Ibanez makes guitars that are generally built for speed. As bigger companies go, they’ve also been one of the more forward-thinking and accommodating of new things (the first to offer a solid body 7 string, first commercially available 8 string, early to the game with a 9) and now they’re pushing the envelope again. At NAMM this year, Ibanez unveiled their prototype multiscale 7 & 8 string guitars and 5 & 6 string production SR basses.
For those unclear on the concept, a multiscale neck allows for ideal string tension on each string across the neck. If you’ve ever looked inside a piano, you’ve seen this concept in action – the lower strings are longer, the higher strings are shorter. If you’ve ever tried to tune your guitar down, you’ve experienced a flop situation to some degree – standard scale guitars are intended for standard tuning. You can get away with it to a certain point, but there’s a better way.
I can tell you from playing them that it takes a little getting used to, but really anyone can do it. I see this concept gaining a serious foothold in the coming years, in the same way as the Well Temperament from the era of Bach made for excellent intonation in all keys and is still used today.