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Hey man!  Guitars are only supposed to have 6 strings!  And MAYBE seven, but that's only if you're into nu-metal.  And you suck because djent. 

The aforementioned notion is what musicians and guitarists hear all too often nowadays.  In the world of internet hate and closed-mindedness, the 7+ string guitars sure do receive a lot of hate.  I mean, seriously God help the world if someone were to innovate and try new things?!  Be it active pickups, trems, lower (or higher!) tunings, more than 22 frets, lack of a headstock, a different body cut, an extended range, fanned frets, or some other tradition-defying spec, people will always find ways to hate on what they really just don't want to take the time to understand and embrace. 

The jokes go flying, but when bands try new things, it stirs things up, which is always a great thing for any scene or any segment of the music industry.  Art always thrives on change and defiance, even when people are slow to appreciate what's going on. 

Imagine if people had shunned the comments section (had it existed) the first time Hendrix was on acid playing a Fender Strat like it had never been played before.  Well, actually that probably DID happen; thankfully history tends to show the reality of innovation rather than the ignorance of embracing the new and unique. 

So with that precursor, it may go without saying that there are guitarists out there who play different instruments and do not "use them to their full potential".  As in these typical stereotypes:

To which the reality may be much more simple.  Yes, they may not use all 8 strings, but if it inspired the guitarist to write a quirky new riff on a foreign feeling instrument did it not serve its purpose?  Just because you have a shitload of frets and strings does NOT mean you need to be using all strings and frets at all times!!! 

Let's remember, with bands like Helmet, that beauty really does lie in simplicity, and sometimes an oddly tuned axe with a weird neck, low tunings, and different playability may just cause the creative spark to fly- and who knows- perhaps inspire a wave of new music that rubs off and continues the amazing cycle of the growth of modern rock and what we know as the electric guitar.

Ibanez has long been the innovator of adding on strings, so much so, that they dedicate a lot of their website and artist roster to just that!  From their site:

Ibanez isn't the first to put an extra string or two on an electric guitar. We are, however, the first to make the concept really work. Just as the Ibanez thin, fast, ultra-playable Wizard neck seemed to defy physics when first introduced, our 7, 8 and 9-string guitars necks utilize similar innovative technology. And what about down-tuning? Extended necks? Extra heavy string thicknesses? We didn't just address those challenges. We mastered them.

And I agree, if you have ever played an Ibanez, they really are some of the most easy-to-play guitars out there! 

This entire news feature has spawned from THIS bad boy:

Count 'em!  The Ibanez RG90BKP!  This 9 string axe (yes, seriously nine strings!) and an accompanying demo video that has been released featuring none other than Justin Lowe of After The Burial.  ATB has long been a band that, while brutally heavy, also features the use of [bright-colored] 6,7,and 8 string guitars.  In fact, ATB has long been credited with being a purveyor of usage for the 8 string axe   And now, you guessed it, a nine string! 

Check out these great shots of this beautiful guitar, including its 5 piece wenge neck!

And by now, I'm sure you're ready to see it and HEAR it in action!  So go feast your ear balls on this great new video demo from Ibanez where Justin (in his usual Lacoste-wearing fashion) gives the RG90BKP a thorough and tasty fretboard work out!  It's nothing too complex, but should satisfy a variety of ears!  With no vocals, it's quite easy to hear the tightness of the riff going on, and the sonic characteristics of both the guitar's LOW C# 9th string, plus the quality of the BareKnuckle Canine (get it?!) passive ceramic humbuckers.  Interestingly, the guitar is using a "neck" pickup in the bridge too, but this may be just because BKP hasn't designed the 9er for the bridge at this point in time.

Not too bad right?  The range is just utterly impressive.  Justin's thoughts on the guitar are quite interesting to hear as well.  It will definitely be interesting to see how this axe plays a role in the band's future music, and where it may surface elsewhere in the rock world.  And c'mon, Lacoste and low-ass tunings are just the perfect pair of Midwestern prog awesomeness! 

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