I started making guitars in 2007 because I was irritated. I was in a heavy metal band with a guitarist who played a very high-end 7-string guitar, but as high-end as it was, it never stayed in tune. I finally decided, for our band’s sake, there had to be a way to build a better instrument.
Using my woodworking background and being somewhat of a math nerd, I started taking apart and measuring old guitars to understand how they were built. Then, using my experience as a practicing physical therapist, I redesigned the shape and profile of the neck to be more ergonomic.
Innovative neck shape
Where most guitar necks are C-shaped, mine are shaped more like a flattened D, similar to a classical guitar neck. Many professional musicians suffer overuse conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome from curling their fingers around traditional necks. But the S7G shape forces your hand to stay in standard position, just like a back brace forces you to sit up straight. It allows you to rely on strong hand muscles instead of fine finger muscles so you can play faster and longer without fatigue.
Early on, I built two guitars for one of our first artists: one with my new neck design, and one with a pre-made neck from another company. He called me complaining that his arm was sore after a day of recording in the studio. It turns out, he was playing the guitar with the standard pre-made neck. He switched to the S7G neck the next day, and spent six hours recording with no pain at all. He instantly noticed the difference in playability.
Extended scale length
While comfort is a big issue for a lot of musicians, ergonomics don’t matter if the guitar doesn’t sound great, too. We innovated our guitar necks, not just in shape, but also in length, because scale length is directly proportional to tone. Our instruments have an extended scale, partly due to having more frets than an average guitar. In other words, the industry’s “extended scale” is S7G’s “standard scale.”
Customers come to S7G specifically for that extended scale length and extra fretwork, and they keep challenging us to innovate even further. For example, we’re working on a 32-fret custom guitar for someone right now.
I started the business to focus “strictly” on making 7-string guitars while providing more options for extended range. But once artists starting noticing the difference a Strictly 7 Guitar made, both in ergonomics and tone, they started asking for 6-string, 8-string and 9-string guitars and basses too. As the company has grown, we’ve been able to upgrade our equipment and hire more talented craftsmen so we can add these new requests to our repertoire and continue innovating.
There may never be such a thing as the perfect guitar, but our goal at S7G is to make it the most perfect it can be as we keep tweaking and improving our instruments. We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re just trying to make it even rounder.