Best 8 String Guitars of 2020 – Ultimate Review

If you are looking for an awesome 8-string guitar, you are in the right place!

Check out our ultimate review of the best 8-string guitars of this year and learn what you need to know before choosing your new instrument.

Let’s dive in!

Comparison of the Best 8 String Guitars

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Swamp ash body and a flamed maple top
  • Black chrome hardware with Mach-8 pickup set
  • Maple/walnut multi-ply neck and carbon-fiber rods
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  • 3-position toggle
  • Individual saddles bridge
  • Multiscale 1-piece maple neck
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  • Mid-depth cutaway
  • Best acoustic-electric 8-string guitar
  • Hard rock maple neck with a solid spruce body
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  • Basswood body with rosewood fretboard
  • Affordable and great value for the money
  • Beautifully crafted with seamless performance
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  • Master volume and tuning controls
  • Basswood body with a maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard with 24 X-jumbo frets
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When Would an 8 String Guitar Come in Handy?

Why would you choose an 8-string model when you already have, or can choose, any other 6 or 7-string guitar? Let’s check out the main reasons many musicians ​choose to integrate an 8-string instrument into their guitar family:

Tonal Range

8-string guitars are not as common as their 6 or 7-string counterparts. However, many artists prefer them for the extra two strings that improve the tonal palette. A larger tonal range can open the door to a whole new universe of music. 

Schecter BANSHEE Elite-8

Versatility

That being said, it is important to acknowledge that 8-string guitars are also extremely versatile. Apart from having a larger tonal range, they can also play any music that you might play on 6 or 7-string guitars. This means that having an 8-string guitar is an actual step up on the ladder since it expands your horizons considerably. 

Suitable For Lower Tunings

Another great use of an 8-string guitar is if you want to tap into lower tunings. They are used in a wide array of music genres, including blues and jazz, as well as metal and hard rock. This is because the extra strings offer a wider tonal range. 

What to Look For When Buying an 8-String Guitar

Here are the main aspects you need to look for when choosing an 8-string guitar:

Quality

First of all, a guitar, whether it has 6, 7, or 8 strings, needs to offer high value for the money. Quality does not only refer to the materials it is built with, although this is extremely important, it also refers to the electronics. The pickups and other components need to deliver consistent performance that will help you tap into your full potential and amaze your audience. 

Comfort

Another aspect is that, considering the extra two strings, this type of guitar needs to enhance comfort and playability. Ideally, the cutaway should favor a comfortable position, with easy-to-access frets and other elements that enhance playability and comfort. If your new guitar is not comfortable, you will be less likely to practice. 

Budget

Lastly, ensure that you set a budget before choosing your new guitar. Fortunately, our models are suitable for a wide range of budgets, so it is impossible not to find something that suits you. Whether you are on a strict budget or not, jump to the section below and check out all the beautiful models waiting for you!

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best 8-String Guitars

Now that you know what considerations to keep in mind, take a look at some of the top models below to get you started.

Schecter BANSHEE ELITE-8 Gloss Natural 8-String Solid-Body Electric Guitar

PROS

  • Astonishing tones
  • Remarkable versatility
  • Ease of access to higher frets
  • Enhanced playability and comfort
  • High-quality design with a beautiful finish

CONS

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This 8-string guitar is masterfully crafted from swamp ash. The overall design screams comfort and versatility, and it simply plays itself. You can play it with ease, and the tones are simply outstanding. The neck-thru construction is a bonus feature that promotes ultimate playability. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Schecter BANSHEE Elite-8 has a body made of swamp ash with a flamed maple top and a maple/walnut neck. The neck-thru construction features ultra-access that enhances playability and comfort. The 24 X-jumbo stainless-steel frets are easy to access, especially the higher ones. It is easy to tone, and it is made in the USA. 

Who Will Use This Most

This 8-string guitar is the ideal model for any guitarist, whether you are a beginner or more advanced. It offers ultimate comfort, playability, and versatility. If you want an instrument that you will enjoy every single time you play, this model is the best option for you. 

Bottom Line

With a beautiful design and a comfortable cut, the Schecter Banshee is an instrument that will grow with you. Its high-quality features include a carbon-fiber reinforcement rod with a multi-ply neck. What is more, the black chrome hardware, as well as the fit and finish of this instrument, truly stands out from the crowd. 

Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF8 Multiscale 8-String Electric Guitar (Stained Mahogany, Rosewood Fingerboard)

PROS

  • Multi-scale design 
  • Enhanced intonation
  • Enhanced comfort and versatility
  • Improved tension and playability
  • Mahogany body with a maple neck

CONS

  • Action needs to be set a bit higher when played for the first time

What Recent Buyers Report

The Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF8 unlocks many possibilities for any player. It improves intonation, and the performance is absolutely flawless. One slight drawback is that if you play it right out of the box, you will notice some buzz in the midsection. All you need to do is raise the action a bit higher, and it will be ready to shine. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF8 is a high-quality, 8-string guitar that features a multi-scale design. This means that it accommodates two scale lengths on one fingerboard, which results in enhanced playing comfort. It also improves intonation and tension. It consists of a mahogany body with a maple neck. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for comfort, playability, and versatility, this model is for you. What is more, the dual Jackson, uncovered, 8-string, blade humbuckers give impressive power to this guitar, boasting endless metal power. It has improved intonation, a 3-way toggle switch, and a single volume, with controls for tone. 

Bottom Line

All in all, the Jackson X Series Dinky Arch Top DKAF8 is a piece of art that is dedicated to ambitious guitarists. It is versatile, comfortable to play, and constructed with premium-quality materials. If you want the best value for your money, you need to check out this model. 

Best 8 String Acoustic Guitar:
Ovation Elite TX

Ovation Elite TX Mid Depth 8-String Acoustic Electric Guitar - Black Satin

PROS

  • Satin black finish 
  • Hard rock maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Great electronics and hardware 
  • Mid-depth cutaway for increased comfort

CONS

  • Description is a bit deceptive

What Recent Buyers Report

This model comes advertised as 25.25". However, it is a 27.25" scale​. Apart from this, the tones are great, and you can use a slide with it. Moreover, the electronics are great, with perfect string tones. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ovation Elite TX is a unique instrument with massive sounding abilities. It has a striking design with a beautiful satin black finish. The hard rock maple neck is designed to handle the low end, enhancing comfort, tonality, and speed. The guitar is made with a solid spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, and a mid-depth cutaway. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a visionary musician looking for a unique model, this guitar is for you. It will open up a whole new realm of possibilities with its impressive design and quality. If you are ambitious and want to make a statement of performance and quality, the Ovation Elite TX is everything you need. 

Bottom Line

All in all, this 8-string guitar is one of the best models in this category. Ovation clearly has a true philosophy of uniqueness that they implement in the design of each instrument. They offer maximum quality in terms of tonality, comfort, and speed, without losing focus on the beauty of the finish. 

Best 8 String Electric Guitar:
Schecter OMEN-8

Schecter OMEN-8 8-String Electric Guitar, Black

PROS

  • Perfect action
  • Plays very smoothly
  • High-quality pickups 
  • Extremely comfortable
  • High-gloss finish on the body with a natural finish on the neck

CONS

  • Needs slight setup before playing for the first time

What Recent Buyers Report

The Schecter OMEN-8 is one of the best 8-string guitars available, and it offers excellent value for the money. The design is absolutely beautiful, but the actual performance is as smooth as butter. Whether you play clean or distorted, the pickups are just perfect. Just note that it might come slightly out of tune on the higher strings, and the action needs to be raised a bit on F#.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model scores high on both looks and performance. The tone is well-balanced and is absolutely a standard among other 8-string guitars. The electronics are high-quality, delivering the right intonation with great tuning abilities. It is easy to play, and it has great performance right out of the box. 

Who Will Use This Most

An 8-string is not necessarily for beginners, but if you’ve never played one, you should start with this one. It has an excellent feel right out of the box, but it can also be tweaked in terms of tuning and action adjustments if you are not happy with it. 

Bottom Line

All in all, the Schecter OMEN-8 comes at an affordable price range, and it offers high value for the money. It is perfect for metal, and it has smooth sounds and a fast neck. If you want an instrument to ignite your passion for guitars, this is the one.

Best Left Handed 8 String Guitar:
Schecter OMEN-8 Left-handed

PROS

  • Great for drop tunings
  • Maple neck offers bright tones
  • Basswood body with warmer tones
  • Rosewood fretboard that enriches the sounds
  • High-quality, high-output pickups for crunchy rhythms

CONS

  • Case not included

What Recent Buyers Report

The beautiful combination of the maple neck and basswood body generates a bright tone that perfectly complements the warm tones. The rosewood fretboard contributes to richer, fuller sounds, while the electronics are perfectly picked to make this guitar stand out from the crowd. It is highly recommended for all left-handed players. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Schecter OMEN-8 Left-handed is an unbelievable model that adds a whole new dimension to your playing universe. The maple neck comes with uniform grains that add strength and stability. It also has a lesser reaction from climate changes when compared to other tonewoods. It is highly reflective and focuses all the energy into the tonewood. 

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a left-handed player in need of crunchy rhythms and blistering leads, this guitar is ideal for you. The hardware is top-quality, and it includes over-wound coils with a ceramic magnet that enhances aggressiveness and output. This model will certainly send your amp over the edge!

Bottom Line

All in all, this model is the best 8-string guitar for the left-handed player. The classic design features high-quality tuners and beautiful overwound coils with a ceramic magnet. It also has other components that promote maintenance-free playability. This is your one-stop solution if you are looking for an unbelievable array of notes. 

Best for the Money:
ESP LTD H Series H-308

ESP LTD H Series H-308 Eight-String Electric Guitar - Black Satin

PROS

  • Fixed bridge and LTD tuners
  • Set-thru neck construction with 25.5” scale 
  • Controls for tone, volume, and 3-way toggle switch
  • Thin, U-shaped neck contoured for ultimate comfort
  • Rosewood fingerboard, mahogany body, and a maple neck

CONS

  • Case not included

What Recent Buyers Report

The ESP LTD H Series H-308 is an affordable instrument that delivers top ESP quality. It is suitable for any budget, and the black satin finish makes it a true diamond on any stage. The active EMG 808 pickups offer superb performance that is ideal for shredding solos and heavy power chords. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model features a double-cutaway mahogany body that enhances comfort and playability. Its simple design features a master volume and a single master tone control for ease of use. What is more, the ultra-fast, thin profile of the neck encourages effortless string-bending. This model embeds all of the features that modern players need. 

Who Will Use This Most

This model is highly recommended for any guitarist, whether you are a beginner or a more advanced player. The hardware and electronics are crafted from the highest quality materials, revealing a state-of-the-art guitar that begs to be tried. The design, construction, shape, and finish are top-of-the-line. 

Bottom Line

All in all, the ESP LTD H Series H-308 is a high-quality, 8-string guitar that features a design that enhances fast playability. It also provides effortless string-bending, stable tuning, and can withstand any playstyle and music genre. Although it does not include a case, you certainly need to check this one out. 

Pros and Cons of 8-String Guitars

While you’d be tempted to believe that 8-string guitars come as close to perfection as possible, they do have their drawbacks. 

Pros

  • Increased tonal palette
  • Ideal for lower tunings
  • Versatile, you can play almost any song
  • Usually higher-quality than 6 or 7-string guitars

Cons

  • Having extra strings means that the neck is wider, providing discomfort to players with smaller hands
  • Not suitable for beginners, as it is more difficult to play
  • Limited number of models available 

To sum it up, 8-string guitars are great instruments. If you buy one, you can play the same songs you play on a 6 or 7-string instrument. However, the extra strings will offer even more sounds that are ideal for lower tunings, especially for metal or rock. 

On the other hand, since they are considerably bulkier, they are not recommended for beginners. It is recommended that beginners learn how to play on a 6-string guitar first. Furthermore, players with small hands might find it difficult to play due to the wider neck. 

Therefore, as long as you do not choose an 8-string guitar to learn how to play for the very first time, you will benefit from this instrument. 

How to Play an 8 String Guitar

Learning how to play the 8 string guitar is technically no harder than learning to play a standard 6 string guitar. In fact, it mainly involves adding an extra note into chords in terms of differences.

Primarily, you will mainly use the bottom 6 strings that you find on a standard guitar as you normally would. 

If you would like to learn more about playing an 8 string guitar, be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of what was just described and a more in-depth look.

How to Tune an 8 String Guitar

The tuning of an 8-string guitar is not ​very different than that of a 6 or 7-string guitar. Here are some of the steps:

  1. Acknowledge the two extra strings F# and B in front of your usual E-A-D-G-B-E. 

  2. Optional – some musicians prefer to remove F# and add a high A as the eighth one.  

  3. Although this is the standard tuning, some musicians prefer changing the lowest string F# to a low E, which results in three different E strings.

By using the above steps, you can easily tune your 8 string guitar. Whether you choose to use the 8th string as an F# or an E is completely up to you and your personal taste.

For more information on tuning an 8 string guitar, take a look at the video below:

Conclusion

To sum it up, 8-string guitars can be the best ​tool if you get a grasp on how to play and what to expect from them. They offer flexibility, versatility, and they can really open up a whole new universe of music and sounds. The best part is you can also use them to play any song you'd normally play on a 6-string guitar.