So John Dell'Isola stopped by the studio a few days ago to drop this Beauty off for us to use on the album!
Let's just get right to the pics first:
The specs on this beast are:
Birdseye Zebrawood Top
Flamed Mahogany Core
Burled Redwood Back
7 Piece Neck:
4 Pieces of Bolivian Rosewood/Pau Ferro
2 Strips of Flamed Mahogany
Center Bar of Zebrawood
Asian Black and White Ebony Fretboard
Custom made Aldridge Empire Aluminum Hardtail bridge
Custom Made saddles to fit L.R. Baggs piezo saddles
L.R. Baggs Piezo's and Control X Preamp
CTS Premium Sealed Volume Pot
Vitamin Q Oil Paper Capacitor
Dimarzio D Activator Pickups
Gotoh 510 Cosmo Black Tuners with Ebony Knobs
Stainless Steel Medium Fretwire
Luminlay Glow in the Dark Side dots
I was very apprehensive before even trying this instrument and as gorgeous as it is, i honestly was not expecting a lot from it.
You see, I feel like the 8 string is still a very difficult instrument to nail just because it is so new, and there are many aspects that are unique to it that make it more than just a 7 string plus an extra string.
Things like scale length, neck profile, string spacing, pickup position and type and body woods are all even bigger factors on an 8 string in my opinion, and its the reason a lot of the 8's i have played have been less than stellar.
I have also found over the years that sticking to simple woods tends to yield the best results for sound, and that going with a ton of exotic woods can easily yield a very plain sounding guitar that looks gorgeous.
Taking all of that and the fact that this is John Dell'Isola's first attempt at an 8 string, you can understand my apprehension.
But i have to say, i was completely taken aback by the instrument.
I was actually tracking one of our 8 string songs with my trusty Ibanez rg2228, which has been my standard to beat when it comes to 8 strings and is just all around an amazing 8 string guitar. But somehow this guitar not only sounds better/fuller and more dynamic, but is significantly more comfortable to play and easy on the hands.
I went from not expecting much, to using it to track the rest of the song, and even went and retracked some other riffs that just sounded better on that guitar!
There are a few tests i do to determine how good an 8 really is. First off i find that the middle strings tend to get shafted timbre wise with longer scales. This being a 27" guitar would be no exception to that, but in fact the guitar sounds so consistent across the board, that it actually sounds incredible JUST in the 6 string range.
Now normally i do this test do determine how good a 7 sounds, because usually everything other than the absolute best 7 strings will sound good but not great in just the six string range, but for an 8 to do that really astounded me.
The response is very well balanced across the strings and across the board, and i have never heard notes "bind" and "purr" so well on a low F# powerchord. Usually at that point powerchords tend to fall apart, but for some pleasantly mysterious reason it didn't on this guitar!
Anyways, very stoked to be using this on the record, and John will be setting it up for me to use live as well soon, he will be taking the piezo out (since i never use that) and putting some locking gotoh 510s on there for me, as well as putting a brass bridge to replace the aluminum one (though i may talk him out of that last one because im not really looking to change the sound of the guitar at all)
Other than that black rubber-looking stuff around the upper horn, I think it looks gorgeous. (I don't know why, but that black stuff just looks a bit out of place with the rest of the guitar)
It certainly looks comfortable to play and, although I own sixes, sevens, and an eight, I find the eight the least comfortable (and the sevens the most comfortable). I think slightly closer string spacing is a way to deal with that and the spacing on that guitar looks closer than most production eights (Is it just my imagination or is it actually closer?).