A helpful resource to assist you in finding the best 8 string guitar:
As the name implies, the 8 string guitar has an additional 2 strings compared to the standard 6 string guitar. These guitars are most frequently used in the genres of metal, classical, and jazz, and the additional 2 strings provide guitarists with even more options and flexibility when it comes to range and tunings. Due to the additional 2 strings, these guitars can have wider necks that can pose a challenge for guitarists; however, most guitarists who overcome the challenge of the wider neck will reap the benefits of the additional range this guitar offers!
Best 8 String Guitar List
Making the right choice can be pretty tough! The list below aims to be a great resource to help you find the best 8 string guitar to suite your style and budget! This list compares price, ratings, user reviews, and manufacturing specs. For even more information, be sure to click the images to be taken to the Amazon page for each instrument.
Schecter Damien Elite-8 Eight String Electric Guitar - Crimson Red
|$$$||4.4/5||"Once you get used to the scale and the neck width, you will be in love."
"This guitar is absolutely beautiful."
"Theres only two things I dont like about this guitar. The bolt on neck, and the fact that i cant marry it."
|Quilted Maple Top Maple Neck EMG Active 808 Schecter CTM 8 Limited Lifetime Guarantee|
Ibanez RG8 8-String Guitar - White
|$$||5/5||"All in all I'm so happy I picked the RG8, it's my new baby, my Fender Jagstang, and Gibson Original SG Robot are jealous and collecting dust."||5pc Maple/Walnut Wizard II-8 neckBasswood bodyRosewood fingerboardPickups: AH-18 (H) neck, AH-28 (H) bridgeFixed bridge 8Black hardwareString gauges|
Dean Guitars ML MOD 8 CBK Electric Guitar - Classic Black
|$$||4/5||"Not too bad for one's looking at getting into 8-string. While I won't be getting rid of my 6 and 7 string guitars, there does seem to be a place for this 8 string in my quiver."||Mahogany Top/Body 26 1/2" scale EMG 808 Pickups|
Schecter OMEN-8 8-String Electric Guitar Black
|$$||5/5||"If you are a left handed guitarist that is looking to tear up some strings this is the guitar for you!"
"And after finally figuring out a preferable dropped tuning and about three days worth of breaking in strings my Schecter Omen sounds comparable to any other name brand guitar with EMG's!"
|LEFT-HANDED GUITAR |
Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10 / Jazz SH-2N Passive Pick-ups Mahogany body with Flamed Maple Top 3-piece Maple Neck
Agile Septor 827 RN CP Lizardburst Flame 8 String Electric Guitar
|$$||4/5||"All in all, I've fallen in love with this guitar. It has helped me learn new things about playing guitar and improve my skills. I highly recommend it!"||Double cutaway, light weight, mahogany, arch top body with gloss finish 27" scale, 3 piece maple bolt on neck with 15" radius Rosewood fretboard with no markers - position markers are located on the side of the neck Cepheus "Alpha" passive pickup in the bridge position and Cepheus "Beta" in the neck position String through body "Agile -8" bridge for improved sustain - now also with staggered string-through holes for improved intonation|
Taylor BAR-8 Baritone Guitar, 8 String, Indian Rosewood
|$$$$$||4.7/5||"It is quite easy to finger-pick, but does take a little more pressure than the typical six-string guitar as the strings are a little larger in gauge."
"Once you've played it, have been captured by the rich deep tone, you'll be hooked and will have to get one."
"Absolutely stunning clarity and the resonance you get on the low strings is undeniably brilliant. Get it. Just do it. If you're looking for a bari acoustic, there's no other option to consider."
|Grand Symphony Solid Sitka Spruce Top Solid Indian Rosewood Back/Sides Cutaway; ES Hardshell Case Included|
Schecter OMEN-8 8-String Electric Guitar, Walnut Satin
|$$||5/5||"Out of all my instruments, this is probably my favorite. Though that is probably partial to the fact that this is also my most expensive instrument. It plays well and was set up almost perfect from the factory."||Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10 / Jazz SH-2N Passive Pick-ups Mahogany body with Flamed Maple Top 3-piece Maple Neck|
Ibanez RG8 - Black
|$$||5/5||"This guitar has plenty of personality in tone and with the added 8th string.. i may eventually re-finish but i'm really happy with how it looks (especially when strapped on)"||5pc Maple/Walnut Wizard II-8 neckBasswood bodyRosewood fingerboardPickups: AH-18 (H) neck, AH-28 (H) bridgeFixed bridge 8Black hardware|
Schecter Damien Elite-8 Left Handed Eight String Electric Guitar - Crimson Red
|$$$||5/5||"I love this guitar. Nice cheap price too my local guitar shop wanted to sell me one for $900. Great sound. I will recommend this guitar to anyone. Also the neck is not thick at all"||LEFT-HANDED GUITAR
Quilted Maple Top Maple Neck EMG Active 810 Schecter CTM 10 Limited Lifetime Guarantee
Background Information and 8 String Guitar Tuning
The two most common types of eight string guitars are the semi-acoustic or hollow-body, and the solid body. The semi-acoustic version of the 8 string guitar is most closely associated with Ralph Pratt who invented this style of playing in the 1960’s and typically tuned his highest string to a G#. The solid body is most commonly used with modern music and is typically tuned in one of 2 ways:
The second tuning above is called low E tuning because 3 of the strings are tuned to E and this creates a very full sound when played.
Some other common variations of the 8 string guitar tuning include the following:
- BEADGBEA – as used by classical musician Paul Galbraith and heavy metal guitarist Rusty Cooley
- AEADGCEA – as used by classical musician Alexander Vynograd
- EADADGBE – as used by jazz musician Charlie Hunter
Always the guitar pioneer, Ibanez created the RG2228 which was the first mass-produced eight string guitar on the market.
It would be hard to argue that the eight string is not most well known for it’s use in heavy metal music. Some of the most prominent players in this genre include:
Cazares plays an Ibanez with Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups and typically tunes to F#BEADGBE.
Thordendal plays an Ibanez Custom M8M and typically tunes to an F (FBbEbAbDbGbBbEb), although he has been known to tune to Bb (BbBbEbAbDbGbBbEb). Hagstrom also play an Ibanez Custom M8M.
3. Tosin Abasi from Animals as Leaders
Abasi is well known for his playing on this guitar for several reasons: he tunes it to low E, thumps strings just like some bass players do, and uses hybrid picking along with sweep picking.
4. Rusty Cooley
Cooley is unique in that he chooses to use BEADGBEA tuning which allows him to have a high A string on the high end so that his solos have more range on that side of the guitar.
Perhaps one of the best know jazz guitarists in this genre is Charlie Hunter. Hunter’s tuning allows him to play both bass and treble notes at the same time – EADADGBE.
Paul Galbraith is a classical musician well known for his use of the eight string and he typically tunes to BEADGBEA.
Examples of 8 string guitars in action!
Here’s an example of the classical style:
Here’s an example of the jazz style:
Here’s an example of the heavy metal style:
No discussion would be complete without sharing a video of Tosin Abasi!
We hope you have found this page helpful when it comes to choosing the best 8 string guitar, learning about the history of this interesting guitar, and watching some great demonstrations of what this guitar can do! If you’d like to learn more about 8 string guitars, be sure to check out our posts on this site!