How Can I Make a 6 string guitar sound like an 8 string?

by Bradley

Ok, so I'm a guitarist currently playing for a metal band that plays mostly on 8 string guitars. I only have a 6 string American fender. Its a really nice guitar, but its about 15 years old. No active pickups in it, just one Sam Duncan humbucker.

As a result, my sound doesn't match my bandmates. We have the lower 6 (pitched) strings of the 8 strings tuned to match standard 6 string tuning, but its an octave lower. It makes my guitar feel and sound like a toy next to theirs.

I'm in a position to buy a new guitar, but I'm not really sold on owning an 8 string. To me its kind of a specialty guitar. If I end up not playing with these guys anymore, I'll be stuck with it. Also I don't really like how fat the necks are on the 8 strings I've messed with. I don't have huge hands. It's sloppy playing.

What I want to do is buy a nice new 6 string with active pickups and use it to emulate the 8 string sound. Problem is I don't know how, or if its even possible (although I have been led to believe it is). If anyone can help me out I would really appreciate it. Even just links to someplace where I may find an answer would be Awsome. It's hard to find anything other than sale listings when searching 8 strings online. Thanks!


Hi, Bradley--

Some players say that you can Use a "D" bass string (.65) and use it to replace the Low E string. Then move each of the other strings down.
So now you would have D E A D G B.

I am not sure whether the Fender neck from 15 years ago will tolerate this. You would be wise to go to a qualified guitar repair person and have them do it in case the rod needed adjusting. The nut might also have to be adjusted.

If you choose to buy a new guitar with active pickups and try this setting, you need to find out first whether there will have to be alterations to the guitar as mentioned above.
Then you will need to decide whether or not you want to make those alterations to a brand new guitar.

Hopefully this has been of some help.


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