Just when you thought you were getting the hang of running scales, shaping chords and tackling popular songs on six strings, we’re here to add an extra string into the mix.
Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced guitar player, you’ve likely come across options for 7-string guitars when shopping for a new axe. While these guitars can be used across a range of genres, they’re most commonly played in shred metal and heavy rock bands. That extra bass note offers the percussive grunge feel that rockers desire.
As a longtime player myself, I can attest that it’s no easy task to shop for a 7-string simply because they make up such a small percentage of the overall market today. You’re lucky if you can even find one in your local shop to mess around with. Lucky for you, I’ve done some legwork to make your purchasing journey a little easier.
Here’s a quick glance at the candidates I chose for best 7-string guitar on the market today:
- Ibanez GIO GRG7221m
- Ibanez RG7421PB
- Ibanez Steve Vai Signature Premium UV70P
- Ibanez Axion Label RGD71ALMS
- Ibanez PRESTIGE RGR752AHBF
- Jackson JS22-7 Dinky
- Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24-MG7
- Jackson Pro Series Signature Dave Davidson Warrior WR7
- Jackson USA Misha Mansoor Signature Juggernaut HT7
- Schecter Omen Extreme-7
- Schecter Damien Platinum 7
- Schecter Hellraiser C-7
- Schecter Randy Weitzel V-7 FR Ouija
- ESP LTD EC-257
- ESP LTD M-1007 QM
- ESP LTD SCT-607B Stephen Carpenter Signature 7-String Baritone
- Charvel DK24-7 NOVA Angel Vivaldi Signature Pro-Mod
- Strandberg Boden Standard 7
- Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty 7
- PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN
We’ve grouped the guitars above by manufacturer, but if you’re on a budget, you should focus on what I think are the best 7 string guitars under $500.
The Best 7 String Guitar: Full Reviews
Ready to start evaluating the top 7 string guitars on the market? This is as close to a comprehensive list as we can come up with — there’s something here for players of all levels and budgets.
Ibanez 7 String Guitars
Any 7 string guitar roundup needs to include Ibanez models thanks to guitar legend Steve Vai. Ibanez was the first top guitar brand to mass manufacture a 7 string model — the UV7 — which was used by the legendary shred master. The success of that model spurred the company (and others!) to create new models and the rest is history.
- Budget Price. Even if you’re just curious about 7 string guitars, you can afford to buy one.
- Classic Ibanez speed. This fast-action neck is, well… fast!
- Decent tonal range. For a guitar in such a low price category, the pickups offer a nice range.
- Cheap hardware. As expected though with cheap 7 string guitars.
- Only one color. And it’s a pretty soft-looking blue.
If you’re searching for cheap 7 string guitars to scratch your extra-string itch, I recommend starting with the Ibanez GIO GRG7221M. For the price, you can afford to experiment and see if you really like playing with an extra string before deciding to invest in a higher-quality instrument.
As expected with Ibanez, the neck is silky smooth and extremely fast. There are 24 jumbo frets along the maple neck, allowing even those with fatter fingers to play single-note runs relatively easily.
I really believe this is one of the best cheap 7 string guitars on the market today. If you’re looking for something with a more intricate color design, this alternate version will only cost you a bit more.
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- Shred monster. Again, Ibanez is known for fast necks and this RG 7 string model is no different.
- Beautiful mahogany top. The sapphire blue looks beautiful and sinister.
- Tunability. The fixed bridge helps keep everything in tune — even after rocking out.
- In-the-middle pricing. This is either a “cheap upgrade” or an “expensive beginner” axe.
- Pickups are average. They can certainly deliver a lot of output, but the clean tones are lacking.
If you can’t tell, we didn’t bother saving some of our favorite 7 string guitars down in the list. Remember, Ibanez was one of the first companies to mass-produce seven-string guitars, so as the prices go up on those models, expect some really nice results.
While I do like this classic RG model, it’s priced a bit unusually for me. The pickups are decent, but not amazing. This leaves me wondering if this is considered a first-time guitar or an upgraded model. You’ll simply have to try it out first and determine if it’s for you or not.
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- Designed by a legend. If Steve Vai is playing it, you know it has to be good.
- Ibanez’s fastest neck ever. The speed is insane.
- Crystal clear pickups. Ibanez trusted DiMarzio Blaze pickups for its Vai signature and they are delightful.
- Expensive. You do get what you pay for, though.
- Funky color choice. Not everyone is going to love it.
This is one of Ibanez’s most expensive and highest quality 7 string guitars. In other words, price and quality are typically synonymous.
This axe is a high-performing instrument, though. Let’s start with the 5-piece maple and walnut Premium Wizard neck. If you’ve ever played an Ibanez, you know the necks are incredible. But this one is the best of the best. How else do you think Steve Vai can shred so fast?
This is definitely an upgrade and a forever-type of 7-string guitar. If you’re dedicated to playing with a 7-string guitar, I can’t recommend it enough.
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- Innovative design. The modern and psychedelic design is certainly eye-catching.
- Multiscale frets. They’re tricky to get used to, but the possibilities are endless.
- A ‘nitro’ neck?! How does Ibanez keep making these necks faster?
- Multiscale isn’t for everyone. Even skilled musicians can struggle with this guitar.
If you’re looking for a multiscale 7 string guitar, look no further than the Ibanez Axion Label RGD71ALMS. Not sure what multiscale means? Let me explain.
Multiscale fret guitars — also known as fanned fret guitars — are actually a relatively new trend. Simply put, it offers a long scale length for the bass notes and a shorter scale length for the treble side of things. To achieve this, there is more tension, which helps with your intonation and overall tone.
I wouldn’t recommend starting with a multiscale 7 string guitar if you’re a relatively new player. For starters, it’s more expensive. But it’s also a little trickier to figure out. Intermediate to advanced players will need a little bit of time to get used to it, but if they’re dedicated they’ll be extremely pleased with the results.
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- Beautiful finish. The weathered black finish is stunning.
- Designed for heavy metal. This axe is durable and designed to take the high-octane playing associated with that genre.
- Powerful custom pickups. DiMarzio pickups offer more than enough power and tonal range.
- Pricey. But this is a more advanced guitar, so the higher price tag is warranted.
The Ibanez PRESTIGE comes in two versions: A 6-string version, which we previously reviewed, and a 7-string version, which is why it’s on this list. The 7-string version is one of the best in its class.
Let’s start with the stunning weathered black finish. You can see the wood grain on the Strat-inspired body. And it contrasts beautifully with the pearly white DiMarzio custom humbuckers.
Speaking of pickups, these puppies are really packed with power. The passive humbuckers were designed with an insane amount of clarity, which is what’s needed for the fast attack playing style of metal music.
It comes with a hard-shell case!
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Jackson 7 String Guitars
As one of the top guitar manufacturers targeting metal and rock players, it should come as no surprise that Jackson has a healthy lineup of high-performing 7 string models.
- An extra-nice beginner’s guitar. Priced just right for quality and playability.
- Comfortable neck. It features a 12-inch to 16-inch radius fretboard, which is quite comfortable.
- The quilted maple top is beautiful. Jackson has created an eye-catching axe.
- Humbuckers can’t do clean well. If you’re a rocker, you may not care, though.
If you’re searching for cheap Jackson guitars and are interested in a 7 string model, the Jackson JS22-7 Dinky is definitely an instrument worth checking out.
For the price, this is a surprisingly high-performing 7-stringer. The humbuckers are quite powerful, although they lack clarity in clean tones. Some of the hardware, like the tuners, feels a bit cheap, but this is also quite an affordable guitar.
You’re going to come across two versions of the Dinky, which will have you wondering the differences between the Jackson JS-22 vs. JS-32. For about $50 more, the JS-32 is of slightly higher quality — mostly due to the super-bright white finish. The fretboard binding is also upgraded for a smoother (and faster!) feel.
And if you’re really feeling adventurous, there’s a Jackson multiscale version of the 7-string Dinky that’s a lot of fun to play.
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- Designed for a rocker. Whether you play classic rock or death metal, this axe looks the part.
- Low action. Perfect for Djent music, which needs to take advantage of the lower seventh string.
- Floyd Rose tremolo. It’s the best in the industry for a reason.
- Black hardware can show fingerprints. This is picky, but it’s true.
The Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24-MG7 screams death metal, from its pointed “flying V” design to its all-black hardware.
I really like the through-body maple neck, which offers really impressive sustain. The 12-16 inch compound radius fingerboard is also extremely comfortable for more hands. Those with larger hands should be ok, too.
No case is included for this uniquely shaped guitar, so get ready to spend some money on one.
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- Fierce design. Jackson has created the ultimate 7 string Explorer lookalike.
- Floyd Rose tremolo. Don’t be afraid to go whammy on this guitar. The intonation is great.
- Special pickups. Dave Davidson, lead guitarist of metal band Revocation, designed this DiMarzios himself.
- No case. And as you can tell, you need a very specific case for this guitar, which isn’t cheap.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24 mimics a Gibson Explorer. That’s not the bad part, though. This is a premium guitar with a high price tag and Jackson doesn’t include a case with it. There are cases that are certified to fit these guitars, but they’re going to run you extra.
Anyways, there’s still plenty to like about this wicked-looking axe.
You’ll first notice that this unique Jackson is built like a tank. It feels solid and all the components are extremely high quality, including the Floyd Rose double-locking tremolo. There’s a reason a lot of makers don’t include a tremolo on a 7-stringer. It’s because it’s hard to keep everything in tune. The Floyd Rose does an admirable job when it comes to intonation.
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- Stunning design. This is not only a guitar — it’s a work of art.
- The ultimate metal machine. As the signature model of Misha Mansoor, expect nothing but the best.
- Extreme playability. The maple neck is graphite-reinforced.
- Extremely expensive. This is a forever guitar that’s quite the investment.
If you’re a skilled guitarist with a big budget and a desire for an absolutely stunning instrument, the Jackson USA Misha Mansoor Signature Juggernaut might be the nicest-looking and best-playing 7-string guitar on this list.
Everything about this guitar screams premium, from its locking tuners and hipshot hardtail bridge to its flamed “Laguna Burst” finish. Depending on the finish you pick (there are six total options), your price can jump by several hundred dollars.
Thankfully Jackson includes a premium hardshell case with this guitar, which you’ll absolutely need for this type of investment.
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Schecter 7 String Guitars
Another 6-string powerhouse known for metal music, Schecter has been producing 7-string guitars for a few decades now. Schecter guitars, which tends to feature Strat-like body designs, are best known for their screaming-fast necks.
- Beautiful maple top. The black flamed look is perfect for hardcore rockers.
- Shred-worthy neck. The maple neck is a thin “C” that fits most hands like a glove.
- Flexible humbuckers. Split the coil for even more tones.
- White binding breaks up an all-black look. That’s just me being picky though.
If you’re looking for a truly excellent guitar under $500, I recommend that you seriously consider the Schecter Omen Extreme-7. From its stellar in-house-made pickups to its speedy neck — not to mention its impressive looks — this is a well-made instrument to hone in your seven-string skills.
You won’t be disappointed by the quality of the inlays and the tone is exactly what metal and rock players crave.
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- Awesome satin black finish. Combined with the flat-black pickups, this guitar looks great.
- Grover Totomatic tuners. Intonation won’t be a problem with this guitar.
- Rockin’ humbuckers. Schecter went with active EMG pickups that deliver a punch for rockers.
- Restringing is tenuous. You may need a pro to restring for you.
I view the Schecter Damien Platinum 7 as a solid upgrade guitar. For the quality of construction and performance of its EMG humbucking pickups, I think there’s a ton of value in this super slick-looking axe.
And if you’re looking for something a bit sinister looking, the satin black finish and flat-black pickups are an extremely nice combination that looks great.
Schecter then takes the guitar to a new level by including Grover Rotomatic tuners.
There’s a cheaper alternative with Schecter pickups that’s decent, but it’s more of a blurred line between a beginner’s guitar and something more intermediate.
Schecter also makes a left-handed version.
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- Screaming fast neck. Made up of three pieces, you can really shred on this guitar.
- Beautiful glossy white finish. The finish contrasts nicely with the guitar’s pearl binding.
- 26.5” scale length. This keeps your lowest string nice and tight for optimal clarity.
- Knob hardware could be better. Some owners have complained about the knobs falling off, but this seems rare.
Designed for more serious guitar players, the Schecter Hellraiser C-7 is a workhorse seven-stringer that sounds as good as it looks.
You’ll immediately notice the glossy white finish, which looks stunning but will also attract plenty of fingerprints. The pearl inlays and binding is really the cherry on top with this guitar, in terms of its looks.
The clarity and tone produced on this guitar are great, thanks to the optimal scale length, which keeps your low B string nice and tight.
There is a Floyd Rose tremolo version of this guitar.
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- Powerful. In addition to its looks, this guitar can really scream.
- Floyd Rose tremolo. Whammy all day while keeping your seven strings in tune.
- Cool chrome hardware. The distressed look matches well with the Flying V body shape and intricate design.
- Gaudy design. It’s a bit over the top.
If you’re a metal fan, then you know and respect Randy Weitzel, lead guitarist for In This Moment. Schecter respects his playing so much that they gave him a signature model — a Flying V-inspired axe with Weitzel’s signature Ouija graphic stretched across the body and headstock.
In terms of tone, this guitar is a powerful one. The solid mahogany construction offers incredible resonance and plenty of warmth. The active EMG pickups deliver excellent clarity — even on that low seventh string. And slim neck profile makes soloing effortless.
Unfortunately, this V-shaped guitar doesn’t come with a case, which means you’ll need to fork over some extra money for something that it can fit inside.
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ESP LTD 7 String Guitars
ESP’s lineup includes some incredible-looking custom 7 string guitars that sound as good as they look. If you need to stand out in a crowd with your 7 string guitar, start with models by ESP.
- Les Paul-style body. Most 7 string guitars mimic a Fender Strat, so this is a nice change of pace.
- Sustain all day. A set-neck construction means more sustain and faster attack.
- Great value. This plays like a much more expensive guitar.
- No case provided. Not even a gig bag.
The ESP LTD EC-257 is an innovative piece of construction. From the set-neck that allows for greater sustain to the all-mahogany body that delivers warm tones and a solid feel, ESP didn’t diminish quality for this lower-priced seven-string model.
The 25.5” scale length should offer plenty of tension for your low B string to thump out clearly, although anything over 26” is typically preferred.
If you have a solid foundation of a six-string guitar and are looking to add a 7-string to your arsenal, this ESP is a great model to learn on.
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- Lightweight. Perfect for gigging.
- Eye-catching quilted maple top. It looks like a rockstar’s guitar.
- Deep cutaways. Access those upper frets with ease.
- Expensive. It’s a very nice guitar, but a bit on the pricey side.
The moment you pick up the ESP LTD M-1007 QM you notice how little it weighs, which is a gigging musician’s dream come true. Made with alder wood, this guitar weighs under 12lbs, which makes it very easy and comfortable to play.
Of course, its weight, combined with high-quality hardware and powerful Fishman Fluence pickups does raise the price tag. This could very well be a forever type of guitar for the more advanced player, while others may view it as an expensive intermediate model.
Regardless, ESP created a winner here.
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- 7 String Tele. How cool is the design of this seven stringer?
- Baritone scale length. Get down and dirty with this guitar.
- Excellent Fishman pickups. I’m a huge fan of Fishman Fluence pickups because of their flexibility.
- Pricey. A design like this isn’t cheap.
I love how ESP created a range of 7 string guitars so unique compared to the rest of the competition. As one of the very few 7 string Tele-style guitars on the market, the ESP LTD SCT-607B — Stephen Carpenter’s signature model — this is certainly going to be a fan favorite.
But it’s not for everyone. The baritone scale length means it’s going to be a deeper, bass-centric sound which isn’t for everyone. However, for rockers looking to have a slice of that percussive attack in their playing, this could be the guitar they’re looking for.
The construction is super solid on this guitar, so don’t worry about playing too hard. It will hold up!
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Other 7 String Guitars
As 7 string guitars became more popular, more guitar makers opted to design one-off models. Here are some of our favorites.
- Beautiful design. The minty green Strat-like body paired with gold hardware is super-nice looking.
- Gotoh Custom 510 tremolo. Don’t worry about your strings falling out of tune when using this tremolo.
- Easy access fretboard. The neck profile and body’s deep cutaways give you easy access to the upper frets.
- No case included. For a signature model, this is a bit disappointing.
Designed for solo guitar players, the NOVA Angel Vivaldi Signature guitar by Charvel is one of the best sounding 7-string guitars on this list.
Made of basswood, this axe features a 3-piece maple neck, a custom body shape and a neck radius that goes from 12 inches to 16 inches. It’s the DiMarzio Air Norton 7 Humbuckers that deliver its incredible sound. A 5-way switch gives you endless options for tonal variety.
The tremolo system and tuners are also top-notch.
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- Funky design. Rockers will appreciate it.
- Different colors. I’m a big fan of the blue flamed maple.
- Multiscale fretboard. This is one of the nicest and most unique extended range electric guitars around.
- Design isn’t for everyone. Some may think it’s uncomfortable to play.
- Expensive. This axe isn’t cheap.
Take a look at the Strandberg Boden Standard 7 and tell me what’s missing: the headstock! As a headless 7 string guitar, Strandberg delivered an absolute winner.
Now, you need to have a creative personality to appreciate the unique design of this guitar. But once you get past it, it’s really a great-sounding instrument.
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- Multiple sparkle colors. All of them look great.
- Approved by Petrucci. This guitar was made in collaboration with Dream Theater’s John Petrucci.
- On-board Piezo pickup. Take advantage of an acoustic-type of tone.
- Crazy expensive. It’s one of the priciest guitars on our list.
Ernie Ball Music Man electric guitars have always been expensive, including the John Petrucci Majesty 7. I can say with confidence, though, that you get what you pay for.
This guitar features a high-end finish, Schaller locking tuners that simply stay in tune, and a pickup system like nothing you’ve seen before — it includes a piezo pickup in the bridge for a truly unique acoustic sound.
The tremolo system is completely custom designed and extremely reliable.
Of course, the worst part about this guitar is its price. Thankfully, a case is included.
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- PRS quality. We’re pleased Paul Reed Smith brought its craftsmanship to a 7 string guitar.
- Seymour Duncan pickups offer great clarity. This is a guitar capable of multiple genres.
- Elegant wood design. I really like the way it looks.
- Coil tap is difficult. It works, but it sometimes takes a little bit to split the coils.
Call the PRS SE Mark Holcomb SVN the Swiss Army knife of 7 string guitars. Thanks to a pair of Seymour Duncan pickups that can be split up, this guitar can deliver screaming distorted solos, or jazzy clean tones.
Everything about this guitar feels solid, which you’d expect from PRS Guitars.
In terms of price, it’s very reasonable and the perfect intermediate or upgrade guitar.
No case is included, so you’ll need to buy one.
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An understanding of the top 7 string guitar models is important, but are these guitars for everyone? Use this buyer’s guide to determine if a 7 string guitar is the best purchase for you.
Should I Get a 7 String Guitar?
If you’re new to guitar, I don’t recommend starting with a 7 string guitar. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to be an advanced player to upgrade to a 7 string model. It’s just that these guitars are tailored toward a very specific genre (metal and rock) and having a basic understanding of a traditional 6 string guitar will help immensely before adding on an extra string to the equation.
What to Look for When Buying a 7 String Guitar
- 7 string guitar scale. The scale length of a six string guitar is typically between 24 inches and 25 inches. A 7 string guitar, though, can expand to 27 inches or even greater. This is critical for the lowest string, which needs extra tension. Manufacturers have figured out a “best of both worlds” scenario: multiscale fretboards. This allows the low strings to be extended further than the higher strings.
- 7 string guitar neck. Since 7 string guitars tend to be designed as rock and metal guitars, the necks are typically thinner to help make your fingers work faster.
- 7 string nut. The nut dictates spacing between strings, which is critical if you throw an extra string into the loop. If a company doesn’t get it right, you could have buzzing and intonation issues.
- 7 string guitar body. Most 7 string guitars mimic a Fender Stratocaster, but there are some that go the route of a Gibson Les Paul or Flying V. For a seven-stringer, though, you really want a body that features deep cutaways and that’s lightweight so you can have easy access to the upper frets.
How do I tune a 7 string guitar?
There are three typical tuning standards for 7 string guitars:
- B standard tuning. This is the most common tuning. Your strings will look like this: BEADGBE. Notice that your bottom two strings now mimic your top two strings, allowing you to think through solos and chords a bit more logically.
- Drop A tuning. For a grungier, darker sound, drop your bottom string to an A, so the tuning looks like this: AEADGBE.
- Korn guitar tuning. Korn may be the only band to have a “signature” tuning. The metal band commonly plays their 7 string guitars tuned ADGCFAD, which can be quite complicated if you’re used to a traditional 6 string tuning of EADGBE.
Are there famous bands that use 7 string guitars?
There are plenty! Above, we mentioned Korn, the heavy metal band from California. But other popular bands include Amon Amarth, Dream Theater, Spawn of Possession and Unearth. One of the greatest 7 string players on the planet is Steve Vai. Check out the master shred on his song “The Riddle.”
Rock Out With 7 Strings
Like I’ve mentioned, 7 string guitars aren’t for everyone, but if you love rock or metal music and really want to focus on that genre, I highly encourage you to pick up a 7 string model and hone your craft. My favorite 7-string overall is the Ibanez PRESTIGE RGR752AHBF, while my favorite budget option is the Ibanez RG7421PB.
Remember, the guitar isn’t going to make you a better player — it’s on you to practice and get better each day. So, make sure you have a good practice amp and something comfortable to sit on, and consider booking an online class to accelerate your guitar journey. Rock on!
7 string guitar image: .rhavin at German Wikipedia(Original text: .rhavin), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Korn Image: pitpony.photography, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.