Considering buying first 7 or 8 string guitar. Advice needed.
So a little brief introduction on my situation here. I work in the music industry, running a recording studio, doing live sound etc. I enjoy playing and listening to ALL styles of music. When I was younger I was into a lot of metal, and played in a few experimental type metal/rock bands that sounded along the same lines as Tool etc
Nowadays, I play every weekend with a successful blues band - we do festivals and clubs etc with a busy schedule. Because I am so busy with this, I invested a lot of time and money into a good gigging rig for this. I have a 25TH Anniversary Swamp Ash Special PRS with narrowfield pickups, and an Orange Dual Terror amplifier with a custom built cab. My pedal board is mostly all my own hand built pedals which I do as a little side business.
I spent a lot of money on that guitar, its my main axe. For noodling around the house I use a little Ibanez JS100 that I put my own pickups in.
But I really, REALLY miss playing heavier stuff. I am really interested in low tuned stuff, and I really would love to have a guitar that would allow me to start playing around with real low tunings. I enjoy anything from Meshuggah, Deftones, hell I even enjoy stuff that is often considered by many musicians to be less credible - Korn etc! I just love that low sound in general.
I'd like you guys to give me a little advice:
Firstly, 7 or 8 string? Since I am used to 6 string guitars, the jump up to 8 seems like it would feel a little uncomfortable for me. Am I correct in saying that I can still play along to most tunes recorded with 8 strings, using a 7 string guitar with the low strings tuned the same (Meshuggah stuff etc)? I'm not a shredder by any means, so I am guessing I'd just be messing around with low note rhythmic stuff.
Also - what guitar brands and models would you guys recommend? This is just for my own enjoyment at home and I've already spent a fortune on my PRS so I want something decent but fairly cheap. If I got really into it, I'd like something that was still half decent in the event I ever was to play it live. Even if it means buying something that requires a change of pickups. I really don't have much knowledge on the reputable models when it comes to 7 or 8 stringed guitars. For example, I am also considering buying a Fender Strat for my blues stuff as a backup, but I know a Mexican Standard would be more than enough for me.
Hope I am making sense here. Just need to know if I can make do with 7 rather than 8 strings, and if there are certain models out there recognised as very reasonably priced 'industry standards'.