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8 of the Best 8-String Guitarists Revolutionizing Our Instrument

by Brett Quattrucci on April 06, 2023

Introduction

8-string guitars have been around for a while, but only recently have they gained popularity among guitarists of all genres. These instruments offer a wider range of notes and a deeper sound than traditional 6-string guitars, making them ideal for heavy metal, jazz, and other styles of music. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best 8-string guitarists who are revolutionizing our instrument today.

 

Tosin Abasi

Tosin Abasi is a super talented musician and guitarist who has made quite a name for himself in the industry. He is best known as the founder and lead guitarist of the instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders, and he was born on January 7, 1983, in Washington, DC. Tosin started playing guitar at the age of 12, and it's safe to say that he's come a long way since then!

What sets Tosin apart from other guitarists is his innovative approach to playing which utilizes a variety of advanced guitar techniques like intricate tapping, sweep picking, and thumping to add a whole new level of complexity and nuance to his sound. Aside from his work with Animals as Leaders, Tosin has also collaborated with a bunch of other amazing musicians, like Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, and Misha Mansoor. He's even released some solo material, including the album "T.R.A.M." with Javier Reyes, Eric Moore, and Adrian Terrazas.

Tosin is known and respected in the guitar community for his virtuosic playing and his innovative approach to the instrument. He's received a ton of awards and accolades over the years, including being named "Best Guitarist" at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards in both 2017 and 2019. All in all, Tosin Abasi is a true guitar virtuoso and a pioneer in the world of progressive metal. His unique style and innovative approach to the instrument have earned him a well-deserved spot among the most respected and talented guitarists in the music industry today.

Connor Kaminski

Connor Kaminski is an incredibly gifted young guitarist, whose reputation has skyrocketed in recent years. Based in the North of England, he has made a name for himself in the industry, catching the eye of major brands such as Strandberg, D'addario, and Neural DSP, with his technical prowess and innovative style. However, what truly sets Connor apart from his peers is his uncanny ability to seamlessly blend his technical proficiency with a maturity and musicality beyond his years.

He has developed a unique and forward-thinking approach to Progressive Metal, which has been shaped by his years of intensive practice and his extensive musical influences, including iconic bands such as Periphery, Animals As Leaders, and Plini. Connor's music is characterized by complex rhythms, intricate melodies, and virtuosic guitar solos, which reflect his deep passion for his craft. His distinctive style has been described as a "bedroom shred," which he has transformed into a sophisticated and highly nuanced sound, unlike anything else in the industry.

Despite his undeniable talent and growing fanbase, Connor remains humble and committed to his craft. He first gained attention through his Instagram account, where he shared videos and photos of his guitar playing, quickly building a dedicated following. As his reputation grew, he began to receive more opportunities, eventually landing a position as a guitar instructor at the prestigious School of McRock.

Connor Kaminski is a true master of his craft, whose unique style and technical excellence have earned him a well-deserved place among the most talented and innovative guitarists of his generation. His passion and dedication to his music are an inspiration to aspiring musicians everywhere, and we can only wait with bated breath to see what the future holds for this young and remarkable artist.

Per Nilsson

Per Nilsson is a highly respected and sought-after Swedish guitarist who has made a name for himself in the world of progressive metal. With a career spanning over two decades, Nilsson has played with a number of high-profile bands, including Scar Symmetry, Kaipa, Meshuggah, and his current band, "The Absence".

One of the key aspects of Per Nilsson's playing style is his use of an 8-string guitar which allows him to explore a much wider range of sounds and textures than a traditional 6-string guitar. Since 2013, Nilsson has been a signature artist with Strandberg Guitars, a highly respected guitar manufacturer known for their cutting-edge designs. Together, Nilsson and Strandberg Guitars have collaborated on a number of signature models, including the Singularity True Temperament.

This unique guitar features custom-calibrated True Temperament frets, a modified EndurNeck™ neck shape, Lundgren Modern Vintage and M8 pickups, and a solid Swamp Ash top with a stunning sandblasted finish in Red and Blue with matching hardware.

Per Nilsson's contributions to the world of progressive metal have been immeasurable, and his collaborations with Strandberg Guitars have helped to push the boundaries of what is possible with an electric guitar. With his unparalleled technical skills and passion for innovation, Nilsson is sure to continue to be a major force in the world of metal for years to come.

Sarah Longfield

Sarah Longfield is a multi-talented musician, YouTuber, and a famous figure in the world of metal. She hails from Madison, Wisconsin, and has gained a following for her impressive two-handed tapping technique on the eight-string guitar. She has taken metal to new and unexplored realms with her diverse musical background, superb technique, and a keen sense of melody. Sarah has collaborated with Strandberg Guitars, a leading guitar manufacturer, to produce several signature models, including the Boden Metal 8 Sarah Longfield Edition.

This model is the eight-string version of the Metal 8, with a unique Black Doppler gloss finish designed by Sarah herself. The guitar has a chambered American Basswood body with a quarter-inch Maple top and a Roasted Maple neck with an Ebony fretboard, giving it a strong and focused low end, rich midrange, and brilliant highs.

In addition to her work with Strandberg Guitars, Sarah has released several solo albums and has collaborated with numerous artists in the metal scene. Her eclectic musical background, ranging from classical to jazz to metal, has allowed her to bring a fresh perspective to the genre, earning her a well-deserved reputation as a pioneering musician.

Misha Mansoor

Misha Mansoor, born on October 31, 1984, is an acclaimed guitarist, producer, and songwriter. He is widely recognized as the founder and lead guitarist of the progressive metal band, Periphery. In addition to Periphery, he is also a member of Haunted Shores and has collaborated with other notable bands like Animals as Leaders and Born of Osiris.

Mansoor's technical ability and innovative approach to guitar playing have earned him praise from fans and critics alike. He is particularly renowned for his use of extended-range guitars, and for his ability to incorporate elements of jazz, classical music, and electronic music into his playing. In addition to his musical pursuits, Mansoor is also an accomplished producer, having produced albums for several bands, including Periphery, Animals as Leaders, and Veil of Maya.

Misha Mansoor's influence on the guitar world is undeniable. His music has been described as "complex" and "innovative," and he has been hailed as one of the most important guitarists of his generation. Misha Mansoor's contributions to the music world have been immense, and his influence on the guitar community will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.

Javier Reyes

Javier Reyes is a talented musician and guitarist known for his work with the progressive metal bands Animals as Leaders and T.R.A.M. He is also a multi-instrumentalist, playing bass guitar, keyboard, and percussion. Javier Reyes is known for his innovative playing style, which incorporates a blend of metal, jazz, and world music influences.

He frequently uses extended-range guitars and employs techniques such as tapping, sweep picking, and percussive fingerstyle playing. In addition to his work with Animals as Leaders and T.R.A.M., Javier Reyes has collaborated with a number of other notable musicians, including Mestis, a project he formed with Animals as Leaders drummer Matt Garstka. Reyes has also released several solo albums, including "Metaphysical," which features his signature blend of progressive metal and world music.

Javier Reyes is a highly respected musician in the modern guitar community, known for his virtuosic playing and innovative approach to the guitar. His diverse musical background and willingness to push boundaries make him an influential figure in the genre.

Charlie Hunter

Charlie Hunter is a jazz phenom who is known in part for his innovative use of an 8-string guitar. His technique incorporates bass lines and melodies simultaneously to create a rich and complex sound that is often compared to a duo or a trio. Hunter first picked up the guitar at the age of 12, chasing the tones and riffs of blues and rock artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. He later discovered jazz and funk music and developed an interest in the bass guitar.

Before he evolved into an 8-string guitarist, he experimented heavily with different tunings and techniques on both the bass and the guitar, but he felt limited by the range and the sound quality. In 1993, he commissioned luthier Ralph Novak to build him a custom 8-string guitar, with three bass strings and five guitar strings. The bass strings are tuned in fourths (E-A-D), while the guitar strings are tuned in fifths (C-G-D-A-E). The instrument has two separate outputs, one for the bass and one for the guitar, allowing Hunter to use different effects and amplifiers for each section.

Hunter has recorded over 20 albums as a leader or a co-leader, exploring various genres and styles of jazz, such as swing, blues, funk, soul, Latin, and fusion. He has also collaborated with many renowned musicians, such as Norah Jones, John Mayer, D'Angelo, Mos Def, and Kurt Elling. He is widely regarded as one of the most original and versatile guitarists of his generation.

 

 

Mike Coscia

If you are a fan of instrumental progressive metalcore, you’ll definitely want to check out Mike Coscia and his band Interiors where he combines heavy riffs, syncopated rhythms, and melodic phrasing to create a truly unique and aesthetic sound. Mike uses an 8-string Agile Intrepid for many of his powerful and dynamic riffs, often blending metalcore chugging with bluesy licks and progressive patterns.

He also uses various techniques such as tapping, sweeping, and harmonics to add more expression and flavor to his playing. Mike Coscia is not only a talented guitarist, but also a skilled composer and arranger. He writes, records, mixes, and masters all of the tracks for Interiors, oftentimes collaborating with other musicians to create high-fidelity, professional level productions.

You can discover his incredible music on most platforms including YouTube, Spotify, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud. We highly recommend giving him a follow on social media to get a closeup of the action. He’s posted a number of videos on Youtube demonstrating his guitar skills and explaining his songwriting process.

 

Of course, there are many incredible 8-string guitarists not mentioned in this article, and we want to know who your favorites are. Drop their names in the comments below so we can cover them in our next write-up!

Feeling inspired to try your hand at an extended range instrument? Check out our line of versatile 7 and 8-string instruments from Cort Guitars.

2 comments
by Brett Quattrucci on December 23, 2023

Thanks for the input Jimmy! Glad you dig these artists. Modern Day Babylon is right up there with the best of them no doubt 🤘

by Jimmy Danles on December 22, 2023

Modern Day Babylon
I don’t know much about these guys but I’m a huge fan of extended range guitars and the music they create, and naturally the players themselves… My opinion is Modern Day Babylon belongs on the list of the best.
Thanks 🤘🏻

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Author Bio

Brett, the owner and founder of Ploutone, is a modern guitarist on a mission to create a sustainable future and build a thriving community through the power of music. Brett founded Ploutone to celebrate independent artists and foster connections among guitarists worldwide. With a vision of spreading positivity and promoting sustainability, Brett hopes to inspire others to push the boundaries of their instruments and contribute to a better world.

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