In recent years, the "7-string guitar" has rapidly gained ground and has grown into a Sound House category with more than 100 items listed. However, it is also true that there are still people who think "You don't have to have a 7-string guitar let alone a 5-string bass". This time, we will deliver a roundtable discussion by two 7-string guitarists from Sound House to convey the attractions of 7-string guitars.
Hosoya : This time, I will participate as a representative of and facilitator for 6-string guitarists! So, how did you discover the existence of 7-string guitars?
Miyazaki : In my case, K-A-Z from sads. The sound of the album "THE 7 DEADLY SINS" (2010) was extreme, and when I wondered how he got a sound like that, I found out that he was using a 7-string guitar.
Mizuta : My first time was when I checked out the Ibanez homepage when I was in high school. At that time, I was wondering what a 7-string would be used for, but when I entered university and became addicted to coldrain and Crossfaith, it became clear that "a 7-string could be useful!".
■ coldrain/The Revelation
Hosoya : I see. So what guitarists and bands inspired you to actually use a 7-string guitar?
Mizuta : This was also coldrain and Crossfaith. Basically, LOW-B and LOW-A # are used for riffs, so if I have 6 strings, I have to change the strings to thicker ones.
Miyazaki : In my case, the biggest influence was John Petrucci (Dream Theater). He's not only a heavy user of 7-string guitars, but he's also a technical guitarist, and I wanted to use one myself.
■ Dream Theater/The Enemy Inside
Hosoya : So, Mizuta’s influence was so-called loud rock, and Miyazaki’s was metal, especially progressive metal. Okay. Please tell us about the 7-string guitars that you both own.
Miyazaki : I’m using an EDWARDS / E-SN-24 FIXED 7ST.
Mizuta : I'm using a discontinued product, an Ibanez / Prestige RG3327FX.
Hosoya : Looking at the specs, they have many things in common. Both use passive pickups and a fixed bridge.
Miyazaki : I noticed that, too. Mizuta's Dimarzio / Fusion Edge on the Ibanez is a model made for Ibanez guitars. What does it sound look like?
Mizuta : Well, I haven’t done much comparing myself, but it distorts a lot anyway. It's not a sharp sound like the Duncan NAZGUL, but a slightly more muffled sound. It's not used just for loud rock, so I prefer this one in terms of versatility. Regarding the specs of the guitar, it’s an Ibanez, it has a passive humbucker, and a fixed bridge… there is no reason not to buy it. Miyazaki, why did choose a guitar with those specs?
Miyazaki : First of all, passive pickups have an open sound and are easier to play, so this was essential for me personally. I chose a fixed bridge for convenience when I wanted to change the tuning. I wanted to play not only regular B but also drop A. The final deciding factor was the nut width. It's 45mm, which is narrower than other 7-string guitars, so I thought it would be easy to switch over from a 6-string.
Hosoya : If you want to reduce the discomfort of switching from a 6-string, the nut width is an important point. What pickups are installed on the guitar?
Miyazaki : The pickups are SENTIENT / PEGASUS from SEYMOUR DUNCAN. In contrast to the ceramic Fusion Edge on both the front and rear of Mizuta’s guitar, these are both are alnico magnet pickups. My Edwards has an ash body, a maple neck, and an ebony fretboard, which is a combination of materials that may sound hard, but I feel that the pickups are well balanced with the materials. While outputting a sharp low 7th string, the treble does not get harsh even if you play the high positions with the rear pickup.
Hosoya : By the way, even if you were to get another 7-string guitar, would you choose a guitar with similar specifications?
Miyazaki : Passive pickups and a 25.5 inch scale are essential for me. But if we’re talking about a second one, I’d want a 7-string with a tremolo. In that case, I’d choose a locking-type tremolo on which the tuning cannot be changed.
Mizuta : I used to use a Les Paul, so I'm curious about the LTD EC.
Hosoya : Next, let's talk about the feeling of playing a 7-string guitar. What are the benefits of playing a 7-string guitar?
Miyazaki : What I find advantageous is that there is one more string that can be moved to when descending the scale. It's a lot of fun because you can use the sounds that were difficult to get with a 6-string.
Mizuta : You can play normal tuning songs and down tuning songs with one guitar. As I said earlier, if you want to use LOW-B with a 6-string, you have to change the strings to thicker ones.
Hosoya : By the way, what strings do you use?
Mizuta : Mine are 09-52 ELIXIR NANOWEB.
Miyazaki : I use SIT Power Wounds with a gauge of 09-54.
Hosoya : Both of them have thin plain strings. Nowadays, many manufacturers have released many strings for 7-string guitars.
→ Guitar Strings / 7-string
On the other side, what do you think is difficult about playing a 7-string guitar?
Miyazaki : Muting strings is more difficult than on a 6-string, and the tension of the 7th string is loose, so if you press the strings strongly, the pitch goes sharp. If your picking style is too strong, the sound tends to get muddy, so it is important to play with a minimum amount of force for both the left and right hands.
Mizuta : As for playing, it's almost exactly what Miyazaki said. Other than that, you have to be a little careful when choosing a case. The 7-string has a larger head and a longer overall length than usual. The 7-string Les Paul I had before didn't fit in the case that was meant for the Les Paul. My Ibanez head wouldn’t fit in a genuine Ibanez case, so I put it in a case meant for a folk guitar.
Miyazaki : If you buy an odd-shaped 7-string guitar, you'll end up in trouble.
Hosoya : Are there any difficult points or points to note when getting sounds from a 7-string?
Mizuta : As far as the bass is concerned, when comparing a down-tuned 6-string guitar to a 7-string guitar, the 7-string tends to have a fat sound with a blurred outline. I think it’s important to tighten it up and bring it to a “thin macho”. It is popular to use TS OD as a filter, but it is a must if you play loud rock.
Miyazaki : The TS series, especially the OD808, is a standard booster for metal. Personally, I think fret wraps or some kind of mute is essential if you want to distort it. By cutting off the extra overtones, the sense of real sound will increase considerably.
↓Gruv Gear / FretWraps String Muters Large
Hosoya : Okay. Please tell me if there is a guitarist or sound source that you refer to when creating sounds.
Mizuta : I don't have anything in particular ... A full tube high gain amp sounds good.
Miyazaki : I think Periphery is the most modern sound reference. It's a band that I personally refer to because they all use passive pickup guitars.
■ Periphery/Blood Eagle
Hosoya : Are you both strictly 7-string players? Or do you play 6-strings as well?
Mizuta : Originally I played only 7-strings. But now I also have a 6-string.
Miyazaki : I use both.
Hosoya : How do you use them differently?
Miyazaki : The 6-string is tuned a half step down, and the 7th string is regular tuning.
Mizuta : Speaking of tuning, the 7th string is usually a B, but sometimes I'm worried about songs that require an open C or C#. There are times when I'm up-tuned, but depending on the gauge of the strings I'm using, the tension gets too high, so when I was in college I had no choice but to use capo.
Hosoya : It's interesting that you use them both. It's also interesting that other 7-string players also have different uses. As a 6-string guitarist, I used to think do I need such low notes? But I guess that it depends on how they are used.
Miyazaki : I agree. How does it simply change as a range? If you just look at it, you will only be able to produce a sound that is two and a half notes lower, but how do you use it for your performance? If you think about it as 3 notes per string, you will have more choices for 3 notes. Of course, it is cool if you can make a low sound, but I would like to suggest that there are more notes that can be played when you are playing fast.
Hosoya : I think 6-string guitarists, including myself, have become a little interested. The 7-string guitar also seems to be a profound instrument that gives guitarists individuality depending on how the guitar is used.