John Petrucci confirms he's using an 8-string guitar on Dream Theater's next album

John Petrucci
(Image credit: Press)

Dream Theater are hard at work on a new album and after revealing plans last year, John Petrucci has confirmed he's using the opportunity to put a signature Music Man Majesty eight-string guitar through its paces. It's gone so well it will feature on a song – the Trooch's first ever eight-string recording. 

"Dream Theater went back into the studio after Liquid Tension [Petrucci's project with former DT drummer Mike Portnoy]," Petrucci confirmed to Ultimate Guitar in a new interview. We went back in the fall, and we've been working on an album that is going to come out later this year.

"It's coming out awesome, and there is, indeed, an 8-string song on the record. So, we've been working on an eight-string. It's an eight-string Majesty.

"We have two prototypes so far. I was able to use one to write with and record with. We're still working some things out to get it perfect. But it will be on the record and it will be something that comes out at some point.

When that will be is yet to be decided but Petrucci is very excited about getting this new signature guitar into players' hands. 

"I don't have a release date on it yet, but it's awesome. It's totally inspiring and awesome and I can't wait for people to hear it. I'm so glad it made it on the new record. In due time, you'll be able to see it and hear it."

Ernie Ball Music Man Ball Family Reserve 2020

(Image credit: Ernie Ball Music Man)

"It doesn't sound like I'm trying to mimic a style or a genre or anything like that. I'm just playing it in my own way, with my own approach."

The guitarist also mused on what the transition has been like for him from seven to eight strings. "For me, it was kind of a similar experience to back in the day when I got my first seven-string [for 1994's 'Awake'], which is what I had anticipated.

"When I got my seven-string, I had never played one before and I didn't know what to expect. The way I approached it was that it was just an extension of the range of the guitar.

"I know that sounds obvious," the progateer added. "But instead of approaching it as a stylistic thing, like I've heard bands that play seven strings and they sound like this, so I have to play it to sound like them. I didn't go into that mentality.

"I just picked it up and, because it's a Majesty, it felt like my guitar already, so I was used to that and there was just one lower string, so I took some riffs that I normally wouldn't be able to play in that key, and play it down there.

"That's the way I approached it. I think that when you hear the first song that I wrote with it, that I recorded with the band, it sounds like Dream Theater, it sounds like me playing what you might expect."

John Petrucci

(Image credit: Olly Curtis/Future)

Petrucci has never been a player to imitate and that's not about to start now. 

"It doesn't sound like I'm trying to mimic a style or a genre or anything like that. I'm just playing it in my own way, with my own approach. That's the way I did it. It was so comfortable.

"It's just one more string to get used to. The fun thing was that I can play certain riffs in lower keys because I have those lower notes now. It's been really fun. I'm having a great time with it."

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.