An 8-string guitar has two more extra strings than classic 6-string guitar. Despite the fact that such guitars aren’t very popular, they definitely can offer a lot of advantages.
For example, an expanded sound range and more tuning possibilities. They are also able to offer a louder and more powerful sound. The 8-string guitar can be useful for performing solo, riff, and even bass songs. Extra strings also minimize possible position changes. Such guitars contribute to harsh and a more spectacular djent as well. You can also play your solo by tapping.
Here are some important tips that you should get acquainted with if you are going to buy an 8-string guitar.
What you need to consider before buying an 8-string guitar?
The guitars that have 8 strings are definitely not easy to play, so think twice before buying such a guitar if you are a beginner guitarist. However, it’s definitely able to expand your creative horizons. It should also be noted that an 8-string guitar isn’t designed for playing sweet and soft melodies. It’s intended to be used by rock and metal players, as usual. So, such a guitar will be a good option for you if:
- You got tired of a 6-string guitar and want to try something new.
- You are an experienced player who wants to try all types of guitars, with different strings numbers.
- You are a metal/rock player. Thanks to having a much deeper cutaway in comparison with traditional guitar, an 8-string guitar enables you to easily access the length of the fingerboard. Thanks to that, it always sounds deep and provides an enhanced solo.
It also should be mentioned that the 8-string guitars are mainly designed for right-handers. This way, if you are a left-hander, you will have to search for a left-handed model, although they are rarely met.
Choose a scale length
Guitars with 8 strings offer scale lengths from 26 to 29.4 inches which give greater tuning stability. Such guitars also may be equipped with multi-gauge (looks like slanting frets) which provides stronger tension on the bass strings and weaker on high ones. Since a longer scale means increased string tension, some manufacturers reinforce the guitar’s necks with the help of various design features. However, it’s also possible to find a model that has a neck, similar to 6-string guitars with a scale length s of 25.5 inches.
The neck of 8-string guitars also has different designs, with “C” or “U” shapes. Thanks to that, the guitarist feels more convenient to play the guitar.
What about neck width?
Unlike the 6-string guitars that have a 1.5-inch neck width, 8-string guitars usually come with a 2.1 – 2.2-inch neck width. Thus, it’s not very convenient to play such a guitar. However, manufacturers use a lot of tricks to improve the playability of 8-string guitars. Sometimes the frets on the guitar are set at an angle instead of being perpendicular to the neck which makes it easier to play the guitar along the entire length of the neck and you are not limited in the speed of movement on the frets.
Different types of tuning
Standard 8-string guitar tuning is F#, B, E, A, D, G, B, E. It makes the sound similar to the sound of four-string bass.
Those who prefer even lower sounding will probably appreciate the next tuning which consists of the following sounds: E, B, E, A, D, G, B, E. It’s called a Drop E tuning.
However, the double drop E tuning is able to provide even lower sound: E, E, E, A, D, G, B, E.
Mostly, the strings on the 8-string guitars are made of steel or nickel. If you are playing heavy music, it’s better to go for steel ones as they will add the necessary efficiency to your sound.