New 7 String Toy
I bought myself a new toy to both challenge myself and to open up new possibilities. It fulfills a long standing wish of mine to have a few choice bits of kit on a guitar.
Whelp, as usual, I’ve failed to be consistent in writing blog posts. Can I make the excuse that things just got busy? No? I don’t care, I’m using it no matter what you say.
The week before thanksgiving I went out and bought myself a guitar. I had been visiting Long and McQuade for about 3 weeks before that, all to visit this one guitar. I was interested in a 7 string guitar so that I could start learning some of the metal that I’ve been listening to recently. I played all of the 7 strings that were at the store but only this one really jumped out at me, partially because of the way it played and partially due to a few bits of kit that I have also beet wishing for for a few years.
The guitar is a Jackson Soloist 7-string. I believe the color is red flamed maple, although the color didn’t really factor into my choice. The neck is what I call a choked neck because it’s as if Homer choked it for being so good looking. The result is that it’s super easy to play and feels quick and small even though it is wider to accomodate the extra string.
Specifically, the pieces of equipment that I’ve been wanting for a while were a real Floyd Rose bridge/nut and active pickups. The pickups are EMG 707s in all three positions, which does make it a little muddy if you are careless with the EQ but they really scream when you find the sweet spot.
The Floyd Rose is an Official Original so it is of great quality. I’ve givin it the go round and it’s really fun to play with, but I am desperate for practice. All of the squeals and dives that I do are still fairly messy.
From the factory the guitar came with light strings (0.009 inch on the smallest string). This might be fine for some people but I’ve already broken the high E string twice. It might just be because the strings were old; the first time, the string was from the store so had sat for a fair while. Today when I broke the string it wasn’t too old, only 3 weeks old. I guess that’s old enough for those light strings to be dead and corroded so I’m contemplating attempting to switch to 10s (.010 inches) which are what I normally run on my electric guitars and have rarely broken that gauge of string. To be fair though I don’t wrench on the tremolo as much - or at all on my stop-tail - so that may be playing a part too.
A guage change on a floating bridge is not a straight forward as on any other guitar. Almost everything from the neck truss rod, to intonation and rear spring tension will need to be adjusted just because of the extra tension from the heavier strings. That said, it may be worth it if the thicker strings resist and handle the whammy wanking that this guitar is going to continue to receive.
The first song that actually uses that low B string that I’ve taken up learning is The Enemy Inside by Dream Theater off of their new self titled album. It’s a really challenging song but it’s a lot of fun to play, at least the beginning part that I’ve learned so far is.
I’m starting to think that I should start uploading some recordings of my playing to this website or to Soundcloud. Maybe sometime in the future…