I recently read an article in Vintage Guitar magazine about a seven string Dreadnought project between C. F. Martin and Roger McGuinn. It seems this idea came about because McGuinn’s 12 String was damaged in flight. In an attempt to get that 12 string twangy sound the seventh string was paired to the G or 3rd, was 0.010″ or 0.012″ and tuned an octave higher. What they came up with interested me to the point that I took one of my older guitars out of inventory and made the necessary modifications.
The chosen one, is a guitar I built in 2012 that I call Woody. This guitar has been worked on before actually, so it was an easy choice. Three things had to happen to make this work. I needed to drill an extra bridgepin hole just below and behind the one for the 3rd string. The nut needs a seventh slot and the peghead needs another tuner.
Before I can drill for the new bridgepin it is necessary to check that the bridgeplate is wide enough to support this pin. In my case it was. If it had not been I could’ve added to it. After drilling the hole and fitting the bridge pin, (new just like the others), I slotted the nut for a .012 string about .080″ toward the 2nd string and 2 out of 3 done. Eventually I added another nut slot on the bass side as well. Placement of the string above or below the original string makes a difference in it’s presence.
The biggest part of this job was adding the tuner. I plugged the existing tuner mounting holes on the treble side and drilled four new ones. Having destroyed the finish on this headstock and also because it never had an HJ logo, I put in the logo and refinished the headstock.
I am quite pleased with the finished product. I have played it for a couple of weeks. The difference is very noticeable and can be more or less so depending on how you play and what you play. The one thing that really stands out to me is that when playing an A, B, C, D chords etc. by barring the d, g, and b strings it beats the hell out of a six string. Follow this link Roger McGuinn Explains the Seven String Guitar to see more.