Six-string guitars are everywhere. These are standard guitars and most people learn to play on one of these and some never stray. Then I’m sure you’ve seen the 12-string guitars. The acoustic 12-strings usually have a full, crisp sound. If you’re here asking how many strings does a guitar have, clearly you know there are guitars that have more than the standard six or even twelve strings. Or maybe you’re just wondering whether there are more options out there. And are they even still called guitars? The answer to both is yes.
I’ll be going through each of these guitars and giving you recommendations if you’re in the mood for shopping too.
As mentioned before, these are the most common. You’ll never have any trouble finding these, either acoustic, semi-acoustic, or electric guitars.
You may already be very familiar with this type of guitar, but for those new to all of this, let’s check it out.
The six strings on this type of guitar are as follows: E, B, G, D, A, E.
The 1st (high E) and 6th (low E) strings are two octaves apart when played open. Octaves are made up of eight notes.
If you’re interested in the intervals between all the strings, here you go:
- Fourth interval: E-B
- Third interval: B-G
- Fourth interval: G-D, D-A, A-E
An interval is simply the distance between two pitches. For anyone who has ever wondered why standard tuning is set up this way, it’s because it makes the guitar easier to play. You can see this by how you can play a scale across four frets as opposed to having to move up or down the neck like crazy. Having said that, it’s good practice to play various scales down the neck, and I don’t mean just down one string, I mean connecting the different scale shapes within the CAGED system.
You’ll find most guitars (except, of course, bass guitars) have six strings.
6-String Guitar Recommendations
Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar
This Jasmine 6-string is a good option for those who want good quality on a budget. It has a rosewood neck, nato back, and sides, with a spruce top and a satin finish. The advanced X-bracing provides resilience and good tone. The slim neck makes this guitar easier to play.
Most people feel the sound is crisp, loud, and full. Playability improves once the guitar is properly set up. As with all guitars, you can also upgrade the strings and hardware, which is part of a more advanced setup, as you can spend more. There are a few complaints, mainly about defects.
Ortega Guitars 6 String Student Series Classical Guitar
If you prefer classical guitars and are a beginner and/or on a budget, this Ortega will serve you well. It has catalpa back and sides with a spruce top and mahogany neck. The finish is matte. The fan bracing facilitates a warm, full tone. Most people feel that as a student guitar, this is a decent option.
Yamaha A-Series A3R Acoustic-Electric Guitar
If you want an acoustic-electric, here you go. You can choose between a dreadnought cutaway or a concert cutaway guitar. This shape allows for easy access to frets past the 15th fret. The back and sides are either rosewood or mahogany with a Sitka spruce top with a mahogany neck. The scalloped bracing helps to increase the volume and provide a rich tone. Plus the A-series sports Acoustic Resonance Enhancement for a slightly vintage sound. Enjoy good playability thanks to the tapered neck and rolled fretboard edges.
Most people are blown away by the sound and how easy it is to play, even with little to no setup. There are a few complaints, but mostly about the guitar needing to be set up and about the neck being too slim for people with bigger hands.
Guild Guitars Starfire I Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
If you want an electric guitar with resonance akin to an acoustic but that can still get down and gritty, here you go. Semi-hollow guitars like this one can also be played unplugged, although they aren’t as loud as normal acoustic guitars.
The body and neck are mahogany, and you can choose between a single cutaway or double cutaway shape. It has two Alnico 2 humbuckers and a push-pull switch for split-coil voicing. Each pickup has its own tone and volume control. Most people enjoy the warm clean sound of the guitar. There were a few complaints about the pickups not being properly shielded which made them noisy, not something usually attributed to humbuckers.
Ibanez GRGM 6-String Solid-Body Electric Guitar
For younger players or just smaller guitarists in general, this guitar is a good option. Because of its smaller size, it also works well as a travel guitar. The scale length is 22.2 inches. You get two Infinity-R humbuckers, a pickup selector, and master volume and tone knobs. The body is basswood with a maple neck. Most people are happy with this guitar once it has been set up. Naturally, this guitar is harder to play if you have big hands.
This is the second most popular guitar when it comes to the number of strings it has. This guitar has six standard strings, but there is a thinner additional string right next to its corresponding string, tuned to one octave higher. In terms of tone, whether acoustic or electric, there is just so much more. Yes, each additional string is only an octave higher, so it’s not harmonies, but sonically, there are these overtones that just provide a fuller tone. They tend to resonate beautifully.
Godin A12 Two-Chambered Electro-Acoustic Guitar
Godin guitars are pretty distinctive and this one is no different. The solid body is silver-leaf maple with Canadian Laurentian basswood wings and a solid cedar top. The finish is semi-glossy and the neck is also maple. The body has two chambers for a unique resonance and the double-action truss rod makes for better setup and stability in the neck. You get bass and treble controls, volume controls for each pickup, and EQ controls for bass, mid, and treble. Note, this guitar has an active pickup.
Most people feel this guitar has a beautiful, full, resonant sound with good sustain. There were a few complaints concerning faulty preamps. Also, unlike a lot of semi-acoustic guitars out there, this guitar doesn’t have a built-in tuner.
Guild Guitars Starfire IV ST 12-String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar
This guitar brings you all the goodness of a semi-hollow guitar with the extra resonance and tone that six additional strings offer. The body and neck are mahogany with an ebony fretboard. You get tone and volume controls for each of the Little Bucker pickups and a push-pull switch to play split coil. Most people are happy with the tone of the guitar and how well it stays in tune. As always, wait for new strings to settle before worrying about how long the guitar stays in tune.
Danelectro Vintage 12 String Electric Guitar
If you love the look of the guitars from the 50s, this semi-hollow electric is a good option. You get two single-coil lipstick pickups, a 3-way pickup selector, and master tone and volume knobs. The 12-string bridge is adjustable. The body is spruce with a hardboard top, maple neck, and pau ferro fretboard. It comes with D’Addario strings.
Most people feel this guitar sounds full with a good jangly tone from both pickups. They also love the playability. There were very few complaints, but what is there is about the tone and volume knob not tapering and that there is some neck dive.
Get it from Sweetwater.
Yamaha FG820 12-String Acoustic Guitar
If you’re in the market for an affordable 12-string acoustic guitar, give this one a go. This guitar has been designed from the scalloped X-bracing to the mahogany back and sides, to the spruce top, to sound full and project. It has a full, clear tone and comes with D’Addario strings. Most people love the quality craftsmanship, full tone, and good playability once set up.
Get it from Sweetwater.
7-string guitars are becoming more and more popular. You get all the standard strings, but generally, these guitars have an additional bass string, usually a B, although some may have an F#. Musicians that play heavy music like metal often favor these guitars. You can tune these guitars into lower tunings which works so well for heavy music. The additional bass adds an even heavier, darker sound.
Less commonly, that additional bass string is tuned to the standard low E, and what you get instead, is an even higher E. The point is to have more notes to work with. Even if you use the additional bass note, it’s not to say that you can’t use this type of guitar for any other genre. It’s all about how you use it.
Ibanez GRG 7 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar
This guitar is aimed at metal guitarists. The additional seventh string is a B. The two Infinity-R humbuckers handle distortion and overdrive well. You get a 3-way pickup selector and master tone and volume knobs. The body is poplar, the neck maple, and the fretboard purpleheart. If you have large hands, you’ll appreciate the jumbo frets.
The reviews are mixed on this one. Most people are happy with this guitar, especially as an entry-level 7-string guitar. But there were a few complaints, mostly about quality control.
ESP LTD SCT-607B Stephen Carpenter Signature 7-String Baritone Electric Guitar
If you’re a fan of Deftones, and in particular, Stephen Carpenter, here you go. This guitar has a scale length of 27 inches, standard guitars are usually around 25.5 inches. This facilitates down-tuning for aggressive, heavy tones.
The frets are extra jumbo. You get a pair of Fishman Fluence SRC Signature active humbucker pickups with a 3-way pickup selector. There is a push-pull master volume knob and a tone knob, you can play it with an active or passive pickup tone. The Tune-o-Matic bridge helps to keep your strings in tune. The body is alder, with a maple neck and Macassar ebony fretboard. It comes with D’Addario strings. Most people love the tone and playability, as well as the look of the guitar.
Get it at Sweetwater.
ESP Brian “Head” Welch SH-7 Evertune 7-String
For fans of Korn and/or Brian “Head” Welch, this is ESP’s offering. This guitar gives you the additional B string and has LTD locking tuning machines and an Evertune bridge to keep the strings in tune. The extra jumbo frets are good for those with large hands.
You get a Fishman Fluence Modern Alnico Humbucker and Fishman Fluence Modern Ceramic Humbucker. The push-pull tone control switches between active and passive pickup tone. You also get a master volume knob and a 3-way pickup selector.
The body is basswood, the top flamed maple, and the neck is ebony. While the neck is thin, it still fills your palm for good playability. The guitar comes with D’Addario strings. Most people love the warm tone and how full and aggressive the guitar sounds. They also feel it stays in tune well. There were a few complaints about a damaged nut and the weight of the guitar.
Get it at Sweetwater.
Schecter Omen Elite-7 Multiscale 7-string Electric Guitar
If you like to down-tune your guitar but struggle with floppy strings, this guitar takes care of that. The scale length ranges from 25.5 to 27 inches. The neck is quite thin but still fills the palm enough to feel comfortable. Jumbo frets help out guitarists with large hands, although the slanted frets can take some getting used to.
You get two versatile Schecter Diamond Heretic humbuckers and a 5-way pickup switch to further facilitate versatility. You also get master tone and volume knobs. This guitar comes with Ernie Ball strings. The body is mahogany with a burl top, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard. Most people enjoy the tone of this guitar, describing it as light despite the mahogany which usually produces a darker tone. The intonation is also good.
Get it here at Sweetwater.
Ibanez RGMS7 7-string Electric Guitar
This is another multiscale guitar. Once again, the scale ranges from 25.5 to 27 inches. You also get jumbo slanted frets on this one. In terms of hardware, you get two Ibanez Array 7 MS humbuckers with a 5-way pickup selector, as well as a master tone and master volume knob.
The body is nyatoh, the neck maple/walnut, and the fretboard is jatoba. Most people love the way it looks and the playability, as well as the tone. There are some complaints about the guitar becoming out of tune during hard play. Best to replace the tuners with locking tuners if you like to really thrash your guitar.
Get it at Sweetwater.
Eight String Guitars
These guitars are far less popular than the aforementioned. They can be quite a handful, but if you aren’t daunted, they really open up even more musical possibilities. Usually, these guitars have the six standard strings, but two additional bass strings, a B and an F#.
As you can imagine, this really works well for heavier genres. But as Charlie Hunter demonstrates, you can do amazing things in other genres like jazz and blues. Again, it’s all about how you use it. You can use a range of tunings to do whatever you want musically, within the scope of the instrument and helpful software, of course.
Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF8 MS
This Arch Top guitar comes with a multiscale length of 26 to 28 inches. The frets are jumbo, and of course, slanted. The compound radius (12-16 inches) fretboard gives you plenty of room to play. You get two Jackson Uncovered 8-string Blade humbuckers and a 3-way pickup selector, plus master tone and volume knobs. The body is mahogany, the neck is maple, and the fretboard is laurel.
Most people are happy with the quality and tone of this guitar. There are a few complaints about the tuners not staying in tune properly during aggressive playing and that the pickups are a bit noisy.
Get it at Sweetwater.
Strandberg Boden Metal NX 8 Sarah Longfield Edition Electric Guitar
Fans of Sarah Long, check out this unique 8-string guitar. This headless guitar sports a chambered basswood body for better resonance. The scale length varies from 26.25 to 28 inches with jumbo frets. Unlike the usual C and U-shape necks, this guitar has a rear-shifted trapezoid-shaped neck. The radius is 20 inches for better playability.
You get a Fishman Fluence Modern alnico and a Fishman Fluence Modern ceramic pickup with a 3-way pickup selector. The master and tone knobs are push-pull for split-coil voicing. The strings are D’Addario. Most people feel this guitar has blown their minds in terms of tone, versatility, and playability.
Get it at Sweetwater.
Ibanez RGMS8 Multi-Scale 8-String
This is just like the 7-string RGMS, but it’s the 8-string version. All the hardware is the same, just made for an 8-string guitar. As you may expect, the scale varies a bit, the scale length being 25.5 to 27.2 inches. Unlike with the 7-string version, I didn’t find complaints about its ability to stay in tune, but someone did say the hardware limits upgrading options because of the hardware.
Get it here at Sweetwater.
Nine String Guitars
If you’ve ever wanted a bass and a guitar in one, but don’t want a guitar with two necks, this may be a good option for you. In addition to the additional B and F#, you also get a C#. At this point, the only limits are your skill and creativity, both of which can grow as you develop as a musician.
Ibanez Axe Design Lab RG9PB 9-string Electric Guitar
This guitar is so new, you have to preorder it. The scale length is 28 inches and the frets are jumbo. You get two Fishman Fluence Modern humbuckers with a 3-way pickup selector. The master volume knob has a push-pull design for different voicings and on top of that, there’s a coil tap for more versatility. You also get a tone knob. The body is nyatoh with a poplar burl top, maple/walnut neck, and an ebony fingerboard.
Get it at Sweetwater.
Ten String Guitars
Yip, they’ve gone there. Usually, you get the standard six strings, plus the additional B, F#, C#, and now, an additional G#. But there are various tunings that have turned this monster of a guitar into a beautifully resonant instrument capable of almost infinite things. Even just leaving the strings tuned as they come standard, you have so many more notes at your disposal.
If you get that good, you can literally play the bass line, rhythm, and melody at the same time. Of course, you can do that with the 7, 8, and 9-string guitars too. And who doesn’t enjoy a good walking bass on a standard six-string… aside from those who really aren’t into that kind of thing. But just wow with a 10-string! They are obviously fairly unwieldy though. That is quite a wide neck. Again, you just need to get creative.
Agile Chiral Parallax 102528 Headless Guitar
This guitar gives you additional G#, C#, F#, and B strings. To keep the guitar as light as possible, it has a headless design. According to the specs, this guitar weighs less than 8lb (3.6kg). The body is also a unique shape. The scale length varies from 25.5 to 28 ⅝ (28.625) inches. The frets are extra jumbo and the radius is 13.7 inches. You get two Cephus humbuckers, master tone and volume knobs, and a pickup selector. The body is ash, the top is burl ash. Many people enjoy this guitar brand in general.
Get it at Rondo Music.
Agile Pendulum Pro 102730
If you prefer a more normal-looking guitar and can bear the 11lb (5kg) of weight, here you go. This is a multi-scale monster of a guitar with a scale length goes from 27 to 30 inches. The frets are extra jumbo and the radius is 15 inches. You get two Cephus 11 humbucker pickups, master tone and volume knobs, and a pickup selector. The body is mahogany, the neck is maple, and the fretboard is rosewood. People feel this guitar is very versatile, looks great, and sounds great.
Get it at Rondo Music.
As you saw, how many strings the guitar has, depends on the type of guitar. Who knows, maybe someone will eventually make an 11-string guitar, but at this point, you get 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12-string guitars. Whichever guitar you use, let your creativity run free. You can create amazing music on any of these. But certainly, 7 and 8-string guitars work so well for heavier music. 8-10-string guitars work well for fusion and progressive rock and metal too. And 12-string guitars add so much more tone and nuance to the sound.
Whichever guitar you go with (why not all or at least a few different ones if you can afford it), just have fun. Practice well and explore.
Cheanné Lombard lives in the home of one of the new Seven World Wonders, Cape Town, South Africa. She can’t go a day without listening to or making music.
Her love of music started when her grandparents gave her a guitar. It was a smaller version of the full-sized guitars fit for her little hands. Later came a keyboard and a few years after that, a beautiful dreadnought guitar and a violin too. While she is self-taught when it comes to the guitar, she had piano lessons as a child and is now taking violin lessons as an adult.
She has been playing guitar for over 15 years and enjoys a good jam session with her husband, also an avid guitarist. In fact, the way he played those jazzy, bluesy numbers that kindled the fire in her punk rock heart. Now she explores a variety of genres and plays in the church worship group too and with whoever else is up for a jam session.