Hey everybody! So I'm in a bit of a perdicament, sorry if this is in the wrong place I'm fairly new to Ultimate Guitar forums. Anyways! I live in Canada and there is currently a deal going on, on a 8 string version of the electric guitar I've been looking at. It's $100 cheaper but the thing is I've only been playing for 3 years and I don't know if I'm ready for an 8 string guitar! I'm not too sure of all the differences other than the really obvious you get more strings and you can tune them differently. But like how do barre chords work? It'd be tricky to always not play the top two or do you just have different chords? And the neck looks much bigger than the typical six string and so is that kind of uncomfortable for you guys? I'd call myself pretty intermediate at guitar so I don't know if I want to buy this 8 string, but it is $100 cheaper!! So what do you guys think?
Go play one. Then consider if you think you'll actually use its range.
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Go play one. Then consider if you think you'll actually use its range.


It's quite a change if you go right from 6 to 8. I played 7 for years before I played an 8. What a lot of guys do with the 8 string is drop the lowest string to E, then do the rest in standard. So that way you can do chords as you would on a standard 6 if the root is on the 6th string, then barre the 7th and 8th and you have a power chord with an extra 2 lower notes. However that's really up to you depending what you want to do with it.
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It takes some adapting, but it's not incredibly different. You'd probably lose the ability to wrap your thumb around the fretboard, and your picking will have to change. The question here is more whether you think you'll actually want an 8 string. If you don't actually want one and are just doing it for the savings, then you're probably better off sticking to the 6 string.

It seems really minuscule, but the higher cost of strings for an 8 will start to eat away at the saving you'd get by choosing it over the 6 string. To give you an idea.




Of course, you'll be able to find cheaper prices, but depending on how often you change your strings, you could find your savings dropping more and more. All that being considered, if you're trying to make the switch, it's not too difficult. Bar chords don't necessarily have to apply to lower 2 strings, but many people tune their top strings to E/B, to make it possible to keep the CAGED system.
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If you don't know exactly how you'd want to use an 8 (or 9 or 10) string, and don't need one for something specific, don't buy one.
I also wouldn't buy one unless I had some specific use in mind more isn't necessarily better. The "try it and see "approach can IMO be a trap, you get beguiled by the novel idea or sound. I've tried many acoustics that I thought sounded wonderful in the shop, but I know perfectly well that I'm mostly confusing "different" or "new" with "better", and that I would soon tire of the exciting new sound.

FWIW, I play 6-string lap steel, and I was given a good 8-string lap steel; I have found it very difficult to find tunings and playing styles that make use of its potential.
I'd say don't get an 8-string if you haven't specifically been planning to get one and don't have a good idea how to use it - it's significantly different and can be pretty overwhelming without a good concept. It can be a really awesome instrument, but it's really a lot of range.
Do you intend to play music that requires nearly a full octave of extra low range? If not, the 8 string is pointless, and will only confuse you.
Thanks everyone for the great responses. I doubt I'll need an extra Octave of range and yeah I really don't know how one would use the extra two. Though playing a power chord on top of a normal chord sounds pretty intense, I think I'll stick with the six strings. It seems pretty unanimous that for someone of my experience you should probably stick with a six! So I guess I'll just hold out for a bit and cross my fingers that come Boxing Day maybe I can get a deal on the one I actually want! Thanks again everyone!!
Good call. I'm all for extended range guitars, planning on buying a 7 string soon, and I'd certainly get an 8 or 9 if I found one I really liked and could afford it. But, I definitely think it's best to play a regular 6 until you really know your shit, and move into extended range when you have a plan for what you're going to do with it.