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Epi 12 recommendations?

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Howdy All. I don't get around these parts often, but was looking for a little advise. I'm in the market for an acoustic 12 string, preferably, an Epiphone. Just something to bang around on, so it doesn't need to be expensive. And, it has to be available in Natural. Any suggestions of models to start checking out? Thanks.

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Howdy All. I don't get around these parts often, but was looking for a little advise. I'm in the market for an acoustic 12 string, preferably, an Epiphone. Just something to bang around on, so it doesn't need to be expensive. And, it has to be available in Natural. Any suggestions of models to start checking out? Thanks.

 

Epiphone DR-212 is a great place to start looking for a quality 12 string guitar, and it comes in natural.. here it is on the link below, which is the Epiphone web site....MF and GC, or Sweetwater and others likely carry it, or can order it. Good luck, It's not real expensive either, but it plays like a million bucks! Just click here to see it... http://www.epiphone....tic/DR-212.aspx

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The DR212 might be nice but I'd recommend checking out the used market in that price range. That and if you're a fingerpicker you will want to try it out first, a lot of 12 strings have really tight string spacing at the bridge.

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The DR212 might be nice but I'd recommend checking out the used market in that price range. That and if you're a fingerpicker you will want to try it out first, a lot of 12 strings have really tight string spacing at the bridge.

So, in the used area, models to look for or avoid?

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So, in the used area, models to look for or avoid?

 

I've found the Godin family of brands make a nice cheap 12 string, usually solid tops with wide string spacing at the bridge. On the other hand Yamaha makes a FG720 in a 12 string model that's very tight at the bridge, but if you're primarily strumming that might be the one to go for.

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I've found the Godin family of brands make a nice cheap 12 string, usually solid tops with wide string spacing at the bridge. On the other hand Yamaha makes a FG720 in a 12 string model that's very tight at the bridge, but if you're primarily strumming that might be the one to go for.

 

I would not recommend the Gibson 12 strings, and the Yamaha guitars are just not that great. The Epiphone is certainly, by most peoples views, the best choice over those two.

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So, in the used area, models to look for or avoid?

At one point, I was ready to pull the trigger on a Hohner model with solid top and ovangol lam back and sides, dreadnought-size. Great volume, a very balanced sound and good action. I'm thinking McTell/Leadbelly action. I think the model was HW90. It is now discontinued, but they show up on ebay from time to time. Would've been $345 new. It went away before I got to it. Ya snooze...

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If you are an Epiphone fan like a lot of us, I say stay on the Epiphone path.

 

I have the Epiphone AJ-1812 and it plays like a dream. Great slope shoulder 12 string.

Got it for $140 used at Guitar Center.

 

Have played a couple of the PR-350-12's and missed them by being too hesitant. A mistake I will not make again.

 

 

 

 

There is a PR-350-12 on e-bay right now for a good price: PR-350-12 on Ebay

 

Even though they have laminate tops, the sound and playability are good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pat,

 

Like you, I don't venture here often, but a couple of years ago I did buy an Epi DR212 based on a best buy recommendation from Acoustic Guitar Mag. I've owned these before and know that they aren't everyday players and didn't want to dump a ton of coin for a once in a while sound. Epi DR212 is the answer. Under $200 new, natural finish, and works for me. YMMV

 

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-dr-212-12-string-acoustic-guitar

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You can't go wrong with the Epi at their price point. I had several 12s in the 70' most of them I tuned a step down and never had a problem. For future reference though, if I were looking for another serious 12 string, the only make I would recommend is Guild (and the ones made in the USA)

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I was looking at 12 string acoustics recently and was very much taken with the Fender CD100-12 which to me sounded much sweeter than the similarly priced Epi and Yamaha. Might be worth checking out.

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A lot of 12-string sound comes from the strings themselves. Another major part of the sound is in technique. The strings you choose and the degree to which you may play it detuned a half or whole step can make a difference along with technique.

 

The guys are correct about different nut widths - and string widths at the bridge as variables that may affect your playing comfort.

 

The Epi looks to be as good as anything at two or three times the price overall.

 

I'm looking for an AE, though. Haven't made a decision. If the Epi had a decent piezo AE setup at $300 or so it'd be a no-brainer and I'd have one in the proverbial moment in preference even to the Guild, I think.

 

Why that strong a comment? Basically it's that we're talking about an instrument that requires a pretty solid foundation for strings. Leadbelly played a Stella, but it was a far different instrument from the Harmony-made one I had in the early '60s. I knew of several, plus mine, that were refinished. A neck like a cave man's club, but solid. Floating bridge and tailpiece to lessen the pull of a pin bridge. It actually sounded quite nice either flat or fingerpicked. I'll wager that properly set up and miked for recording, few would realize it was an overengineered, very inexpensive piece that still worked quite well for its time and place.

 

m

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I would not recommend the Gibson 12 strings, and the Yamaha guitars are just not that great. The Epiphone is certainly, by most peoples views, the best choice over those two.

 

I'm not sure if you noticed I said Godin not Gibson. Godin is a Canadian brand, they make Art & Lutherie, Seagall, Norman, Simon & Patrick, La Patrie and obviously Godin guitars. High quality guitars at low price points. [thumbup]

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Leadbelly played a Stella, but it was a far different instrument from the Harmony-made one I had in the early '60s. I knew of several, plus mine, that were refinished. A neck like a cave man's club, but solid. Floating bridge and tailpiece to lessen the pull of a pin bridge. It actually sounded quite nice either flat or fingerpicked. I'll wager that properly set up and miked for recording, few would realize it was an overengineered, very inexpensive piece that still worked quite well for its time and place.

 

m

 

A Stella jumbo like Leadebelly played in the 1930s can run you in the $8K to $10K range these days. Years ago I owned one. Had I known it would be virtually impossible to replace it down the road I never would have traded it away. But back then you could find them in flea markets and hanging on junk shop walls. The all-birch Harmony Stella 12 string though while they are not in the ballpark are really not bad sounding guitars. I have developed kind of an affection for them especially the Concert size 912. In the 1950s they were about all that was available when it came to 12 strings. Even these were discontinued for a bit but brought back in the 1960s.

 

There are some Schmidt Stella clones out there like the Dell'Arte and Hauver but while they will not empty your pockets as quick as an original still are not what I would call cheap.

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I play an early 1963 Gibson B45-12. These were very lightly built which explains why they sound so freakin' good and why many have not survived. To keep the guitars from pulling themselves apart Gibson really beefed up the bracing in late 1964. Great for longevity but it sucked for sound.

 

For my money, the best buy in used 12 string guitars remains the Westerly-built Guild F-112 and F-212. Back in the late 1960s and 1970s, Guild set the standard which all other 12 strings were measured by and to me they remain the most undervalued guitars out there.

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I'm convinced overall that the "high quality" - spelled high price - acoustic 12s aren't that much better, if at all other than appearance - from some real cheapies. I've played even the $150 or so Guitar Center/Musician's Friend "Rogue" and it ain't all that bad. Hide the guitar from the audience and even if they're average pickers, I doubt they could tell the brand.

 

I know some will suggest burning me at the stake for that comment, but so much of any guitar has do do with one's technique. On a 12, both the octaved and unison strings will be inevitably just a tad off tune with each other. Play close to the bridge and you sound more like McGuinn's Ric - over the soundhole something more like you'd expect from a decent Leadbelly recording.

 

So many are detuned a step and capoed. That's an impact on "tone."

 

All have to be much heavier built than a 6, so we're not talking Hauser bracing questions on a classical guitar, but rather something along the lines of a bridge truss both on the body of the guitar as well as some neck concerns.

 

Too, for playability as has been mentioned, the nut width is very important.

 

And... I'm the grouchy old guy who continually states that what we think we hear in terms of tone, and what an audience really heard of our tone are two different things. We're the nutty pickers, they're the folks looking for entertainment.

 

Besides, usually the fanciest pickin' you'll hear on a 12 would be McGuinn or Leo Kottke or some rough equivalents. Note that at a certain point even with McGuinn's electric devices, there's something of a sound blur from a 12. I don't find it objectionable myself. Some simply hear sound 'stedda pickin.

 

I figure I'm almost leaning to an Epi 12 and ordering it from a store that could do the adding of a piezo and preamp along with the sort of setup I prefer.

 

<sigh> Too many guitars, too few years.

 

m

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Price and quality really don't enter into it for me as playing a DR-212 would be pure punishment with that 1.68 nut. That is flippin' narrow for a 12 string.

 

I would advise you make sure you are comfortable with the nut width and string spread before laying out your hard earned scratch on the Epi.

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Given differences in technique among us, I'd say that Zomby's comment is a major sales pitch also for purchasing at a store regardless that it may cost more one way or another.

 

And I agree.

 

m

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Correction: The nut width on the Epi DR-212 is 1.75 (1 3/4")

Faded...

Here's a link to a review I did on my DR212 when I got it. My calipers show the nut at 1.88. Just went to double check but my battery in the caliper is toast, so I'll have to replace that. All in all, for the coin, you can't really go wrong unless it's gonna be your primary player.

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/90035-ngd-12-string/page__p__1234603__hl__%2Bepi+%2Bdr+%2B212__fromsearch__1#entry1234603

 

Edit: DOH! Don't need a battery, just use the non digital indicators. Nut width shows just a hair under 1.9, so I'd say the digital 1.88 is pretty spot on.

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