Eight-string guitar

An eight-string guitar is a guitar with eight strings instead of the commonly used six. Such guitars are not as common as the six string variety, but are used by classical, jazz and metal guitarists to expand the range of their instrument by adding two strings.

History and Variants

There are several variants of this instrument, one probably originating from Russia along with the seven string guitar variant in the 19th century. The eight string guitar has recently begun to gain popularity, notably among jazz artists such as Charlie Hunter, The Special Purpose, Terje Rypdal and Richard Scott, and metal artists such as Meshuggah and Rusty Cooley of Outworld. Korn guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer also started using an 8 String variant during KoRn's recordings in 2007 and live shows that followed. There are steadily increasing numbers of manufacturers offering eight string guitars, and a production eight string was released in 2007 by Ibanez. Some of the main manufacturing companies of 8 and even 9 string guitars are Novax Guitars established by Ralph Novak and Conklin Guitars. Recently ESP Guitars has also begun to make production line eight string guitars as well.

The Eight-string Classical Acoustic Guitar

Eight string variations are also found in classical nylon strung instruments. They are generally tuned with two extra basses ( [BD] EADGBE) that vary in pitch depending on the piece being played. Another common variation is to add an extra bass and treble string. The extra treble is almost always tuned to A, while the added bass string usually falls on A, B, or C.

The Classical guitarists Paul Galbraith and Alexander Vynograd are two of the most notable 8 string players who use the extra high and low string tuning. Galbraith generally tunes (B)EADGBEA which puts standard 6 string guitar chord voicings and scale shapes within the neck and allows him to read directly off of lute tablature (a whole step higher). Vynograd chooses to tune AEADGCEA (notice the b string is tuned up a half step) which allows him to play the top 6 strings like a guitar a 4th higher. Vynograd writes his music on a grand staff in a different key and plays as if the guitar was tuned EBEADGBE. This is a less confusing approach than Galbraith for a 6 string transitioning to 8 because the fingerings and sheet music are more familiar.

The Eight-string Electric guitar

The 8 string electric guitars are used by Meshuggah, Korn, Rusty Cooley, Dino Cazares of Asesino, Fear Factory (formerly) and Divine Heresy and other metal artists are most often tuned in regular 4ths, with two extra basses (Low to High) F#,B,E,A,D,G,B,E. Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom of Meshuggah tune their 8 string guitars F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Bb,Eb, and one and two semitones below this tuning. Rusty Cooley has been seen using one extra bass and one extra treble string. Several smaller luthier companies now offer 8-string models, such as Klesh Guitars, Blackmachine Guitars, LGM Guitars, TK Instruments, Shamray Guitars, Nevborn Guitars and Hufschmid Guitars.

8 string pickup makers include Lundgren, Swineshead, Bareknuckle, Seymour Duncan custom shop and EMG.

Ibanez has a single production 8-string model that came out during March 2007, the RG2228GK, it was introduced in the Winter NAMM show of 2007; it comes with a bolt-on, 27" baritone scale bolt on neckOfficial Ibanez Forums announcement: http://www.ibanez.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4151&PN=1] . This is the first ever mass production of a solid body 8-string electric guitar.In the Winter NAMM of 2008, ESP Guitars unveiled three new 8 string guitars: two of them, part of Stephen Carpenter's signature line, are in 27" baritone scale, and a LTD version, the FM-408, in 25.5" standard scale; both version are neck-thru construction. Like the Ibanez's RG2228GK, they utlize the same EMG's 808 active pickups.

In 2007 Octave4plus introduced an effective high A440Hz string for guitar scales up to 30" without the need for a fanned fretboard giving the 7,8 and 9 string guitars another viable tuning option. These strings tune as high as B4,493.88Hz at the 28" scale.

The Eight-string Baritone Tricone Resonator Guitar

Recently in Australia a unique type of Eight String Guitar has emerged. The 8 string Baritone tricone built by Ellis Guitars in Perth, Australia is an example of how the 8 string concept can be moulded to suit an artists style. In this case blues artist James Michael Thompson help Ellis to come up with a guitar that was like a seven string but had the highest string doubled in the same way as a 12-string guitar. It is tuned A E A E A C# e/e but can also be tuned A D A D F# A d/d for more open slide guitar styles. The design was a modification on the 7 string harp resonator guitar Ellis had built for Jeff Martin

Notable users

* Fredrik Thordendal - Meshuggah and Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects
* Mårten Hagström - Meshuggah
* Dino Cazares - Fear Factory, Asesino and Divine Heresy
* Rusty Cooley - Outworld
* James Shaffer - KoRn
* Stephen Carpenter - Deftones
* Paul Galbraith
* Charlie Hunter
* Alexander Vynograd
* James Michael Thompson
* Terje Rypdal
* Stephen Fogg - The Special Purpose
* Jeff Martin
* Roye Albrighton Nektar
* Richard Scott

ee also

*10-string guitar
*Seven-string guitar
*Russian guitar
*Harp guitar

Notes and References

External links

* [http://sevenstring.org Site with information about extended range guitars]
* [http://www.charliehunter.com/press/index.htm Mac Randall: Rising Young Guitarist Charlie Hunter Holds Forth on the Virtues of Digital Independence and Eight Strings]
* [http://7-string.com/7.pl?direct=8-String_Guitars Site with photos of eight string guitars]
* [http://ellisguitars.com/eightstring_resonator.html Information on the Ellis 8 string Baritone Tricone]


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