8-string guitars are less common than guitars with 6 or 7 strings; it’s understandable that most people don’t know what they’re used for. Some people have the impression that 8 string guitars are best for certain types of music styles.
And that is partly true, 8-string electric guitars can be used in a variety of genres. There are a handful of classical, jazz, and even blues musicians who love using 8-string guitars.
But does it really have anything different or special that a 6 or 7-string can’t offer?
First, an 8-string guitar offers more range which means players can get creative with the sound they produce. Another benefit is the economy of motion; you get more notes in any given position.
If this is something you’re looking for in a guitar, then experimenting on an 8-string guitar may be a satisfying experience for you. Below is a list of our favorite 8-string electric guitars to help you narrow down your options.
10 Best 8-String Electric Guitars 2021
- Schecter OMEN-8 8-String Electric Guitar
- Ibanez RG Series RG8
- Jackson DKAF8 8-String Electric Guitar
- Schecter Damien Platinum 8 Satin Black
- ESP LTD EC-258 8-String Electric Guitar
- Schecter 1925 Hellraiser Hybrid
- Dean Guitars 8-String Electric Guitar
- Schecter C-8 Deluxe
- Jackson Soloist SLAT8
- Schecter Banshee Elite-8
The Schechter OMEN-8 is definitely one of the more affordable 8-string guitars on our list. But make no mistake, it is also one of the most robust options there are today. The star of the show is its 24-fret rosewood fretboard and jumbo frets. It’s highly playable and easy to get used to, making it a viable guitar for beginners as well.
This guitar sounds great acoustically and it also does not disappoint when it comes to electronics. Some may find the bridge pickup to be a bit lacking but it’s not something a simple upgrade can’t fix.
- A great 8-string guitar for a pocket-friendly price
- Also sounds great as an acoustic with a strong tone and lots of sustain
- Easy playability and comfortable to use
- Occasional high-pitched resonance
- Upgrades may be required to get a better sound
- Quality may be compromised to fit the budget
There’s a lot to love about the Ibanez RG8. First, it has a beautifully unique look. But cosmetics aside, this guitar is irresistible because of its humbuckers. It gives you articulation, tonal versatility, sustain – everything a guitarist could ever ask for.
For me, this guitar is on this list because of its tuning options. I personally love guitars that give players the freedom to create their signature sound, and this the Ibanez RG8 has it.
- Made by one of the pioneers of the 8-string guitar
- Comes with thick chords producing a beautiful bass sound
- Extra comfortable to use
- Great for playing long hours with
- May require set-up or upgrades to perform better
- The price compromises its chance to be a better quality guitar
What caught my eye with this electric guitar is its two scale lengths on just one fingerboard. Anyone who has played guitars for very long hours knows that comfort is key. Not only does an uncomfortable guitar put a strain on your body and especially on your hands, but it also affects the quality of your sound.
The two-scale length fretboard guarantees a comfortable playing experience, but that’s not all! Its unique fretboard also improves the guitar’s tension and intonation, allowing the guitar to produce a better tone.
- Comfort and easy playability guaranteed
- Beginner-friendly option thanks to its jumbo frets
- Stable and rich tone
- One of the more costly options on this list
- Creates a bit of buzz through the midsection of the guitar
The Schecter Damien Platinum 8 isn’t just great to look at, it’s also a wonderful guitar to play with. It’s comfortable, easy on the fingers of a beginner, and best of all? It has a great tone – definitely another gem in the Schecter catalog.
But if you ask me, the best thing about the Damien Platinum 8 is its Grover Rotomatics tuners and the 18:1 gear ratio. If you’ve been scouting around for guitar tuners, you’d know that 18:1 is a higher ratio than what you would normally find on stock tuners for guitars.
Now you can enjoy greater tuning stability and precision with this guitar.
- Super strong neck with carbon fiber rods to avoid neck twisting
- The EMG humbuckers give you the clearest low end than other pickups
- Top-notch tuning capabilities with the Grover Rotomatics
- A bit on the pricy side compared to other options on this list
- The mahogany neck may be too stiff or heavy for some players
Looking for a guitar with a pocket-friendly price that allows you to explore low pitches and modern sound? You don’t have to spend a lot of cash to do so – the ESP LTD EC-258 has got you covered.
Despite its beautiful looks, this guitar isn’t just about being stylish. Apart from its comfortable body and that unique roasted Matoba fingerboard, this guitar is great for anyone who wants to dig into richer, deeper sounds.
I would recommend this guitar to anyone who’s just starting out and would love to have a good-looking guitar while at it.
- Comfortable to play with
- Produces a rich and stable sound
- An affordable option for someone who is just starting out with 8-string guitars
- The case is sold separately
- Lacks features other guitars of the same price can provide
Here’s another Schecter guitar that is made to impress. The Schecter 1925 Hellraiser Hybrid C-8 TBB is a drop-dead gorgeous guitar that promises an even more satisfying playing experience. This guitar offers you the best of both worlds as it is a hybrid of the infamous Schecter Hellraiser and SLS models – what more can you ask for?
- Comes with an impressive pair of EMG humbuckers
- EMG 57-8 at the bridge and the EMG 66-8 at the neck
- Beautiful quilted maple and solid mahogany body for a guaranteed amazing sound
- Features a slim SLS neck with a fretboard that is super easy to play with
- One of the most expensive options on this list
The design of this guitar is a definite head turner, but that’s not all there is to love about this Dean guitar. It has 24 fast frets and a unique 26 3/8” that’s ready to rock it.
If you love to shred, or if you need to do some quick chord changes, this is the guitar for you. Now you don’t have to rely on the cosmetics of a guitar to look cool. With this Dean companion, you will look cool while playing it like a rockstar.
- Built for some seriously wicked rock action
- Beautiful maple body
- Maple fretboard and a custom Cooley neck profile
- Dual EMG active humbuckers and a wide aperture to produce a beautifully rich low end
- Made in the USA and it comes with a case
- One of the more expensive options on the list
- Lacks tone knob and distinction between pickups
Looking for a super affordable Schecter guitar? The C-8 Deluxe may be the best solution for you. It has all the basics covered – a solid well-made basswood body, a maple neck with carbon fiber rods and 24 extra jumbo frets.
I believe that this is a guitar that a beginner should consider purchasing because it has all the professional qualities of a high-end Schechter guitar. It is easy to play – a plus for any beginner, and it also has a tone that is stable and pleasing.
- A top-notch-quality guitar brand at an ultra-affordable price
- Easy playability
- Great for beginners
- Beautiful cosmetics
- Looks like an expensive guitar
- Bass strings may be a bit difficult access because of the neck size
Are you all about that fast action? Then you might be pleasantly surprised with the Jackson Soloist SLAT8. Jackson has a lot of great 8-strings in their catalog, but this guitar was made specifically for down-tuned playing and high speed – thanks to its custom-made fanned frets.
And true to Jackson guitars, the Soloist SLAT8 also has the iconic Jackson EMG humbuckers, offering great-sounding huge tones.
- Fanned frets may be intimidating at first but they’re very easy to get used to
- Easy playability with super fast fret action
- Thin neck ensures comfortability despite the fact that is wider than most guitars
- One of the more expensive guitars on this list
- The placement of the volume knob may get in the way of playing
- Paint job may need some work
One look at the Schecter Banshee Elite 8 and you know that it’s one of the higher end electric guitars out there. It is built with quality in mind and it comes in a classic and elegant design that’s easy to fall in love with.
It has a Swamp Ash body – a material you don’t see on just any kind of guitar. And to complement the ash, the Banshee has a flamed maple top together with a 9-piece maple neck. It comes with an ebony fingerboard featuring 24 X-Jumbo stainless steel frets for easy playability.
To top everything off, it is detailed with Mother of Pearl offset dot inlays with brass circles. Stylistically, it has everything a top-notch guitar has.
But make no mistake, this 8-string guitar isn’t just about the looks – it’s big about versatility. Users can choose the neck of their choice between a Hipshot Hardtail Bridge or the Schecter Exclusive Floyd Rose 1500 Series Bridge.
The latter being the better choice for better tuning and smoother tremolo. Additionally, the Banshee Elite-8 also comes with the handmade USA Supercharger pickup made by Schecter which is a great addition for anyone who is looking for only the best sounds on an 8-string guitar.
- Sports a beautiful design
- Comes with premium quality components
- Promises easy playability and comfort
- Offers options for parts to create a more personalized instrument
- One of the more expensive options in the list
Buying an 8-String Electric Guitar? Read this.
Just like buying any other type of guitar, there are two general tips on how to buy the best 8-string guitar. Above all, comfort should be at the top of your priorities. Most of these guitars will have wider fretboards with extra jumbo frets.
If you have smaller hands than most, or if you aren’t used to playing with wide necks, you may need more time to get used to an 8-string. But that doesn’t mean that you need to stick it out with something that is obviously harming your hand.
Another tip that you need to consider when buying an 8-string guitar is tone. In general, a guitar that produces a rich stable tone works. But you must identify what kind of sound fits the music you want to play.
The quality of sound is subjective and so it is best to find a guitar that produces a sound that is suitable with your personal taste.
This roundup is filled with some of the best 8-string guitars out there in the market today. Choosing just one is tough, but if we had to, the Schecter Omen 8 is our number one pick. Not only is it a very affordable guitar, but it packs a lot of features we would want in an 8-string guitar.
Of course, the price may compromise its chances of becoming a better guitar, but it can be easily remedied by supplying an upgrade. However, out of the box, it still makes a promising 8-string guitar. If you aren’t picky or if you are just starting out with an 8-string, the Omen 8 is undeniably one of the best choices out there.