Saturday, April 4, 2015

How to Be A Guitarist on the Internet who's not an Asshole: Part 5 of 7

5. Stop Getting Mad about ERGs AND How they're Usually Played

Among the modern guitarist community, no one is bigger bunch of blubbering, sob sucking crybabies than the butthurts who can't get over how guitars are being produced with more than six strings. These people fall right in line with the same bunch of pissant curmudgeons who can't understand why they should consider amp modelling instead of good-ol fashioned tubes, digital audio files instead of good ol' fashioned vinyl, or having to use "the Firefox" instead of "the AOL".

For the sake of all things heavy, we have been taking those old fashioned six-strings and we have been down-tuning them to an unplayable string floppiness that rivals my penis. To circumvent this flaccidity, we have been using thicker and thicker gauge strings so they can be tuned lower, yet maintain a playable firmness that also rivals my penis. But these thicker gauge strings, with their higher pounds of tension, put our skinny 6-string super strat necks in danger of irreparably warping. So, we built a bigger neck, we reinforced it, and for the sake of extra metal, we made it so that it could hold another, even thicker gauge string. All was well. Then we were like, fuck that, let's do it again. Then again. So now we have mainstream guitars being produced that allow you to go down a couple or several octaves while still maintaining a standard range of guitar tuning; but because that's not what John Mayer plays, everybody on YouTube is crying and shitting their dad jeans about it.

Their light, light, light blue dad jeans.

For simplicity sake, let's focus on the 8-string guitar. We'll focus on eight, because the seven string didn't really raise the ire of anybody, seeing as how every guitar player thinks Steve Vai is the greatest thing to ever happen since the blowjob was invented. We're not gonna make much mention of the 9-string guitar, because let's face it, that pretty much was a "fuck-it-why-not" novelty concept more than it was meant to be an instrument that has a genuine place in modern music. And no, there is no number of Rob Scallon videos anyone can send me to convince me of otherwise.

The eight string guitar has become wildly popular among young guitar players, especially with the increasing popularity of "djent" riffing and more progressive styles of playing. You might expect that a guitar with an "extended range" would be best used to add a greater complexity or depth to a musician's playing. This is evident in the music performed by bands like Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, Beyond Creation, Black Crown Initiate, Ihsahn, Allegaeon and some other bands I forgot to mention that someone will get mad about.

However, complexity is not the reason why anybody is buying 8-string guitars.

For every nuanced progressive type using the 8-string as an extended canvas with which to broaden the strokes of their artform, there are 10,000 brocore kids chugging away only at the lowest strings. And look, why wouldn't they? The F# string on an 8-string guitar provides you with the most maximum chug even with its standard tuning. These same sorts have been taking your traditional 6-string for decades and drop-tuning them to play low down, dirty shit anyway. Ibanez was just like "check it motherfuckers you don't have to restring and set up with a thicker gauge we did that shit for you homes" And there was many a tipping of flat-brimmed caps and raising of Natty Ice cans and gauging of ear lobes and inking of necks in celebration.

If I keep my fingers way up here on the fretboard for the photo, maybe everyone will be nice to me...
The biggest argument in favor of the Extended Range Guitar is that it can be used to its fullest potential creatively by someone who really knows what they're doing; that we shouldn't damn the instrument because of the stigma attached to it as a result of all its derivative, low-down riffers. While I agree to a point, I don't really see how that's a satisfactory defense for the instrument's existence; or even a proper acceptance of its purpose. Whether it's an 8 or a 9 string, we have to consider those 6 other strings, what with 22-24 frets to be pressed on that make this instrument just like any other electric guitar. All any 8-string is, is a regular guitar with just more guitar. So I can't wrap my head around everybody belly-aching about how players of 8-strings aren't fully "utilizing their entire fretboard." Obviously if you get a guitar with two extra lower strings, then you're specifically going for low, right? If someone wanted to primarily focus on notes from E to e, then why would they pay the extra money for two of these extra oversized strings? Extra strings that mind you, have to be properly muted and skipped over when playing the standard part of the guitar. Yes, I know baritone guitars are a thing, but they are far and few in between when it comes to market availability. ERGs, on the other hand, are coming out of the woodwork, (npi).

Regardless of whatever sort of higher-level playing can be accomplished on them, 8-string guitars are, and always were, just built for the low-bros. End of story. 

Yes, we have young guys like Tosin Abasi and Christ Letchford composing impressive and progressive music with their 8-string guitars. But let's be honest: their very best guitar playing featured on any of their albums is performed within the standard range of the fretboard. If both of these performers were left to make magic with only a six-stringed instrument in hand, I challenge anyone to prove to me that they wouldn't do just fine.

Musically, I mean of course. Abasi's 8-string usage is specifically what makes him so marketable as an endorser. Ibanez wouldn't be selling 70% of their cheap RG8s without that guy. And sure, these two guitarists throw everyone a lil' of that sweet muddy djent every once in a while in their music, if only to remind us that they have a guitar that gets that low. I also won't fail to mention that Abasi's guitar slapping and tapping technique is what truly sets him apart from other metal players, something that he does indeed utilize the lowest strings for.

But hey, we're all metalheads here. Well, I am. You're always up for question. Who the hell wants to slap? The only thing funky about any of us is our smell. Even the guy considered the modern standard for proper, progressive 8-string playing knows what that 8th string is really there for. It's for the chug, brah. It's for the riffage. It's for that deep chunky BJOW:

Guitarists on the internet, if they aren't against 8-string guitars altogether, love, love, love to complain how all of these 8-string guitars are being played by most of their owners. As if these instruments are being denied some sort of greater purpose by just getting chugged away on. What nobody here seems to be able to wrap their head around, is that getting low-riffed on is literally an ERG's truest purpose. So if someone with an 8-string guitar is on YouTube trying to showcase in a video the riffage that 8-string guitars are specifically hand-crafted to fucking make, you look like the only omega supreme second-coming of the bicentennial ultra quad ASSHOLE if you complain about them doing it in the comments section.

Lemme take us back once more to the car analogy to really drive home how much you infinitely and will always suck. Let's say you have some dude just showing a video of him and his buddies taking his Jeep Wrangler off-roading. A Jeep Wrangler is, when considering its most basic quality, a car. It does all of the car things like all other cars can. However, it's designed to also be great for off-road driving. So, because of this, you're gonna see a lot of guys who drive Jeep Wranglers sharing YouTube videos where they are presenting the vehicle being used in the way it was specifically designed to be used.

But now here you come to the video's comment section, and you bitch and fucking moan about how this guy didn't present you with a sufficient idea of the trunk space, head and leg room, seating, miles per gallon, or how easy the vehicle is to parallel park. Do you have any idea how mind-numbingly full blown retard you would look if you did that?  I'll tell you: exactly as full blown retard as you actually are.

The point here is, just shut the hell up and let the kids go mudding: 

That thing will never properly intonate.  

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