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We’ve very much enjoyed our foray into the world of the 8-string, and heartily recommend them to those of you with the resources, patience and talent to give one a go. It takes about an hour’s worth of faltering playing before your brain catches up with your fingers and you stop fretting one string while picking another. Once up to speed, however, you’ll soon stumble on some cool chord voicings to add to your repertoire.
If we were to choose just one of these guitars, we’d plump for the Ibanez RG2228 because its longer scale length gives it the edge as far as playability is concerned. The Prestige range is always excellently put together and this example is no different. It has a lovely neck that’s thin enough to encourage experimentation, and the ergonomic RG body shape will always have a place in our hearts. Yes, it’s the priciest, but it’s also the only one to include a high-spec flight case and we feel it’s well worth the outlay.
That being said, both the Schecter and ESP models have enough differences about them to merit their own plaudits. With differing scale lengths that equate to looser string tensions, each guitar plays well, and if extreme metal is your style, we can heartily get behind the C-8’s mahogany body as its basic rhythm tone is truly gargantuan.
Marrying that 660mm (26-inch) scale with a basswood body, the ESP mixes what is arguably the most traditional playing experience with the most relaxed string tension and, as such, would be one to try if you have no clue what to expect from an eight.
The Schecter is excellently priced at under the £1000 mark but all three are well worth forking out for and our rule of thumb would be that the more experienced a player you are, the longer a scale your 8-string should have.
Uk luthier Paul Stevens offers a custom option called the Black Widow 8 with a 29.45-inch scale for £2220, which we’re eager to try, but for now we’ll continue to experiment with the lovely Ibanez RG2228.
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