Meshuggah’s Mårten Hagström and Animals As Leaders’ Tosin Abasi on the expansive possibilities of the 8-string

Marten Hagstrom and Tosin Abasi
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

In 2022 the art of eight-string guitar is in rude health. This was once an incredibly obscure instrument, with roots going as far back as 19th-century classical music. But since 2007, when Ibanez launched the RG2228, the first mass-produced eight-string, its popularity has grown and grown.

You can easily find an eight-string in most first-hand guitar shops. This popularity is mainly thanks to metal bands who called for lower and thicker tunings to take their imaginations to the extreme – foremost among them Meshuggah, math-metal pioneers from Sweden, and Animals As Leaders, masters of instrumental tech-metal from Washington D.C.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).