8-string electric guitars have grown significantly in popularity and are highly sought after by fans of extremely heavy and progressive music because of their extended range beyond 7-stringers.
While 8-string guitars have extra features, namely the addition of the 8th string and the construction to support it, these guitars don’t necessarily need to be overly expensive for those who want to make use of their benefits. Here, you will find some of the best affordable 8-string guitars, some under $500!
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Jackson JS32-8 DKA HT Dinky
Jackson guitars have been quintessential metal machines for about 40 years, and their designs have stood the test of time and can be purchased at various price points.
Jackson’s JS32 line of guitars is amongst their most affordable ones, coming in different shapes, but when it comes to 8-string guitars, the Dinky is the only one they offer in this line. However, you can’t go wrong with a superstrat shape for 8-string guitars, and this one has specs like:
- Poplar body with arch top
- 26.5” scale length bolt-on maple neck
- 12”-16” compound radius amaranth fretboard with 24 jumbo frets
- Hardtail bridge
- Jackson High Output humbuckers
If you’re looking for an 8-string for under 500 dollars, this is one of the best ones for the money. Like all Jackson guitars, this is made for performance, especially with their slim and comfortable necks, and the hardtail bridge offers better tuning stability than alternatives, which is why they are so commonplace on extended-ranged guitars.
One thing to note is that if you’re going for a specific sound, you might want to swap the pickups out for something more to your liking.
With budget guitars of any kind, this is a widespread practice – stock pickups aren’t always the best in them, and changing them out can make a massive difference.
Schecter C-8 Deluxe
Schecter is another brand that’s known for making budget-friendly guitars that are geared toward various types of rock and metal music, including ones that utilize very low tunings, hence why they have many extended-ranged guitars available for the masses.
Meet the Schecter C-8 Deluxe, yet another 8-string guitar that you can find for under $500. I’ve previously talked about the C-7 in my guide to the best affordable 7-string guitars, and this guitar shares similar features such as:
- Basswood body
- 28” scale length bolt-on maple neck
- Rosewood fretboard with 24 frets
- Hardtail bridge
- Schecter Diamond Plus humbuckers
An aspect of the Schecter C-8 you might like is that it has a longer scale length than the Jackson we just went over. Having more scale length produces extra tension on the strings, meaning they’ll be less wobbly. This is great if you want a tighter and more articulate sound, especially on the lower strings.
Overall, this is an amazing 8-string guitar for the price – it looks and sounds awesome, but once again, feel free to swap out the pickups.
The Schecter ones are good, but you might prefer something else like the EMG 808s, which can be found in the more expensive Schecter 8-string guitars, like the Platinum Damien 8.
ESP LTD EC-258 Eclipse
Looking for an 8-string that has a different body than your typical superstrat style? Then you’re in luck because the ESP LTD EC series, commonly called an Eclipse, takes on the classic Les Paul style and adds a much more modern take.
You can find Eclipses in various designs, including an 8-string version, the EC-258, which caters to people who love to chug in low tunings and enjoy playing large and complex chords. Here’s what this LTD Eclipse brings to the table:
- Mahogany baritone body
- 26.5” scale length mahogany set neck
- Jatoba fretboard with 22 extra jumbo frets
- Fixed bridge
- ESP Designed LH-308 humbuckers
If you’ve been playing guitar for a while, you might have seen LTD guitars already, which are a subsidiary of ESP Guitars.
LTDs are a budget version of the much more expensive ESPs, similar to how Epiphones are with Gibson guitars.
So, if you love Les Paul-style guitars and want an excellent one for under $1000 that’s modern and serves your 8-string needs, definitely give the EC-258 a look!
If you don’t know already, Ibanez, in addition to producing some of the best superstrat guitars for shredders, is also known for being the brand that led to modern extended-ranged guitars becoming more prominent due to world-renowned guitarists like John Petrucci and Steve Vai making great use of them.
In fact, Vai’s signature Universe model was the first mass-produced 7-string electric guitar, so naturally, like the innovators that they are, Ibanez made some of the first 8-string electric guitars for the public. The demand for 8-string guitars has grown massively, and nowadays, they’re accessible to anyone, with the RGMS8 model being a very solid 8-string guitar you can get for under $1000, which includes:
- Nyatoh body
- 27.26″-25.5″ scale length multiscale 5-piece walnut/maple neck
- Jatoba fretboard with 24 jumbo frets
- Mono-rail bridge
- Ibanez Array 8 humbuckers
One unique feature of this Ibanez 8-string guitar compared to the others is that this is a multiscale guitar. If you don’t know what these are and their benefits, click here to learn more about multiscale guitars and fanned frets.
However, if you want a quick rundown, multiscale guitars like the RGMS8 have a longer scale length for the lower strings and shorter for the higher ones.
As mentioned before, having this will help your low strings have more tightness; meanwhile, the higher strings will have less tension, allowing them to be easy to bend. Overall, like most Ibanezes, this one is incredibly comfortable to play and sounds brutal yet versatile, which is precisely what you want in an 8-string guitar.
8-string electric guitars might be considered more niche even compared to 7-string ones, but those who love how they sound in various genres like progressive metal, djent, nu-metal, death metal, and even jazz and fingerstyle will appreciate having one of their own!
In this article, I’ve given you some fantastic options to choose from if you’re on a specific budget, namely if you’re after one under $1000. Some of them can even be purchased for under $500 and are among the most affordable ones on the market! That said, the 8-stringers we’ve covered were:
So whether you’re just looking to explore 8-string guitars for the first time or you’re looking for a real workhorse guitar without breaking the bank, there is something for you here, and hopefully, one finds its way into your hands, and you can start having fun with it soon!