The Q

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Hi everyone,

I am finally the owner of an M80M. I had some previous experience with an 8-string, a no-name brand from Korea with a 27" scale length and (unbelievable) horrible stock pickups. I still have it, it's back in my home country and perhaps it's worth getting it back with me to Switzerland when the whole COVID-19 situation dies down a bit.

The one thing I do remember from that guitar though, it was how impossible the 8th string was for me to use. We're talking stock F# tuning; I wouldn't dare tune a cent lower. Then again, it might have been my technique, but it kinda made me think of those very long-scale guitars as a panacea, something that would make the 8th string useful. The M80M was released around that time and its price was reasonable, but I didn't buy it back then.

So, after quite a few years, I saw an ad for an M80M, which actually was the former model (the one with the rosewood fretboard and the case) from a guitarist named Thomas who lived in Chur, a city on the southeast Switzerland. Cost? 990 CHF (about €930). The guitar was very well taken care of all these years; he had actually bought it back in 2014, and it had only minimal traces of usage. After I inspected it, I decided it was well worth it and the exchange was made.

So then, the big question in my mind was "Is this the answer to the 8th string problem?" Well... it's inconclusive. Here's what I have know so far.

1. The guitar didn't really need a setup, it was very well taken care of. However it does need new strings and until they arrive, I've kept the (quite visibily different from the rest) 8th string and put an Elixir 7-string set (it was back from the era when they only had 10-56 for 7 strings). I like Elixir and coated strings in general. My hands are not sweating and I only need to change strings when I decide to clean my guitar. The 7-string set however is different from their 8-string set. If that doesn't work out, I will look for alternatives (feel free to recommend any, but keep in mind I tend to significantly favour coated ones).

2. I find the standard F tuning... weird. It's just me; I know, but I prefer my highest string to be in either D or E; makes things easier when I combine different instruments in a song. I did try different tunings though, standard F#, standard E, drop E, drop D. I am currently with standard E (D on the highest string) and the result is... OK. Tension-wise it's fine; I've put 11s on my 6-string so I can easily bend a tone without much hassle. Sound-wise...

3. ... I have no idea how to properly build a signal chain around the 8th string. Now, I can't say I enjoy djent really, but I would like to get that percussive sound that's prevalent in many extreme metal songs. Well, I am getting quite a bit of fizziness instead. Still, until the new strings arrive and I can do a proper setup, this might be caused the the weird 8th string, because...

4. ... the other strings are screaming like they are being tortured in hell (metal, I know!). I have to adjust the volume and/or the tone to make the Lundgren behave. Christ, that pickup is angry! With the knobs it can be tamed and it becomes manageable, but yeah, this is not what you call a flexible instrument.

5. I can use a 7 string with relative ease. In my mind I tend to treat it about 70% as a 6-string with an extra string, but that extra string can be useful regardless of how I use it. Sure, I could do without the 7th string and the 8 string is an even bigger departure from this! So far I tend to approach it as a 7 string with an extra bass-like string, which is limiting.


I actually wasn't bothered by the scale length. Some chords are a bit more difficult and there are a few that I simply have to attempt inversions because there's no hope of actually stretching my fingers that much, but in general this is a very playable instrument.

Do I regret it? Absolutely not. I knew what I was getting into and I don't regret it one bit. I don't like buying and selling guitars, so this thing stays with me. It's an opportunity to expand my horizons a bit and become more articulate with it. There are a couple of frets that need a bit of a filing on their sides, but nothing too serious. They are properly crowned and polished and the setup is OK.


Now, there's only one problem. I was so set to buying an M80M that I hav emanaged to order one, new, since the seller for this one didn't respond to my message soon enough. It's going to arrive tomorrow or the day after and I have to send it back, preferably without opening the box at all. While the idea of two M80Ms (with different fretboards) is funny, I really don't have a need for two one-trick ponies and I couldn't see how to utilise the other one differently (and I need a new bass, my old one finally committed suicide by truss rod)!

Thanks for reading, here are a few pictures!


PB030089.jpg PB030091.jpg PB030093.jpg PB030096.jpg

(I took the photos before I realised I put that nut cap thingie wrong. D'Oh!)
 
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Jeries

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Congrats, it’s a really cool 8 string.

The M8M is really gorgeous, but I think this more apropo for their signature ($5 or 6 thousand for a niche ERG was crazy no?) after seeing so many comparisons with the sound. I bet the secret is the 29” scale with the M8 pickup, so for 4 thousand less, it looks almost as good and sounds as good.

What gauge do you have on the 8 th string?
 

The Q

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Thank you all for the kind words!

What gauge do you have on the 8 th string?
I have no idea what the previous owner had and I forgot to ask him. The original 7 & 8 strings looked different from the rest, so I'm pretty sure he put some bass ones there. I'm waiting for my Elixir 8 string set to arrive which I think it's going to be 74 that I'll use in Standard E tuning. Let's see if and how floppy it's going to sound!

($5 or 6 thousand for a niche ERG was crazy no?)
Yes. Even as a custom instrument, with this amount of money you can easily get two of those from another custom builder, with similar or higher quality.

it looks almost as good and sounds as good.
I know I wouldn't be able to tell the difference, especially after the insane amounts of gain this will get in most signal chains!

Congrats! I love my m80m! I think you made a great choice!
Congrats dude, thats a beast :cheers:
I haven't regretted it one bit so far. Sure, it's not very versatile, but that doesn't mean that every guitar has to have 3 pickups with coil split options now, does it?

By the way, I tried to write something with it, have a listen if you'd like: https://soundcloud.com/quenthel/m80m-test
 

The Q

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Hey everyone,

The M80M I ordered from a retailer arrived today. While I was intending to not even open the box... I couldn't resist.

So, I opened the box, took a photo (with my messy side desk on the background) and I think it's easy to tell which is the new one and which is the original model.
20201105_083159.jpg

The Jatoba fingerboard is not too bad. Rosewood looks better in my opinion and you can stain it black much more easily (it's proven that a black fretboard improves your tone by 66.6%). Not that I will bother doing anythinf of the sort anyway! The new guitar arrived in a gigbag which whilst it's of good quality, the case of the original is simply better, albeit heavier.

I played with it a bit. I have to say, the F Standard tuning with the D'Addarios sounds much better than what I have now, probably a combination of the tuning and the slightly thinner strings. The 8th string sounds OK (and much better than what I currently have on mine which is noticeably thicker and duller sounding) and it gives me a good frame of reference as to how the guitar is supposed to sound. I might tune up after all to F tuning as well, when my Elixirs arrive.

That was fun, but after pondering keeping them both for 5 seconds (and trying different pickups or even routing a neck pocket etc etc), I packed it up and am preparing to send it back. Thanks for reading!
 

Chris Bowsman

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How did you “manage to order another one” that arrived one day after the first one when you didn’t intend to own two of them?
 

The Q

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Well, the seller needed more than 5 days to respond to my message and I assumed that he wasn't interested. On the 4th day I placed the order for a new one, but what do you know, the seller then got back to me and told me the guitar was indeed available.

So I thought that if his guitar weren't in good condition I would not buy it and merely wait for the one from the retailer rather. Well, it was in good condition, so now I had to wait for the new one to arrive and then send it back. I also tried to message the retailer to undo the order, but they did not see my message in time.
 
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The Q

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The real question: Why not both?

I did think about it, I thought to perhaps mod the second one or use different tunings. But I don't dabble too much in different tunings anyway, luthierwork for mods here in Switzerland is stupidly expensive and in the end I'd rather keep the money.
 

Lada The Great

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Congratz! Great looking axe. I love the looks of earlier rosewood version. Always wanted to try out and maybe own one but not sure how I would get used to that long scale length.
 

The Q

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Congratz! Great looking axe. I love the looks of earlier rosewood version. Always wanted to try out and maybe own one but not sure how I would get used to that long scale length.

The scale is not too bad really. I got used to it relatively easy, but then again I am a normal guitarist and not a technical death metal wizard. Still, it would be prudent to try out one first, or order it and then send it back if it doesn't work for you. I believe the scale is something you can get used to, but you will need to see if the M8P pickup works for you (or whether you have to work around it when recording anything but djenty breakdowns).

As for the Jatoba fingerboard, honestly I wouldn't mind it too much over the rosewood one. Plus, if you don't like that cherry look too much, Jabota can apparently be ebonized pretty well (without the density of ebony though) as this picture seems to showcase: https://artofmakingthings.com/upload/live/May092020-114456_pro_mdxwpk4c.jpg

Come on, you know you want an M80M!
 

Lada The Great

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The scale is not too bad really. I got used to it relatively easy, but then again I am a normal guitarist and not a technical death metal wizard. Still, it would be prudent to try out one first, or order it and then send it back if it doesn't work for you. I believe the scale is something you can get used to, but you will need to see if the M8P pickup works for you (or whether you have to work around it when recording anything but djenty breakdowns).

As for the Jatoba fingerboard, honestly I wouldn't mind it too much over the rosewood one. Plus, if you don't like that cherry look too much, Jabota can apparently be ebonized pretty well (without the density of ebony though) as this picture seems to showcase: https://artofmakingthings.com/upload/live/May092020-114456_pro_mdxwpk4c.jpg

Come on, you know you want an M80M!

Thanks for the insight! I bought new ESP 8-string like two months ago so maybe I stay away from shopping new guitars for a while now. :lol: Even though M80M would be pretty cool.
 

The Q

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Hi everyone!

I have a short update, since my Elixir 8-string set (Optiweb) arrived today.

The 8th string in that set was a .074 one which you can see on the lower side of the photo below. The other string on top is what remains from the new one that I snipped in order to fit in the guitar.
20201109_174201.jpg
The old string is noticeably thicker and different in colour (which isn't evident here due to the white balance being all out of whack). I used Photoshop to calculate the width (in pixels) of each, which can give a rough estimate on the difference of the width between the two.

So, the old string is about 75 pixels wide whilst the new one is around 60. With a simple division this would put the old string at around 0.0925 inches. Keep in mind that this was most probably a bass string as well which could affect the resulting tone. Also, I tuned to standard F-tuning.

So, what're my impressions with the new strings? First, the rest of the strings sound nice, probably nicer than the 7-string set I used before, which might be due to the 8-string set having higher gauges on the lower strings to begin with. The 8th string sounded brighter, it definitely had more definition and the tone was more useful. One could do 3-string power chords using the 8th string and the result would be very quite clear, much more than using the previous string.

Now, there is an obvious disadvantage in that the string is a bit looser, but this is really rather minor. I didn't feel that the string was floppy in any way and I think I could easily tune down half a step (to standard-E) without losing too much in terms of tension and sound. After all, trying the other M80M with stock strings, I didn't find that .065 8th string to be too bad either. However I do think that doing Drop D# wouldn't be that great with this gauge.

Thanks for reading!
 

mlp187

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I meant to talk a little bit about how amazing my m80m sounds with a DS-1X. You mentioned 3 string power chords which reminded me. Anyway, I can’t say it enough, if you haven’t already, give the DS-1X a shot. The clarity and heaviness with the dials all set to 12 o’clock is really impressive.
Have fun!
 

The Q

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I bought this guitar almost 2.5 months ago. And here are my thoughts so far (please keep in mind, these are personal opinions and it is OK to disagree):

1. I hate the pickup. It is way too shrill and very difficult to tame if I want to play anything else than the bottom 2 strings. I am sure there are ways to handle it, but I am still trying to make it work out. I am not planning to replace it however; the guitar came as is for a reason, even if it is ultimately designed for playing on the lower register mostly.

2. I am now certain that 8 strings are not for me. I just can't make the 8th sound useful enough when soloing and as for rhythm playing, power chording sounds muddy as hell.
I had another 27" 8 string which I couldn't get into because I could not utilise the 8th string properly and I thought that the scale length was to blame. It wasn't, it's me. Admittedly, I am seeing that guitar in a much different light, since, while its 8th string doesn't sound as good as the M80M's, with its 57/66 pickups it is a more universal/useful/enjoyable guitar. If I wanted to jam or try out a few riffs, I would grab that one rather than the M80M.

3. The scale length sometimes gets in the way, but not in such a manner that it becomes an issue. But if I don't find 8 strings appealing anymore, I can't say that this scale length is too appealing to me either and i would definitely advise testing a longer-scale guitar out before buying it.


So where do I stand? Do I want to get rid of it? No, but I am less excited than when I bought it. Yet, I am still trying to find ways to use it, as an opportunity to get away from 80s metal mentality.

Thanks for reading so far! If you have any tips on how to approach this instrument differently, I will be glad to hear them.
 

Robslalaina

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1 - Even though it is a metal machine this guitar comes with a tone knob. I believe that's for a reason. I'd recommend experimenting with it thoroughly if you haven't already. Experiment with right-hand position as well.

2 - Maybe you believe 8 strings aren't for you because you're trying to play them like 6 stringers with 2 more strings, or 7 stringers with an additional string. You can sort of play a 7 string like a 6 and simply transpose ideas you developed on the latter onto the former but 8 strings don't work like that. Try to add some tapping in your rhythm parts. Try to use the 8th string as a drone note or tonal centre. Try different tunings, lile dafcgdae (high to low) which basically gives you a 4 string bass and a 6 stringer in D standard.

Bottom line: soldier on, pal. The M80M is probably the 8 string concept it its purest form.
 

Go To Bed Jessica

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Bottom line: soldier on, pal. The M80M is probably the 8 string concept it its purest form.

I could not agree more.

It is a hard instrument to come to grips with. There is not a lot of precedent for ways to use it outside of djent riffing, so it can be hard to find your way if that's not your approach. In the end, it might not be your thing - but I agree with the suggestions above to mess around with some different tunings.

Getting that bass string off it (and I'm sure it was a bass string, the core is HUGE) will have done the sound the world of good. I tune mine to drop E and prefer an 80. Currently using an 84 which is nice, but I wouldn't want anything bigger. 65 would require a light touch to not wobble out of tune, even at this scale length.
 

shpence

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1 - Even though it is a metal machine this guitar comes with a tone knob. I believe that's for a reason. I'd recommend experimenting with it thoroughly if you haven't already. Experiment with right-hand position as well.

2 - Maybe you believe 8 strings aren't for you because you're trying to play them like 6 stringers with 2 more strings, or 7 stringers with an additional string. You can sort of play a 7 string like a 6 and simply transpose ideas you developed on the latter onto the former but 8 strings don't work like that. Try to add some tapping in your rhythm parts. Try to use the 8th string as a drone note or tonal centre. Try different tunings, lile dafcgdae (high to low) which basically gives you a 4 string bass and a 6 stringer in D standard.

Bottom line: soldier on, pal. The M80M is probably the 8 string concept it its purest form.

Also agree with this! It's the only 8 string I've ever been able to get down with and I think the scale length is perfection. I've had one for about 5-6 months now and it took me a bit to get used to. I kinda had to keep setting it down then coming back to it. I didn't like the Lundgren at first (mainly a BKP guy) but Robstonin is right about the tone knob. It's the only guitar I have where I've found the tone knob to be useful (especially with lead parts).

I would love to find another one to modify and play with in some whacky tunings. Very curious how a Ragnarok or Juggernaut would sound in it. I'm using the standard 74 set in a variation of Drop F and it is a wee tight but very playable.
 


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