Let’s face it, mastering jazz music is difficult, especially on the guitar. We’re discussing longer ranges, improvisation, key changes, and tempo shifts. The best way to sound good performing jazz is to make it sound simple, which just adds to the difficulty of the situation.
You want the music you’re playing to sound effortless, as if it were coming from your fingertips and naturally entering the ensemble. A fantastic guitar is essential if you want to perform jazz guitar more easily. It needn’t be pricey, but it must have the same organic feel as a part of your body.
Some seven-string jazz players can select an archtop guitar and add the seventh string to it. Only great guitar players such as George Van Eps, George Benson, Pat Metheny, John Pizzarelli, John Scofield, Pat Martino, and Howard Alden can do such things with perfection. These players tune the seventh or the lowest string to A as a regular tuning.
One of the best jazz guitarists in the world, for instance, uses seven strings. This provides you greater flexibility to move around the neck and some additional range, allowing you to play a variety of quirky chords.
Let’s have a look at some of the best seven-string guitars.
A superb all-around seven-string guitar for jazz is the Ibanez RG7421. It performs all the functions of a seven-string guitar and then some! It has a beautiful cloudy blue color and is crafted of solid mahogany with a rosewood fretboard. Consequently, this instrument sounds as good as it looks.
This guitar will become one of your closest friends if you perform jazz because of its superb intonation. The strings on this guitar will stay in tune for a very long time after being tuned. This extended range guitar can have a low string or any standard tuning as per your personal preference.
The fact that it is pleasant to hold makes this guitar excellent for jazz. For fast-moving jazz guitarists, the RG’s small neck and low action provide a smooth playing experience.
This guitar might come as a bit of a curveball, mostly since Jason Richardson had it made as his signature instrument (a metal guitar player). The truth is that a guitar’s suitability for both metal and jazz shares a tonne of characteristics.
You should be able to play quickly, pound out challenging chords, and be confident that your instrument will stay in tune in both genres (primarily because of how much strain the genres put on the strings).
This guitar fulfills all of those requirements and sounds excellent while doing so, with a neck that’s quite comfortable to handle. The bottom body cutaway of this guitar is a special feature that makes it a great choice for a jazz player since it makes it simple to play those challenging high notes.
The GRG 7 String from Ibanez is the best jazz seven-string on the market for a reasonable price. It’s one of many GIO guitars that offer a remarkable degree of quality for the money.
With 24 giant frets, a hardtail bridge system, and infinity humbucker pickups, this instrument should have you jamming for hours (with minimal re-tuning). This guitar’s ease in both playing and holding makes it perfect for jazz, much like the other Ibanez that was described.
Additionally, there isn’t much to detract from the overall playing experience—there are only two knobs and one switch. Jazz players frequently move up and down the body and fretboard, which won’t be a problem with the GRG’s simplistic design.
It’s simple to judge a guitar’s suitability for your needs just by looking at it. However, simplicity does not equate to accuracy. We must carefully consider a variety of factors in order to make an informed decision on a seven-string guitar’s suitability for jazz.
The kind of pickups you choose for your instruments is one of the most important choices you have to make. Jazz performers, for instance, can choose between using one or two humbucking pickups. Some standard guitar players also check the neck pickup of the guitar.
Some guitars additionally combine single and multiple coil pickups. You have to choose whether you want a single, double, or a mix of the two at the end of the day.
It could be advantageous to have a variety of pickups if you want a guitar that can handle multiple genres. If not, you would like a single humbucker.
An electric guitar can be solid-body, hollow, semi-hollow, or archtop to review. Even though there are other body kinds, these are the most popular for those who want to play the electric jazz guitar. Each body type has specific benefits and drawbacks, and it also reflects the musician’s personality.
First off, there are many various guitar neck shapes, and not all of them are created equally. Additionally, certain necks are infamous for depleting the strength in the player’s hands. Simply choose a neck shape for your guitar that is most comfortable for you. And the only way to resolve this issue is to test various neck forms repeatedly in the field.
In this section, we will answer a few FAQs to clear your mind further.
What are the best 7-string guitar pick-ups?
One of the most crucial decisions you must make is the type of pickups you want for your instruments. Jazz musicians, for example, have the option of employing one or two humbucking pickups.
Additionally, some guitars mix single and multiple coil pickups. At the end of the day, you have to decide if you want a single, double, or a combination of the two.
What is the reliable body style for 7-string guitar?
The choice of your guitar’s body type is the next crucial choice you’ll need to make—possibly even more crucial than the choice of pickups. You will have some latitude to adjust the pickup setup of your guitar, but you won’t have it with the body.
How do you recognize the good playability of a guitar?
The playability of a guitar will differ from player to guitarist, so you’re really just searching for the ideal balance of all these characteristics to make you feel most at ease. To put it another way, you should choose your perfect seven-string jazz guitar rather than mine. And what is perfect will differ and alter depending on the individual.
What should be the ideal fret size for 7-string guitar?
Fret size will affect your ability to move around the fretboard and your ability to shape chords, respectively. Both of these are essential to jazz. The musician will probably prefer the standard, medium-sized, or large-sized frets when playing jazz.
Frets that are too small may make it difficult to fit chords and finger their shape, while frets that are excessively enormous (like super jumbo) may impede your playing ability.
Although the appearance of your guitar won’t significantly affect your ability to play it, it will serve as a type of (metaphorically speaking) foundation for your music and style. Since the majority of seven-string guitars available are designed for metal guitarists, this can be particularly challenging for jazz players.
So, if you thought that mentioning your guitar’s appearance was a dumb decision, think about how ridiculous it would be if you showed up to your jazz performance with a V-shaped guitar that was engulfed in flames.
This article will hopefully help you make the best choice when it comes to buying a 7-string guitar. Oftentimes this could be a tough choice, but keeping in view the above-mentioned suggestions and the following guideline will make it easy.