Kings of 7 Strings

Whenever the topic of 7-string guitars comes up, names like John Petrucci, Steve Vai, Strapping Young Lad, Meshuggah, and Korn are bound to come up. But there are plenty of other players out there who are slinging sevens. decided to give you a list of some of these ‘other guys.’ We’ll even be so kind as to include seven songs by them that you should check out.

1: Sahaj Ticotin of Ra

Whenever someone brings up the ‘all 7-string players sound the same’ argument, I always tell people to check out the band Ra. Most people haven’t heard about this band, and it’s a damn shame. The band’s leader, Sahaj Ticotin, is one of the most consistently amazing songwriters out there and has lent his talents to many mainstream acts such as Sevendust and Concordia. Not to mention he has vocal control that would make the late Freddy Mercury raise his eyebrows.

The way that Sahaj approaches song writing with his ESP 7-string can best be heard in the song “The Only One” from the 2005 album Duality. It’s all about the dynamics. If you want something to sound heavy, don’t just ride the low ‘B’, put it up against a clean section intro. Once the listener’s ears become acclimated to the gentle clean sounds of carefully articulated arpeggios, rip their freaking heads off with a stacked 5th chord off of the low string. Just about every Ra song incorporates these types of dynamics, and they’re songs always sound freaking huge.

2: Ola Englund of Feared, Scarpoint, and Guitar Noob Blog

Sometimes you need some riffage that’s going to hit you so hard that they’re gonna have to scrape you off of the wall afterward. When brutal is your flavor, you need to look no further than Ola Englund. With tri-tones, diminished chords, and other demonic sounds layered over driving rhythms, Ola’s tunes are reminiscent of old-school Bolt Thrower mixed in with a bit of Dream Theater melodies and Carcass leads. Basically, if hell had theme music, it would be written by Ola.

In addition to slamming heads with brutal guitar, Ola Englund is a bit of an educator. Not unlike, Ola uses his Guitar Noob Blog to educate his followers on gear, playing, and everything guitar. His YouTube channel has garnered many of followers with his demo and instructional vids. Loyal followers of TTK will recognize the design on the headstock of Ola’s guitar in his performance of Feared’s “Unknown Title Song” from their album due out later in 2012. Yep. That’s a Strictly Seven Solar 7 signature model, with Seymour Duncna Distortion SH6 Pickups.

READ : Why Every Guitarist Should Own a 7 String Guitar

3: Misha Mansoor of Periphery:

If you haven’t heard of Periphery yet, you soon will. If Meshuggah and Dream Theater were somehow atomically bonded to create some sort of sonically driven super gun, Periphery would be the bullet. Brutally heavy riffs pound out over meters that would make mere mortals tremble. Somehow, they manage to keep their songs melodic and interesting along side head-spinning syncopations. Rather than creating a series of 10 minute ‘epics,’ Periphery instead opts for keeping most of their songs under the five-minute mark, getting their point across without all of the rambling.

Misha Mansoor uses a Rico Jr. 724 Jekyll with BareKnuckle pickups to expand on what bands like Meshuggah coined as “Djent”- the sound of a heavily palm-muted low string – to include melodic lines that are reminiscent of Guthrie Govan. Although I am more of a fan of their song “All New Materials,” I will have to opt with the popular opinion and submit “Icarus Lives” from their 2011 self-titled album for your listening pleasure as an example of Misha’s 7-string prowess.

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4: Tosin Abasi of Reflux/Animals as Leaders

Listening to Tosin Abasi is like being taken to school every time you put on headphones. It doesn’t matter how good you are, Tosin will remind you that you still have a lot of practicing to do. Tosin got his start with the short-lived band Reflux, but has since amassed a legion of fans through his videos and his instrumental project Animals as Leaders.

I will have to admit that I am cheating a little bit with this one. While Tobin has been known to play 7-strings, the song that I’m going to recommend is played on a Ibanez RG228 8-string using EMG 808X pickups. Tuning: EBEADGBE “Wave of Babies,” essentially shows the full gamut of what an expanded range guitar is capable of. Think jazz influenced runs ala Jimmy Herring over brutally low syncopated rhythms and ninth chords. Sick sweeps, tendon tearing chords, terrifying taps, basically, Tosin Abasi can do it all while looking like he’s thinking about what he’s going to have for lunch.

5: Matthew Heafy of Trivium

Trivium has been on the frontlines of metal for over a decade now. And they have been one of the hardest hitting metal bands to come out in a long time. While they cross many genres, they definitely have an old school Metalica and Testament vibe about them.

Matthew Heafy first pulled out a Dean 7 while he was recording “Shogun (2008)” Probably one of their most evident 7-string endeavors is in the song “Down from the Sky.” With its changes in dynamic, this song particularly shows the range of the 7-string as something that can be used for melodic leads one minute and thunderous riffs the next. Although Matthew has jumped back to 6-strings for their most recent endeavor, In Waves (2011), Trivium’s 7-song repertoire is still holds some of the strongest tunes in their live set.

6: Rusty Cooley of Outworld

For a guy on the short list of most technical guitar players out there, this guy never gets enough ink, particularly when it comes to tearing it up on 7 strings.

Wikipedia describes Rusty as a guitarist who “is known for his highly refined guitar technique.” That’s putting it mildly. Most would say something like, “Rusty shreds my freaking face off!” Rusty Cooley is one of the godfathers of 7-strings. Having picked up his first 7 in 1996, he was amongst the few pioneers of the instrument.

Although you could choose from a plethora of vids to listen to him shred with any one of his seven (coincidence?!) Dean Signature RC7s,  probably the best showcase for his skills lies in hearing him with his band Outworld and their song “War Cry” from their self-titled debut.

7: Chris Broderick of Megadeth

If you’re reading this, and checking out, you’ve probably listened to Megadeth until your ears have bled. But Megadeth has been through so many incarnations, that it can be hard to keep track of who’s playing with Mustaine this week. Although, I had always considered myself a Friedmanist (My Megadeth always included the virtuoso, Marty Friedman) When I heard Chris Broderick play, I have to say that I was sold. This guy can play anything and usually does. Jazz. Classical. Metal. Anything that this guy touches turns quickly to awesome. He’s one of the few guitar players that I’ve seen that can burn trenches in the fretboard one minute, then pick up a classical and tear through it Segovia-style the next.

Chris Broderick’s Jackson Signature 7 is something to behold and has just come out of the gate this year. So, I have to talk about it. A soloist style body, planet waves tuners, reverse Jackson headstock, 12-inch radius fretboard, stainless steel frets (they last forever!), neck through, mahogany body with a quilt maple top, signature DiMarzio pickups, and a Floyd Rose Low-Pro Tremolo round out the features on this beautiful beast.

Although most of the Megadeth stuff doesn’t give him a ton of opportunity to rip on a 7, he takes any opportunity to show that he play every freaking fret on every freaking string in about 0.8 seconds. Check this out!

Also, you might want to check out Chris with his new axe on the latest episode of That Metal Show.

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Filed Under: FeaturedGuitars

About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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