Everything you need to know about seven- and eight-string guitars

Guitarist Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders performs on stage at The NAMM Show 2020 Day 1 at Anaheim Convention Center on January 16, 2020 in Anaheim, California.
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Ibanez Introduced the industry’s first mass-produced 7-string solidbody electric guitar - the Universe UV7, designed in collaboration with Steve Vai - in 1990.

Although guitarists overwhelmingly applauded this new innovation that expanded the instrument’s range, Ibanez surprisingly discontinued their Universe model seven-string guitars in 1994 after an unusually short period of production. This caused a few music industry observers to prematurely conclude that the seven-string guitar was just a passing fad with little more than novelty appeal.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.