The 9 Best 7 String Guitars (2020 Reviews)
If you’re tired of playing the usual 6 strings on your guitar, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. 7 string guitars aren’t a new thing, but they definitely are getting more popular today with their usage in heavy music like metal, but even in jazz and other styles.
If you’re worried about which one to go for, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 9 best 7-string guitars available on the market today.
Top Picks: 9 Best 7 String Guitar Reviews
Strandberg guitars have made a name for themselves for being at the forefront of modern guitar technology, with their headless guitar designs and futuristic, space-age construction. The Boden series is well-received by many guitarists around the world, and the Boden Prog 7 was specifically designed with progressive metal and djent players in mind, offering the most balanced playability and sound.
The Boden Prog 7 has a chambered swamp ash body with a roasted maple neck that feels as good as it looks, and brings out the nuances of your tone. The ebony fingerboard allows for a really smooth and comfortable playing experience, which is further aided by the 24 stainless steel Jescar jumbo fanned frets that make left-hand dynamics a breeze.
The Boden Prog 7 features a multi-scale length from 25.5″ to 26.25″, with Strandberg’s patented EndurNeck profile that makes fast sweeps and legato runs super easy to play. It has Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers, with Alnico on the neck and Ceramic on the bridge, along with a 3-way pickup selector. The pickups sound amazing under any gain setting and bring out the best of your tone. The .strandberg* bridge, along with the locking tuners, ensure a stable tuning, and there’s a tremolo bar as well.
If you want the absolute best that modern technology and exquisite craftsmanship can offer, then the Strandberg Boden Prog 7 is likely your only option. With unbeatable playability, a fantastic sound, exotic tonewoods, and next-generation technology built into a guitar that looks like it came from outer space, the Boden Prog 7 is more than just a guitar; it’s a work of art.
Jackson guitars are well-known for making high-quality instruments and guitars, and are used by many famous guitarists like Misha Mansoor and Marty Friedman. The Jackson Series Dinky is a range of popular guitars at quite affordable prices, and the Jackson JS22-7 Dinky is their affordable 7-string electric guitar, designed for upcoming guitarists looking to delve into extended range instruments.
The JS22-7 has a poplar body with a maple neck that offers great resonance for a great tone, and a durable build quality as well. The fretboard features amaranth, which offers pretty smooth performance, along with 24 jumbo frets across its 26.5” neck that make leads easier. The longer scale length makes it easy to drop tune the guitar and still have a punchy sound. According to guitarist Andrew Johnsen (1):
There’s nothing really entry-level about it. It’s really well made and it’s a great starter 7 string
Jackson has fitted its own high-output humbuckers specifically designed for 7-strings, with a gritty tone that’s sharp and precise without any muddiness even at high gain. It has piranha tooth inlays across the fretboard, with a 12″-16″ compound radius that offers easier access to higher frets. The string-thru-body hardtail bridge ensures a stable tuning at any tension.
If you’re the sort of guy who’s looking to dive into the world of 7-string guitars without breaking the bank, then the Jackson JS22-7 Dinky is a fantastic choice at this price point. With a super-affordable street price and a simple design with great electronics on board, along with that satin black finish, this guitar is not only a great entry-point into extended-range guitars, but a proper performance instrument.
PRS Guitars, founded by custom guitar luthier Paul Reed Smith, has become one of the largest and most popular manufacturers of electric and acoustic guitars. The PRS SE Mark Holcomb Signature was a very popular 6-string electric guitar amongst progressive metal players and Periphery fans. Recently, they launched the PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN version, a 7-string guitar based on the iconic guitarist’s specifications and playing style.
The SE Mark Holcomb SVN has a mahogany body with a maple top neck, a classic combination of popular tonewoods that delivers a well-balanced tone. The fingerboard is made of ebony, so it’s very smooth to touch and makes it easy to play fast runs. There are 24 frets with PRS’s signature ‘Birds’ fretboard inlay, and the neck is wide thin, with a scale length of 26.5”, which helps in drop tunings. The guitar ships tuned to Drop C.
The guitar comes fitted with Seymour Duncan’s signature ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’ pickups, designed specifically for Mark’s sound. They offer a balanced tone, but with a tight low-end that works great on high-gain tones, but pristine clean tones as well. There’s a push/pull control to convert them to single-coil and a 3-way pickup selector. The bridge is plate-style with a string-through-body for more resonance and stable tuning, with PRS-designed tuners.
Whether you’re a fan of Periphery’s music, a progressive metal guy, or you just want a great all-around guitar with balanced sound, the PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN is the choice for you. With signature pickups that offer articulately detailed sound, a classic PRS design that’s loved by players worldwide, and a gorgeous finish, this is not only the best 7 string guitar under $1000, but a guitar that anyone deserves to have in their collection.
4. Sterling by Music Man John Petrucci Majesty X MAJ270XFM 7-String Solid-Body Electric Guitar – Best For Metal
- Neck: 3-pc Mahogany
- Scale: 25.5”
- Fretboard: Ebony
- Frets: 24, Medium Jumbo
- Pickups: DiMarzio LiquiFire and Crunch Lab Humbuckers
- Bridge: Modern Tremolo
Ernie Ball’s Music Man is known for making some of the most exquisite boutique guitars with premium tonewoods and construction. The Sterling by Music Man series of guitars is designed to be slightly more affordable, and the Music Man John Petrucci signature guitars are one of their most popular designs, crafted in collaboration with one of the greatest legends of all time.
The Majesty X MAJ270XFM was specifically designed for the progressive guitar player’s exacting needs, with extended range and insane playability. It has a mahogany body with a 3-piece set-in mahogany neck for enhanced durability. The ebony 25.5” fingerboard, along with the 24 medium-jumbo stainless steel frets, provide amazing playability for those extreme shred runs and sweep picks.
Ernie Ball has fitted this Majesty with DiMarzio’s LiquiFire and Crunch Lab humbucking pickups that offer Petrucci’s wide tonal range from high-gain to low-gain and cleans, with blazing solos as well. There’s an active push/pull volume boost of 12dB, a tone knob, and a 3-way pickup selector. It has a modern tremolo bridge with locking tuners enhanced stability, and the guitar has a flame maple top with a royal red finish.
If you’re a John Petrucci fan and want an extreme 7-string guitar to play a variety of progressive metal and other heavy music, then the Sterling by Music Man Majesty X 7 is simply a fantastic choice. It’s been crafted to perfection, featuring a set of premium tonewoods, excellent design and construction, signature pickups for versatility, and a gorgeous look with custom JP inlays that make it the best 7 string guitar for metal, and would easily offer an unforgettable experience to any guitarist.
Ibanez has long been producing some of the best and most innovative guitars for many decades now. The original Ibanez Steve Vai Universe signature was one of the first 7-string guitars to ever come into the market, and was a huge success. Now, they’ve relaunched the Ibanez Premium model, the UV70P, with upgraded features while maintaining its classic look and feel from the original guitar.
The Ibanez Universe UV70P has an American basswood body with a 5-piece maple/walnut neck (reinforced with titanium rods), with a wizard-7 neck profile that offers a really easy fretting hand experience and helps in fast legato runs and shreds. The fretboard consists of bound panga-panga wood, which is quite smooth, and there are 24 jumbo frets with Premium fret edge treatment that ensures superb playability across the board. The scale length is 25.5″, and it ships in E standard factory tuning, with the lowest being a B string.
Ibanez has fitted this guitar with DiMarzio Blaze pickups, with humbuckers on the neck and bridge, as well as a single-coil in the middle. This gives you a huge variety of tonal options, from crushing high-gain tones to smooth cleans and searing leads. There’s a 5-way pickup selector to choose between the various pickups. It has the Edge-Zero II-7 tremolo bridge with a whammy bar for those dive bombs, and a locking nut to ensure stable tuning under any condition.
If you’ve ever listened to Steve Vai’s music, you know his crazy skills and musical prowess. The UV70P was designed specifically for his needs, so if you want a guitar that can do everything he does, then you should definitely get the Ibanez Premium Steve Vai Universe. It’s a symbol of pure Japanese engineering, with exotic tonewoods, excellent construction, remarkable playability, and amazing sound, making it one of the best guitars at its price range.
Schecter Guitar Research has been at the forefront of designing some of the most innovative and cost-friendly instruments in recent years. Their Banshee series of guitars have been very popular for their premium quality at affordable prices. The Banshee Elite 7 FR-S is one of their best 7-string guitars, with exotic tonewoods, innovative and versatile pickups, and a gorgeous natural finish.
The Banshee Elite 7 has a swamp ash body with a multi-ply maple/walnut neck, which is reinforced with carbon fiber rods. The fretboard is made of ebony, which offers a very smooth feel, and it has 24 extra jumbo steel frets with easy access at the higher frets for pure playability. The 27” scale length makes it super tight and stable at the lowest tunings, while the 12”-16” compound radius with the thin ‘C’ shape helps your fretting hand. It has mother of pearl inlays, with glow in the dark side dots.
Schecter has fitted this guitar with the Schecter USA SuperCharger Mach-7 humbucker on the bridge, and their patented Sustainiac pickup on the neck. This Sustainiac pickup, which requires a battery, has a variety of controls, and it allows you to sustain a particular note almost indefinitely, allowing for some interesting feedback generation. The bridge is a Floyd Rose 1500, with a locking nut for greater tuning stability.
If you want that infinite sustain, you should definitely check out the Schecter Banshee Elite 7. But even without it, it’s a beast of a 7-string guitar with its premium quality construction, superb playability, excellent pickups, and a beautiful natural wood finish that brings out the intricate details of the instrument.
ESP Guitars are known for their superb functionality, playability, and affordability. The ESP LTD series and E-II series are amongst their most popular guitars. While guitars like the ESP LTD M-17 are one of their most affordable seven string guitars, the ESP E-II Horizon FR-7 is one of their best; manufactured in Japan with the utmost attention to detail so that each guitar is a high-quality instrument.
The Horizon-7 has a mahogany body, a flamed maple top, and a maple neck with a thin-U neck profile that offers great tone and easy playability. The fingerboard consists of ebony, with 24 extra-jumbo frets with custom ESP inlays that make it easy to navigate your way across the fretboard. The 25.5″ fingerboard is comfortable and allows for tight riffs and solos in lower tunings.
ESP has fitted this guitar with the EMG 707 active humbuckers neck and bridge, which bring out the low-end of the B string in full detail, and work great for distorted tones. It has volume and tone knobs, with a 3-way pickup selector. It has an original Floyd Rose bridge with an included whammy bar, Gotoh locking tuners, and a locking nut to ensure complete tuning stability.
If you want a 7-string guitar designed with shredding and djent in mind, then you should definitely consider the ESP E-II Horizon 7. With remarkable workmanship and design, a pair of powerful active pickups, a classic super strat style design with superb playability, and a gorgeous turquoise burst finish with maple veneer, this is truly one of the best 7-string guitars.
- Neck: Maple
- Scale: 25.5”
- Fretboard: Maple
- Frets: 24, Jumbo
- Pickups: DiMarzio Tone Zone and Air Norton Humbuckers
- Bridge: Gotoh Custom 7-String 510 Tremolo
Charvel has been pushing the boundaries of innovation and breaking the rules of traditional guitar designs for several decades now. Their DK24 series is well-received by players worldwide, and they recently collaborated with virtuoso progressive guitarist Angel Vivaldi for a signature seven string model – the Charvel DK24-7 Nova; designed with his specifications and new innovations to make a radical guitar that’s fit for a variety of genres.
The DK24-7 Nova features a Dinky-shaped basswood body with a bolt-on maple neck, which is reinforced with graphite, and a reverse Fender headstock. It has a custom neck profile with a 12”-16” compound radius and rolled fingerboard edges for smoother playing. The fretboard consists of maple, with 24 jumbo frets that can be easily accessed and played comfortably. It has Luminlay side dots for dark stages, and custom fret inlays. According to Angel Vivaldi himself (2):
This Charvel guitar breaks the traditional rules of guitar-making, and it’s been designed so that the only limitation comes from the player.
Charvel has fitted this guitar with DiMarzio’s signature The Tone Zone and Air Norton humbucking pickups on the bridge and neck, respectively, offering a wide tonal range from crisp cleans to heavily distorted riffs and expressive solos. There’s a 5-way pickup selector offering even more combinations than usual, and the Gotoh custom tremolo bridge along with locking tuners offer impressive tuning stability even with intense whammy operation.
If you’ve seen Angel Vivaldi play, then you know his wide capabilities as a virtuoso musician. This Charvel guitar was designed with his needs in mind, but it’s a fantastic instrument for any guitarist to have. With its unique design, exceptional attention to detail, fantastic pickup selection, and a gorgeous satin green finish, this is a guitar that you’d be remiss to not try out.
The second seven string guitar on the list by Schecter, the Omen Extreme 7 is on the more budget-friendly, affordable side of their guitar line-up. But despite being affordable, it has a great construction with premium tonewoods normally found on more expensive guitars, and offers superb playability for upcoming progressive guitar players.
The Omen Extreme-7 has a mahogany body with a bolt-on maple neck, a classic combo that works just as well here. The fingerboard consists of rosewood, which is very smooth to the touch, and it has 24 extra-jumbo frets for maximum shredability. The scale length of the guitar is 26.5″, which is more than enough to handle drop tunings and use the extended range efficiently without any buzzing.
Schecter has fitted the Omen with their in-house Diamond Plus pickups, which offer decent versatility and bring out the low-end quite nicely. It has a coil-tap function, so you can convert it to single-coil, and a 3-way pickup selector. The bridge is a Tune-O-Matic, so adjusting intonation and action is a breeze, and it ends in a string-thru-body design for a great resonant sound and stable tuning.
If you want a great seven string guitar that offers good value for money, you should definitely check out the Schecter Omen Extreme 7. It’s not the cheapest 7 string, and it’s not multi-scale like the Cort KX500MS, but with its premium tonewood selection and excellent design and construction, it offers a lot of features not commonly found in guitars at such price ranges, making it a worthy buy for beginner guitarists.
Buying Guide: How To Pick The Best 7 String Guitar For You
Stepping up from a normal 6 string guitar to a 7 string guitar can be a big decision, so here are some important things you should keep in consideration:
Tonewoods, Scale Length, And Design
The overall design of a guitar has a lot of factors in it: the woods used for the body, top, and neck, the neck profile and its scale, the body shape and thickness, etc. These factors influence everything about the guitar – its sound, its feel and playability, and of course, its looks. So it’s important to know how each of these affects the guitar and to what degree.
Tonewoods often used on 7 string electric guitars include mahogany, maple, basswood, swamp ash, ebony, etc. Generally speaking, heavier tonewoods like mahogany have a different resonance, and hence a different sound, than lighter woods like basswood. This comes down to a matter of preference.
The scale length of a 7 string guitar varies a lot, with some manufacturers following the standard Fender scale of 25.5”, while some make 26.5” or even 27” for added tightness and grit. When transitioning from a 6 string to a 7 string, this difference in scale length can make a big difference.
A longer scale length will increase the string’s tension, and is more preferable for lower tunings.
Overall, you should consider all of these aspects holistically so that you get the guitar that covers all the ground you need. Comfort is one of the most important factors as discussed later, but these design elements do affect the sound of your guitar as well. Hence, choose one based on your style of play, your desired tones, and of course, pick a guitar that’s beautiful to look at.
Pickups And Electronics
Pickups are the core of an electric guitar; they are responsible for the sound produced. Pickups generally come in two varieties: single-coils and humbuckers. When talking about a guitar with 7 strings and genres like rock or metal, humbucking pickups are the most common as these have higher outputs, less noise, and are more versatile due to coil-tap switches that can change them to single-coil mode. Pickups also have two other varieties: passive and active (3).
Passive pickups don’t require any power, while active pickups require battery power and generate more output.
For modern metal and djent, especially on 7-strings, active pickups (such as the EMG 707 and DiMarzio) are often preferred for their distinct clarity and tone, even on the highest gain settings. Depending on the genres you wish to play on your 7-string electric guitar and the tone you’re going for, you should pick a guitar with an appropriate pickup selection. Remember, pickups can usually be changed quite easily, so you can refit your guitar with different pickups anytime.
Feel And Comfort
When considering a guitar, the most important factor is always how comfortable it feels in your hand. Many guitarists get custom guitars designed specifically for their comfort level, and this includes all aspects of the design of the guitar, including the action, neck shape and relief, fret size, fingerboard material, and much more. Different guitars have different ergonomics, and this is a very subjective preference amongst players.
We recommend that you try out different guitars in a local store to get an accurate idea of what feels comfortable for you. Some aspects of a guitar can even be modified by a skilled luthier, so make sure your guitar doesn’t hold you back from being the best guitar player that you can be, and you can play as expressively as you want to.
Yes, a 7 string guitar may be harder to play based on your existing skill level and experience. Most of the standard chord shapes and scales work similarly on a 7 string, but the wider neck and longer scale length can make it harder for some guitarists to play as efficiently on them. It also depends on the tuning you use, but with practice, it’s quite easy to adjust to the extra string and play as normal.
Yes, a 7 string guitar is worth it, especially if you’re into heavy music like progressive rock, nu-metal, djent, and so on. These styles frequently employ extended range instruments in low tunings for their heavy sound. But even other styles like jazz incorporate the use of the extra string to play basslines and melodies together. Ultimately, the extra string opens up a lot of new possibilities.
Many famous musicians over the past century have used 7 string guitars. Most famously, George Van Eps used a 7 string guitar back in the 1930s. Other jazz musicians have also been known to use them for basslines and cool ‘slap’ tricks. More notable modern musicians include Steve Vai, John Petrucci, Tosin Abasi, Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen, Mark Holcomb, Sarah Longfield, Ola Englund, and many, many others.
- Jackson JS22-7 guitar review – the BEST budget 7 string!. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e68nIGi9B0g
- Angel Vivaldi Showcases His Exquisite Charvel Signature DK24-7 Nova. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dajYGwMl8K8
- The Differences Between Active And Passive Pickups. Retrieved from: https://www.fender.com/articles/tech-talk/can-powered-pickups-save-your-sound