Slipknot's Thomson: What I Think About 7-String Guitars

"To me, it's just another tool to get creative with."

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Slipknot's Thomson: What I Think About 7-String Guitars
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Slipknot guitarist Mick Thomson shared his thoughts on extended range guitars while discussing his 1998 Jackson Custom Shop seven-string - a guitar he never actually used in the studio - telling Guitarist Magazine:

"I got [the custom 7-string Jackson] around 2002, but I haven't used it on any tracks yet.

"I play it at home - because actually most of the time I'm not using a drop-tuned guitar.

"If I'm sat dicking around, I just like to play in standard tuning. When you're writing you'll play different because the strings aren't dropped.

"To me, it's just another tool to get creative with. When you write riffs in drop B or drop A, you end up repeating yourself.

"It's so hard to mentally break out and do something different. At least with a seven-string, you can still play it like you would a normal guitar.

"Earlier on, I didn't really like them because people kept coming at me because it was cool to have a 7-string, yet most players would only chug on the lower string.

"Why have a massive neck for your little hands? Why play seven strings when you haven't learned how to play six? You have to walk before you can run, dude!

"Obviously, Steve Vai could play anything and sound great, but most of these guys were nothing like him... so back to the E major chord!

"I kept getting questions about tuning down instead of using a 7-string. I used to say, 'So what - it has all the notes I need!' It was a trend at the time; a lot of people were doing it. Plus this guitar is fucking astounding - it sounds and plays incredible.

"I've kept it in the case, still with the hangtag on the tuning pegs along with the build spec - like who did the electronics, fret dressing and final inspection.

"I've barely played it, but dug it out a couple of months ago and it was really cool to write with - almost like grabbing a bass because when you do that, you'll write riffs so different to what you would with a normal guitar.

"I tend to approach things with a more rhythmic standpoint and come up with weird groove riffs."

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    domea
    I respect Mick, and I respect his opinion, he is a much better guitar player than me.  That being said, if you can afford an inexpensive 7 string, I would buy it.  You never know, it may change your style completely. I bought an inexpensive fanned fret from Harley Benton a few months ago.  Turns out I am not a fan.  I just couldn't adjust to the angled frets when it came to chords, but that is me and my crappy left hand.  You might love a fanned fret, it could make you a better player.  The point is, if you can afford to experiment than don't let somebody else's experience influence you.
    seven.johnson
    Got a crazy cheap Harley Benton bass, significantly better quality than I expected.
    svelle
    No middle man, no advertising, no external distribution. Made in China/Indonesia(?) All that stuff saves a lot of money. I got an 8 string from them earlier this year just to fuck around with, it was crazy cheap and I don't regret it a bit. I don't play it often but whatever it did just cost ~100€.
    ryanbwags
     "Earlier on, I didn't really like them because people kept coming at me  because it was cool to have a 7-string, yet most players would only chug  on the lower string
    This is exactly why I never got a 7 back in 2000. I saw no need for one. I wasn't Vai, and I still am not. If I wanted a lower tuning, i would just retune my guitar.
    Candlewolf
    I bought one so I could play songs by bands that use 7-strings. Before that, I would put a low B on a 6-string and lose the high E. Which made the thing pretty much useless for regular chords and whatever. The surprise bonus of 7-string was the longer neck scale making the higher frets slightly bigger for my chunky sausage fingers (my brother's words, not mine).  I go back and forth between 6 and 7 strings depending on mood and what I'm playing.  It doesn't have to be either/or. You can play both! 
    tomaxandxamot
    Tell em dude - Drop D is one thing, Drop B and C on a Low E is junk - the string barely has enough tension left for C let alone B and you better have patience trying to tune that to a C and the craz B.....buy a 7 string is the sane way.  
    damonfinegan2
    Depending on the gauge of string your using yes it's a crazy note to tune to. For Drop B tuning I use 12 gauges to offset the low tuning. if you're using 9's and 10's to get that tuning, you're crazy. 11's are okay too if you use like an 11-54 set. not the standard.
    svelle
    I use 10-52 on most of my guitars and it's just fine for drop C. Anything lower it starts to get flappy.
    damonfinegan2
    I use 11 Just cause I rarely use my higher octave strings unless required. I do most of the rhythm guitar in my band so I don't play lead often. Otherwise I'd use 10-52. I use that for D#/Drop C#. Again rhythm influence is why.
    svelle
    Yeah I hear you. Up until a month ago I had 12s on one of them, playing Drop C with that gauge really tightens your rythm sound, imho.
    damonfinegan2
    Fuck yeah it does. I use to use 12's on C as well, but It was too much to bend so I went to bend the High D and it snapped. And I was pissed cause it was mid recording so that sucked. Ever since I've used 11's and it's been fine since. B is much more suited for 12's anyway.
    tomaxandxamot
    12 gauge!  That's like Piano wire.  They used that to catch Jaws on the Orca.   I'm Angus young 9 gauge all day.  
    damonfinegan2
    XD Angus Young lol. Love that. I rarely play in E standard anymore so I don't ever use 9's unless I'm gonna keep a guitar in that tuning for a bit. and even then I might bump it to 10's just so I can use Drop D without having all the buzz.
    Skrazor
    I play drop B in my death metal band and a year and a half or so ago I discovered the D'addario EXL148 string set (60-12) which works perfectly combined with my guitar's scale length of 25.5". If you're looking for strings fit for drop B without wanting to make compromises I highly recommend those.
    damonfinegan2
    I prefer ernie ball, but yea a 12-60 would very well handle Drop B. for sure. I started with D'Addario and every set of theirs that I used snapped on me. I like EB strictly because I play heavy handed and the EB don't break. I've only ever broken a string when I tuned too high and it snapped on me. never while playing have they snapped on me.
    Skrazor
    Yeah I get that. Sometimes I forget that, for other people, snapping strings may be an issue, because it never happens to me anymore since I started to change my strings every month regardless of how good they still are.
    damonfinegan2
    Yeah I change mine every 3-4 weeks depending on if I'm gonna do some demoing/writing/recording, and if I have enough money lol.
    Skrazor
    You get fresh strings to snap in less than a month? Dam man, are you using razorblades for picks? Oo
    damonfinegan2
    No you might be misunderstanding me. The only time they snap is when I tune too high, like Drop C# on a 12 set. they don't snap on me when they sit for more than a month, but I change them that often because they slowly lose their tone after a month or two. So I like to keep it as fresh as I can.
    XCrusherX
    I don't see why it has to be a skill thing. I pretty much only buy 7 string guitars, although I barely use the additional string. It's just nice to have the option and it's not like you cannot play 6 string stuff all of a sudden.
    JaguarGod
    I've got a 6 string and a 7 string string and for me, different music comes out of each guitar. That's why I originally bought it and that's how I know I got my money's worth. I can't write the same style of riffs on either instrument and it's good having that dynamic. I don't like this whole mentality that more strings just equal more chug. It should be an excuse to expand your writing. 
    Mountain Trash
    I remember reading an article about Vai that said, " I was playing a 7 string before Munky knew what Head was". It is one guitar I do not own, but I just don't see myself wanting or needing that extra string. maybe I'm intimidated. 
    rockstar256
    This man is correct and right. I play myself 7 string, it is cool addition since i still can go back to E standard or chug some stuff. However after years, i miss 6 string. Gotta get telly and blues n roll
    Wiggimus
    I got a 7-string Ibanez for Christmas a few years back and I love it. Funny little side note about it: when I was younger and dumber, I wanted one because I was a fan of KoRn at the time. By the time I had gotten one, I used it more for video game songs and general Leo Moracchioli style noodling. I didn't try learning my first KoRn song until about a year ago and even then, I mostly did out of boredom. Now, I kind of see it along the same lines as owning multiple video game consoles. Having both a 6-string and a 7-string is a lot like owning both a Nintendo Switch and a PS4.
    MurphySanders7
    From now on just use the Mick pic where his fat is pouring outta his mask, and don’t ever change it again
    jackleigh918
    Here's where we come to share our thoughts about Mick Thomson's thoughts about 7-string guitars: woo freakidy hoo