Unlike traditional 6-string guitars, 8-string guitars have two more strings. Allowing for a wider tonal range, they are used for a wide array of music genres: classical, jazz, metal, and so on. So, buying the best 8-string guitar is a wise decision for both beginners and experienced players who want to experience new sounding.

Due to the presence of additional strings, 8-string guitars have wider and longer necks than traditional ones. Although they have been on the market since 2007, they still remain a not-so-popular option among guitar players due to their unusual sound. So, how is an 8-string guitar tuned? Eight-string guitars have gained popularity thanks to their non-standard tunings. But if you are holding such a guitar in your hands for the first time, you may be confused about its tunings. In this post, we will go over the most common tunings that you can try out.

How to Tune an 8-String Guitar

With only eight strings, you can play up to 40 different notes. To make the process of tuning an 8-string guitar easier, you can use a tuning app or a tuner.

8-String Guitar Tunings

  1. Standard tunin
  2. The standard tuning for an 8-string guitar is F♯, B, E, A, D, G, B, E. You can also try tuning the F♯ to a low E (E1) to get a fuller guitar sound by using extra E. This tuning is used by such metal bands as Scar Symmetry and Deftones.

  3. F Tuning
  4. F tuning looks the next way: F – B♭ – E♭ – A♭ – D♭ – G♭ – B♭ – E♭. Most frequently, it’s used for metal music and helps maintain clarity on the higher strings. It could be heard in the music of bands like Meshuggah and After the Burial.

  5. E Tuning
  6. E tuning has such an order: E – A – D – G – C – F – A – D. This is another tuning variation used by metal bands. It’s preferred mostly by Meshuggah.

  7. Eb Tuning
  8. Eb tuning is as follows: E♭ – A♭ – D♭ – G♭ – B – E – A♭ – D. It’s, actually, similar to standard tuning and is used for metal music as well.

  9. A Tuning
  10. A tuning for an 8-string guitar looks like this: A – D – G – C – F – A – D – G.

  11. High A Tuning
  12. High A tuning (B – E – A – D – G – B – E – A) is used in Rusty Cooley’s songs who is known for his highly refined guitar technique.

  13. Drop E, Drop Eb, and Drop D Tunings
  14. Drop E tuning has such an order: E – B – E – A – D – G – B – E. It’s used for rock, heavy metal, and punk rock and also can be used for adding power chords. It also allows playing songs that are originally written for standard 6- and 7-string guitars. There are also Drop E♭ (E♭ – B♭ – E♭ – A♭ – D♭ – G♭ – B♭ – E♭) and (D – A – D – G – C – F – A – D) Drop D tunings that are also suitable for heavy metal music.

Certainly, there are many ways to tune an 8-string guitar. We recommend experimenting with those given in the previous paragraphs to find the tuning that suits you most. Start from standard tuning if you are not a seasoned guitar player.

However, it would be wrong to claim that any 8-string guitar can accommodate these tunings. This actually depends on the lengths of the scale and type of the strings. So, before buying a guitar, do some research to make sure that it can handle the tunings you need.