Composing with 6 and 7 strings?

Gabriel 1313

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What is the best method of composing a song with both 7 and 6 string guitar. I want the 7 for my rhythm and a 6 for lead. Also, when I am writing I get thrown off by switching from a 6 to a 7. Is there a approach to this that I am unaware?
 
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There is nothing a 6 stringer can do that a 7 can't, if all other specs are the same minus the string count.

Personally, I compose mainly with 7 stringers, either for rhythm or lead or whatever. I do have some tunes made for 6 stringers but those are from the time before I got my first 7 stringer. I don't think it's a good approach to composition that division you are forcing yourself into. If you say it's about "tone", then I may give you that argument for the sake that 6 string pickups don't really sound the same as their 7 string counterparts, but that's about it... and maybe a bit of the neck profile which will necessarily be different as well.

If those are your only guitars, in order to change things a bit, maybe try to tune them differently, which will make your perspective over each guitar also work differently forcing you to be creative for the solutions you might come up with.

On the other hand, what "kind" of composition are you talking about? Band composing like you're the man laying down the tracks and shit for the other players to fill in the gaps OR are you trying to simply create music for yourself, layering whatever amount of tracks you need for the sound in your head to come out? If the first, I'd not overthink bout this, it's super hard to swap guitars mid performance. If the second, I'd also not overthink about it and just use what feels right for each part.

So, don't overthink, use what you have as it FEELS right, not as you think it should be right. There are no rules in making music, just don't hurt anyone (yourself included)... that's about the only rule I can think of.
 

cardinal

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I assume this is for recording and the 7 string has an extended scale and/or fixed bridge while the 6 string has a Floyd or different pickups or whatever.

Just record all the pieces you can with the 7 string and punch in the parts where you wanted the 6 string.
 

Shawn

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Yeah I did this with tuning my 8-string years ago to standard and that way everything I wrote on the 7 is included within the 8….just like it would be for a 6 included in a 7. This is why I never messed with different tunings unless it was drop D on a 6, drop A on a 7 and I leave the 8 in standard. Works out really well.

I will say that writing a 7 string song where you are in low E using 6 strings then switching to low B for some parts could get a little tricky on an 8-string. But having all instruments tuned the same really works out.
 

gabito

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I'll sometimes record all the riffs using my 7-string and then use some of my 6-strings for the solos, arpeggios or whatever mainly because I find them more comfortable or because I like how they sound, but that's about it.

Like @CanserDYI said: 7-string guitars include a 6-string free of charge.
 

Baelzebeard

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It would be nice know why you feel the need to impose these roles on certain guitars.

I just use a 7 for writing and playing everything. I even tune 6's in B as the low strings of a 7, omitting the high e. BEADGb, just so I can transition easier.
 

Lorcan Ward

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A lot of guitarists find they gravitate to the lower string more on a 7 and even more so on an 8. Writing on an extended range instrument will inspire different ideas and for most players that’s rhythm work on the lowest 2-3 strings which is why bands like After the Burial would write on 6s, 7s and 8s.

You have to learn to break the habit you’re in by writing leads on your 7 string and one thing that really helps is writing an E standard song on a 7 string or songs that don’t use the 7th string. Unless you are writing in Drop tunings on your 6 then there’s no reason why you can’t feel comfortable going back and forth when writing. The 6 and 7 will inspire different ideas and changing tunings can also have as big an effect but you shouldn’t treat one as a lead and another as a rhythm for writing.
 

Gabriel 1313

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There is nothing a 6 stringer can do that a 7 can't, if all other specs are the same minus the string count.

Personally, I compose mainly with 7 stringers, either for rhythm or lead or whatever. I do have some tunes made for 6 stringers but those are from the time before I got my first 7 stringer. I don't think it's a good approach to composition that division you are forcing yourself into. If you say it's about "tone", then I may give you that argument for the sake that 6 string pickups don't really sound the same as their 7 string counterparts, but that's about it... and maybe a bit of the neck profile which will necessarily be different as well.

If those are your only guitars, in order to change things a bit, maybe try to tune them differently, which will make your perspective over each guitar also work differently forcing you to be creative for the solutions you might come up with.

On the other hand, what "kind" of composition are you talking about? Band composing like you're the man laying down the tracks and shit for the other players to fill in the gaps OR are you trying to simply create music for yourself, layering whatever amount of tracks you need for the sound in your head to come out? If the first, I'd not overthink bout this, it's super hard to swap guitars mid performance. If the second, I'd also not overthink about it and just use what feels right for each part.

So, don't overthink, use what you have as it FEELS right, not as you think it should be right. There are no rules in making music, just don't hurt anyone (yourself included)... that's about the only rule I can think of.
Thanks. I have my 7 stringer tuned to D standard. My sixer is tuned a half step down E flat. It is for my own recording. I would never put a band through that shit. I am leaning towards a Marty Friedman solo stuff. I really have a lot of the same direction and tone. But thank you. I was going to use the 7 for rhythm, six for lead. My RR is the perfect fit for my leads.
 

p0ke

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Thanks. I have my 7 stringer tuned to D standard. My sixer is tuned a half step down E flat. It is for my own recording. I would never put a band through that shit. I am leaning towards a Marty Friedman solo stuff. I really have a lot of the same direction and tone. But thank you. I was going to use the 7 for rhythm, six for lead. My RR is the perfect fit for my leads.
That sounds like a pain in the ass tbh. As the 6-string will be half a step higher than the 7-string, you'd basically be playing all the leads one fret lower. I'd be confused af with a setup like that, unless your leads are super duper simple. So if you absolutely must play the leads on that specific guitar, I'd at least tune them both the same...
 

profwoot

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Plini will sometimes add a 7-string riff late in an otherwise 6-string song. He tunes to drop C# and drop G# so the top 5 strings are tuned the same. I really dig the result, especially for his style of prog fusion. He's clearly got some djent in him but isn't going for the brootz.
 

olejason

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Yeah that sounds pretty goofy if they're tuned completely different. Just use one or the other. That said, I often record leads with a 6 string because I like the way a Floyd feels better on six-strings.
 

TheBloodstained

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I was in a band where the guitarists used a 6 and 7 string. The 6 string was tuned to B standard and the 7 string was in drop B tuning (essentially tuned 1 whole step up with a dropped 7th string). It was a little weird at times, but ultimately it gave them the ability to do some cool melodic stuff.

Personally, I do the majority of my writing on a 7 string in standard tuning, but I have the occasional fun with a drop tuned 6 stringer too :)
 


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