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I'm currently studying in an overseas University, without my guitar(s). I generally play in Standard/Eb/Drop D tunings on my 6 string, but I've been wanting to play songs that are in Drop B/Drop A.

Would it be a good idea to buy a 6 string guitar and deal with having to keep restringing for different tunings or to get a 7 string guitar and treat the low strings as a 6 string in Drop A and the high strings as a 6 string in Standard?

I've never touched a 7 string guitar in my life and I'd say that I'm only an intermediate player so the jump to a 7 string is rather intimidating. As a student budget is definitely a factor, so I wouldn't be comfortable buying two separate 6 strings just for the multiple tunings

  • 7 strings aren't cheap. Take one of your guitars with you, and buy another, cheap 6 string for another tuning. Consider changing the machine heads for Hipshot Detuners. Buy a Spyder capo. – Tim Mar 3 at 7:29
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    7 string guitars start at 129€, it can't get much cheaper than that. – infinitezero Mar 3 at 11:45
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    Just to clarify: You would be comfortable to buy a 7 string for the other tuning, but not another 6 string (maybe a baritone?). This seems contradictory. If you are honest to yourself, are you sure you're not making up an excuse to buy a 7 string? – infinitezero Mar 3 at 11:47
  • @infinitezero I genuinely don't want a 7 string for the 7 string (if that makes any sense).The only reason I want one is for the multiple tunings – panzershreks Mar 3 at 14:36
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Unless you have a specific reason to buy a 7-string, I'd advise buying a second 6-string to use for a different tuning - while you can use the same string gauges for, say, a drop-D tuning, you'll want to look at different string gauges for very different tunings. You still get better quality for your money with 6-strings. As @infinitezero commented, you could buy a baritone scale-length guitar.

The reason I say this is a 7 string will throw off your technique for a while - I got my first 7 string after I'd been playing for about 25 years (and had about 15 6-strings of varying types and tunings) and I got them for very specific reasons (tone, lower bass while keeping top end, experimenting with multi-scale etc) and my first few gigs with my Ibanez 7-string were a little bit of a struggle if I'm honest - I cannot easily see my guitars on stage due to my costume, so some things I had thought would be easy were actually very challenging in the heat of the moment during solos, with lights down, lasers, pyro etc

Wait awhile before you get a 7 string. So many 6 strings to play with.

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  • for a baritone scale guitar wouldn't I still need to change the string gauge when going from say standard tuning to drop B – panzershreks Mar 3 at 14:37
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    It is not advisable to use the same string gauges for Standard E Tuning and Standard B Tuning. You'd use your current guitar for the standard stuff and the baritone guitar with thicker gauges for the lower tuned stuff. – infinitezero Mar 3 at 14:41
  • I'll make that more explicit in my answer. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 3 at 15:27

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