Get the lowdown on the guitars that Meshuggah use in our complete Meshuggah Guitars Guide, with tunings, signature models, budget alternatives and more
Find out all about the guitars that Meshuggah use to get extreme metal, djent, and groove metal tones, including Meshuggah Signature Guitars and the budget alternatives at PMT.
Famed for their use of extended range instruments, we’ll also check out the Meshuggah 8-string tuning and 7-string tuning, exploring how guitarists Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström set-up their guitars for different songs.
Formed by vocalist Jens Kidman and originally signed to iconic label Nuclear Blast, the band has experimented with their music across the years since the release of 1991 debut album ‘Contradictions Collapse’.
The name Meshuggah comes from a Yiddish word meaning ‘crazy’ - an appropriate way to describe many of the tones that the group manages to wrangle from their instruments.
Whether you want to sound like Meshuggah did when they recorded live on 2016’s ‘The Violent Sleep of Reason’, or you’re chasing the tones from the band’s earlier years - keep reading to find out all about the Meshuggah guitars and how to rig-out like this Hall of Fame worthy metal band..
What Guitars do Meshuggah Use?
As we’ve already mentioned, a huge part of the Meshuggah sound is tied to downtuned and alternate tuned guitars.
To help get to these extra-heavy frequencies, the band has pioneered the use of extended range guitars - starting off with 7-string instruments before moving on to 8-strings (and even 9-strings more recently!)
Here, we’ll look at the guitars that Meshuggah play most frequently, and then explore a couple of brands that allow you to get the Meshuggah guitar sound on a budget..
Mårten Hagström’s 8-string M80M model is loaded with awesome features and is finished in a gorgeous Weathered Black colour.
The single Lundgren Model M8P Pickup is set in a classic Ash body, with the extra-long scale neck (29.4”) reinforced with two KTS Titanium rods for perfect stability.
Straight from the factory this guitar comes set-up tuned to 1D#,2A#,3F#,4C#,5G#,6D#,7A#,8F - but more on that later..
Ibanez Stoneman (AKA Ibanez FTM33)
This tasty axe was designed in collaboration with Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, displaying his eclectic style that is at the core of the prog metal and djent sound.
This model is fitted with a twin set of Lundgren M8P humbuckers which provide unbeatable clarity and definition even when your strings are downtuned into the lowest, heaviest frequencies.
With 8 strings and a 27” scale length, the factory tuning also comes set at 1D#,2A#,3F#,4C#,5G#,6D#,7A#,8F. The guitar also features the same neck reinforcements as the M80M for complete balance across the fretboard, in addition to the awesome Weathered Black finish.
The industrial pickguard and unique body shape are certain to turn heads - and that’s before it’s plugged-in and the brutal tones are unleashed!
Meshuggah Guitar Alternatives & other Extended Range Guitars
Although Meshuggah have turned to 8 string guitars in more recent years, they have also used 7 strings extensively in the early years of the band.
At PMT we love 7, 8, and 9-string guitars - shop our full range of extended range instruments here:
As we’ve already mentioned, Meshuggah are big fans of Ibanez guitars. The brand have been trailblazers in the world of extended range guitars, ever since the launch of the Steve Vai inspired Universe model from 1990 - a guitar that Meshuggah have certainly made use of.
Our picks for replicating the Meshuggah tone without breaking the bank, however, come from Schecter.
Schecter makes plenty of awesome high-end guitars, but also manufactures 7 and 8 strings at budget-friendly prices - catering to all players who appreciate the ability to experiment with downtunings and the other possibilities that extra strings bring.
Check out all of our Ibanez and Schecter electric guitars here:
As noted above, the Meshuggah Signature 8-String Guitars come set-up from the factory with the following tuning:
1D#, 2A#, 3F#, 4C#, 5G#, 6D#, 7A#, 8F
In the earlier days of the band - when they relied on 7 strings and before 8 string guitars were readily available - it was common for them to tune up in B♭ tuning as follows:
B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, B♭, E♭
This is a half-step below what would be considered ‘Standard Tuning’ on a 7-string guitar.
When the band switched over to 8-string guitars then, it made sense for them to start off playing in the same tuning but with an additional F on the lowest string:
F, B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, B♭, E♭
On certain songs, the Meshuggah guitarists will tune the lowest string to E, E♭, and sometimes even to D (such as on the song ‘Obsidian’). On the song ‘Spasm’, you’ll find the lowest string an entire octave below the next, meaning the guitar is set-up to the following:
B♭, B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, B♭, E♭
‘Mind’s Mirrors’, from the album ‘Catch Thirtythree’, even sees the 8th string tuned to E0!
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
Although it might seem as though the Meshuggah guitar tone is difficult to replicate, you should now know what sort of guitars the band uses and how they set them up - which is half of the battle!
Now you’ll be able to start writing your own Meshuggah-inspired riffs, with a better understanding of how extended range instruments and downtuning are integral to the sound.
No matter if you want to use the Meshuggah tunings in your own music and experiment with riffs, chords, and high-gain tones to find something unique to your playing style, or you just want to play along with some of your favourite Meshuggah guitar parts - check out all of our extended range instruments here and read our guide to alternate tunings:
Want to learn more about the gear your favourite artists use? Need to find out about the latest guitars, amps, and effects at PMT? Call us on 0151 448 2089 or check out your local store to speak to one of our Experts about your needs.