Seventh Heaven: Guitar World's Guide to Seven- and Eight-String Guitars
Ready to ascend into seven- and even eight-string nirvana?
Start here with Guitar World’s guide to all that’s glorious in the downtuned world of seven- and eight-string guitars.
Note: Where applicable, we've included our complete reviews of certain guitars, including Paul Riario's videos.
Designed from the ground up with the eight-string guitarist in mind, the DC800 features an extended scale 27-inch ebony fingerboard with 20-inch radius, new active A80 pickups, and a comfortable and deep arm cut and belly cut.
Standard features include an alder body, a maple neck, an eight-string fixed bridge and chrome hardware, with plenty of Custom Shop options available to have a DC800 built to your specifications.
DIRECT PRICE: $999 | carvinguitars.com
Carvin California Carved Top CT7
Carvin has longtime experience in both the carved-top and seven-string guitar markets, and the new California Carved Top CT7 is clearly a product of that dedication.
This latest addition to the company’s lineup of U.S.-made carved-top guitars uses genuine alder for the body and Eastern hard rock maple for the neck, both of which are ideal for the lower registers of a seven-string instrument.
Standard features include active A70 humbuckers, a string-through-body Tune-o-matic M bridge and a AAAA flame maple top.
DIRECT PRICE: $1,399 | carvinguitars.com
Dean Custom 750
This affordable offering from Dean forgoes some of the bells and whistles of other axes and instead puts the focus where it counts: into producing a seven-string guitar with classic looks, tonal depth and infinite playability.
It features an arched mahogany body with neck-through construction, a maple neck with an “Ultra Access” C shape and EMG 707 pickups that are specifically designed to capture the expanded range of a seven-string guitar.
DIRECT PRICE: $699 | deanguitars.com
Dean ML Modifier 8-String
This update of Dean’s most iconic body shape features a striking beveled-edge mahogany body, EMG 808 pickups, a set mahogany neck, a 26 1/2–inch scale and a Tune-o-matic bridge.
It features a Classic Black finish.
DIRECT PRICE: $699 | deanguitars.com
Epiphone Matt Heafy Les Paul Custom-7
A unique take on the classic Les Paul, the new Matt Heafy Custom-7 was designed in close collaboration with the Trivium frontman and features a mahogany body and neck, a 24 3/4–inch scale length and a deep-set neck joint with “Axcess” heel.
An ebony-gloss finish, black speed knobs and pearloid block inlays give the Custom-7 its distinctive look, and the active pickups—an EMG 707 (neck) and EMG 81-7 (bridge)—provide the snarl.
STREET PRICE: $799 | epiphone.com
Jackson USA Select B7 Deluxe and USA Select B8 Deluxe
Jackson went for the extra-string jugular back in March when the company released eight new seven- and eight-string USA Select guitars.
Among the new offerings is the B7 Deluxe and B8 Deluxe, each of which features a beveled alder body, a through-body quartersawn maple neck with graphite reinforcement and oil finish, a 27-inch scale length and direct-mount DiMarzio D Activator 7 or D Activator 8 pickups. It’s available in Satin Gray, Walnut Stain, Au Natural and Satin Black finishes.
STREET PRICE: $2,799.99 | jacksonguitars.com
Music Man JP13 John Petrucci
The most advanced John Petrucci signature model to date, the JP13 introduces players to a newly designed preamp—with 20dB of gain boost accessible via a push/push volume pot—that pairs perfectly with DiMarzio Illuminator humbuckers for gargantuan tone.
The body is basswood with a maple top and mahogany tone block, and the 24-fret rosewood fretboard features stainless-steel frets and custom JP inlays. The JP13 is available in Platinum Silver finish.
LIST PRICE: $3,700 | music-man.com
Sterling by Music Man JP70 John Petrucci
If the Music Man JP13 John Petrucci signature seven-string is outside your price range, consider the Sterling by Music Man JP70.
This affordable alternative features matched, special-design ceramic-magnet high-output pickups, a Sterling by Music Man recessed modern tremolo and a 25 1/2–inch scale length.
It’s available in Trans Green Burst and Trans Purple Burst finishes.
MAP: $629.99 | sterlingbymusicman.com
Peavey Devin Townsend Signature PXD Vicious
A collaboration between Peavey and Strapping Young Lad frontman Devin Townsend, the PXD Vicious seven-string has a 28-inch baritone scale, a maple neck-through-body design and a pair of EMG pickups—an 81-7 humbucker (bridge) and a SA-7 single-coil (neck)—for a truly guttural, low-end roar.
Embellishments include phosphorescent side markers, a special Devin Townsend logo at the 12th fret and a pearl inlay in the volume control. The Vicious comes with a specially designed Coffin Case.
LIST PRICE: $1,399.99 | peavey.com
Schecter Hellraiser C-7 FR Sustainiac and C-8 FR
If you want your seven-string guitar to have something other guitars don’t, look to the Hellraiser C-7 FR-S from Schecter.
The S in the model number stands for Sustainiac, a driver/pickup that produces beautiful humbucker tones when the Sustain switch is off and works as the Sustainiac Driver when switched on, creating an infinite feedback sustain of string vibrations by electromagnetic feedback.
Other features include an extra-durable three-piece mahogany neck, Grover Rotomatic tuners and gothic cross inlays.
Color options include Black Cherry and black. The C-8 FR has most of the same specs as its seven-string brother, the key differences being its 28-inch scale, carbon-fiber rods in the neck and EMG 808 active pickups.
LIST PRICES: C-7 FR-S, $1,649; C-8 FR, $1,449 | schecterguitars.com
Ibanez Iron Label S
Designed with the metalhead in mind, Ibanez’s Iron Label S Series—available in six-, seven- and eight-string configurations—is built on the chassis of the company’s famed RG and S Series bodies but with various tweaks and mods that any headbanger would welcome.
The highly durable Nitro Wizard neck is an update to the company’s legendary super-thin Wizard neck, and the white-hot EMG or DiMarzio active pickups are ideal for generating incendiary metal tones.
No glitz and glamour here, just a beast of an ax intended for all things metal.
LIST PRICE: $933.32 | ibanez.com
Ibanez J. Custom Eight-String Guitars
Ibanez is proud to call the J. Custom JCR813BGA and JCR813BOP “the finest Japanese-made guitars in history,” and rightfully so.
These eight-string works of art feature the finest woods and the best neck and fret treatments, as well as perfect pickup combos and tremolo systems. Specs include J. Custom Maple/Wenge Wizard-8 necks, a pair of EMG 808 pickups and fixed Edge III-8 bridges.
And that Tree of Life inlay positively explodes on the large eight-string fretboard.
LIST PRICE: $5,733.32 | ibanez.com
This seven-string 27-inch-scale baritone guitar from Cort is ideal for those in need of expanded low-end range. Looks-wise, it’s a full-on black beauty, and the construction and electronics don’t get much better in a sub-$700 guitar.
The guitar features a mahogany body, a Canadian hard maple neck, and a rosewood fretboard with a 12-inch-radius and an EVL custom inlay. Pickups include two EMG-HZ7 passive humbuckers.
STREET PRICE: $695 | cortguitars.com
Mayones Regius 7
Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor speaks often about his love for Mayones guitars—and it’s easy to see why when you take a look at this Regius 7 in Antique Black Oil finish.
An impressive list of woods—including an ash top, korina back and 11-ply maple-mahogany-amazakoe-wenge neck—make up the Regius 7’s construction, and a set of Bare Knuckle Aftermath pickups provide the thunder.
LIST PRICE $4,115 | mayones.com
Mayones Regius 8 MM QM
From Mayones’ Djentlemen Series comes the Regius 8 MM QM, a baritone guitar perfectly suited to producing that detuned Meshuggah-style chug.
The body has a quilted maple top and a basswood back, with neck-through-body construction and a marker-less ebony fingerboard. Like its Regius 7 counterpart, it comes standard with a pair of Bare Knuckle Aftermath pickups.
LIST PRICE: $4,567 | mayones.com
ESP LTD SCT-607B
Part of the Stephen Carpenter Signature Series, the SCT-607B from ESP boasts a 27-inch baritone scale, 24 XJ frets, LTD locking tuners and EMG 81-7 active pickups.
It has an alder body, a maple neck and an ebony fingerboard.
LIST PRICE: $999 | espguitars.com
ESP H-338 BLKS
This eight-string option from ESP is based on the company’s H-style body shape and has a mahogany body, a maple neck, a rosewood fingerboard with 24 XJ frets and a 25 1/2–inch scale.
It features ESP ALH-208 active pickups and a bolt-on neck.
LIST PRICE: $499 | espguitars.com