Look around you. There seems to be a seven-string renaissance happening at the moment. Actually, eight-string guitars seem to be going pretty strong, too.
But there's something particularly satisfying about plugging in a seven and riffing out in between the traditional ranges of the guitar and bass.
Don't get me wrong; eight strings are great for getting right down into low-end territory and really shaking the walls. But if one thing really stood out to me at a recent Winter NAMM show, it was the sheer number of companies delving into sevens for the first time, or really embracing them in a big way.
First-time models from Parker, Buddy Blaze and even some one-off Charvel Custom Shop sevens join new models by established seven-string purveyors, such as LTD's new Whitechapel, Suicide Silence and Unearth sigs, some pretty hot Schecters and DBZs and, of course, new models by the company that started the seven-string rock guitar trend, Ibanez.
A lot of great music has been made on seven-string guitars over the past 25 years or so since Ibanez released the Universe at Steve Vai's behest. During the first era of the seven-string, Vai was pretty much the only guy exploring the instrument's potential. It fell out of favor until the mid- to late Nineties, when a bunch of guys picked up secondhand Universes and built their sound around the lowest string.
Then detuning a regular six became all the rage and everyone forgot about the seven for a while. And now it's back. There's a lot of history behind the seven-string now, and here are a few of my personal favorites. Please feel free to share some of your own in the comments or on Facebook.
Steve Vai, "I Would Love To"