Which travel electro-acoustic is the right one for you?
It’s a sign of the times that these extended-range guitars are affordable enough for beginners. If they struggled with the sort of über-gain metal tones that inspired the eight-string’s popularity in the first place, certainly while playing chords (a 12" speaker in your practice amp is a must), we were encouraged by the sonic potential. Playing single-note rhythms, trying new techniques and slapping the eighth string a la Les Claypool all sounded cool.
There’s not a lot of difference between them. If the Subzero and Jackson sounded a little more solid in the low-end, the Schecter and LTD were still resonant, playable and fun. If you intended on gigging these, then perhaps you’d still be looking to spend around £700 or thereabouts on a Jackson Pro Series or an Ibanez Iron Label multi-scale; or you would definitely consider upgrading your humbuckers to a set of active pickups at least. With an onboard preamp, that simple mod would render those low frequencies with more conviction. But to learn on and practise your eight-string chops, these are largely fuss-free and inspiring.
Whether it’s the Schecter’s tidy finish and typically solid construction, or the Stephen Carpenter vibe of the LTD, there’s no lack of ambition here. The finish and shredability of the Jackson makes a case for it as the all-star pick, but then, if it’s affordable you’re looking for, then the Subzero is hard to argue with.
Subzero Generation 8 Best value
LTD H-208 Best for nu-metal
Jackson Dinky JS32-8Q DKA HT Best forshred
Schecter C-8 DeluxeBest all-rounder