ERG Fatigue

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by PBC, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. PBC

    PBC Composition Ontology

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    Hey guys,

    I may just be getting older and slowly accumulating Daditude but recently I haven't been getting along with my ERGs as much as I would hope. For my 8 string, more so on my 9 & 10 string, I'm finding that the lowest string is becoming increasingly auxiliary in my writing. To the point where I'm starting to wish those lowest strings weren't there.

    I've tried to add those strings as octave pedals tones to full chord but (it may just be my ears) those 0 octave notes just don't seem to add much when it's not an actual bass guitar.

    For general writing, I'm find myself using the 'traditional/tuned up' 7 string range of around G standard to B standard for a majority of rhythm riffing. Less so with an 8 string, but especially with my 9 and 10 string, those lowest strings just sit there without much use and I catch myself more often than not wishing they weren't there.

    It may just be the mechanics of playing guitar. For example, when playing piano usually the stool and your sitting is around middle C (C4) and those extreme octaves are at the edge of your playing center. However, for guitar it feels as if you move the piano stool to the far left around the F1-G1 range and attempting to play stuff near the center of the instrument (if that makes any sense). This is less the case with a 7 + 1 ERG where that added treble is great for lead runs and additional notes on top.

    I suppose what I'm working towards is that I assumed that these ERGs I have would be the GAS killer and I could use it for anything, but I'm finding that's not the case. Don't be misconstrued, I love the long scales, wider widths, and the ability for people to get some of these guitars as production models (who would have thought 8 years ago). Maybe it's an identity thing, even though this shouldn't be the case, I guess in the back of my mind I find myself needing to justify playing an ERG (using all the strings ect.) because the audience and players are very niche. It could also be a genre thing, if I was in an instrumental trio or duo I would probably use a 9 string, but if my songwriting includes a fuller band (bass, 2 or even 3rd guitar, keyboardist ect) I find myself gravitating to 7 string range for a majority and imagining maybe the odd song here and there with an 8 or 9.

    Do you guys have any suggestions? Maybe I just need to spend some time away from ERGs and break the mold. Any of you guys finding yourself tuning higher after all these years? Thanks in advanced for the suggestions.
     
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  2. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    im back on 6s for the same reason
     
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  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Don't feel obligated to play anything. It stops being fun then.
     
  4. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    "Maybe it's an identity thing, even though this shouldn't be the case, I guess in the back of my mind I find myself needing to justify playing an ERG (using all the strings ect.) because the audience and players are very niche"

    There are plenty of reasons to disagree with that, as you know yourself having said it shouldn't be the case. I would encourage you to continue because the more they become normalised, the less they will be wrongly seen as special and the less people will feel those low notes have to be used so heavily. Much like a piano, it has the range, but no obligation to use it. But you said you were wishing they were not there, for whatever reason. If that's the case, indeed don't feel obligated to play ERGs. If you think you'd prefer playing less strings, do! I'm curious why, though, as you didn't seem to state negatives that one might expect such as less agility on the instrument. You even said you like the more cumbersome dimensions.

    But yes, just play whatever you feel like! :)
     
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  5. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    Trevor Horn has a story about trying to pick between a Fairlight and a Synclavier, both very expensive synthesizer options from the good old days. It goes that he was talking on the phone to the owner of Synclavier being given the whole sales pitch, which culminated in being told that if he wanted gimmicks, by all means, to get the Fairlight, but if he wanted a musical intrument the Synclavier was the obvious choice. Trevor responded that being a record producer he was in the business of gimmicks and bought the Fairlight.
     
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  6. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Well I mean shit, I can see a 9 or 10 string getting old fast. Personally this is why I enjoy 7 string (tuned to drop G#) the most. It's just a good middle ground of still being heavy while not overdoing its stay.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Nothing at all wrong with playing a downtuned seven instead of an eight or nine or ten or whatever. I've seen too many bands using huge ERG's and only play the lowest string and the two highest strings (chug thubba chugga thubba chug ... skree ... chug thubba chugga thubba thub ... skree). Not knocking them, but if they wanted a more comfortable playing experience, they could have done the same thing on a six string baritone-scale guitar tuned with a low F# and a high B and E and then whatever, even just empty space, in the middle. Who cares, anyway? It's all about how the music sounds in the end.
     
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  8. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire despair ahead

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    I kind of feel the same way when I play certain 8 strings that I own. With my longer scaled 8 strings it's not an issue, but with my 27" scaled ones/my current string gauges I feel kind of limited. I actually prefer the sound of my hellcat bass vi to my shorter scaled 8 strings since it keeps a crisp low end while still letting me play the riffs I want. I've been toying with the idea of basically having a 6 string with 2 higher strings instead of going lower.
     
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  9. cardinal

    cardinal Strat 7 Guy

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    Just play what’s fun.

    I hardly ever use the 7th string and just picked up 8 string and don’t really use the F# at all yet. But I think they’re fun and I’ll start incorporating it more as I figure out uses for it.

    Just generally I tend to just play the top 6 strings. But having some extra isn’t a problem, but it’s why I prefer to stick to no longer than a 27” scale.
     
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  10. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    I like having the 7th string. But I also don’t enjoy the way is sounds below B. MAYBE A. But Drop-A generally doesn’t sound all that great to me. My 6 in C# is amazing and I LOVE how heavy bands in E and D can sound. So I mean don’t feel obligated to keep playing lower notes/strings if you don’t want to.

    There are few bands that even play with 8 strings, and even less that are doing anything worth listening to imo.

    $0.02
     
  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Same for me. Drop A is my hard limit these days (for playing). The only time I did anything lower than that, it's been as a joke, or at least done tongue-in-cheek. I used to stick with B standard (I only play 7's and 8's). My eight strings are all tuned up; I like having a higher string.

    If a band tunes really low, I either dig it or not. If they play 8s or 9s, then great - but most of the time, I find out they are using drop-tuned 6's or 7's, it seems. But, there comes a point where a riff that sounds heavy as hell tuned down a little turns to mush when it's tuned down a lot.
     
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  12. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    This is one of the reasons I ended up in a hybrid tuning on a 6 string where I can get heavy low notes without all the clutter and option paralysis of an ERG. Playing in GGCFAD gives me everything I need and offers some cool 6th voicings in a way that would be very difficult to play on a true ERG. Plus a 6 is just a much faster instrument to move around on and it keeps me anchored in my songwriting when Im the only stringed instrument in the band.
     
  13. Albake21

    Albake21 "Just get a used Ibanez Prestige."

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    Totally agree with this! Although what gauge strings and scale length do you use for that tuning?
     
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  14. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    I use a Daddario 12-60 set, toss the 60 and replace it with an 80. Always 27" scale guitars which are surprisingly tough to come by now that ERGs are so popular. A regular 6 string baritone that doesn't suck is somewhat rare.
     
  15. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    They're definitely not necessary, lol, and definitely not for everyone. At the same time, though, you shouldn't feel obligated to use all 9 strings every time you pick up the guitar. For me, I like having options. A lot of my stuff is written on a six or seven in either e-standard or drop A and then I move them over to my 8 and 9 string guitars and just apply that lower octave stuff where I think it fits. A lot of the time (well, with one band anyways, the other is deathcore and pretty much all low riffing) 90% of the song gets played in standard tuning range and the low stuff is there for dramatic effect or because it sounded cool on a part.
     
  16. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I’m gonna just be an opportunist, and say if you have a 9 or 10 you’re trying to unload, I’m interested!

    And, don’t feel compelled to play anything. I am all over the place about my music and practice tastes/schedule. Music should be a fun, creative outlet - make sure it’s always that!
     
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  17. Avedas

    Avedas SS.org Regular

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    I never could find a good use for 8+ strings. I don't even own a 7 string at the moment, although I'm ok with them. Personally I find anything below A just starts getting redundant in a hurry. Of course they sound great when I'm playing by myself or the music is really built around the ERG, but that's not really the type of music I would want to make. In a regular mix outside the context of particularly down tuned, guitar-centric metal especially it just sort of clashes with the bass/piano/synths in a way that doesn't work for me. 8 string solo classical guitars sound incredible though.
     
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  18. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Me in a nutshell. Maybe that's why I like them so much. (Though, I've learned to say playing "by" myself, because everyone always laughs when I say I'm going home to play with myself, lol.)
     
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  19. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Seems a good opportunity to try some alternative tunings with smaller intervals, maybe added strings inbetween some of the higher standard-tuned ones, or a thirds-based tuning. This would allow denser, more piano-like chords.

    I have designed a thirds based tuning that needs a lot of strings to maintain a moderate range, a 9 or 10 is ideal for this. (The tuning is alternating major and minor thirds, but can also be retuned to play quartertones or several simple Just Intonation tonalities).
     
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  20. NateFalcon

    NateFalcon Party’s over

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    I had a heated debate about something similar with a friend a couple days ago, I brought my guitar over just to play around (6 string,25”,C#,10’s) and he kept getting antsy for me to play his new 7 string...so I plugged in his 7 strung with bridge cables (drop G) and chopped away for a few (I have (2) 7’s myself)...and then wanted to go back to my guitar- he got really bothered by it and kept insisting that his 7 sounded so much more “brootall”...I disagreed and compared some riffs and runs and showed how I could pull off snarlier and nastier riffs in “my” comfort zone. I’m a “older school” thrash and deathmetal guy...He’s a djenty Acacia Strain style player, but doesn’t play any other styles and is NOT a lead player so I didn’t understand his irritation...it finally came down to: “my ears don’t equate lower=heavier, nor is “heavier” what I’m trying to accomplish always”...I can let loose and beat the shit out of a 6’er a lot easier than a 7 (or 8), and I USUALLY like the light string feel and crunch/squeal of lighter guage strings and (hiccup) higher tuning...that’s why I have different guitars and tunings...different days, different moods
     

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