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Naetharu

Help with a new guitar

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Hi folks,

My bands rhythem guitar player is currently trying to upgrade his kit. He's been using a hollow-body guitar which is just not suited to the heavy metal music we play - it suffers from terrible feedback a lot of the time. However, he knows very little about guitars and has asked me to post a couple of questions here:

(1) We often use dropped tunings. He's thinking about getting a 7-string in order to avoid having to re-tune all the time. Has anyone here got experience with using a 7-string, and if so how do you feel about it. Is it easy to get used to or did you find it a very different instrument to play to a standard 6-string?

(2) He's spotted a guitar he quite likes the look of, however it has a Floyd Rose bridge. Previously he has only ever used fixed bridges (The ones found on Les Paul gutiars) and so is unsure about this style. I have heard a great deal of grumbling about how they are difficult to use, but have no personal experience to back that up. Would you advise against such a bridge, or is it not an issue. He may use the trem for a bit of expression now and then but he's not a lead player at all and so will not be using it for dive-bomb style stuff or anything else along those lines.

Cheers

James

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If you're going to be using different tunings I'd avoid getting a guitar with a Floyd Rose, or any other type of trem system to be honest.

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Harley Benton SC-1000 active pups, have got very good reviews (check on you tube for demos)

http://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_l1000_vb_progressive_line.htm

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I switched from 4 to 5 string bass which took a bit of transition but fine now so thought I'd do the same with guitar but really struggled, it's the chords that posed a problem for me, I sold that guitar (7 baritone tuned F#) to our guitarist & built another Warmoth baritone but this time a 6 string ... no probs other than a bit if a stretch ... so I'd suggest a baritone if you're gonna tune low & hardtail bridge coz if you break a sting on a floyd rose the others will go out of tune, also bit more time consuming restringing.

Ibanez do a nice baritone (or mine that needs a loving home lol)

my 2c

Si

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I'd go for a hard-tail Yamaha or Ibanez - either a 7-string, or a long scale instrument that you can comfortably down-tune.

Obviously there is the budget to consider...

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Cheers folks, that's been really helpful.

I'm not honestly sure of his budget but its the lower end of things - we're talking a working-mans axe rather than a post bit of tone-wood here (say sub £500 at the most).

Interesting to hear your thoughts on the Floyd Rose - I had similar mis-givings regarding the difficulty getting the thing in tune. One worry I have is that given hardware tends to be the bit that cheaper instruments cut on (I am assuming this from bass experience) will the Floyd on a cheaper guitar be nasty..?

Also handy to hear about chordal issue on the 7-string. The chap in question is a very good chord-based player and its what he does 80% of the time so that would be a bit of a worry I think. I'll have a chat with him and see how things go.

Finally, Do you have a link to your guitar for sale Sifi?

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It's not so much a problem getting a guitar with a Floyd in tune, once it's tuned it'll stay there as the strings are clamped. The problem is that detuning certain strings on a guitar with a tremolo system will alter the tension on the bridge & put the whole guitar out of tune.
The quality of Floyds on cheaper guitars isn't brilliant, though it varies. The main problem with licenced Floyds is that the pivot points are usually made from a softer metal so they wear out quickly & problems with the guitar returning to pitch can occur.

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[quote name='RhysP' timestamp='1449661514' post='2925642']
The quality of Floyds on cheaper guitars isn't brilliant, though it varies. The main problem with licenced Floyds is that the pivot points are usually made from a softer metal so they wear out quickly & problems with the guitar returning to pitch can occur.
[/quote]

Thank you! That's very interesting to know.

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I've switched between guitar and bass a few times, and I never bother with guitars with tremolo arms any more, in fact I much prefer not to have one. If you really need wammy on something a wammy pedal does it loads better nowadays anyway!

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Stability problems with FRs can be minimised by flat loading them, so only down bend is possible and fitting all 5 springs. However, if it isn't going to used much, I wouldn't buy something where part of the cost is eaten up by a mostly redundant piece of hardware. I like the suggestion of a baritone guitar. There is a Fender Tele http://www.guitarsound.co.uk/fender-blacktop-telecaster-baritone-rosewood-classic-copper-for-sale?gclid=COCY-sT2zskCFUoUwwodoDwNcw and an Ibanez http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=13120714083658 that fall within the budget and would do the job well.

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When you say he's playing a lot of chords are they open chords using all the strings or just power chords (1st and 5th)? I have a seven string and playing open chords is harder because your muting the B all the time, but power chords are just the same obviously, doesn't matter how many strings you have.

as others have mentioned I would go for a fixed bridge, less to go wrong... In fact I had all of the knobs taken off my guitar so all I have now is a pickup selector and on/off switch. Nice and simple :)

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Its a lot of open and bar chords as well as some 5th chords. He tends to play bigger chords with a crunchy tone while our other guitar player does power chords with more drive.

I kind of feel the seven string sounds like a lot of faf for what amounts to three extra notes over a standard guitar in drop d

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Its a lot of open and bar chords as well as some 5th chords. He tends to play bigger chords with a crunchy tone while our other guitar player does power chords with more drive.

I kind of feel the seven string sounds like a lot of faf for what amounts to three extra notes over a standard guitar in drop d

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Highly recommend one of these. OLP baritone. 2 H/B, great rock sound. Great neck, mean looks and cheap. About £150 should get one. Brilliant for detuning.

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[quote name='leschirons' timestamp='1449696112' post='2926139']
Highly recommend one of these. OLP baritone. 2 H/B, great rock sound. Great neck, mean looks and cheap. About £150 should get one. Brilliant for detuning.
[/quote]

I have one of these, although my 'style' is as far from 'metal' as one could get without becoming 'folk'. Mine is strung and tuned as a bass; lovely 'piano' tones. Excellent lutherie for the money, and very easy to play. Very flexible as far as choice of strings and tunings go, so eminently fit for purpose, I'd say.

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[quote name='Naetharu' timestamp='1449684499' post='2925982']
Its a lot of open and bar chords as well as some 5th chords. He tends to play bigger chords with a crunchy tone while our other guitar player does power chords with more drive.

I kind of feel the seven string sounds like a lot of faf for what amounts to three extra notes over a standard guitar in drop d
[/quote]

ah he sounds like a proper guitarist as opposed to a hardcore metal chugger like me... :D

I think you're right, the B string would just get in the way.

Edited by CamdenRob

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[quote name='ezbass' timestamp='1449669571' post='2925790']
... and an Ibanez [url="http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/electric_guitars_detail.asp?stock=13120714083658"]http://www.guitargui...=13120714083658[/url] that fall within the budget and would do the job well.
[/quote]

I'm looking at an Ibanez Baritone, maybe next year some time. They can be had for less than that, around £450 anyway: [url="http://www.andertons.co.uk/solid-body-electric-guitars/pid31907/cid671/ibanez-rgib6-iron-label-baritone-electric-guitar-in-black.asp"]http://www.andertons.co.uk/solid-body-electric-guitars/pid31907/cid671/ibanez-rgib6-iron-label-baritone-electric-guitar-in-black.asp[/url]

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[quote name='adamg67' timestamp='1449755154' post='2926520']


I'm looking at an Ibanez Baritone, maybe next year some time. They can be had for less than that, around £450 anyway: [url="http://www.andertons.co.uk/solid-body-electric-guitars/pid31907/cid671/ibanez-rgib6-iron-label-baritone-electric-guitar-in-black.asp"]http://www.andertons.co.uk/solid-body-electric-guitars/pid31907/cid671/ibanez-rgib6-iron-label-baritone-electric-guitar-in-black.asp[/url]
[/quote]I just did a basic search for some baritones to see if such things existed at that budget. It seems they do. I didn't mean to imply the OP's rhythm player should buy from either of the two establishments I linked to.

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1449702485' post='2926211']
I have one of these, although my 'style' is as far from 'metal' as one could get without becoming 'folk'. Mine is strung and tuned as a bass; lovely 'piano' tones. Excellent lutherie for the money, and very easy to play. Very flexible as far as choice of strings and tunings go, so eminently fit for purpose, I'd say.
[/quote]

I had one for a while... strung as a Fender Bass VI. Great value for money.

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Does he use different tunings on different songs or just a single down or drop tuning for the whole set?

There's nothing wrong with Floyd Rose vibrato systems provided they are properly set up and maintained - in fact a good guitar fitted with a good FR vibrato that has been properly set up will hold its tuning far better than most hard-tail instruments. However as others have said if he needs to change tunings mid-set a single guitar with a Floyd Rose vibrato system will be useless. In fact I wouldn't really consider any vibrato equipped guitar for changing tunings between songs. Our guitarist just gets away with it switching between standard and drop D on his Bigsby equipped hollow body, but he uses heavier strings and has the vibrato set up to be pretty stiff. Also IME owning a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose vibrato requires a bit more technical knowledge with regards setup and maintenance than it appears the guitarist in question has.

When you say drop tunings do you actually mean drop tunings (where the rest of the guitar is tuned to standard intervals and the lowest string only is tuned down (normally a tone) or down tunings where all the strings are tuned down but normally kept to the standard intervals. I don't know about the guitarist in question, but for me drop tunings are far more about making some chords and patterns easier to play - drop D gives me a 3 string power chord (root, fifth and octave) by barring the bottom three strings and makes 6th and 7th chords much less of a stretch to play - rather than the lower notes. In this case buying a 7 string or a baritone won't IMO be the right choice.

Finally one thing to bear in mind about baritone guitars is that they are great when you are in the lower registers, but because the relative scale length is shorter than a standard guitar - a 28" baritone is only 21" from the 5th fret to the bridge - playing in the same register as a normally tuned guitar can result in a very brittle sound.

In the end though the best thing is to get him into a few guitar shops and to try out some instruments for himself.

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Tell him to keep an eye on the thomann B stock (and other places)... This looks rather tasty : http://www.thomann.de/gb/ibanez_rg721fm_bif_b_stock.htm

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1449827361' post='2927177']
Does he use different tunings on different songs or just a single down or drop tuning for the whole set?

There's nothing wrong with Floyd Rose vibrato systems provided they are properly set up and maintained - in fact a good guitar fitted with a good FR vibrato that has been properly set up will hold its tuning far better than most hard-tail instruments. However as others have said if he needs to change tunings mid-set a single guitar with a Floyd Rose vibrato system will be useless. In fact I wouldn't really consider any vibrato equipped guitar for changing tunings between songs. Our guitarist just gets away with it switching between standard and drop D on his Bigsby equipped hollow body, but he uses heavier strings and has the vibrato set up to be pretty stiff. Also IME owning a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose vibrato requires a bit more technical knowledge with regards setup and maintenance than it appears the guitarist in question has.

When you say drop tunings do you actually mean drop tunings (where the rest of the guitar is tuned to standard intervals and the lowest string only is tuned down (normally a tone) or down tunings where all the strings are tuned down but normally kept to the standard intervals. I don't know about the guitarist in question, but for me drop tunings are far more about making some chords and patterns easier to play - drop D gives me a 3 string power chord (root, fifth and octave) by barring the bottom three strings and makes 6th and 7th chords much less of a stretch to play - rather than the lower notes. In this case buying a 7 string or a baritone won't IMO be the right choice.
[/quote]

We tend to use Standard and Drop-D which we shift between a couple of times in a set with our current run of songs. I think he was hoping that by going with the 7-string he would be able to avoid any tuning changes at all since he would have native access to as low as B anyhow.

As to the Floyd, you're pretty much confirming my worries. He's a great chap but not a technical one in the slightest. I fear a Floyd based guitar would simply end up never being used which would be a real shame. I've pointed him to these threads and he's back to looking at boring old six-strings with a fixed bridge now :D Looks like he might end up going for a LTD in the Les Paul style.

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Those esp les Paul style guitars sound huge. You won't be disappointed :)

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[quote name='Naetharu' timestamp='1449934689' post='2928147']
We tend to use Standard and Drop-D which we shift between a couple of times in a set with our current run of songs. I think he was hoping that by going with the 7-string he would be able to avoid any tuning changes at all since he would have native access to as low as B anyhow.

As to the Floyd, you're pretty much confirming my worries. He's a great chap but not a technical one in the slightest. I fear a Floyd based guitar would simply end up never being used which would be a real shame. I've pointed him to these threads and he's back to looking at boring old six-strings with a fixed bridge now :D Looks like he might end up going for a LTD in the Les Paul style.
[/quote]

Whether a 7 string will be the answer to his tuning changes will depend very much on how he uses it. If he's using drop D tuning like I do to make some chords easier to play then a 7 string won't solve his problems. However if he's using it to provide access to notes down to D on single note stuff, then so long as he's prepared to relearn all the E string patterns he'll be fine.

However the LTD guitar will probably be far more suitable!

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[quote name='Naetharu' timestamp='1449934689' post='2928147']
We tend to use Standard and Drop-D which we shift between a couple of times in a set with our current run of songs. I think he was hoping that by going with the 7-string he would be able to avoid any tuning changes at all since he would have native access to as low as B anyhow.

As to the Floyd, you're pretty much confirming my worries. He's a great chap but not a technical one in the slightest. I fear a Floyd based guitar would simply end up never being used which would be a real shame. I've pointed him to these threads and he's back to looking at boring old six-strings with a fixed bridge now :D Looks like he might end up going for a LTD in the Les Paul style.
[/quote]

7 string guitar is like a 5 string bass - one string too many :)

Retuning between songs? Life's too short (the audiences' life) Keep it simple! (that goes for tremolos too).

Sounds like he's on the right path now!

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