- Jackson X Series Soloist Arch Top SLAT8 Multi-Scale
- Schecter Omen-8
- Ibanez Prestige RG5328
- Schecter C-8 Multiscale Silver Mountain
- Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-8 DKA HT
- Strandberg Boden 8 Sarah Longfield Edition
- Ibanez RGMS8 Iron Label Multi-Scale
- ESP LTD Javier Reyes JR-208
- Factors to Consider when Buying an 8-String Guitar
- The Benefits of choosing to play an 8-string guitar
- Strumming the Extra Mile: Embrace the Octave Odyssey
Ready to channel your inner maestro and venture into new musical territories with an 8-string guitar? These versatile instruments offer a rich, expansive tone that’s perfect for every style, from hard rock to jazz. Our expert guide features the best 8-string guitars in 2023, giving you a detailed look at each model’s key benefits, pricing, and pros & cons. You’ll find comprehensive reviews of guitars from renowned brands like Jackson, Schecter, Ibanez, and ESP LTD.
So, whether you’re a seasoned musician looking to diversify your sound or a beginner bravely stepping into the realm of 8-string guitars, this guide will help you make an informed choice.
The Jackson X Series Soloist Arch Top SLAT8 Multi-Scale is an 8-string, multi-scale electric guitar designed for guitarists pushing the boundaries of music with heavy riffs and complex techniques. Its multi-scale or fan fret design provides improved intonation, sustain, and a comfortable playing experience.
It showcases a poplar body with an arched top and features a neck-through construction, which contributes to its resonance and sustain. Boasting EMG® 909 pickups, this guitar delivers a balanced and powerful tone, making it a solid choice for metal and rock musicians. With a focus on speed and versatility, the SLAT8-MS is a high-performance instrument that stands out for its quality and craftsmanship.
- Multi-scale design for improved intonation and sustain
- Neck-through construction for better resonance
- EMG® 909 pickups for a balanced and powerful tone
- Laurel fingerboard with a compound radius for easy bending and fast playing
- Solid build quality with a poplar body and maple neck
- Versatility in music styles from hard rock to jazz
The Jackson X Series Soloist Arch Top SLAT8 Multi-Scale is competitively priced and offers good value for the money. The Indonesian manufacturing contributes to a lower price point than other countries without compromising quality.
The SLAT8-MS initially might require some set-up adjustments such as fixing the neck setup, adjusting the saddle and pickup heights, and changing the strings to a heavier gauge. However, once these are addressed, the guitar offers excellent playability. The string height is deemed perfect, and the guitar doesn’t suffer from fret buzz or dead spots. The nicely rolled-off fret edges and the binding that hides the ends of the frets contribute to a smooth playing experience.
Despite a few aesthetic flaws like excess paint on the headstock and tool marks behind the nut, the guitar has a solid build quality. The glass finish on the back of the neck is praised for its smoothness, making the guitar comfortable to play. Though some may not be a fan of the headstock design, it doesn’t affect the instrument’s overall performance.
The sound quality is notable, with the EMG 909 pickups producing a heavy and clear sound, particularly suited for hard rock and metal. Despite a somewhat dead resonance due to a thick glass finish, it still delivers a modern tonality and records well.
In summary, the SLAT8-MS proves its worth with its overall quality and performance. It’s recommended as a solid alternative to similar guitars on the market, offering a good balance of price, quality, and performance.
The Schecter Omen-8 is an eight-string guitar known for its rich, heavy sound. It stands as Schecter’s most affordable eight-string offering and sports a sleek, contoured basswood body with a black finish.
The guitar features a maple neck with jumbo frets on a 24-fret rosewood fretboard. With a scale length of 26½ inches, which is notably longer than a Stratocaster, the Omen-8 provides increased string tension and tuning stability.
Some key benefits of the Schecter Omen-8 include:
- Affordable pricing for an 8-string guitar
- Sleek, contoured basswood body with a black finish
- Maple neck with jumbo frets for durability and ease of play
- Extended scale length of 26½ inches for improved string tension and tuning stability
- Passive humbuckers for a heavy sound and ample sustain
The Omen-8 is recognized as Schecter’s most affordable eight-string guitar. However, it does not compromise on delivering a heavy sound and solid build quality.
The Schecter Omen-8 has proven to be a worthy investment for many years. It’s a step up in quality compared to other guitars. The walnut satin finish and metal neck with carbon fiber reinforcement rods add to its aesthetic appeal and durability. Moreover, the low-action setup and good quality pickups make it a joy to play.
However, it’s not without its minor issues. The switch, in particular, doesn’t catch well, which can be a little frustrating at times. But overall, it’s still impressive in terms of quality.
The additional tonal range of the Omen-8 is also noteworthy. It adds a unique sound to compositions, although dialing in the low end, particularly for high gain tones, can be a bit challenging. Yet, it’s worth noting that the guitar is still enjoyable to play despite this.
One of the joys of playing the Omen-8 is its versatility. From playing the start of a complex song like “Anchor” to exploring different techniques like tapping and harmonics, the guitar manages to hold its own. It’s affordable for an 8-string and has received recommendations for its impressive capabilities.
In conclusion, the Schecter Omen-8, while having a few minor issues, is a guitar with a unique tonal range, good playability, and a solid build. It’s a reliable choice for anyone looking to step into the world of 7 or 8-string guitars.
The Ibanez Prestige RG5328 is an 8-string electric guitar from Ibanez’s 2019 RG series. This high-performance guitar known for its stainless steel frets, locking tuners, and high-quality construction, is an excellent choice for genres such as heavy metal, hard rock, jazz, blues, funk, and country.
The Ibanez Prestige RG5328 is an 8-string electric guitar from Ibanez’s 2019 RG series. Made in Japan, it has a 27″ scale length and an ash body. The neck is crafted from maple/wenge and features a bound Macassar ebony fretboard. Equipped with DiMarzio Fusion Edge 8 pickups, a 3-way switch, and a Gibraltar Standard II-8 bridge.
- High-quality construction with expensive wood materials such as ash for the body, maple for the neck, and ebony for the fretboard.
- Equipped with top brand pickups from DiMarzio for superior sound quality.
- Features a 27″ scale length, allowing for lower tunings without fret buzz.
- Comes with 24 jumbo stainless steel frets for durability and easier bending.
- Has a 3-way switch and a coil split option for added tonal versatility.
- Fitted with a Gibraltar Standard II-8 bridge, locking tuners for tuning stability, and a Black Tusq XL nut for improved intonation.
The Ibanez RG5328 Prestige is priced at around $1999 USD, which makes it approximately 37% cheaper than its average competitor in the same category. Considering its quality and features, I considered it a good deal.
The RG5328 is well-made with a silky smooth neck and an ash body with a satin finish, offering a comfortable playing experience. This is especially true for those who prefer thin necks but still want some thickness for resting their hand while playing. Furthermore, it’s equipped with Fusion Edge 8 pickups and a switch to tap them out, providing added versatility.
However, some might find it less suitable for smaller hands due to its 27″ scale length, which requires more strength for bending strings, and its 55mm (2.165″) nut width. The 24 jumbo stainless steel frets, while durable and provide easier bending, may require adjustment for players who tend to press too hard. The flat 17″ fretboard radius may be less comfortable for playing chords compared to a more curved fretboard.
Despite these potential drawbacks, the RG5328 is highly praised for its quality materials, top-brand pickups, and solid construction. The sound is warm and versatile, thanks to the DiMarzio Fusion Edge 8 pickups and coil split options. Overall, I consider the RG5328 a good deal for its price range and suitable for various genres, particularly heavy metal and hard rock.
The Schecter C-8 Multiscale Silver Mountain is an exceptional 8-string electric guitar from Schecter’s 2020 Silver Mountain series. Crafted in South Korea, the guitar boasts a multiscale design with a scale length varying from 27″ to 25.5″.
It has a mahogany body and a neck fortified with carbon fiber reinforcement rods. The neck is designed with a thin C shape for ease of play and a 20″ fretboard radius. It is equipped with a Schecter USA Sonic Seducer humbucker for both the bridge and neck pickup, enabling a versatile sound suitable for genres like heavy metal, hard rock, jazz, blues, funk, and country.
- Multiscale design, providing versatility in play and enabling a greater range of musical styles
- Constructed with a mahogany body which offers a warm and resonant tone
- Equipped with Schecter USA Sonic Seducer humbuckers offering a broad spectrum tone and enhanced playability
- Thin C shaped neck, providing comfortable playability for fast solos and extended play periods
- Lightweight, weighing between 7.55lbs and 7.9lbs, ideal for extended play sessions
The Schecter C-8 Multiscale Silver Mountain comes with a price tag of around $1,399.00 USD.
The main strength of the Schecter C-8 Multiscale Silver Mountain lies in its unique multiscale design. This design improves intonation and string tension – resulting in better overall playability and tone. Furthermore, it’s equipped with Schecter Diamond Decimator pickups that are known for their powerful and aggressive tone – ideal for heavy metal and hard rock styles.
The guitar also features a solid mahogany body that provides a warm tone, and a comfortable thin “C” shaped neck, suitable for extended playing periods. The fixed bridge enhances tuning stability and sustain, and its stylish offset dot inlays on the 24-fret ebony fingerboard contribute to its sleek appearance.
However, the guitar’s multiscale design might be a bit awkward for those not used to it. While it offers versatility, it could take some time getting used to. Additionally, the guitar does not have a high-quality nut, a neck-through build, weight relief, or tremolo. While these might not be deal-breakers for some, they could be considered downsides depending on personal preferences.
The Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-8 DKA HT is an 8-string electric guitar from the 2018 JS series. Built in China, it features a 26.5″ scale length and a 12″ to 16″ compound radius fretboard, providing a comfortable playing experience for both chords and solos.
The body is made of poplar and the neck of maple, with a purpleheart fretboard. It is equipped with a Jackson High-Output 8-String Humbucking pickup configuration, a 3-way switch, a volume knob, and a tone knob. The guitar has a Jackson HT8 String-Through-Body Hardtail bridge and 24 jumbo frets. Notably, the guitar can be quite versatile, suitable for genres from heavy metal and hard rock to jazz, blues, funk, and country.
- 8-string configuration allows for a wide range of musical styles and genres
- Compound radius fretboard provides a comfortable playing experience
- High-Output 8-String Humbuckers provide warm tones and high output
- Jackson HT8 String-Through-Body Hardtail bridge ensures tuning stability and increased sustain
- 24 jumbo frets enable higher octave playing
- The guitar is beginner-friendly, with a comfortable shape and easy-to-use bridge
The Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-8 DKA HT is priced at $399.99 USD.
The Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-8 DKA HT has its strengths and weaknesses. The 8-string configuration is the guitar’s biggest selling point, offering a wide range of musical styles and genres. The build quality is impressive, with sturdy construction and a nice finish, and the guitar is generally smooth and easy to play. The hardware is straightforward, without any complicated features, allowing for less setup time and more playing time.
The sound is another standout feature, with hot pickups providing a bit of grit and clarity, even with heavy distortion. Notes are clear and well-defined, especially on the fat strings. However, some aspects of the guitar could be improved. The fret wire is cheap and may need replacement after some heavy usage. The guitar doesn’t come with any locking tuners, and there are no options for coil split or coil tapping. As a product made in China, the build quality may also be lower compared to guitars made in Korea, Japan, or the United States. Nevertheless, for those looking to explore the world of 8-string guitars, the Jackson JS Series Dinky Arch Top JS32-8 DKA HT offers versatility, good build quality, and great sound.
The Strandberg Boden 8 Sarah Longfield Edition is a guitar that stands out for its unique features and design. Like the Jackson X Series Soloist Arch Top SLAT8 Multi-Scale, the guitar boasts a multi-scale design, improving intonation and playability, particularly when playing in lower tunings.
The guitar produces a balanced and resonant tone, constructed with a solid mahogany body and a maple neck. It is equipped with high-quality hardware, including a set of Jackson-designed humbucking pickups, a fixed bridge, and locking tuners, contributing to excellent tuning stability and sustain. The guitar is designed for players who enjoy extended-range guitars and want a versatile instrument that can handle a wide range of musical styles. It is particularly well-suited for heavy metal and progressive rock genres.
- Unique multi-scale design for improved intonation and playability
- Solid mahogany body and maple neck for a balanced and resonant tone
- Equipped with high-quality hardware for excellent tuning stability and sustain
- Versatile instrument suitable for a wide range of musical styles
- Well-suited for heavy metal and progressive rock genres
The Strandberg Boden 8 Sarah Longfield Edition is renowned for its quality, design, and features. This guitar is priced at roughly $2695 USD.
As with any instrument, the Strandberg Boden 8 has its strengths and potential drawbacks. One of its most notable features is the Fishman Fluence Modern pickups; these active pickups contribute to the overall sound and versatility of the guitar. The guitar’s 6-bolt neck and lightweight feel are appreciated for an 8-string guitar, providing comfort and ease of play.
The battery cavity and 3-way switch for splitting and mode options add to the guitar’s versatility, allowing for diverse tones. The Strand Standard NX Signature 6 model’s matte finish is visually appealing and practical as it does not show fingerprints.
However, the standout feature of this guitar is its fan fret design. This unique design element is not only visually interesting but also enhances playability. The indoor neck profile is another notable feature, allowing for multiple thumb positions, which can be beneficial for different playing styles.
On the downside, the guitar’s unique and standout features, such as its 8-string configuration and fan fret design, may not be for everyone, particularly for those who prefer a more traditional guitar design. However, for those who appreciate innovation and versatility in their instrument, the Strandberg Boden 8 Sarah Longfield Edition proves to be a remarkable choice.
The Ibanez RGMS8 Iron Label Multi-Scale is a top-notch 8-string electric guitar, part of the renowned RG series. It’s distinct for its multi-scale design, which varies from 27″ to 25.5″, optimizing string tension and providing a more comfortable playing experience.
The instrument is constructed with a Nyatoh body, a Maple/Walnut neck, and a Jatoba fretboard. It is equipped with a pair of Ibanez Array-8 MS pickups, delivering a tight, clear tone. This guitar features a Mono-rail bridge, enhancing string isolation and sustain. All in all, the RGMS8 is a versatile, well-constructed instrument, ideal for styles like heavy metal and hard rock.
- Multi-scale design for enhanced intonation and tension across the strings
- Wizard III-8 for Multi Scale neck, which is thin and fast-playing
- 24-fret Jatoba fretboard with jumbo frets for a smooth and comfortable playing experience
- 5-way pickup selector switch for a variety of tonal options
- Dual Ibanez Array-8 MS pickups for a tight, clear tone
- Mono-rail bridge for improved string-to-string isolation and sustain
- Affordable price for a multi-scale 8-string guitar
The Ibanez RGMS8 Iron Label Multi-Scale is a more affordable option in the Ibanez lineup, offering great value for money considering the quality of materials and craftsmanship.
The Ibanez RGMS8 Iron Label Multi-Scale is quite the desirable 8-string guitar, often on pre-order due to high demand. The instrument arrives with a flawless string action setup and is accompanied by a hex key for truss rod and bridge saddle adjustment, as well as a basic guitar cable.
The guitar’s design is attractive and the build sturdy, although the paint job may not be as delicate as one might expect. The neck of the guitar is slim and comfortable, thanks to the multi-scale design allowing for different scale lengths on each string. There’s a slight inconvenience with the input jack angled on the back of the guitar, yet this is not an insurmountable issue.
The stock pickups on the guitar are decent and usable, the guitar features 8 mono rail bridges, essential for the multi-scale design. A unique feature is the 5-way switch offering various pickup combinations. The neck is a mix of maple and walnut, and the fretboard is made of Ja wood. The body is crafted from na wood, denser than mahogany.
The guitar arrives with a factory tuning one half step down, but the strings can be adjusted to suit personal preference. This guitar is versatile, suited not just for metal but for a variety of genres. It offers good value for money, considering the quality of materials and craftsmanship.
There might be personal preferences for upgrades, like locking tuners and different pickups. The fan fret design of the guitar helps in better playability and multiple scale lengths. Overall, the Ibanez RGMS8 Iron Label Multi-Scale provides high-quality materials and sound at its price point.
The ESP LTD Javier Reyes JR-208 is a signature 8-string guitar designed with the inputs from musician Javier Reyes. This budget-friendly instrument is constructed with a 27″ scale length, a mahogany body, and a maple neck with a roasted jatoba fretboard.
The JR-208 is equipped with ESP Designed LH-308B and LH-308N humbucker pickups, a LTD fixed bridge with string-thru construction, and 24 XL jumbo frets. Its Indonesian make ensures good quality at a lower price.
- Comfortable shape and design
- Versatile, suitable for a wide range of genres from heavy metal and hard rock to jazz, blues, funk, and country
- Features ESP Designed LH-308B and LH-308N humbucker pickups for warmer tones and a slightly hot tone
- Includes a LTD fixed bridge with string-thru design for good tuning stability and sustain
- Coil split option allows for additional tonal versatility
- The bolt-on neck joint allows for easy travel and neck replacement if required
The ESP LTD JR-208 is priced appealingly at $799, which is about 22% cheaper than the average competitor in its category, offering a good value for money given the features and build quality it offers.
From what we’ve seen, the JR-208 has some solid pros that make it a worthy consideration. The guitar’s design is not only aesthetically pleasing with its gold hardware and knobs, but it also offers great playability, a fast-playing neck, and access to all the techniques and features found on higher-end models. The guitar’s versatile sound is suitable for a wide range of genres. It’s also been noted that the ESP standard pickups provide great sound and can be easily swapped out for personal preference, which is a plus for those who like to customize their sound.
However, the JR-208 does come with some drawbacks. The fret edges can be a bit sharp, and the nut could be of a higher quality. While the guitar is considered beginner-friendly to some extent, the longer scale length and wider nut width could be challenging for some, particularly those with smaller hands. Finally, although the guitar’s build is sturdy and durable, the wood used in its construction is relatively heavy, which could affect its overall weight and portability, and some might find it to be a bit of a hindrance during long playing sessions. Despite these minor cons, the JR-208 is still a compelling option for those interested in an 8-string guitar.
When you’re in the market for an 8-string guitar, you’ve got to think about the type of music you’re planning to play. Some guitars are better suited for metal or progressive rock, while others shine with cleaner music styles. So, figuring out your favorite music genre is a key first step in picking the right 8-string guitar.
You’ll also want to think about your preferred tuning, as this’ll determine the scale length you need. Most 8-string guitars have a longer scale length to handle the lower notes, especially if you’re into playing in lower tunings. So, if you’re a fan of lower tunings, you’ll need a guitar with a long enough scale length.
Plus, the unique sound and feel of 8-string guitars provide a different playing experience compared to traditional 6-string guitars. With the extra strings, you’ve got more notes to play with, which can lead to different chords, voicings, and sounds. The chance to add bass notes to your playing opens up new musical territories and allows for exploration and creativity. So, if you’re attracted to the novelty of the instrument and are eager to experiment with new arrangements or song structures, an 8-string guitar might be just what you’re looking for. Trying out different guitars to find one that feels comfortable and suits your playing style is always a good idea.
Finally, remember that while stepping into the world of 8-string guitars can be challenging due to the additional strings, with practice and experimentation, you can unlock new musical possibilities.
You’re opening up a world of possibilities when you choose to play an 8-string guitar. This type of guitar offers unique sonic characteristics that you won’t find in more conventional 6-string guitars. By adding two extra octave strings on the D and G, an 8-string guitar gives a surprising amount of chorus and shimmer when you’re strumming. The double strings create an interesting and prominent octave effect when you’re playing lead parts, while fingerpicking benefits from the additional octaves, making the sound more appealing and full-bodied.
What’s more, 8-string guitars offer a more manageable playing experience compared to the 12-string guitars. While the latter can be more challenging to play, especially for beginners, due to their high tension on the neck and wider nut width, 8-string guitars don’t require widening the neck and have less tension. This makes them easier to play and quicker to tune. They don’t just offer a new experience to you as a guitarist, but they also add new dimensions to your 6-string guitar parts.
Finally, choosing to play an 8-string guitar should be a decision made out of personal preference and a desire to explore new musical possibilities. These guitars aren’t constrained to a particular type of music. They can be used in a variety of genres depending on your desired sound and style. The overall build quality, materials used, and craftsmanship are important factors to consider when buying an 8-string guitar, but ultimately, the choice should resonate with your specific needs and musical aspirations. The joy and excitement of playing an 8-string guitar, with its sonic attractiveness and easy playability, surely make it a worthwhile consideration.
The world of 8-string guitars might seem daunting and complex, but it’s really a realm of unexplored musical possibilities and creativity. As you’ve seen, the market’s got a fantastic range of 8-string guitars, each with their own unique features and strengths, catering to all sorts of tastes and musical genres.
Before diving into this exciting new territory, it’s important to know your music preferences, playing style, and what feels comfortable. From the heavy metal-inspired Jackson X Series Soloist Arch Top SLAT8 Multi-Scale to the versatile Schecter Omen-8, each instrument has its own unique flair, catering to diverse musical interests and budgets.
If you’re new to this, the journey of an 8-string guitar might seem intimidating, but remember, every maestro was once a novice. As you play around with the extra octaves, you’ll discover new harmonies and textures, bringing a fresh perspective to your music. The added breadth and depth of sound, the unique aesthetic appeal, and unparalleled tonal capabilities make 8-string guitars a worthy addition to your musical arsenal.
Here’s to exploring the vast universe of sounds and rhythms an 8-string guitar has to offer! As you venture into this fascinating musical landscape, remember, the perfect guitar isn’t one that ticks all the boxes in a features list but one that resonates with your inner artist. Step up your game, push your boundaries, and let the power of music drive you towards innovation and mastery. After all, being a musician isn’t about settling for the ordinary.