Giovanni Talks About His 7-String Guitar
Normally, guitars have six strings, but in yesterday's post, Giovanni plays a 7 string guitar. Today we ask him to tell us the story of how he got it and why.
Model: Ibanez RG7 420
I love Ibanez guitars because many of my favorite guitarists use them. They are made in Japan, are reasonably priced and very high quality.
How long have you had it?
I bought it in Italy in the year 2000, while I was still underage... I worked full-time in a construction job for a whole summer to save enough money to buy it. That model was extremely rare then. I didn't know anyone else with the same instrument. 7-string guitars have been around for a long time, but they started to be used in a rock context in the 1990s thanks to Steve Vai. When I bought the guitar, I was really into Dream Theater, Steve Vai and Korn, who all used 7-string guitars.
Was it difficult to get used to?
Not really, because I studied early music and got used to playing the lute! Actually, some kinds of lute can have up to 16 strings!
Have you made any modifications?
Originally, the guitar was all black. I started to became more interested in other styles of music such as jazz and funk and needed something different. As well as making some aesthetic changes, like changing the color of the pick guard, I also rewound the coils in the pickups to improve the tone. Later, I had a push-pull knob installed and had the wiring changed to allow the pickups to be used as single coil pickups. This way, I can get the guitar to emulate a Stratocaster or a Telecaster It's a bit unusual because most people who buy 7-string electric guitars use them exclusively for rock and metal, and aren't really interested in getting those kinds of sounds. So my guitar is probably the only one with that single-coil pickup configuration.
What tunings do you use?
Most people tune the 7th string to a B. However, about 5 years ago I started tuning to A instead. This means you can use the same fingering on the 7th string as you use on the 5th string. However, this means I need to use a thicker gauge of string (.60 instead of the normal .56).
What do you usually use the guitar for now?
Even though 7-string guitars are usually associated with metal, I now use it more for funk, jazz and fusion. Having that extra low string means that you can do some cool bass lines with the bass player slapping in unison. For example, I used it in 2018 when touring with the pop / R&B star Che'nelle.
I do still use it for metal though. For example, it's my main guitar when I play with my J-metal / EDM band Slugger Punch: