • High output Infinity R pickups
  • Excellent Proprietary Infinity R7 humbucking pickups
  • Affordable 7-string guitar
  • String-bending-friendly jumbo frets
  • High gloss body finish (with quilted maple art grain top)
  • Beautiful design
  • Comfortable ergonomic design

Cons:

  • Good deal for its price but not of premium quality

Schecter Omen Extreme-7 Electric Guitar

You’ll find a unique look and sound in the Schecter Omen Extreme 7 String Electric Guitar because of its tones and features. Its mahogany body has a comfortable double-cutaway with a quilted top for good looks and comfort, and the maple neck and rosewood fingerboard provide superb playability. 

It features a Tune-o-Matic bridge, Schecter tuners, and 2 Schecter Diamond Plus pickups. These features will give great sustain and tones. It also includes a Master Volume and Tone control with a 3-way toggle switch. It also features 24 String-bending-friendly X-Jumbo frets and beautiful Schecter diamond plus pickups. It has excellent Schecter Tuners and a 16-inch-radius rosewood fingerboard for easy rhythm playing. 

If you’re looking for a technical 7-string that plays well, sounds fantastic, and isn’t too expensive,  the Schecter Omen Extreme-7 might be a good choice for you. 

Pros:

  • Graph Tech TUSQ nut
  • Limited lifetime guarantee
  • Tune-o-Matic bridge
  • Tuning-stable string-through-body
  • Quilt maple on rich mahogany body finish
  • Push/pull pot for coil-splitting

Cons:

  • Bad quality control 
  • Tuners are a bit weak

Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32 Electric Guitar

The Jackson JS Series guitar is fast, deadly, and affordable. It makes it easier than ever to acquire the iconic Jackson tone, aesthetics, and excellent playability without breaking the bank. Its slim graphite-reinforced maple neck provides a smooth feel and long-term sustainability.

The Jackson JS Series JS32 Dinky features a 12–16-inch compound-radius fretboard for superb playability. It has a rounder fingerboard at the nut for easy rhythm playing, with Jackson shark fin inlays. Its high-quality build makes it possible to maintain a stable intonation even with whammy bars.

The Jackson JS Series JS32 contains a pair of custom-built ceramic-magnet humbuckers. Its high-output pickups deliver an aggressive tone which is suitable for heavy metal. 

Pros:

  • Affordable 7-string guitar
  • 25.5″ scale length
  • 24 String-bending-friendly jumbo frets 
  • Jackson high-output humbucking pickups with 3-Position Blade, Master Tone, Master Vol
  • Excellent Jackson sealed die-cast tuners
  • Floyd Rose licensed Jackson double-locking tremolo for epic stability
  • Reliable Jackson Floyd Rose nut and Pearloid sharkfin inlays for easy rhythm playing
  • Smooth playability

Cons:

  • Case not included

Conclusion

Getting a 7-string guitar can be a thrilling experience. It may be a bit more expensive compared to the common 6-string guitars, but it’s definitely worth the investment. You can do everything that a 6-string guitar can on a 7-string guitar. It houses more benefits and can be a game-changer for those heavy rock and metal guitarists. 

The best 7-string guitar I recommend is the PRS Guitars SE Mark Holcomb SVN 7 String Guitar. It features Holcomb’s signature Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega 7-string pickups, and a beautifully crafted, ergonomic design. It delivers clear and glassy tones that you’ll love. It’s an excellent deal for its premium quality! 

Alex Shute
AUTHOR
Alex Shute
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow. In his free time, he enjoys perfecting pour-over coffee, smoking meats, and discovering new cycling routes around Southern California.