From Hell’s Heart: 7/8/9(!?) stringed guitars – Yea or Nay?

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From Hells Heart

From Hell’s Heart:
7/8/9(!?) stringed guitars – Yay or Nay?

The standard guitar used by most metal guitarists is a 6-stringed instrument. In the past several years we’ve seen/heard a lot of players using 7 stringed guitars, and even some pushing the envelope with 8 and, yes, even 9 strings. Why? Does it make things more interesting? Heavier? More progressive? Is it a waste of time? We asked our contributors to choose a side and back up their “Yea or Nay” decision with examples of players/bands.

JP

Nay.  

The king of neo-classical shred guitar, legendary guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen,
The king of neo-classical shred guitar, legendary guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen,

Yngwie only needs six strings to rule them all.


Aaron Yurkiewicz

Nay.

Steve Vai @ Mandela Hall Belfast
Steve Vai @ Mandela Hall Belfast

Look, unless you’re Steve Vai and it’s still 1990, the seven string guitar thing has long overstayed its welcome. I get it, sure – in the right hands, the additional range can offer blah, blah, blah, yakkity shmakitty…Shenanigans, pure and simple. For every Luc Lemay, Karl Sanders, or Tobin Abasi, all of whom can truly work some definable magic through their instruments, there’s an exponentially larger ratio of skinny jean wearing, crab walking, open note rattling skidmarks, pandering to the lowest common denominator of human society through their suburban screamo. It needs to stop. It just needs to stop. You’ve ruined it for the rest of us.

And no, it doesn’t make you sound more “progressive”, your level of technical prowess does. The 7/8/9 string guitar has become a punchline. The more strings you have on your guitar, the bigger punchline you are, and the better your chances are of your band playing on the Warped Tour.

Chuck Schuldiner, Tony Iommi, Bill Steer – what do they all have in common? Six strings and metal. Deal with it.


EvilG

Nay. 

FrankenHarp image courtesy of http://guitarz.blogspot.ca/2012/07/incredible-35-string-electric-harp.html
FrankenHarp image courtesy of guitarz.blogspot.ca/2012/07/incredible-35-string-electric-harp.html%5B/caption%5D

My opinion, as a guitarist, and in a nutshell, is Nay. Not because the extra strings are necessarily useless, but because the music made by the MAJORITY of arseholes playing them is! It seems like every deathcore band out there has extra strings just so they can get the low sounds that they THINK makes them sound heavier. It does not, it just makes them sound shitty like everyone else…chugging away on their low B strings boring us all to tears.  So unless you are very creative, or unless your name is Steve Vai, or someone of his calibre (Jeff Loomis, Rusty Cooley, etc), you have no business messing with extra strings (or possibly any strings at all? lol).

So my beef isn’t with the guitars themselves, it’s with those who are attracted to them for all the wrong gimmicky reasons. Also, it eventually will get to the point of ridiculousness, when the guitar no longer is a guitar but becomes some kind of Franken-harp….whatever dude.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuJc8mFFu-I’]


Erich Heintzelman

Nay.

Most 7 string guitars are a low B string. If you feel the need to play that low, then tune your E string down I say! Type O Negative did. The problem is that with that extra string, much like a whammy bar, many guitarists tend to want to overuse it. The low B should be used more for subtle notes and color here and there, or a change of pace. Instead, most go overboard and pick the hell out of it. Plus, I cannot help but think of Korn when I hear about seven string guitars and I immediately want to vomit.

Having said all of that, I think Trey Azagthoth did a decent job with it on Covenant and yeah Petrucci and Loomis have some good songs with a seven string, but even they tend to overuse it. As far as 8 or 9 strings, if you need that wide a range of notes, why not become a fucking piano player?

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvfg0iLnzsw’]


Helias Papadopoulos

Yay.

Personally speaking, first and foremost: I am not a guitar player. So, I cannot distinguish any different notes or sounds between 6-string and 7-8- string guitars. It all sounds the same to me. But I think that there are guitar players out there that can do things only with 7-string guitar, just like Mårten Hagström of Meshuggah or Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore, Arch Enemy) or even Vai, Santriani and John Petrucci (Dream Theater). They all play in bands with difficult and complex compositions. So, they probably know what to do with 7- or 8-string guitar.Of course there are guitar players out there that totally don’t need more than the 6 strings, I speak of Kerry King who’s not any guitar specialist as the foresaid ones.I don’t know if using of more than 6 strings on the guitar is a waste of time or something that cannot catch up with. I would say Yea anyway.

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro5LQiLbFgU’]


CelticBob

[caption id="attachment_58344" align="alignright" width="292"]Steve Vai @ Mandela Hall Belfast Steve Vai @ Mandela Hall Belfast

Nay. 

It adds nothing and looks ridiculous in many instances. Look at me, I play a 9 string guitar. George Harrison was the first to play a 12 string electric back in the 60’s with his Rickenbacker, but it looked like a 6 string. Fast forward a few years to Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick and his 12 string bass. Similar to Harrison’s Rickenbacker, it loos like a normal bass. In cases like this it looks fine, even Vai’s 7 string looks normal now but when you get past that it just looks out of place and does it really add a new dimension to the music? I think not.