how to transition from 6 to 7 string guitar

EXPLAINED: How To Transition From 6 To 7 String Guitar

Have you been considering moving from a six string guitar to a 7 string?  Want to learn how to transition from 6 to 7 string guitar?  There are some challenges to the transition but after just a bit of time, you can overcome this and turn yourself into a great 7 string guitar player.

Making The Switch To 7 String Guitar

The commercial release of 7-string solid-body electric guitars was one of the most significant developments in the guitar world.  The concept had been around for a while, but it wasn’t well-known until Steve Vai teamed up with Ibanez to create the UV7 model.  There were further examples of 7-string guitars with a high B string, but these were never very popular.
After all, who doesn’t enjoy playing those chugging powerful riffs?

However, switching from a 6-string to a 7-string guitar might be difficult.  If you’re thinking about getting an extended-range guitar or have recently started playing one, there are a few things to consider.

A Wider Neck

Naturally, 7-string guitars will have wider necks throughout their length.  The nut width on 6-string guitars is normally around 43 millimetres, whereas 47 to 48 millimetres on 7-string guitars to make room for that 7th string.  The nut width of 7-string guitars designed for lower tunings and consequently thicker strings can reach 51 millimetres.

When you combine the neck width with the slightly wider fret spacing, you’re in for a rocky start with your new guitar.  Stretching your fingers and accommodating your fretting hand to provide a solid performance will be considerably more challenging.

Scale Length Extending

For those unfamiliar, scale length refers to the distance between the nut and the bridge on a guitar.  7-string guitars nearly always have a longer scale length than 6-string guitars, ranging from 25.5 to 27 inches, and sometimes even more.  In the meanwhile, most “traditional” 6-string guitars have scale lengths of 24.5 to 25.5 inches, with the exception of “baritone” guitars and shorter-scaled beginner instruments.

While this may not appear to be a significant difference, these few inches can significantly alter your approach to the instrument.  Wider fret spacings combine with a lengthened neck, giving you a notably different feel. As a result, I’d suggest doing some additional workouts to assist you stretch your fingers further.  This is true for both lead and rhythm players, as all song portions will be a little difficult to play at first.

Using Your Picking Hand to Control Your Tone and Dynamic Output

When playing songs, controlling output is one of the most typical problems that 7-string beginners experience.  You’ll have a considerably harder time keeping things under control with an extra string, especially when it comes to dynamics and undesired string noises.  The most important thing you should do first is pay attention.  Then gradually modify your picking and fretting hands to mute the strings that aren’t being played.  Alternatively, if you want to use the palm muting technique, just give it a shot and see what works best for you.  At the end of the day, there’s no getting away from it.  To become acclimated to it, all you have to do is play as often as possible.

Working on the Fretboard’s Extended Range and Learning It

When we say “extended range,” we’re referring to a guitar with an extra string that gives you more notes to select from.  Those who are new to 7-string guitars almost always begin by chugging on the bottom B string.  While that is unquestionably entertaining,

Start by relearning the fretboard and figuring out how to approach it with your scales all around the neck, as well as this new bottom-end location.  This means you can readily access these additional notes when playing anywhere on the neck, something you wouldn’t normally be able do.

Transition From 6 To 7 String Guitar Conclusion

The 6 string guitar is what you are used to, but the sound of a 7 string guitar can be quite different. It can give you a better range of tone possibilities and open up your creativity for new chords.  If you have the means, I would definitely recommend trying one out to see how you like it.