Let’s start with some clichés. 7-string electric guitars are the reserve of angry US nu-metallers with boiler suits and cornrows. They are only good for playing drop-tuned sludge, will see you laughed out of rock clubs, sneered at in guitar shops and followed around by an annoying bloke in a red cap.
Reality check. In the right hands, 7-strings rock. The simple addition of a thick-as-hell bottom string (typically tuned to A or B) can blow your playing out of its rut, put a hugely extended note palette at your fingertips, unlock new chords, and provide the kind of seismic rumble that means you can finally sack your bassist.
Sevens existed long before Korn (check out Steve Vai’s Passion And Warfare for a masterclass) and have survived after them, finding favour with players from Matt Bellamy to Matt Heafy - along with endless jazz cats. And there are plenty of them still out there, making it a tough job cutting this round-up down to four.
First up is Ibanez’s RG1527 (£949), followed by Schecter’s Blackjack C-7 (£749), the LTD Viper-417 (£779) that hopes to hiss all over the competition, and finally Dean’s RC7X (£1099).