If jazz and metal have any one thing in common, it is the need for range. Range is one of the most important things to a musician, and if you are playing a wailing bass line, you’ll want as much range between the lowest and the highest note as possible.
Why? It’ll make it sound like an actual bass guitar.
Likewise, if you are a metal musician and your goal is to tune low and get a “heavier” sound, you might want to also keep your higher notes for leads.
That is, unless you play in the first two frets of your guitar. If that’s the case, you can just buy a fretless guitar, a pack of very thick strings, and drop the tuning as low as possible.
But, to cater to those of you who want lower tuning for plausible reasons, and not just because it can make your music sound more brutal or allow you to do less work because no one can decipher the notes that you are using, we are going to give a slight introduction to a guitar that has been around for nearly a century, but is just making a splash on the market; the seven string guitar.
The seven string guitar is exactly what it sounds like; a guitar with seven strings. The purpose of the seven string guitar isn’t to be a six string guitar with an extra string; it is to be an instrument of its own that allows for a broader range of notes to be played. You should keep this in mind when playing the seven string guitar, as it will make the instrument easier to manage.
The neck of a seven string guitar is quite noticeably thicker than the neck of a six string guitar. If you are a person with small hands, this may cause a problem. However, it won’t be impossible, and just because you have big hands with longer fingers, doesn’t mean you should necessarily buy a seven string guitar.
In fact, seven string guitars aren’t for everyone. They can be difficult to adjust to, and sometimes guitarists find them nearly impossible to manage. This is all due to personal preference, so it is suggested that you try one out before making a purchase in order to avoid any possibly ugly purchase mistakes.
If you want to get a good look into what type of music can be accomplished with a seven string guitar (and trust us, the possibilities only go as far as your mind can take them, so your genre limits are the limits to what can be done with that extra range), a good idea is to check out some seven string using bands.
There are a ton of new-wave metal bands that use seven strings but don’t take that as the only way a seven string can be used, as the bands mostly sound like carbon copies of one another. Whatever type of music you are interested in, look it up and just add seven strings, and you’ll see what can be done.
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