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Old 07-08-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
Metander
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Question Help choosing six string vs seven string.

Hello. I am planning on buying a new guitar and I cant decide if I should buy a six stringer or seven. Ive only played a six s. guitar and the majority of the music I listen to has six string guitars in 'em too, but i cant get over the thought of having that one lower string to spice songs up. So the question i'd like to ask: is it possible/comfortable to play six string songs, even with open power chords with a seven string guitar and what should I look out for when buying a seven string guitar. Also, do seven string pickups sound the same as their six string counterparts? (ex. is the sound of EMG 81 the same as EMG 81-7 on the six same strings)

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
sea`
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Like anything, there is a learning curve. Playing six-string songs is easy on a seven string guitar, but it won't be quite as easy as on a sixer. The big deal is that you have to learn to mute the seventh string while you're playing six-string stuff, which requires an adjustment to your right hand technique. If you look down at the fretboard and expect to see a low E string there while playing to reference, then you'll also probably get screwed up for the first couple of weeks.

In my opinion, playing on a seven-string will make you a better guitarist because it'll force you out of the familiarity of a six-string and will require you to improve your technique to continue playing cleanly. There really aren't any downsides to it once you get used to it, though sometimes it is simply more comfortable to play a six-string. I know I'll always have both on hand depending on what I want.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:56 PM   #3
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Playing a 7 string at first will be difficult since you're not used to the bigger, thicker neck or the extra string. It might slightly throw you off at first. However, I found that after I got used to playing my 7 strings, it made me a much cleaner player, and the conversion to an 8 string went smooth and easy. I'd recommend getting a 7 string... you've got everything you want with a 6, plus added bonuses.

As for your pickup question... I personally think the EMG 707s sound better than any other 7string pickup. They seem to add a little bit to my mids, and I like mids.
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sea`
Like anything, there is a learning curve. Playing six-string songs is easy on a seven string guitar, but it won't be quite as easy as on a sixer.

The big deal is that you have to learn to mute the seventh string while you're playing six-string stuff, which requires an adjustment to your right hand technique. If you look down at the fretboard and expect to see a low E string there while playing to reference, then you'll also probably get screwed up for the first couple of weeks.

I don't see how these are issues. Yeah, it'll take your hand a bit to get used to it. However, most guitar players are well used to playing (for instance) the go-to D chord (http://www.justinguitar.com/images/...-D%20chord.gif), so I don't think muting strings would be hard. I also think it would be obvious that you'd have a low B string at the lowest position.


@TS:
I think this is a question of why, as in why are you buying a 7string? If you're just going to be chugging on the low B string, then don't bother; you can do that on a 6 string. If, however, you're going to actually use the extended range of a 7string; then buy a 7 string. Make sure you get one with decent pickups, hardware, wood quality, etc.
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Last edited by crazysam23_Atax : 07-08-2013 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:06 PM   #5
Metander
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Okay thank you guys for replying. Right now i have only two guitars in my sights, both LTD's since I dont really trust other companies other than Epi and LTD/ESP for some reason. Maybe its because a lot of the people I listen to use their guitars (of course they use ESP, but ive heard that LTD is pretty much the same in terms of sound etc)

So the seven stringer I have been looking at is LTD EC-407 (http://espguitars.com/guitars/ltd-guitar/ec-407.html) , and if i choose to go with a six stringer I have found EC-401 (http://espguitars.com/guitars/ltd-guitar/ec-401.html). So I'd like to ask what you guys think of these guitars? Are they worth it for their price range? Maybe there is something better from some other company that you guys could suggest? Is 25.5'' scale noticeably longer than 24.75''? Because right now my Epi LP has 25.5'' scale and even with that i struggle to get the clean notes and fit my finger past the 15 or so frets. Im sure its because I need to practice more, but when it comes down to the scale, is it just again a thing of personal preference or is it generally better to have a longer neck length?

Again, thanks
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Old 07-08-2013, 08:11 PM   #6
sea`
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazysam23_Atax
I don't see how these are issues. Yeah, it'll take your hand a bit to get used to it. However, most guitar players are well used to playing (for instance) the go-to D chord (http://www.justinguitar.com/images/...-D%20chord.gif), so I don't think muting strings would be hard. I also think it would be obvious that you'd have a low B string at the lowest position.

When you play fast riffs on the low E and learn them all without a string above, it's easy to get sloppy and hit the B string by mistake. Nothing a month or two of practice won't fix but muting strings perfectly isn't quite so easy in certain situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazysam23_Atax
@TS:
I think this is a question of why, as in why are you buying a 7string? If you're just going to be chugging on the low B string, then don't bother; you can do that on a 6 string. If, however, you're going to actually use the extended range of a 7string; then buy a 7 string. Make sure you get one with decent pickups, hardware, wood quality, etc.

This. For me it's about the convenience of being able to play songs in B standard as well as regular E standard stuff, as well as not giving up extra range for playing solos. I do have some songs I play that are made for a seven-string but not exactly tons. If you just wanna play stuff tuned to B standard you really don't need a seven-string if you feel you won't miss the extra range or don't mind using multiple guitars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metander
Okay thank you guys for replying. Right now i have only two guitars in my sights, both LTD's since I dont really trust other companies other than Epi and LTD/ESP for some reason. Maybe its because a lot of the people I listen to use their guitars (of course they use ESP, but ive heard that LTD is pretty much the same in terms of sound etc)

So the seven stringer I have been looking at is LTD EC-407 (http://espguitars.com/guitars/ltd-guitar/ec-407.html) , and if i choose to go with a six stringer I have found EC-401 (http://espguitars.com/guitars/ltd-guitar/ec-401.html). So I'd like to ask what you guys think of these guitars? Are they worth it for their price range? Maybe there is something better from some other company that you guys could suggest? Is 25.5'' scale noticeably longer than 24.75''? Because right now my Epi LP has 25.5'' scale and even with that i struggle to get the clean notes and fit my finger past the 15 or so frets. Im sure its because I need to practice more, but when it comes down to the scale, is it just again a thing of personal preference or is it generally better to have a longer neck length?

Again, thanks

The LTD 400 series is excellent. Personally I feel that LTDs in the mid price range are fantastic and better than most other brands. The fact that they come with real aftermarket pickups instead of crappy stock ones (like most Ibanez etc.) is a big bonus.

Scale length is more about feel and intonation. Feel is how spaced out the strings are - if you have large hands, a longer scale length can be useful, but most guitars don't go past 25.5 inches. For a seven-string or eight-string guitar you need a longer scale to maintain good intonation if you are tuning very low - virtually all eight-strings are 27 inches for example. 25.5 inches for B standard is fine but if you are trying to go down to F# or whatever then it might be a problem.

Last edited by sea` : 07-08-2013 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:31 AM   #7
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Ok, so how is the tuning on the seven string guitar? I mainly play drop D, sometimes drop C and less often standard E. So on a seven string guitar, when im in E, the seventh string is tuned to B, what happens when i go to drop tunings? Is it possible to play open and drop tuning type power chords like on a six stringer on the seven string guitar? Wont the seventh string be very loose when tuned to F# like the previous reply mentioned? And how thick is the seventh string? I understand that for lower tunings there are thicker strings required, but how thick should be the seventh string if i plan on tuning it mostly to A which is needed for drop D i think? And finally ( ) what kind of situations might it be hard to play/mute six strings songs on a seven stringer like mentioned before?

Sorry for wall of text, but I thank in advance to anyone who answers
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:10 AM   #8
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Well, i remember the first seven string beast i bought a few years ago. It felt a little too much awkward then, and yes it takes time to adjust your hands( thick neck, thick 7th string and all). But once you do it, you'll surely enjoy what the added string has to offer.
Here are my answers to most of your queries----
When you go to drop tunings, you have to adjust the seventh in the same way(On E its B,so on D its A, on C its G and on and on)....
Yes, you can pretty much use it for power chords as well..(The first barred power chord becomes your C),, However, I use the seventh mainly for riffing and shred type stuff.
Loosing your strings wont bother you much if your guitar has high scale length( mine has 26.5 ). And if you are going to change tuning frequently, please dont go for floyd rose.
The seventh string(even .009 gauge) is thick enough to give you the feel of a base guitar the first time you play it.
Muting is something you have to learn by practise, and muting the seventh isn't toooo hard. And its true that if you learn seventh, shifting to an eight string will be wayyy easier.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:31 AM   #9
Metander
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Okay thank you very much, right now i feel like il definitely buy a seven string guitar. But i got one last question. When I mentioned about buying a seven stringer to my guitar teacher (who uses only 6 stringers since he doesnt need an extra one), he said that the extra string will confuse me in terms of music theory since the seventh string works somehow differently than the other six below it. Could anyone enlighten me on what he might have meant? I know my theory right now is pretty much zero, but im willing to learn it slowly.

Thanks
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:45 AM   #10
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Well, let me say no one ''needs'' an extra string. Most of the legendary songs were composed and recorded on six strings.
If you are a good guitarist, six strings are enough.
If you are a good guitarist, eight strings are enough.
If you are a good guitarist, ONE string is enough...got my point???
But the seventh string is some more fun, I like it, and many like it.
And in no way its going to hinder your learning...even my tutor despises seven and eight string ones...but the thing is--he is old. And MOST(not all) old people despise seven strings. Its because they were not brought up in metal environment. To them blues and classic rock is everything..so dont mind him.
(NO OFFENCE TO OLD FOLKS..i am myself huge fan of classic rock)
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:23 AM   #11
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Hah, my tutor aint much of a metal man himself, but he mentioned that on a seven stringer chords are somehow different. how is that?
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:51 AM   #12
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I'd go with 7 string since it is a six string with additonal 7th. and yet you can play punk rock on it. Scale matters, some 7 are baritone scale some are standard. Longer neck helps the tension when detuning for eg.
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metander
Hah, my tutor aint much of a metal man himself, but he mentioned that on a seven stringer chords are somehow different. how is that?


Music theory remains the same.
Chord shapes that USE the 7th string may look a bit different.
Bass players have been using the equivalent of the 7th string in their 5-string basses forever (the 5th string is tuned the same as the 7th will be).

If you're still getting off the ground on a six, switching to a seven is probably going to distract you more than anything. If you're an accomplished six-stringer, a seven won't offer a severe challenge. It's not a case of "spicing things up" -- a six will do that just fine. A seven simply offers a wider range, and it's handy if you're doing arpeggios up on the upper frets and you simply want to extend them, etc.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:42 AM   #14
Metander
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Okay thanks, i guess for now i should stay to a six stringer til i get my theory base laid down. Maybe in the future il buy a seven stringer

Thanks everyone for helping me make a decision
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metander
Okay thank you very much, right now i feel like il definitely buy a seven string guitar. But i got one last question. When I mentioned about buying a seven stringer to my guitar teacher (who uses only 6 stringers since he doesnt need an extra one), he said that the extra string will confuse me in terms of music theory since the seventh string works somehow differently than the other six below it. Could anyone enlighten me on what he might have meant? I know my theory right now is pretty much zero, but im willing to learn it slowly.

Thanks

Theory-wise a seven-string guitar is identical.

All you're adding is a low B, so for scales you'll need to memorize larger shapes for your fingering or remember the intervals of the scale across the greater range provided.

There's nothing "different" about it when learning theory across a six-string guitar in standard E tuning, because you could just ignore the seventh string for the purposes of your lessons and gradually work it in once you get a better grasp of things.

For example, any scale or chord which has a B note in it? You can just play the seventh string open and it will be fine, because it's tuned to B. If your scale or chord has a D in it, you can play the seventh string at the 3rd fret. Provided you know your scales and chords in terms of notes and intervals, instead of simply patterns, there should be zero problem adjusting. It will likely improve your theory in the long run, in fact.

Using alternate tunings (such as your drop tunings) is going to give you far more "trouble" theory-wise than having a seven-string guitar will.

My guess about your teacher's warnings over it: either he's afraid it's a bit more complicated and thus will challenge you more early on in your playing (possible if you're still a newbie), or he doesn't actually know theory very well himself and is afraid he won't be able to teach you it effectively.

Last edited by sea` : 07-09-2013 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:21 PM   #16
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Well I am a newbie to theory, but since im planning on buying this guitar to serve me for years to come I thought maybe it would benefit me more since the playing is a bit more challenging (muting the extra string, and as you said the longer scales etc.) it would make me better guitar player.
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