We’ve said it a million times when reviewing Strats and Les Pauls and such – the guitar industry is generally fueled by nostalgia. Why else would 60 year old guitars that are arguably of lower build quality than today’s CNC produced models command six figures in so many cases?
There is also no shortage of new and contemporary guitar shapes, but the issue here is that they’re often so radical, with aesthetics above all else, that they simply don’t work. This is why we find it so genuinely exciting when something new pops up and actually works on pretty much every level. Take for instance, the Strandberg Boden Prog NX7. The Boden family has been with us for a little over ten years, and in that time, it has generated a stellar reputation for playability, build quality, and of course, tones.
It’s for this reason that we named the Strandberg Boden Prog NX7 as our Editor’s Choice in our roundup of the best 7 string guitars. This was a huge win for a guitar from a relatively niche company, and in this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll explain in much greater depth why this award was so well deserved for the Strandberg.
If you’re in the market for a high end 7 string guitar, you won’t want to miss this!
Who is This For?
The Strandberg Boden Prog NX7 is, without a doubt, marketed toward serious guitarists. Unlike many of the 7 string models on the market, however, it’s not aimed strictly at metal players. Its Fishman pickups work perfectly for a wide range of musical styles, and its feel and playability are optimized for advanced players to squeeze every ounce of performance from this guitar.
It may not appeal to those with more conservative taste in guitar design, but if you like to stand out, this is definitely the guitar for you.
Appearance / Features / Controls
The guitar we received for the purpose of this test was finished in Charcoal Black, and it had an amazing flamed maple veneer. It’s probably the most subtle of the finishes for this model, which include walnut burl, and quilted maple tops, too.
The primary construction material for the body was swamp ash, which we absolutely love as a tonewood. It’s super light weight, and the grain visible on the back of the guitar was spectacular.
It had a maple neck and was carved into Strandberg’s incredible EndurNeck profile. It’s a 5 point bolt on neck, with a rear shafted trapezoid design. It’s not particularly conventional, but then, very little about the Boden is. The neck was reinforced with carbon fiber for exceptional performance, and the way in which the heel is carved allows for insane upper fret access.
Topping the neck was a Richlite fretboard. To be honest, it was extremely unusual to see a guitar of this caliber equipped with a synthetic fretboard. But then again, Richlite is sustainable, consistent, and it looks and feels great – it’s always nice to say you have an ebony fretboard, but in terms of a modern look and feel, we actually think this was a great choice.
The frets were fanned, giving it a dual 25.5 – 26.25 inch scale, and it had a super flat 20 inch radius.
As for the electronics, it came with a pair of Fishman Fluence humbucking pickups. These are some of our absolute favorite active pickups, and they suit the Boden perfectly. Being headless, the tuning gear is all at the bottom of the guitar. It featured string locks and cylindrical tuning heads.
Performance / Sound
One of the single most striking things about the Standberg Boden is just how little it weighs. At just 5lb, it’s one of the lightest solid body electric guitars on the market, and this made a massive difference in terms of comfort and playability.
The EndurNeck profile was another huge plus for the Boden. The trapezoid shape felt a little unusual at first, but we quickly found our hands settling into it, and honestly, this made it difficult to transition back to standard rounded necks after the test. The way that the heel was carved gave it a great feel when playing around the upper frets, too.
One of the biggest draws of the Boden Prog NX over the standard Boden 7 was the inclusion of Fishman Fluence pickups. They were absolutely incredible in terms of performance and a totally perfect match for this contemporary masterpiece of a guitar.
The neck had a Fluence Modern 7 Alnico unit. In voice 1, tonally speaking, it was very much what you’d expect from an active Alnico pickup, but with much stronger dynamics and incredible articulation. It sounded huge, with superb warmth and amazing clarity. Voice 2 gave us a much cleaner, smoother tone with tons of body.
In the bridge position, it had a ceramic Fluence Modern 7 pickup. Voice 1 was super hot and perfect for high gain tones and modern metal styles. It was super composed, with a tight mid range and tons of on-demand growl. In the second position, it had a traditional passive ceramic sound that was crazy responsive to changes in attack and gave us thick, nasty distortion.
The bridge was Strandberg’s own EGS Rev 7 Tremolo, and we found it to be one of the best performing trem bridges we’ve ever played. Tuning stability was absolutely impeccable, even after heavy use, and the range of pitch shift we got from using this bridge was insane.
Other Guitars to Consider
The Strandberg Boden Prog NX7 is, in our minds, the undisputed king of the 7 strings. It’s got everything – looks, tones, playability, you name it. It is worth bearing in mind, though, that it does come with a pretty hefty price tag attached, and before spending that kind of money, you might want to weigh up a couple of alternative options first – below, we’ve picked some of our favorites.
If you’re after a more traditional looking guitar than the Strandberg, they don’t get more traditional than the Ibanez Martin Miller Signature MM7. This is a Super Strat style 7 string, and just so happens to be one of Ibanez’ flagship Japanese made models. Aesthetically speaking, this guitar is absolutely stunning, and it delivers big time in terms of tone, playability, and comfort.
The ESP E-II Eclipse-7 Evertune has an even more conservative look than the Ibanez but is jam packed with high end features like the amazing evertune locking bridge that will keep even the most demanding players happy. It has a Les Paul style body with phenomenal ergonomics and is outfitted with Seymour Duncan Pegasus & Sentient pickups for a huge range of tones.
Final Thoughts on the Strandberg Boden Prog NX7
If you’re trying to make a statement or just get a conversation going, there are few guitars that will attract the kind of interest a Strandberg Boden Prog NX7 does. It’s a very unique looking guitar that we think will age far better than the majority of today’s contemporary extreme designs.
We found it to be extremely comfortable, with effortless playability and some amazing tones for practically every genre. It does jazz as easily as it does djent, and that alone should be enough to pique your interest. The build quality is absolutely phenomenal, and we have no doubt that as soon as you pick one up you’ll never want to put it down.