So, what are the things to do in setting up a 7-string guitar? Are there any differences in the guitar tunings from a six-string guitar? What are the things to adjust from being used to a six-string guitar into a seven-string guitar? Changing to a new instrument can be a headache sometimes. Just like using a seven-string guitar, adjustments are also needed, especially if you are already used to playing a six-string guitar.
Now, we are going to look at the things we have to adjust when transitioning from a six-string guitar to a seven-string guitar.
Things You Have To Adjust From A 6-String To The 7-String Guitar
Larger Neck Radius
There are many things that you will notice when you will first try a 7-string guitar, but I think the first thing that will come into your mind is its larger neck radius compared to the regular six-string guitar. Many usually have a hard time adjusting from a 9.5-inch guitar neck you can get in a standard six-string guitar to the 15.7-inch neck radius in a seven-string guitar.
There are even some six-string guitars that have a 12-inch radius that many are still having a hard time adjusting; how much more to a seven-string guitar with a 15.7-inch neck radius usually. Though one of the better advantages of having a larger neck radius is that when executing fingerpicking, they are usually easier than in a smaller neck radius. This is maybe because of the distance of the strings, but you still need some time for adjustments, as it does not have the same string space usually from a six-string guitar.
You may have to do some picking exercises to get used to it. You can try some songs on a seven-string guitar, like Sweet Home Alabama. The song has many fingerpicking parts for you to practice on a seven-string guitar, which will help you get acclimated with the distance of the strings from each other.
When you are used to playing a six-string guitar, you understand that the top string would only be the low-E. Now that you are using a seven-string guitar already, there is already a new setup that you will have to get used to. If you are still unfamiliar, always remember that in a seven-string guitar, the top strings are now low-B and not low-E, which you will get used to.
You will notice that it feels like you are again learning a new instrument when you are still a beginner to the seven-string guitar. You can even feel some remorse, possibly, as this will not be an easy transition to maybe what you are thinking. However, do not get discouraged, as, with time and practice, you will still get used to it.
One thing you can do when starting to play a seven-string guitar is not to play the top string at all. This would still be the same as playing a regular six-string guitar. Try to bypass the low-B string when you are playing the guitar so that you will get used to not hitting it every time you play songs that you are used to playing on a regular six-string guitar.
However, it would still be better if you learn and practice how to play a seven-string guitar, as you will lose the purpose of getting one if you do not know how to play the low-B string in a song. 7-string guitars can be more expensive than the regular six-string guitar, so why get one when you do not want to use it to its full potential?
Frustration From Adjusting
Frustrations can be a usual sight when you are transitioning from a six-string guitar to a seven-string guitar. Though this would not be an easy task, the result would help you elevate your skills to becoming a better guitar player overall. Remember that only practicing makes you perfect, so you will have to spend more time making your adjustments, especially if you have already built up a habit of playing six-string guitars.
Accidentally hitting the low-B string would really be the first thing that you correct when making a transition from a six-string guitar to a seven-string guitar. Do not feel frustrated when making this mistake, as it is understandable, especially if you are already used to using six-string guitars for a long time. Remember that the only thing that will get you out of this problem is to put more practice into it.
Start Incorporating The Low-B String In Your Playing
After you get used to playing the seven-string guitar without hitting the top low-B string, it must already be the perfect time for you to incorporate it into your playing style, or you’ll miss a lot of things that you can do with a seven-string guitar. Try to search for some songs that use a seven-string guitar, or do some riffs on your own that use the low-B string in your playing.
You can also do a lot of tuning than the standard seven-string setup if you want to so that you can maximize your skills as a guitar player with a seven-string guitar. You can also accommodate the low-B strings in your playing by changing your arrangement to the point that you will have to use the low-B string most of the time to get you used to it.
Setting Up A 7-String Guitar By Different Tunings
When you are using a seven-string guitar, you can also try a lot of different guitar tunings for it, and these are just some of them.
B Standard Tuning (B-E-A-D-G-b-e)
The B Standard Tuning is the most usual guitar tuning that is used when playing a seven-string guitar, as it allows you to play the guitar to play it like a six-string; however, there is only an additional guitar string into the top of the fretboard. So, when you use this tuning, it can go in two ways: you can use the seven-string guitar with its standard tuning, or you can use it like a six-string guitar without hitting the top low-B string.
There are many famous bands that use this guitar tuning in their seven-string guitars, such as Trivium, Haken, Alien Weaponry, Crowbar, and Dream Theatre, which have also used it in many of their songs.
Drop A Tuning (A-E-A-D-G-b-e)
Another seven-guitar string tuning that allows you to play guitar just like a standard six-string guitar. The Drop-A tuning is usually very popular for alternative metal bands who love to riff very hard. When playing very fast and relatively simple guitar riffs, the Drop A tuning is the best way to go.
Metal bands like Slipknot, Amon Amarth, Nile, Suicide Silence, and Impending Doom are just some of those who are famous for using the Drop A tuning when playing in live performances or recording.
Drop G Tuning (G-D-G-C-F-A-d)
Now, let us start to get used to some of the extreme tunings you can do in a seven-string guitar. The Drop G Tuning is considered by many seven-string guitar users to be the best drop tuning for this type of guitar. It gives the guitar a slightly darker tone than a six-string guitar with a standard tune but is still audible enough that you can still hear it played even when playing with other instruments.
When it comes to bands that use the Drop G tuning, Periphery, Born of Osiris, Whitechapel, Wage War, and Pantera are just some that come to mind that usually use the tuning when performing live or in the studio.
So, what are the differences between setting up a 7-string guitar to a six-string guitar? Usually, they have a large neck radius that you will need to be used to get to play with, but the number one thing that you will have to adjust in the setup is its tuning. As it has seven strings, it is also safe to say that there is a little difference between the two guitars, which is the most important thing you would need to adjust to.