If you’ve been keeping up with the music scene, you may have noticed a rise in the popularity of 7 or 8 string guitars. But have you ever wondered why? These guitars, with their extra strings, provide a wider range of notes and a unique sound that captivates both musicians and listeners alike. Whether it’s in heavy metal, progressive rock, or jazz fusion, these guitars have become a staple in modern music, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved on a traditional 6 string guitar. In this article, we will explore the reasons why 7 or 8 string guitars have become so popular in modern music, delving into the technical aspects and the impact they have on the music industry. So grab your guitar picks and get ready to dive into the fascinating world of these multi-stringed instruments.
Increase in Music Genres
Diversification of Music Genres
The world of music has seen a remarkable increase in the number and diversity of genres in recent years. This can be attributed to various factors such as globalization, technological advancements, and the desire for innovation and experimentation. With the emergence of new musical styles and the fusion of different influences, artists are constantly pushing the boundaries of creativity. This diversification has had a profound impact on the instruments used in music production, with guitars being at the forefront of this evolution.
Demand for Extended Range Instruments
As music genres continue to diversify, there has been an increasing demand for instruments that can accommodate the unique demands of these genres. This demand has led to the rise in popularity of extended range instruments, such as 7 and 8 string guitars. Unlike traditional 6 string guitars, these instruments offer a wider tonal range and allow for more complex chord voicings and melodic patterns. This increased range has opened up new possibilities for guitarists, enabling them to explore uncharted territories and create music that pushes the boundaries of conventional genres.
Evolution of Guitar Techniques
Exploration of New Sounds
With the introduction of extended range guitars, guitarists have been able to explore new sounds and expand their sonic palette. The additional strings allow for lower tunings, creating a heavier and more aggressive tone that is often associated with genres like heavy metal and djent. This exploration of new sounds has not only influenced the direction of music, but it has also influenced the way guitarists approach their instrument, leading to the development of new playing techniques and styles.
Development of New Playing Styles
The evolution of guitar techniques has been closely tied to the exploration of new sounds made possible by extended range guitars. As guitarists experiment with lower tunings and extended ranges, they have discovered innovative ways to play their instruments. Techniques such as palm muting, chugging, and extended range tapping have become staples in genres like heavy metal and djent. These new playing styles not only add complexity and depth to the music but also challenge guitarists to further push the limits of their creativity and technical abilities.
Influence of Heavy Metal and Djent
Origin of Heavy Metal and Djent
Heavy metal and djent are two genres that have played a significant role in the rise of extended range guitars. Heavy metal emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, characterized by its high energy, aggressive sound, and distorted guitar tones. Djent, on the other hand, originated in the early 2000s, characterized by its complex time signatures, low-tuned guitars, and syncopated rhythms. Both genres have heavily influenced modern music and have created a demand for heavier and more technical sounds, thus driving the popularity of extended range instruments.
Desire for Heavier and More Technical Sounds
The desire for heavier and more technical sounds has been a driving force behind the popularity of extended range guitars. Through the use of lower tunings and additional strings, guitarists are able to achieve a more aggressive and brutal tone that is highly sought after in genres like heavy metal and djent. These genres demand intricate and complex guitar playing, with fast and precise riffing and soloing. Extended range guitars provide the necessary tools for guitarists to meet these demands and create music that is both heavy and technically impressive.
Advancements in Guitar Technology
Improved Guitar Amplification
Advancements in guitar technology have also played a significant role in the rise of extended range guitars. With the development of improved guitar amplification systems, guitarists can now attain a clear and defined sound even at lower tunings and extended ranges. These advancements ensure that the nuances and intricacies of the guitar playing are not lost in the mix, allowing for a more dynamic and expressive performance. The improved guitar amplification technology has made it easier for guitarists to transition to extended range instruments and fully explore their creative potential.
Enhanced Guitar Effects
In addition to improved amplification, advancements in guitar effects have further contributed to the popularity of extended range guitars. Guitar effects pedals and processors have become increasingly sophisticated, offering a wide range of tonal possibilities. This has allowed guitarists to shape and mold their sound according to their creative vision, regardless of the number of strings on their instrument. The combination of improved amplification and enhanced guitar effects has made extended range guitars a versatile and powerful tool for musicians, expanding their sonic possibilities to new heights.
Progressive and Experimental Music
Pushing Boundaries of Music
Progressive and experimental music has always been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of what is considered traditional or mainstream. These genres thrive on innovation and pushing the limits of what is musically possible. As a result, extended range guitars have found a natural home within these genres. The wider tonal range and increased versatility offered by extended range instruments allow musicians to explore complex compositions, intricate chord progressions, and unconventional time signatures. Progressive and experimental musicians embrace the use of extended range guitars to create music that challenges and captivates listeners, expanding the sonic landscape of the genre.
Need for Extended Range Instruments
The need for extended range instruments within progressive and experimental music arises from the desire to explore new sounds and harmonic possibilities. As musicians strive to create unique and unconventional music, the limitations of traditional 6 string guitars become evident. Extended range guitars provide the missing link, allowing for the expression of complex melodies and harmonies that would be difficult to achieve on a standard guitar. The demand for extended range instruments within progressive and experimental music is driven by the need for innovation and the exploration of new sonic territories.
Popularity among Metal Guitarists
Preference for Low and Heavy Tones
Metal guitarists have long been known for their preference for low and heavy tones, and extended range guitars have become instrumental in achieving this desired sound. By providing lower tunings and additional strings, these instruments empower metal guitarists to create the deep and brutal sounds that are essential to the genre. The extended tonal range also allows for more intricate and complex chord structures, enabling guitarists to create unique harmonies and progressions that define their musical style. The popularity of extended range guitars among metal guitarists can be attributed to their ability to deliver the heavy and aggressive tones that are synonymous with the genre.
Ability to Play Complex Rhythms
Another factor contributing to the popularity of extended range guitars among metal guitarists is their ability to handle complex rhythms. Metal music often features intricate and syncopated rhythms that require precise and technical playing. The additional strings and extended range of these instruments enable guitarists to execute complex riffing and chord progressions with greater ease and accuracy. This increased technical proficiency allows metal guitarists to delve deeper into the intricacies of their music, resulting in compositions that are both challenging and rewarding for both the musician and the listener.
Influence of Guitar Virtuosos
Inspiration from Guitarists like Tosin Abasi and Meshuggah
The influence of guitar virtuosos cannot be overlooked when discussing the rise of extended range guitars. Guitarists like Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders) and Meshuggah have been at the forefront of incorporating extended range guitars into their musical styles, inspiring countless others to follow suit. These virtuosos have demonstrated the incredible potential of these instruments, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and redefining the role of the guitar in modern music. Their innovative playing techniques and unparalleled technical abilities have sparked a wave of interest in extended range guitars, leading to their increased popularity among musicians across various genres.
Desire to Replicate Their Techniques
The desire to replicate the techniques and sounds of guitar virtuosos has been a driving force behind the adoption of extended range guitars by aspiring musicians. Seeing their favorite guitarists effortlessly perform intricate melodies and mind-boggling solos on these instruments has inspired many to explore the possibilities of extended range guitars for themselves. Aspiring musicians seek to emulate the technical prowess and creativity of guitar virtuosos, and extended range guitars provide them with the means to do so. By adopting these instruments, musicians hope to capture a fraction of the mastery displayed by their idols and express their own musical ideas with newfound versatility.
Impact of Internet and Social Media
Access to Guitar Demonstrations and Tutorials
The advent of the internet and social media has had a significant impact on the popularity of extended range guitars. Guitarists now have access to a vast library of online resources, including video demonstrations and tutorials that showcase the capabilities of these instruments. Aspiring musicians can easily learn new techniques, understand the intricacies of extended range guitars, and explore different playing styles through online platforms. This ease of access has fueled the interest in these instruments, making them more accessible to musicians of all levels of experience.
Exposure to Guitarists Using Extended Range Instruments
Furthermore, the internet and social media have provided a platform for guitarists using extended range instruments to showcase their talent and connect with a global audience. Through platforms like YouTube and Instagram, guitarists can share their performances, compositions, and insights with a vast community of fellow musicians and music enthusiasts. The exposure to guitarists who have mastered the art of playing extended range instruments has further fueled the desire among aspiring musicians to explore these instruments themselves. The internet and social media have played a pivotal role in promoting extended range guitars and building a community around them, contributing to their increasing popularity.
Crossover with Bass Guitars
Blurring the Line Between Guitars and Bass
The rise of extended range guitars has also led to a blurring of the line between guitars and bass guitars. With the increased range and low-end capabilities of these instruments, guitarists can now venture into the sonic territory traditionally occupied by bass guitars. This crossover has expanded the versatility and range of guitarists, allowing them to explore new roles within a band or solo setting. The ability to cover both guitar and bass parts on a single instrument has become a desirable skill among musicians, further driving the popularity of extended range guitars.
Increasing Versatility and Range
Extended range guitars have expanded the versatility and range of guitarists, enabling them to cover a wider spectrum of musical styles and genres. By incorporating extended range guitars into their repertoire, guitarists can effortlessly transition between low and heavy tones, intricate melodies, and complex chord progressions. This increased versatility opens up new creative possibilities, allowing guitarists to explore new musical territories and collaborate with a wider variety of musicians. The ability to offer both guitar and bass-like qualities in a single instrument has significantly contributed to the rising popularity of extended range guitars.
Customization and Personalization
Preference for Unique and Custom Instruments
One of the driving factors behind the popularity of extended range guitars is the preference for unique and customized instruments. Musicians strive to express their individuality and stand out from the crowd, and having a guitar that reflects their personal style and preferences is crucial in achieving this. The availability of extended range guitars in various finishes, shapes, and configurations allows musicians to create instruments that are tailor-made to their specifications. This customization not only enhances the playing experience but also adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of the instrument, further fueling the popularity of extended range guitars.
Freedom to Experiment with Sound
Extended range guitars offer musicians the freedom to experiment with sound and explore new sonic possibilities. The increased tonal range and unique characteristics of these instruments encourage guitarists to step out of their comfort zones and challenge conventional playing techniques. By pushing the boundaries of what is sonically possible, musicians can create music that is truly unique and groundbreaking. The freedom to experiment with sound, granted by extended range guitars, appeals to musicians who are constantly seeking new ways to express their creativity and push the limits of their musical abilities.
In conclusion, the rise of extended range guitars in modern music can be attributed to various factors. The diversification of music genres, the evolution of guitar techniques, the influence of heavy metal and djent, advancements in guitar technology, the impact of the internet and social media, and the desire for customization and personalization have all played a crucial role in the increasing popularity of these instruments. As musicians continue to explore new sounds and push the boundaries of what is musically possible, extended range guitars will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of musical innovation, shaping the future of modern music.