#1
Hello,

I am in the market for a new guitar and am trying to decide between the Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-7 DKA (7-string) and the Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-8 DKA (8 string). I currently have two 6 string Flying V guitars both with a Floyd Rose from the JS series by Jackson, a Rhoads V that I use for standard and Drop D tuning's and a King V that I use for D standard and Drop C tuning's. After having had the two V's for a few years now I have decided that they don't really suit my playing style as I have to wear them much lower than I am comfortable with to have them not look ridiculous when I play standing up and I have also decided that as cool as it is having the Floyd Rose I really don't use them all that much and they cause a lot of extra hassle for me because I play in the different tuning's, which also requires me to have two guitars and I want to move to just having one guitar that I use for everything.

I have only ever played a 6 string guitar but I have decided that since I'm getting rid of the V shape and the Floyd Rose I want to go with either a 7 or 8 string guitar because I play a lot of metal/jazz type of stuff and two of my favorite guitar players Chris Broderick and Rusty Cooley both play 7 and 8 string guitars and I love the way the guitars sound. I won't be buying a guitar again for a VERY long time and am confused as to whether I should go with the 7 or just jump right up to the 8. I am an all or nothing kind of person so I'm leaning more towards the 8 string since it is just a 7 string with an extra string. I do have small hands which makes me wonder how it will feel or if it will be good for me as I am just ordering and don't have anywhere to go and test before I buy and I'm wondering if anyone who has experience with 7 and 8 string guitars can tell me what they do and don't like about each and which one they like better of the two. 

The other thing I'm wondering is I play in four different tuning's:
1. E standard
2. Dropped D 
3. D standard 
4. Drop C 

Will I be able to cover each one of those tuning's with one guitar whether its the 7 or 8 string? And also can you tune a 7 or 8 string guitar to D standard? I've been looking around online and I see a lot about 7 and 8 string guitars and Drop C tuning but I don't see anything about D standard. 

Thank you in advance. 
#2
It pretty much goes without saying that before you actually buy a 7 or 8 string, you need to actually play one first.

7 string guitars are not really worth getting unless you play as low as B standard on a regular basis imo. If you're only going to be playing as low as drop C, then what's the point?

And of course, standard tuning for an 8 string calls for the 8th string to be tuned as low as an F#, half a step lower than 1st string on a 4-string bass. But again, obviously you don't seem to be regularly playing anywhere near that low.

You also need to realize that the musical intervals on 7 and 8 strings are not the same as a 6 string.

7 string tuned to B: B E A D G b e

6 string tuned to B: B E A D F# b

The major 3rd interval on a 7 string is effectively shifted 'up' the fretboard, which throws the conventional chord shapes on a 6 string out of the window. It makes a lot of popular open chords impossible to play on a 7, as the major 3rd interval between the 2nd and 3rd string that once made it far easier to play diatonic chords on a 6 string works against you rather than with you on a 7. For example, as a consequence, a 7 string isn't going to allow you to play an open G chord shape in the key of D like a 6 string tuned to B standard will. And that major 3rd interval is moved even further 'up' the fretboard on an 8 string.

You need to understand how that shifting of that interval is going to affect how you play many of the chords that are conventional (and how it makes a lot of those chords impossible) to guitar playing before you buy a 7 or an 8 string.
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#4
T00DEEPBLUE  Thank you very much for the reply. I don't know a lot about tuning's to be quite honest so I'll try to explain myself a little better. Here is Standard tuning for an 8 string:  F#,B,E,A,D,G,B,E Now if I were to tune the guitar down to D standard DGCFAD what would the lowest two strings be tuned to down a whole step also? And how would it be tuned if I wanted to tune the first 6 strings to Drop C CGCFAD what happens then to the two heaviest strings?

Well, the reason I want to get it is to be able to experiment with the heavier tuning's and have more options and be able to cover all the way from Standard tuning to Drop B if I wanted to on the same guitar (having to drop tune obviously) which is why I'm choosing not to get a Floyd Rose. I mostly play Children of Bodom, Death, Necrophagist etc. which requires D Standard and Drop C but I play a lot of Lamb of God and power metal stuff also which requires Standard and Drop D. I should have also mentioned that I played in Drop B for a while to play the stuff off of Children of Bodom's newest album but the Floyd Rose on my King V didn't handle it really well and it was too many tunings to cover with two guitars (from Standard to Drop B) but I would play in that tuning a lot more and write my own stuff in the heaviest tuning's possible if I had that option. 

I have no way to test the guitar first. The only guitar shop near me doesn't carry them and only special orders them if you make a down payment. Which is why I have to decide beforehand and hope for the best. Its sucks but its my only option. 
#6
Quote by GuitarAddict75
Here is Standard tuning for an 8 string:  F#,B,E,A,D,G,B,E Now if I were to tune the guitar down to D standard DGCFAD what would the lowest two strings be tuned to down a whole step also?
Typically, yes.

Quote by GuitarAddict75
And how would it be tuned if I wanted to tune the first 6 strings to Drop C CGCFAD what happens then to the two heaviest strings?
Typically you stick to a standard tuning (whether that's B standard or A standard or whatever - the same intervals) and just drop the lowest string, but there's no reason you can't drop both the bottom two strings on a 7 or the bottom 3 on an 8 (or, hell, drop the 8th string an extra step past that so you get an even bigger power chord). The issue is that an approach that focuses on accommodating a 6 string tuning as-is tends to render the extra strings decoration that let you do something lower if you really feel like it but not really part of the effective range of the guitar.

Also, be wary of calling lower tunings "heavier" tunings. They're not going to make the guitar magically sound more metal, even if they are typically used in heavier styles.
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#7
Quote by GuitarAddict75
T00DEEPBLUE  Here is Standard tuning for an 8 string:  F#,B,E,A,D,G,B,E Now if I were to tune the guitar down to D standard DGCFAD what would the lowest two strings be tuned to down a whole step also?

Assuming the intervals are staying the same and only the key is changing, yes.
And how would it be tuned if I wanted to tune the first 6 strings to Drop C CGCFAD what happens then to the two heaviest strings?

It totally depends on what you want to do with it. If you wanted the 7th string to also be drop tuned to the 5th interval of the C (6th string), like the C is to the G (5th string), then the 7 string would also be tuned down to G, an octave lower than the 5 string. If you want the 7 string to be tuned conventionally to a 4th of the 6th string, it would be tuned to an A.

But with that said, I really do not see the point in droptuning the 6th string on a 7 at all. The whole point of tuning down a 6 string was to gain access to power chords in a lower key without tuning the rest of the strings down. But that exact same power chord in a lower key is already available to you on a 7 string tuned to B standard anyway. It doesn't make any musical sense to tune a 7 string guitar that way.
Well, the reason I want to get it is to be able to experiment with the heavier tuning's and have more options and be able to cover all the way from Standard tuning to Drop B if I wanted to on the same guitar (having to drop tune obviously) which is why I'm choosing not to get a Floyd Rose. I mostly play Children of Bodom, Death, Necrophagist etc. which requires D Standard and Drop C but I play a lot of Lamb of God and power metal stuff also which requires Standard and Drop D.

When guitarists play in drop B tuning, 99% of the time it's using a 6 string guitar as a reference. If these guitarists you're mentioning are using the same method to attain that low B power chord (by dropping the 6th string on a 6 string guitar), then you also need to stick with 6 string guitars tuned the same way that they do. Otherwise, you may very likely run into the exact same problem I mentioned earlier, with the major 3rd interval making conventional chord shapes no longer function musically the same way. And you may find many of the chords those artists play in their songs become impossible to play on a 7 string, or an 8 string for that matter.

If you're going to be tuning as low as drop B on a regular basis, then the situation you're describing calls for a 6 string guitar with an extended scale length (commonly called baritone guitars). Not a 7 string.
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#8
K33nbl4d3 Thank you very much. This information has been very useful. By heavier I meant lower buy you're right and I'll choose my wording more carefully from now on. 
#9
T00DEEPBLUE Wow. This stuff is a lot more confusing than I thought. I was basically just looking at it as having a 6 string guitar that I could put in whatever standard tuning I wanted with the option of playing in the drop tuning's on the heavier strings or being able to put the 6th string in drop tuning and then play even heavier (sounding) stuff on the other one or two strings. I was leaning more towards just going with the eight string and having the two extra strings to  mess with but after this conversation I don't know. I thought regardless I would still be able to play the same things the same way on the first 6 strings. Like If I wanted to play in E standard or Drop D for example on the first 6 and then adjust the other two accordingly. I didn't realize it was going to change the way I play that much or that drastically. 
#10
  1. It shouldn't matter if you have smaller hands; your technique will change if you're playing a wider fretboard and a longer scale. It has to, leastways if you're used to playing a six with your thumb draped around the top of the fretboard. Check out some Sarah Longfield videos on YouTube; she's a tiny thing with tiny hands and plays a multi-scale 8-string.

  2. You should never base your guitar choices or your strap length based on how you look when you wear them. That's sheer stupidity. Hike the suckers up if you need to (and you probably do need to) and save yourself the arthritis and bone issues later.

  3. You CAN use a Floyd Rose and alternate tunings on a six-string if you buy a Variax JTV-89F. It has a 25.5" scale, 24 frets, jumbo frets and a Graphtech LB63 Floyd with Ghost saddles (piezos). The Variax firmware allows you to output, to an amp or headphones, an alternate tuning of up to an octave on either side of the standard tuning for each string without ever changing the string tension (thus making a Floyd an easy option). Baritone tuning is an easy option in an instant. There are folks out there writing songs that include four different tunings, and they're able to do them live thanks to a JTV-89F.

  4. You might want to consider a headless guitar if you're moving to a seven or eight -- standard-design guitars can get heavy and neck-heavy thanks to the extra neck width, headstock jewelry and headstock size, and because of the extra scale length.

  5. You might also want to consider a multi-scale guitar (say, 27" at the bottom end, 25" at the top). Not only do these point your hand in the most natural direction as you move up and down the fretboard, but they also give you richer bottom end without the annoyance of a too-long scale at the top.

  6. A headless, multiscale guitar will also usually have a smaller body, which makes them a lot easier to maneuver and a lot lighter as well. Again, check the Strandberg that Longfield is wielding in most of her videos. Kiesel also makes the VM7 and VM8 guitars that are similar in use and design.

#11
dspellman Thank you for taking the time respond. Its greatly appreciated. 

1. Ok then. That's good to know. I guess I'll just have to adjust like you said. I'll check her out. 

2. Oh, I definitely need to. Its too low and I don't feel like constantly putting it up on my leg to play leads/solos and having to readjust like that while playing is a total pain. Have you ever seen someone playing a V up by their nipples though? It does look beyond ridiculous. I play them so that the point at the bottom rests against the inside of my leg so its up in more of a "classical position"  with the neck near vertical but the problem with that is it puts my picking hand at a disadvantage for playing 3 note per string type leads lighting fast because I have a picking technique that requires my arm to be almost "around" the guitar so that I'm almost moving my whole forearm back and forth (if that makes sense).

3. That's good to know about the Floyd but again, its not just about the fact that it locks but also the fact that I don't really ever use it all that much. I find I have to really force myself to use it when I'm actually playing a song and find myself doing pinches and just bending more naturally. Sure its fun to play around with but...Just like with the V I think Floyd's are amazing do some really cool stuff but for my own personal style its something I could do without.

4. I would do that and I appreciate this advice but I'm kind of on a limited budget and am going to be selling my V's to basically try to break even with the 7 or 8 string or as close as I possibly can and the Jackson is right in the price range that I'm looking for. Besides Jackson's are what I've always played and I love the way they look, feel and sound. 

5. I was watching a video of Rusty Cooley talking about his custom 8 string and his has the scale thing that you're talking about. 

6. Again with the limited budget

What is your opinion on whether I should go with 7 or 8 though? Is there really much difference? I was planning to just go for it and go with 8 until one other person was talking about the huge difference in playing and now I'm not even sure if I should go more than 6....I tend to go all out so if I do decide to stick to the original plan I'll probably just go with the 8 string. All or nothing. Any thoughts on that?

And thank you again for your advice.
#12
Quote by dspellman

You CAN use a Floyd Rose and alternate tunings on a six-string if you buy a Variax JTV-89F. It has a 25.5" scale, 24 frets, jumbo frets and a Graphtech LB63 Floyd with Ghost saddles (piezos). The Variax firmware allows you to output, to an amp or headphones, an alternate tuning of up to an octave on either side of the standard tuning for each string without ever changing the string tension (thus making a Floyd an easy option). Baritone tuning is an easy option in an instant. There are folks out there writing songs that include four different tunings, and they're able to do them live thanks to a JTV-89F.

You might want to consider a headless guitar if you're moving to a seven or eight -- standard-design guitars can get heavy and neck-heavy thanks to the extra neck width, headstock jewelry and headstock size, and because of the extra scale length.

You might also want to consider a multi-scale guitar (say, 27" at the bottom end, 25" at the top). Not only do these point your hand in the most natural direction as you move up and down the fretboard, but they also give you richer bottom end without the annoyance of a too-long scale at the top.

A headless, multiscale guitar will also usually have a smaller body, which makes them a lot easier to maneuver and a lot lighter as well. Again, check the Strandberg that Longfield is wielding in most of her videos. Kiesel also makes the VM7 and VM8 guitars that are similar in use and design.

That's nice. But what makes you so certain that TS' budget is large enough to make any of these options realistic? He is looking at buying a $300 Jackson after all. Why would TS bother to even consider purchasing such a guitar if he could obviously afford a lot better than that?
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#14
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
That's nice. But what makes you so certain that TS' budget is large enough to make any of these options realistic? He is looking at buying a $300 Jackson after all. Why would TS bother to even consider purchasing such a guitar if he could obviously afford a lot better than that?


His budget isn't large enough. You're right. But we have more than just the TS reading these forums. And some of these guitars are non-obvious because they simply don't show up in the run-of-the-mill stores. And sometimes your budget needs to be adjusted.

Story: I'd divorced a perfectly good Lotus Europa Twincam with a turbocharger back when. Later, I started hunting down another. My budget was in the range of $5K, which was reasonable. I found one, but just missed it when someone showed up with cash two hours before me. I went hunting through the "L's" in the used car listings again and happened to come across "La" before "Lo" and discovered a Lamborghini 400GT 2+2. The price was all wrong, but I was dying to drive a 12-cylinder car, so I made an appointment. Drove it, fell madly in love, and I adjusted the hell out of my budget ("if I don't eat at all for the next six months...") and bought it for $13,000. At that point I couldn't even afford to drive it. At this point, it's worth over $600K. https://www.hagerty.com/apps/valuationtools/1967-lamborghini-400_gt It was a stupid decision on my part at the time, and I suffered for it. Down the road, however, I look like a genius . Obviously not everything turns out that way, but sometimes...


#15
Quote by dspellman
His budget isn't large enough. You're right. But we have more than just the TS reading these forums. And some of these guitars are non-obvious because they simply don't show up in the run-of-the-mill stores. And sometimes your budget needs to be adjusted.

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#16
Quote by GuitarAddict75
dspellman T

What is your opinion on whether I should go with 7 or 8 though? Is there really much difference? I was planning to just go for it and go with 8 until one other person was talking about the huge difference in playing and now I'm not even sure if I should go more than 6....I tend to go all out so if I do decide to stick to the original plan I'll probably just go with the 8 string. All or nothing. Any thoughts on that?


I've played both, but didn't own either until recently. I came across an Agile AL-727 in GC's used section. It's a Les Paul-shaped 24-fret 27" scale 7-string. They wanted something like $400 plus some ungodly shipping amount (plus 10% Los Angeles Sales Tax), and I thought that was too high. Three months passed and they'd dropped the price. Eventually I bought the guitar for $250 all-inclusive, delivered to my local GC. It weighs a ton, but it's an outstanding playing guitar and the previous owner had replaced the Cepheus bridge pickup with an SD Nazgul 7, which sounds a lot better with a lot of gain than it does without. Having lived with it for a while, now, and having played both the Strandberg and the VM7 and VM8 headless guitars, I'm pretty convinced that no matter which I buy (7 or 8), it will be a lightweight headless and it will be a multi-scale (fan fret). If you're moving to a 7 or 8 from a six, you need to know that you won't be playing it the same way.

There's no way I'd give up my sixes to own either. On the other hand, if you're NOT sort of "forced" to move to the new guitar (either by extreme musical preference, by an impending band gig or by not having any other guitar), it's possible that you'll slow your learning curve too much to make the new guitar worth while. Since you ARE making the jump, I'd say dive into either and don't worry about if one has an extra string. You won't profit in any way by sticking to a 7. I'd jump into the deep end and get the 8.
#17
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE


I get it.

Unfortunately, for a lot of users on this board, "sensible" advice doesn't always apply. What would be sensible and obvious advice here in Los Angeles simply isn't possible in Croatia.

Jackson isn't a big brand here. There, it could easily be one of only a half dozen that are.

On the other hand, I can, given a bit of time and some searching, source BOTH a 7- and an 8-string for the OP's budget. I've already sourced the 7-string.

Fact is, I can find a 9-string on Craigs right this second that will probably be able to be negotiated pretty closely into his budget (asking is currently $750, but it's been on there a while, the owner is getting a bit antsy and there are some minor and very fixable issues with the guitar). 28.5" scale, 24 frets, great quality.

If I were giving sensible advice, I'd probably suggest that retuning an 8-string guitar to get into a specific power chord setup each time you changed a song is a serious PIA (well, it would be from my point of view). I'd use a software program to speed up or slow down the song to suit what I had tuned, rather than retuning the guitar to live with whatever the band had conjured up. In truth, I'm a bit more practical (and still outside of the OP's budget), because while I can easily mentally transpose on my keyboards (I'm that good ), it's sometimes easier to simply tweak the electronics on the KB to go with the song in another key and play it the way I've always done and not having to think about it. That's the same reason I use the Variax; I can turn a dial and be IN the other tuning (in terms of what comes out of the guitar, headed for the amp or mixer) and be playing the chords and solos exactly as I always do, and not having to *think* about the fact that string tension has changed (because it hasn't) and it's suddenly become harder (or sloppier) to bend in the new key. Having a rack of guitars, each tuned differently, makes about as much sense as having a rack of pianos, each tuned differently. Easier and better to let the electronics do that.

And that would be, to me, sensible advice.
Last edited by dspellman at Jun 6, 2017,
#18
dspellman Thank you very much for all of your advice. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. I had a look at the nut width and scale length on both the 7 and 8 string guitars and the main thing I was worried about was that the neck would be a lot wider and that it would be a lot harder for me to reach notes on the 8 string with my small hands but its only a difference of like half an inch here and there and since I'm already going with a 7 or 8 anyway I'm just going to go all in and go with the 8 like you suggested. 
#19
Thanks to everyone for all of your advice and suggestions. Its very much appreciated. I have decided to just jump right in and go with the 8 string. I may do a follow up post to let you all know how it went and how I like it. Until then take care and be well  
#20
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
standard tuning for an 8 string calls for the 8th string to be tuned as low as an F#, half a step lower than 1st string on a 4-string bass.


I'm surprised that nobody has pointed this out.
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#21
Quote by theogonia777
I'm surprised that nobody has pointed this out.  

Give or take an octave, close enough.  
#22
Hello again, everyone

I just wanted to take the time to update you all and let you know that after much more research, consideration and really thinking over what you all had said, I have decided to go with the 7 string guitar after all. 

Here are the main things that helped me to make my decision:

1. The fact that I had no way of testing the guitar before ordering it and knowing that it is going to be my only guitar, so the eight string seemed like too much of a gamble with everything I had read and researched etc.

2. This video review and him saying "the 7 string guitar feels like a 6 string with an extra string, but the 8 string feels like a whole new instrument": And the fact that many other people had said the same thing during my research

3. All of the bands who's songs I'm interested in covering play 7 strings rather than 8 strings 

4. The fact that I have smaller hands and have read a lot of different places that the 8 string can be really uncomfortable to play and I didn't want that for my main guitar 

I just want to say thanks so much again to you all for your input. I strongly feel as though I made the right decision given the situation and all things considered. I still think an 8 string guitar would be awesome to have down the line, but to me that is something that I'll most definitely have to try before buying. Hopefully if anyone else is in a similar situation they will find this post useful. Now I have about 4 weeks to wait before my guitar arrives and I'll probably update you all as to how I like it and everything once its here. 

Take care and be well  
Last edited by GuitarAddict75 at Jun 26, 2017,
#23
Maybe I missed it, but Rondomusic should be worth a look for 7+ strings.
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