5 best fanned fret multiscale guitars reviewed: 6, 7 & 8-strings

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  November 17, 2022

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A multiscale guitar has a fretboard that incorporates multiple scale lengths.

The thicker strings on the guitar are longer while the shorter strings are shorter.

This is achieved by positioning the bridge and nut at an angle so it has a ‘fanned fret appearance’.

Best fanned fret multiscale guitars

Multiscale fanned fret guitars are a favorite for many guitarists because they provide increased comfort, better control, and improved intonation.

If you feel that you need a fanned fret multiscale guitar in your collection, there are several models to choose from, but I feel this Schecter Reaper 7 is the best. It has an attractive body, a 25.5” scale length, a great bridge and pickups, and I just love the feel of the neck.

But if the Schecter is not for you (its body design is quite out there!), there are plenty of others out there.

In this article, I’ll review the Schecter Reaper 7 and other fanned fret multiscale guitars so you can pick the one that’s best for you.

Best multiscale fanned fret guitar for metal

SchecterReaper 7

A multiscale guitar designed to have a lot of gain while remaining very versatile with unbeatable intonation.

Product image

Best budget fanned fret guitar

JacksonDKAF7 MS X-Series Dinky GB

Its reasonable price tag makes it a great choice for guitarists that want to find out what it’s like to play on a fanned fret. The Jackson name means it has a great metal edge.

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Best 8-string fanned fret guitar

JacksonSoloist SLATX8Q

An 8-string guitar is a favorite with metal guitar players. It helps them better achieve drop-down tunings and it gets a nice bass tone.

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Best headless fanned fret guitar

StrandbergBoden NX 7

A headless guitar is a favorite for many guitarists. Since it is lighter weight, the distribution of mass brings the guitar closer to the body and the tuning is more stable.

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Best 6-string fanned fret guitar

Why would you use a fanned fret multiscale guitar?

A multi-scale guitar is known for it’s improved intonation and string tension. The longer strings on top provide a bassy tone while the high strings produce a smooth, clear upper range. The end result is an instrument that combines tight lower strings while still keeping the higher strings easily playable.

Additionally, the string placing and tension make for a more comfortable playing experience. Both soloing and rhythm playing are easier to achieve and guitar players have more control overall.

However, fanned frets have their share of pros and cons. Here are some to consider:

Pros of a multi-scaled guitar

  • Less string tension on the higher strings make them easy to bend so soloing is easier
  • More tension of the lower strings allows you to use lower gauge strings to enhance the sound
  • High strings produce a smoother sound
  • Low strings make a clearer, tighter sound and provide better intonation
  • More space between the higher strings makes it easy to play rhythms
  • Produces a progressive increase of string tension so they work better with most string gauges
  • Less cutting out of high and low strings

Cons of a multi-scaled guitar

  • Longer scale neck length takes some getting used to and may not be right for all players
  • A large fan can be uncomfortable for some players and make it difficult to form certain chord shapes
  • Limited pickup options although the market is improving
  • Limited production options although the market is improving
  • If you want a specific fan, you may have to get it customized

Multiscale guitars are most common with guitarists that play progressive and technical metal.

What to look for in a fanned fret multi-scale guitar?

  • Sound: As when buying any guitar, you will want a superior sound.
  • Durability: You will want your guitar to have a durable build so it withstands the test of time.
  • Comfort: A fanned guitar takes some getting used to, but ultimately, you will want one that is as comfortable to play as possible.
  • Fan: The fan you choose will have a direct effect on the sound. For instance, if you get a guitar 25.5”-27” guitar, it will have a 1.5” fan with each string getting .25” longer as it goes up from highest to lowest.
  • Other features: Because fanned fret guitars aren’t as popular as other guitars, you may struggle to find ones with specific features and pickups. However, every year, manufacturers are updating to make more models available.

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Top 5 fanned fret guitars reviewed

Now that we’ve gone over what a multiscale fanned fret guitar is and what to look for when you are guitar shopping, let’s take a look at what’s out there.

Best overall fanned fret guitar

Schecter Reaper 7

Product image
8.6
Tone score
Sound
4.3
Playability
4.5
Build
4.1
Best for
  • Great value for money in terms of playability and sound
  • Swamp ash sounds amazing with the coil split
Falls short
  • Very barebones design

Schecter is known for making metal guitars and with a name like ‘Reaper’ you know this model will be perfect for guitarists who play heavy music.

The body has a Swamp Ash finish that makes for a great alternative look.

The Reaper is a seven-string with a Swamp ash body and ebony fretboard. It has a hardtail Diamond Decimator hipshot string through body bridge and Diamond Decimator pickups.

Schecter reaper 7 multiscale guitar

The swamp ash body is similar to those used in many Stratocasters. That means you get a lot of treble for a bright pronounced tone or “Twang.”

Swamp Ash also gives a lot of sustain to hold your notes for longer.

The neck pickup is great when distorted and even better with the clean sound. In combination with the swamp ash, it has a very warm and defined tone, especially with the coil split.

At first glance I thought that the finish looked a bit cheap because it wasn’t finished across the side and the poplar top doesn’t have a high gloss so it looks a bit dull.

But it looks quite nice, kind of like a tiger’s skin.

The neck plays like a dream for me in a shredder-friendly C shape, and is made from mahogany and maple with a rod made of carbon fiber to reinforce it, the Reaper-7 is built to withstand all kinds of abuse.

An overall great multiscale guitar for metal, but a lot more versatile than it looks.

Best budget fanned fret guitar

Jackson DKAF7 MS X-Series Dinky GB

Product image
7.7
Tone score
Sound
3.6
Playability
4.1
Build
3.9
Best for
  • Very affordably priced
  • Bridge pickup sounds great
Falls short
  • Neck pickup in combination with poplar is very muddy

The Jackson DKAF7 is a Dinky model with 7 strings and a fanned multiscale fretboard.

It’s a budget guitar made of poplar with Jackson hardware and pickups.

Its reasonable price tag makes it a great choice for guitarists that want to find out what it’s like to play on a fanned fret. The Jackson name means it has a great metal edge.

It’s the best budget fanned fret guitar I’ve seen!

The guitar has an arched poplar body, and a one-piece bolted mahogany neck made of a durable graphite reinforcement and scarf joint.

The laurel 7 string fretboard has 24 jumbo frets. The scale ranges from 648 to 686 mm and the nut width is 47.6 mm.

It comes with 2 Jackson Blade humbucker pickups and features a volume control, a tone control and a 3 way toggle switch.

Best 8-string fanned fret guitar

Jackson Soloist SLATX8Q

Product image
8.5
Tone score
Sound
4.1
Playability
4.5
Build
4.2
Best for
  • 8-string guitar that still offers great playability
  • Affordable tonewood but great build
Falls short
  • Jackson Blade pickups can be muddy

An 8-string guitar is a favorite with metal guitar players. It helps them better achieve drop-down tunings and it gets a nice bass tone.

The Jackson Soloist is a great choice for metal guitarists looking into fanned fret guitars.

The guitar has a poplar body, a maple neck, and neck-thru attachments. The fretboard radius spans 12″-16″ Compound Radius (304.8 mm to 406.4 mm) with 24 fanned medium jumbo frets.

It has a 26″ – 28″ Multi-Scale (660 mm – 711 mm). It includes 2 HI-Gain humbucking pickups, one tone knob, one volume knob, and a three-way switch.

Its glossy black finish makes it an attractive choice.

For more great metal guitars, check out Best Guitar for Metal: 11 reviewed from 6, 7 & even 8 strings.

Best headless fanned fret guitar

Strandberg Boden NX 7

Product image
8.9
Tone score
Sound
4.4
Playability
4.3
Build
4.7
Best for
  • Perfectly balanced for standing
  • Very well built
Falls short
  • Very pricey

A headless guitar is a favorite for many guitarists. Since it is lighter weight, the distribution of mass brings the guitar closer to the body and the tuning is more stable.

The Strandberg Boden is a terrific choice for those in the market for fanned fret seven strings. It has a stand-out body and the extra string allows metal players to get lower lows.

The Boden has a Swamp Ash body with a 4A Flame Maple Top, a maple neck, and a Birdseye Maple fretboard.

Its acoustics make it perfect for lead and rhythm playing. It has Suhr passive pickups and Fishman active pickups that provide a natural sound even when amplified.

Its scale ranges from 25.5” to 26.25”. The body features a tone and volume knob and a three-way pickup selector.

It has bolt-on construction, a 20” fretboard radius, and 24 frets and it’s also available as an 8-string.

Best six-string fanned fret guitar

ESP LTD M-1000MS FM

Product image
8.1
Tone score
Sound
4.3
Playability
3.9
Build
3.9
Best for
  • Affordable shredding machine
  • Seymour Duncans sound perfect
Falls short
  • Bolt-on neck provides a little less sustain

Most of the guitars listed here are seven strings, but if you like the fanned fret style and prefer to keep things simple, the ESP LTD M-1000MS may be more your speed.

ESP’s have quickly gone from being a boutique brand to becoming a mainstream favorite, especially among shredders. They are known for producing attractive, great-sounding guitars.

This guitar has a mahogany body, a flamed maple neck, and a 5 piece maple purpleheart fingerboard.

The neck is thin and features 24 jumbo frets making for great playability and a wide range of tones. The scale ranges from 673 to 648 mm.

It has one Seymour Duncan Nazgul pickup and one Seymour Duncan Sentient pickup. Knobs include volume control and push-pull tone control.

Its locking tuners will keep you in pitch. Its attractive see-through black satin paint job makes it aesthetically pleasing.

Fanned fret multiscale guitar FAQ

Now here are some FAQ’s about fanned fret multiscale guitars:

Are multiscale guitars hard to play?

Multiscale guitars take some getting used to but most guitarists say that once you catch on, they provide a more comfortable playing experience.

This is because the setup follows the natural splay of your fingers on the fretboard.

What is the advantage of a seven-string guitar?

Many multiscale fanned fret guitars feature seven or even eight strings.

The added strings provide you with a wider range of notes to play without changing the tuning of the sixth string.

It also makes it easier to form chord shapes and makes for more convenient finger placement.

It provides low-pitched notes that are ideal for heavier styles of music.

What is the standard tuning for a seven-string guitar?

Seven string guitars have a top string tuned to B and all the rest of the strings are in standard tuning.

So while the seventh string is tuned to B, the rest of the strings are tuned to E A D G B E going down from the sixth string to the first.

However, many metal guitarists will tune the top string down to A to achieve better drop-down tuning, improved bass lines, and easier power chord formation.

Eight string guitars have a top string tuned to F# which many guitarists tune down to E for the same reasons they tune the B to an A on a seven-string.

Are multiscale guitars better?

That’s a subject that’s up for debate and really depends on the player.

However, most guitarists agree that the longer length of the lower string provides better tension.

They also claim that it evens out the tension on the guitar which improves the intonation.

What is a zero fret guitar?

Zero frets are frets placed at the headstock of guitars and similar instruments such as banjos, mandolins, and bass guitars.

If you look at these guitars, you will notice a few centimeters of space between the end of the neck and the first fret marker.

This setup works to keep the strings spaced properly. Some also claim zero fret guitars are easier to play.

The fanned fret multiscale guitar is a great choice for guitarists seeking benefits like improved comfort and intonation.

When it comes to fanned fret options, I feel the Schechter Reaper 7 is best due to its sturdy construction, its great looks, its seven strings, and its other features that provide terrific sound and versatility.

But with so many of these guitars on the market, you clearly have your work cut out for you.

Which will you choose as a favorite?

Just starting out with the guitar? Read Best guitars for beginners: discover 13 affordable electrics and acoustics

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

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