Do you find that your six-string isn’t cutting it in the low-end department? Or, perhaps you’re a guitar virtuoso looking to take your music to the next level with an extended tonal range. Whether you’re a metalhead, jazz player, or anything in between, stepping up to a 7-string guitar may be the key to taking your music to the next level.
From budget-minded axes to custom masterpieces, 7-string guitars run the gamut. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive guitar or a showpiece, we have you covered. Read on as we take a closer look at the seven best 7-string guitars on the market today. We’ll also share some tips and things to look out for to help you find the perfect guitar for your style.
Seven With 7: The Best 7-String Guitars on the Market
Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at the best 7-strings you can buy today.
Ibanez Prestige RG1127PBFX – Best Overall
Ibanez has carved out a reputation as one of the leading instrument makers for heavy music, and their Prestige line represents the pinnacle of what the company has to offer. The RG1127PBFX is the culmination of years of research and development, and it uses top-quality components to produce a 7-string that’ll send your playing into the stratosphere.
This axe boasts an American basswood body with a gorgeously figured poplar burl top. A nine-piece maple, purple heart, and walnut neck adorned with a Macassar ebony fingerboard ensures the utmost stability and playability.
The body is beautifully balanced, the neck is speedy and slick with a slim profile, and the premium fretboard lets you glide effortlessly through blistering leads and chunky rhythm passages.
Ibanez taps Dimarzio for their Fusion Edge pickup set, and they outfit this guitar with a Monorail bridge system which delivers incredible tuning stability and tons of resonance. The pickups are biting, aggressive, and harmonically balanced to deliver modern metal tones you won’t be able to achieve with lesser guitars.
- Premium Dimarzio Fusion Edge pickups
- Wizard 7 neck profile is incredibly thin and smooth
- Includes gigbag
- Gotoh tuners
- Made in the famous Ibanez Fujigen factory in Japan
- Aggressive pickers may accidentally hit the pickup selector switch
Schecter Reaper-7 Multiscale – Best Value for Money
The Reaper-7 from Schecter looks like a custom shop guitar that would set you back $4,000. Thankfully, it only looks like a million dollars; this Schecter is one of the most value-packed guitars you’ll find on the market.
The Reaper-7 starts with a swamp ash body that’s adorned with a beautiful poplar burl top that’s finished in a beautiful transparent blue burst that lets the beauty of the wood do all the talking. To that, Schecter adds their 5-piece maple and wenge neck with a thin “C” profile and an ebony multi-scale fingerboard.
The multi-scale fretboard ensures that this guitar plays as well and sounds as good in the 1st position as it does in the 24th, and it’s a premium feature you rarely see on guitars in this price range.
Schecter crowns this bad boy off with a set of Diamond Decimator humbuckers and a rock-solid hardtail bridge. The volume knob functions as a push/pull pot, so you’ll be able to coax an incredible range of tones from these pickups.
- Premium finish looks like a million bucks
- Multi-scale neck for incredibly precise intonation
- Factory-installed push/pull pot provides extra tonal versatility
- Set neck construction with Ultra Access cutaway and neck bout
- Mediocre stock pickups
Ibanez RG7421 – Best for Beginners
Ibanez’s RG line is about as tried-and-true as it gets in the guitar world, and whether you opt for an affordable model like the RG7421 or something from Ibanez’s pricey Prestige line, you’re guaranteed to get an excellent guitar. This model offers the show-stopping looks and playability Ibanez is known for without the premium price tag, making it ideal for beginners.
The RG7421 features a mahogany body with a five-piece maple and walnut neck. This guitar is crowned with a jatoba fingerboard and features the Wizard II-7 neck profile, which is thin, smooth, and highly playable.
Ibanez outfits the RG7421 with a hardtail bridge and Quantum ceramic humbuckers. The humbuckers are a bit underwhelming, and they suffer from a bit of muddiness, but it’s tough to expect much in the electronics department at this price.
While the pickups may be underwhelming, this guitar is every bit a player’s axe. The neck profile is smooth and comfortable, and the body has excellent balance. With some upgraded pickups, this affordable axe can easily take any beginner guitarist far on their tonal journey.
- Affordable price
- Solid build and excellent playability
- Mahogany body delivers warm tone and loads of sustain
- Pickups are muddy and lack definition
Schecter Omen Extreme-7 Electric Guitar – Best on a Budget
With its highly figured poplar top and beautifully stained neck and body, you’d think the Omen Extreme-7 from Schecter came from the skilled hands of a luthier at a custom shop. Meanwhile, this Schecter is one of the most affordable guitars in the 7-string market, and it’s loaded with features that make it an excellent value for budget-minded shredders.
This guitar starts with a carved mahogany body topped with beautifully figured quilted maple. The geometric pearl inlays and cosmic black hardware further add to this show-stopping axe’s stage appeal.
This guitar offers a fast 14” fretboard radius with 24 jumbo frets and a thin “C” neck that’s incredibly playable in all positions. This guitar looks like a custom shop, and it damn near plays like one, too. The one area where the Omen Elite-7 stumbles is in the electronics department, as the Schecter Heretic pickups are muddy and unremarkable.
We recommend jumping on the Omen Elite-7 at this price before Schecter comes to their senses. You can always change to the pickups of your choice in the future, but you won’t find another guy in this price range that’s as nice as this one.
- Beautiful stage-ready looks
- Comfortable, well-sculpted neck joint
- Excellent price
- Pickups are mediocre at best
Schecter Keith Merrow KM-7 MK-III Hybrid – Best Signature Model
If you’re looking to take a giant leap forward with a custom-shop quality instrument, the Keith Merrow signature model from Schecter could be the one for you. Keith is best known as the Youtube wunderkind who captured the heavy music community through his YouTube channel as far back as 2008. His playing is virtuous, atmospheric, and entirely fitting of this gorgeous signature guitar.
At the heart of the KM-7 MK-III is a mahogany body and maple neck reinforced with carbon fiber. This guitar utilizes neck-thru construction, so it provides unbelievable stability and sustain, and unrestricted access to the upper register.
The KM-7 is appointed with Keith’s signature Fishman Fluence pickup set, revered as the most responsive and musical active pickup on the market. This set is absolutely killer, and it delivers epic modern metal tones for days.
The KM-7 has a 3-way pickup selector and a single volume knob, so it’s an uncomplicated setup that’s built for pedal-to-the-floor shredding.
- Gorgeous looks
- Fishman Fluence pickups deliver crushing tone
- Neck-thru construction
- Pedestrian looks
ESP LTD Eclipse EC-1007 EverTune – Best Single Cutaway 7-String
The EC-1007 from ESP’s LTD imprint is one of the most captivating 7-strings on the market right now. Beyond its distinguished single-cutaway look, this guitar is one of the few that features the EverTune bridge system, which guarantees you remain perfectly in tune throughout any gig or studio session.
This guitar features a mahogany set neck and body with a maple top that’s appointed with a classy multi-ply binding. While it’s a set neck, the neck joint is so beautifully sculpted that you’d think this guitar had neck-thru construction. Don’t be fooled by the single-cutaway; you can comfortably play in any position on this guitar.
The EC-1007 offers active EMG pickups for incredible modern metal tone, and black hardware further adds to the classy look of this axe. The true showstopper here is the EverTune bridge system, which uses micro-springs for each string to provide complete control over tuning, intonation, and even how far a pitch changes when you bend notes.
There’s virtually nothing you can do to send this guitar out of tune, which makes it an incredibly compelling choice for gigging musicians and anyone that spends a lot of time in the recording studio.
- EverTune bridge system
- EMG pickups
- Seamlessly sculpted neck joint
- Thick, biting tone thanks to the all-mahogany construction
- Neck profile is a bit thicker than most 7-strings
ESP E-II Horizon FR-7 – Best With Floyd Rose Tremolo
The E-II Horizon FR-7 from ESP is the latest in a long line of 7-strings from one of the brands that helped usher us into the modern days of metal. This guitar offers incredible playability, a gorgeous top, and a Floyd Rose Original tremolo system.
The E-II Horizon begins with a mahogany body complemented by a highly figured quilted maple top. This guitar has neck-thru construction, and the 3-piece maple neck has an ebony fretboard adorned with 24 extra-jumbo frets. The fretwork on the guitars coming from ESP’s Japan facility has always been exemplary, and the E-II Horizon carries on the tradition.
This guitar offers a fairly unique pickup array. While a set of active EMGs is nothing new, ESP reaches for their 57 and 66 models, which offer a more classic and musical tone compared to the 81 and 85 or 707.
Rounding out this beautiful axe is an Original Floyd Rose tremolo system. When it comes to Floyd Rose bridges, there are very few acceptable substitutes. The Licensed Floyd Rose bridges and most of the Ibanez bridges present far more headaches than they’re worth. But, the Original Floyd offers rock-solid stability and the ability to dive-bomb to your heart’s content.
- Original Floyd Rose trem system
- Beautiful quilted top
- Neck-thru construction for tons of sustain and body
- Interesting EMG pickup configuration
- Includes hardshell case
- Quite heavy for such a sleek guitar
7-String Guitar Buying Guide
Whether you opt for one of the excellent guitars on our list or choose something else on your trip to the music store, you need to know what you’re looking at out there. Here are the key points you’ll want to cover when shopping for a new 7-string.
The wood a guitar is made out of has a profound impact on the tone it produces, especially if the guitar has passive pickups. When shopping, play as many different guitars as you can through the same amplifier with the same settings. Note how the wood a guitar is made from affects its sound, sustain, and resonance.
Woods like alder, ash, and maple are known for producing a brighter sound than guitars made from mahogany, which seems to offer more body and sustain. Virtually all 7-strings, especially those on our list above, are made from premium tonewoods. It’s not so much a question of which wood is better as it’s a question of which offers the tonal properties you prefer.
Neck Profile and Build Quality
A smooth, fast, and comfortable neck is critical for any guitar, especially the case with 7-strings. The wider neck of a 7-string takes some getting used to, so it’s helpful to find a neck that’s immediately comfortable in your hands.
Not only should the neck be comfortable, but it should also be rock solid. Guitar strings place a tremendous amount of tension on the neck of a guitar, and adding an extra string adds even more stress. Look for guitars that offer multi-piece necks reinforced with other tonewoods, such as rock maple or purpleheart.
For modern metal guitarists, pickups are perhaps the most critical piece of the puzzle, and they have a profound effect on the way your guitar will sound. Pickups are available in active or passive configurations, and depending on the tones you’re looking to capture, you’ll find that one is a better fit for you than the other.
Passive pickups are made of ceramic or alnico magnets wrapped in copper wire, creating a weak magnetic field. When you strum the strings above the pickup, it disturbs the magnetic field, and that energy can be converted into electricity, which travels through your guitar cable and into your amp.
Passive pickups can be made using several different magnets, and each provides different tonal properties. Pickup builders can coax all sorts of tones depending on the magnets they use and how many windings of copper wire the pickups receive.
Passive pickups can be made to suit every guitarist’s needs, from the archtop jazz player to the prog metal virtuoso. Most guitar players agree that passive pickups are the most musical sounding and provide the broadest dynamic range.
Just as passive pickups can be made to the exacting specifications of the builder, they can also be thrown together quickly and mass-produced. Mediocre passive pickups are usually muddy with little harmonic character and none of the desirable tonal characteristics we’ve been discussing.
Most guitars under $1,000 with passive electronics suffer from mediocre, mass-produced pickups that do very little to let the instrument’s true tone shine through.
Active pickups work similarly to passive pickups but with far fewer windings of copper wire. These pickups are incredibly low output and require a power source to drive the signal from the pickup to your amplifier.
Once you introduce power to active pickups, their signal becomes supercharged, delivering incredibly high output. Active pickups make very little noise, are more feedback resistant, and offer a consistent response across the full pickup.
For modern metal tones, it’s tough to beat the aggressive, snarling tone of active pickups. Active pickups are also incredibly effective at covering up the shortcomings of cheaper guitars. You could pop a decent set of active pickups into a guitar made of plywood and duct tape and make it sound amazing.
Unfortunately, this premise works both ways. A $300 guitar with active pickups sounds remarkably similar to a $3,000 guitar with the same pickups. Active electronics seem to cover the natural nuances and tone of the instrument with a thick and shiny layer of aggressive and punishing tone.
Active pickups tend to homogenize your tone, and things like pick attack and dynamics go out the window. This isn’t necessarily good or bad; it’s more a question of whether you prefer the musicality and response of passive pickups or if you prefer the more modern tone that active pickups provide.
One trend in the guitar world of late is multi-scale designs that elongate the scale length on the bass strings while shrinking the scale on the treble strings.
Multi-scale guitars are ergonomically comfortable (once you get used to it) and they provide optimal string tension for every string. Each string sounds crisp and punchy, and your guitar plays in tune with better intonation compared to a guitar that doesn’t have a compensated scale.
The 7-string guitar unlocks a world of new possibilities for guitarists, and the seven on our list above represent the best 7-string guitars on the market. Whether you’re after an extended range to take your solos to the next level, or you need extra low end to deliver the heaviest riffs possible, a 7-string is the best way to do it.