Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: California, USA
The End Of The Universe?
I'm not sure that the 7-string or the Universe for that matter is dead, however it has certainly peaked for a while in terms of popularity.
Just the fact that lots of other companies are now making 7s doesn't mean that the 7-string is losing support. *Look around at your old guitar mags. *In 1992 (two years after Motley Poison Halen Whitesnake earning sunk like the Titanic) the mags were still full of Nuno Bettencourt, Vito Bratta, Vai and others. *Musician's Friend carried more rack gear than they did guitars. *GMCs were being featured in GHS strings ads! *The problem is that people look to magazines and retailers to tell them the future of guitar, and magazines and retailers look to the people to tell them what they want. *So generally, even when there is a change in popularity it takes the mass of retailers and magazines a while to take notice and change.
Now, at least 3 years after the fact, most guitar companies have managed to issue a 7-string guitar. *This year, nearly 5 years from Korn's debut album, Ibanez has issued a sig. model. *I think we will see a general shrink in the 7-string market as it becomes a regular item and not a fad. *Most likely, the very high and low end will remain and most of the middle will drop out. *There will probably still be a Universe, and there will probably be some Chinese made plank like the Squire 7-string too. *I don't think we'll see continued proliferation though. *Don't expect the Les Paul 7 to be a hit. *I wouldn't look for Fender to push 7s either. *I think it will be a market niche, but no longer a cutting edge product that every brand tries to reinvent.
Remember in 1989 (7 years after Ed started pushing it) Gibson outfitted Les Pauls with Floyd Rose Trems? *If it wasn't double-locking, it didn't sell! *The fad wore off and Gibson returned to their stop-tail. *The Heavy Metal STRAT died out and Floyd's became another market niche. *This seems pretty similar.
I think for Steve, the 7 is something of a distraction. *He fools with it occasionally. *P&W was full of it. *Just like UZ was full of sustainer. *It's a tool. *He used it for a while and now he's using other stuff. *He might come back to it, maybe not-but I would imagine that as long as it's profitable, Ibanez will keep making a few of them.