Are you struggling with musical creativity on 7 string
guitar? If so, don’t worry…This is actually a very common issue for most 7
string guitarists. This is especially
the case if the majority of your time has been spent playing on a 6 string
guitar. Even though there are many similarities between 7 and 6 string guitar,
7 string guitar brings many new things to the table in terms of its physical
feel and potential for creative musical expression.
To become an excellent 7 string
guitar player, you will need to fully understand how to overcome any challenges
that arise with your new instrument. It is also necessary for you to become
aware of all the new guitar playing possibilities that will help you express
yourself better in your music. As you continue reading the rest of this
article, I will show you many new ideas to help you express yourself creatively
in your 7 string guitar playing.
Integrate The Low B
String Into Your Lead Guitar Playing
Since a 7 string guitar essentially adds a bass string onto
the guitar, many guitarists consider the instrument to be primarily used for
rhythm. However, this is only a single piece of the puzzle. In fact, 7 string
guitar is unique because it gives you a great opportunity to extend your lead
guitar playing into the lower range as well. To get the most from this
instrument, extend the scale and arpeggio patterns you know from 6 string
guitar onto the low B string. This will help you to expand the pitch range of
your lead guitar phrases to make it more similar to piano. If you don’t know
how to do this yourself, find a guitar teacher who knows how to effectively
teach these 7 string guitar playing concepts.
Discover And Build
Unique Chord Patterns
The 7 string guitar can be used to create many interesting
chords that are not possible on a 6 string guitar. In most cases, musicians
will use the 7 string guitar to play in a metal style; however, you are not
limited to this style alone. The 7 string guitar can be played in a wide
variety of different musical genres. With the addition of the extra seventh
string, you can give basic guitar chords a much more interesting sound. The
coolest part of this is that you can use the low B string to essentially play
standard guitar and bass guitar simultaneously!
To demonstrate this, I am going to show you an exercise. First, turn off any
distortion settings you have and play through a clean channel on your amp. For
this exercise, you will be experimenting with various guitar chords that you
may have already learned on 6 string guitar. First, create some chords using
only the fifth, fourth, and third strings. Then, combine these chords with the
low B string. Next, try this same idea, but use the third, second, and first
strings. While you are experimenting with this exercise, pay attention to how
different it feels when you are playing the strings closer (in pitch) vs. the
strings that are farther apart in pitch. Which one of these do you think sounds
more pleasing overall? Once you have decided this, you can begin using this
idea in your own 7 string guitar music.
Learn To Use The
Entire Range Of The Instrument
In most cases, guitarists are introduced to 7 string guitar
through heavy metal riffs played by their favorite bands. This influences them
to purchase a 7 string guitar for themselves. As soon as they pick up this
instrument, they focus all their energy into creating heavy riffs or rhythms on
the low B string. This is certainly one of the most unique features that a 7
string guitar has to offer, however if you spend too much time on the same
string, your music will quickly become stale and uninteresting.
For instance, let’s say that you are going to create a song.
In this song, you have a wide variety of instruments to choose from such as
guitar, piano, bass, keyboard, drums, etc. However, while writing this
composition, you decide to create the music by ONLY using the lowest pitch
ranges that can be played on each instrument…for the entire duration of the
song! I’m willing to bet that your listeners will become bored after the first
30 seconds. After this amount of time, your audience would likely be listening
to the music while saying to themselves: “Are you going to ever play some
This is exactly what happens when many people play 7 string
guitar. By spending all your time on the low B string, your guitar playing will
lack variety. In order to fix this, focus on incorporating the other strings
into your rhythm guitar playing. This will balance things out, and keep your
music more interesting.
If you would like to be more creative on 7 string guitar, it
is essential that you understand and apply this concept. When I show my own
guitar students how to compose songs, I train them how to master this idea of
balance in their music. To find out more about balancing pitch range on 7
string guitar, check out this lesson for improving 7 string guitar playing.
Combine Rhythm Guitar
Chords With Lead Guitar Melodies
One of the signs that you are becoming a truly great 7
string guitar player is when you are able to cleanly and accurately shift
between rhythm and lead guitar parts while still playing in time. When playing
7 string guitar, this skill becomes more challenging due to the wider guitar
neck that makes it harder to jump from lower range notes to higher range notes.
To get better at combining rhythm and lead guitar together,
you will need to not only be able to play both parts flawlessly ‘on their own’,
but you also must practice the specific moment of ‘transition’ from one part to
the next. To make quick improvement in this area of your guitar playing, focus
on playing each part without mistakes (and with good timing), then slowly
integrate the two. For additional help, record yourself playing these parts
together. By recording yourself, you will be able to hear any mistakes you make
with much more clarity.
Minimize All Unwanted
For most guitar players, it is very tough in the beginning
to eliminate excess guitar noise coming from any strings that are not being
played. This is due in part to the significant change in the physical ‘feel’ of
a 7 string guitar compared to 6 string guitar. This change comes not only from
the additional string, but also from a wider guitar neck. This will take some
time for you to get used to. If you want to make your guitar playing cleaner,
you need to make it a priority to fix any string noise problems in your
technique. Listen closely as you play guitar so that you can hear any extra
noise that occurs. Then, use guitar string muting techniques to minimize the
noise until only the notes you want to hear remain. To get more help with
cleaning up your guitar playing, read this article on how to eliminate guitar
string noise. If you have a lot of trouble playing guitar cleanly, seek out
a great guitar teacher who can help you effectively solve this problem.
Most likely you have not found the ideas in this article to
be too difficult to understand. Unfortunately, most 7 string guitar players do
not take ACTION to use these ideas for improving their guitar playing. As a
result, their progress is very slow. By simply focusing on mastering the ideas
described above, you will be able to get much more from playing a 7 string
guitar as well as greatly enhance your musical creativity in a shorter period
Learn how to play 7 string guitar more creatively in this lesson
about improving 7
string guitar playing.
Learn how to clean up your guitar playing in this article
about how to eliminate
guitar string noise.