#1
I'm still looking at 7 strings to buy, but I've also started to look at 8 strings to have that low F# string added. Are there any benefits to the 8 or not?
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#2
More range? That's really it. But once you go 8 you have to start adding scale length, playing with string tension more. Up to you if you wanna do it. If you've never played an ERG I would say stick with getting a 7 for now.
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#3
Basically, yep, more range. It's really A LOT of range and can be awesome if you have ideas how to use it, but if you don't, it also has quite a few drawbacks - easier to get lost, wider neck, and harder to get an all-around good tone (getting good, ubertight low end without an icepicky high end can be a pain in the ass).

Agreed with the above post, if it's your first ERG, I'd go for a 7-string first. And if someone doesn't care much about high notes, I'd recommend just downtuning a 7.
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#5
Huge range, economy of motion, ability to play piano, lute, and harp pieces (within reason) with far more accuracy, more tonal distinction (an A4 on an unwound string will sound vastly different if played right up the neck on a lower string), the ability to get sympathetic strings (tune the 6th, 7th & 8th strings to the appropriate notes and, particularly on an acoustic, they will vibrate and give a much fuller sound), extended use of feedback particularly with the 8th string etc etc etc

anything above 7 strings and it starts to become a performing instrument rather than anything easily improvised on. It starts being something you compose very strictly on. Unfortunately it's been adopted by talentless hacks who would be better off with a washtub bass and a drummer.
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Last edited by Banjocal at Oct 25, 2015,
#6
More range, more chordal possibilities, some possibility of playing downtuned 7-string stuff while in a tuning very close to standard tuning (i.e you're a lazy bastard like I am), being able to play the same notes as a bass if you're willing to cop-out and EQ the shit out of your tone instead of getting an actual bass setup by dropping your F# to an E.

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Economy of motion. You have more notes in any given position.

Eh. I have to disagree on this. The range you get isn't something you can use if you didn't have it.

Now, if for some reason the range was added on the higher registers, then I think we can say there's economy of motion.
Last edited by triface at Oct 25, 2015,
#7
How can you disagree? At any position on an 8 string your have up to 40 different notes. Economy of motion doesn't have to have anything to do with the extra range beyond a six string. At an open position on a six string, you have access to 30 notes, including open strings. With an 8 string at the 10th fret, so you're starting at an E, you have 32 notes before factoring in the open strings.
#8
The main advantage I see really is if you're into some sludgy (I say that in a positive way) downtuned type metal then the extra two strings just makes life easier than having a "standard" guitar and a "downtuned" guitar. You can also play some unconventional stuff but I can't really think of any orthodox guitar playing 8 strings lends an advantage to.
#9
Quote by triface

Eh. I have to disagree on this. The range you get isn't something you can use if you didn't have it.
Now, if for some reason the range was added on the higher registers, then I think we can say there's economy of motion.


Two things -- you can actually get pretty close to the overall range of an 8 string by simply tuning your 6 string differently (say, to fifths instead of fourths). Range is frequently added to the upper registers on an 8 (instead of adding a second lower string). Again, you have eight strings, so what you do with them is up to you.

Remember that folks like Agile are also offering 9 and 10-string guitars (including fan-fret/multi-scale versions) because people have requested them and are, apparently, buying them.

Also worth noting is that some 8, 9 and 10-string guitars (ie., Box guitars and the Chapman Stick) are also being used in unconventional ways (both hands tapping, etc.).
#10
IMO, it is a mistake to think in terms of more is better. - You have to see it as filling a specific need. I was given a good eight-string lap steel, and try as I might, I can't find any way to usefully use it with kind the tunings I like. I ended up with double course on the two high strings. Eight and ten strings are fine, if you can see a way to usefully use them, otherwise you're better off without them.
#11
Quote by Banjocal
anything above 7 strings and it starts to become a performing instrument rather than anything easily improvised on. It starts being something you compose very strictly on. Unfortunately it's been adopted by talentless hacks who would be better off with a washtub bass and a drummer.


they're no harder to improvise on than any other stringed instrument once you get to know the entire fretboard well enough.


Quote by dspellman
Two things -- you can actually get pretty close to the overall range of an 8 string by simply tuning your 6 string differently (say, to fifths instead of fourths). Range is frequently added to the upper registers on an 8 (instead of adding a second lower string). Again, you have eight strings, so what you do with them is up to you.

Remember that folks like Agile are also offering 9 and 10-string guitars (including fan-fret/multi-scale versions) because people have requested them and are, apparently, buying them.

Also worth noting is that some 8, 9 and 10-string guitars (ie., Box guitars and the Chapman Stick) are also being used in unconventional ways (both hands tapping, etc.).


ibanez, agile, jackson 8. LTD, schecter and dean have 2 lower strings and no upper strings. tuning a 6-string that much lower would probably require thicker strings, wouldn't it? and you'd still have less notes - those who solo on 8 strings wouldn't have the same note choices. and tuning an 8 string high would add a more tension to tune all the strings so they're higher, and you might need to use different strings to do it.
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#12
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ibanez, agile, jackson 8. LTD, schecter and dean have 2 lower strings and no upper strings. tuning a 6-string that much lower would probably require thicker strings, wouldn't it? and you'd still have less notes - those who solo on 8 strings wouldn't have the same note choices. and tuning an 8 string high would add a more tension to tune all the strings so they're higher, and you might need to use different strings to do it.


There are obvious differences: among them the obvious two strings.
But you can still cover the same notes, top to bottom, with a six string guitar. The reason I know is that I've done it with my Variax (which uses pitch replacement and can drop up to an octave (or higher that amount as well) for each string. You will not *play* it like an 8 string, obviously, but it's easily done nonetheless.

With the Variax, string tension is never an issue, nor is string gauge. But if you were covering the same ground with a six, the answer is yes, you might end up with different tensions and string gauges IF you were going with the tuning convention of using 2 lower strings. 8-string guitars are certainly not *required* to add two lower strings and have added one higher, one lower in the past.

And, again, there's no reason for the six string tuned to cover the same range as an 8 string be a standard 24.75" scale guitar. A longer scale baritone would certainly do the trick.
#13
Really not catching on to the whole 'extended range' argument here, are ya?

You can't play Charlie Hunter on a six string that's been dropped to F#, bub, and even if you tuned to huge intervals, you still wouldn't be able to piece the chords together correctly.
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#14
8 string guitars are for chumps. Modulation puts a 6 string into any drop tune you could imagine. Just say no.

If you are into the one-man-band thing like Hunter, just go all the way and get the stick.
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Last edited by Cajundaddy at Oct 26, 2015,
#16
Quote by Cajundaddy
8 string guitars are for chumps. Modulation puts a 6 string into any drop tune you could imagine. Just say no.


I wouldn't call Tosin Abasi a chump :P

Horses for courses, man. There's not right or wrong way to do something, just a matter of which you're more comfortable doing.
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#17
Quote by Banjocal
Really not catching on to the whole 'extended range' argument here, are ya?

You can't play Charlie Hunter on a six string that's been dropped to F#, bub, and even if you tuned to huge intervals, you still wouldn't be able to piece the chords together correctly.


Actually, I've seen Charlie Hunter play in person.

I'm not saying that you don't want an instrument suited to the task.
Remember that seven-strings have been around since the Baroque era (there were actually 10-strings) and that six strings arrived AFTER that. Brazil had sevens, Russia had them (before they had six strings). The modern era's 7-string design comes from George Van Eps, beginning in the late '30's, who tuned the bottom string to a low A to produce walking bass patterns behind complicated chording. Solid bodies showed up around 1983, Vai famously used them through out the '90's, and Korn made them popular for metal.

Back to Charlie, who's his own brand of amazing freak -- he's actually one of the folks who's noted that a six could be tuned to a normal 8-string's range by doing not much more than tuning it to fifths rather than fourths (not a "huge interval"). He's also noted that his chording is simply what's easy for him. I have XXL hands with a C to F span (octave and a fourth) on the piano. No problem with range. I'm certainly not the biggest set of hands I've ever seen on a piano, either. Dave Brubeck gives away his hand size in transcriptions of some of his work. I met him after a show one night, backstage at the Hollywood Bowl. I asked to see his hands (normally a somewhat odd request, no?) and he laughed and said, "Oh, you tried to play _______?" (whatever that song was) and unfurled a huge alien paw that dwarfed mine.

Therefore, bub, you'll be pleased to know that while there may be a bump and a shizzle here and there and that the voicings may change slightly, you can indeed do 8-string stuff on a six-string guitar. Give it a try before you trash the idea.
Last edited by dspellman at Oct 26, 2015,
#18
Hmm. I'll try it, but I'm skeptical. Pushing the intervals that far will make standard voicings of certain chords very difficult. I'm trying different tunings in my head and I'm not seeing how you can get from an F#2 to an E5 without pushing one of the strings a few tones up before continuing the fifths tuning. I'm big on being able to play full, thick chords and the further away you tune those strings and the fewer strings you have to work with, the harder that's gounna get. It also removes the option to have more sympathetic strings and lac the 'tonal distinction' point I made earlier which... nah.

History is kind of irrelevant to the discussion, but I'm well aware of the lutes and such (would love to learn to play one!) - that's why I started on the 8 string, among other reasons. Do you know Josef Van Wissem?

does 'bub' mean something else in the US? It's just for "dude" and such here
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Last edited by Banjocal at Oct 27, 2015,
#19
Quote by Banjocal
Hmm. I'll try it, but I'm skeptical. Pushing the intervals that far will make standard voicings of certain chords very difficult. I'm trying different tunings in my head and I'm not seeing how you can get from an F#2 to an E5 without pushing one of the strings a few tones up before continuing the fifths tuning. I'm big on being able to play full, thick chords and the further away you tune those strings and the fewer strings you have to work with, the harder that's gounna get. It also removes the option to have more sympathetic strings and lac the 'tonal distinction' point I made earlier which... nah.

does 'bub' mean something else in the US? It's just for "dude" and such here


Nah, "bub" is the same here and there.

And yes, there will be the aforementioned "shizzle" to deal with. The good news, however, remains that you can play with the range of an eight without an eight. The bad news is that you will not look as cool nor attract the admiring glances of those who would otherwise say, "Oh, look what a very large tool he has" if you don't have that big wide neck on display.

I probably would not have bothered even trying any of this but for those silly Variaxes. You can actually pull up a software program, poke at it a bit and say, "Hmm. Let's try THIS" and transfer the tuning to the preset knob on the guitar for random screwithage at your discretion. Or excretion, whatever suits. I sorta wish they'd produce a seven (or eight) string Variax, come to think of it. Imagine the possibilities.

BTW, have you checked your PMs?
#20
i have an 8 and it works for me. i wanted lower ranges and i've got them. to me that's the benefit.
#21
Yeah if you don't know what you'd do with the 8th string then it's probably best to stick with 7, but some people know exactly what to do with that extra string and musical depth and that's who 8 strings are for.
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#22
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BTW, have you checked your PMs?
Yup, replied last night
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