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Thinking of 12 strings


bassetman

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Guild makes a fine 12-string. They tend to play well, stay in tune, and are quite well built. Many here would happily opt for a Guild if 12-string fever was upon us. I've found that 12-string guitars don't lend themselves to as many applications 6-stringers, but have a dimension all their own. Transition is mostly a matter of learning to achieve what you consider to be the 'best' 12-string sound for you and your material - and deciding where and how it can enhance your performance. I've never permanently adopted one - though have owned a few - because I played them so seldom.

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I tried out a Taylor 362CE from Russo's. Brought it home and returned it 3 weeks later. Let me start by saying that that 12-string is fantastic - it is comfortable, looks great, has a short scale and slightly wide neck that makes it easy to play. I thought it might be a good guitar to gig and record with from time to time. After a few recordings, and sessions - playing TP's Yer So Bad etc... I realized that for me it was like a parlor trick and not with my style. A great guitar, a great sound, but a one trick pony.

 

Now keep in mind that Leo Kottke would (rightfully) disagree... As would Jinder (didnt he just pick up a Bird 12?)!

 

Try out the Guilds, and try out the Taylor too. For me it wasnt worth tying up the money in this limited use guitar (for me).

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As has been said 12 string guys spend half their time tuning and the other half playing out of tune. I have kept a 12 string around for years. There is an itch that only a 12 string can scratch. I started off with a Westerly Guild and then went to a 1963 Gibson B45-12 and then onto a pre-War Regal Jumbo 12.

 

To me a 12 string sounds like a 6 string with a chorus pedal. I play the same stuff on a 12 string as I do on a 6 string. But there are certain songs that only really seem to work on a 12 string. There is a nice compromise out there though - a 7 string guitar with the octave G added. The first time I had ever heard one was on a Spider John Koerner LP. I cannot really explain it but I played one of those McGuinn Martins and it really did come off as a 12 string without the usual hassles associated with them. In fact, I am seriously considering adding a banjo tuner to one of my Harmony Sovereigns.

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Have an opportunity at a guild not sure on the model.

 

I am a HUGE Guild 12-string fan. They're the best!

 

How hard is the transition?

 

No biggie. If you can play a 6-string, you can play a 12-string.

 

If the Guitar checks out I'm quite tempted.

 

You know all the checks? Neck angle? Saddle height? Hoping for a NGD with pics!

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Welcome to the scary world of 12 strings.....[thumbup]

 

As mentioned, tuning and neck stability issues come to the fore.....:blink:

 

But they are special instruments.....being rare on the live circuit, they command attention and can sound amazing....

 

Some players use them as a novelty for a few tunes....others strum them for a whole set

 

Others play finger style a la Leadbelly and Gary Davis

 

Some excellent choices available

 

Personal journey has included

 

Yamaha....Takamine....Breedlove....Taylor....Crafter....Ovation....Eko....Fender.....

 

Heard good things about Guild and Gibson 12 strings

 

I gig with a Breedlove, Fender and Taylor 354.....all sound great through a decent PA.....[thumbup]

 

Concert pitch can be hard on the fingers and strain the neck

 

Down tuning to C# or C relieves the neck but introduces tuning and capo issues

 

I like having one or more low end 12's like the Fender and Takamine G Series....plus a med/high end Taylor

 

Suggest easing in to the 12 string way of life : the low entry level guitars available (including Epiphone) are excellent and can be had for around £400

 

V

 

:-({|=

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I love 12ers, although in 25yrs of playing, my Hummingbird 12 is the only top end one I’ve owned. It’s a revelation compared to the cheap 12s I’ve owned. Because the Hbird 12s are scarce, if mine hadn’t been available I probably would have sought out a secondhand Taylor 555. I like Guild jumbo 12s but the examples I’ve tried have been exceptionally heavy. Maybe I’ve just picked up some particularly heavy examples, but the Bird feels around half the weight of any Guilds i’ve played-it’s a very lightweight guitar for a 12.

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I should add that I’m a massive fan of the way Guild 12s sound, and have recorded with them many times. If I played live sitting down, I would have bought one many years ago.

 

A former bandmate had a ‘74 Guild F212 which was one of the most beaten up (but still playable) guitars I’ve come across. Cleated cracks galore, major bellying and bridge roll, clearly not well kept, but it had had a neck reset at some point and boy, did that thing play like butter and sound like sweet bells. We toured with it, recorded with it and it was rock solid tuning wise and the action and intonation were 100% perfect all the time.

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I bought a Taylor 150e a couple of weeks ago. It's my first 12 String. I wasn't really looking for a new guitar but played it at my local shop and was very impressed. For $700 out the door it's a great choice, excellent playability and holds tune very well.

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I bought this 12-string a while back. If Liberace played guitar, I bet this would be the one.

 

https://www.thomann.de/se/gretsch_g5022cwfe_12_falcon_rancher.htm

 

I bought it simply because I wanted to try a 12-string, and I thought it looked so over the top. I love the look for what it is. If this was my one and only guitar, there is no way I would want such a look, but for a speciality guitar, my reasoning was different. Why not be a little wild and crazy sometimes, when all my other guitars are strictly traditional. I did not find it vey difficult to play at all. However, I do tune down half a step and use a capo when needed.

 

This particular guitar has a solid top and laminate back and sides. I have limited experience with 12-strings, but I think this one sounds great. I bet a Guild would be even better!

 

Lars

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I’ve heard good things about the seagull 12s but they are only online and at that price I’d have to play it first. The mid price guild is the fall back . I have to try it at this point or I will never know if it is for me. I’d rather get a good instrument and loose a bit if I sell it than get a bad one and loose it all or get a “project” to fix.

 

I could start a nearly identical thread on mandolins. The Breedloves look nice.

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I should add that I’m a massive fan of the way Guild 12s sound, and have recorded with them many times. If I played live sitting down, I would have bought one many years ago.

 

A former bandmate had a ‘74 Guild F212 which was one of the most beaten up (but still playable) guitars I’ve come across. Cleated cracks galore, major bellying and bridge roll, clearly not well kept, but it had had a neck reset at some point and boy, did that thing play like butter and sound like sweet bells. We toured with it, recorded with it and it was rock solid tuning wise and the action and intonation were 100% perfect all the time.

 

My first real guitar was a Guild. It now belongs to my brothers son. I still have a great fondness for Guilds in general.

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Speaking as the previous custodian of Jinder’s HBird and present owner of

J200-12

Songwriter12

B45-12

Ovation Glenn Campbell 12

Cort something or other 12

 

I confess the one guitar I’d really like is. Guild F512 or even better F612

Only problem is everyone I’ve picked up when I’ve had the dosh has disappointed

 

Found a 612 last year but I had just bought the J200-12 and another guitar at that time

spelled certain divorce

 

I has a Seagull in the late 60s which was a lovely player and subject to your budget I’d suggest you try them

The headstock looks a tad strange but great for 12s as strings are much straighter twixt nut and peg

 

And to answer the playability question

A little more effort is needed even with the narrower neck Ovation

 

Buy one soon before you’re 67 and “Uncle Arthur “ is having a go at your hands

 

Good luck in your quest

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Suggest easing in to the 12 string way of life : the low entry level guitars available (including Epiphone) are excellent and can be had for around £400...

 

I eased in with a Takamine 12-string. It was pretty nice, played OK, just lacked the bass response of a higher end guitar. I liked it so much, I had to get me a Guild. My 2002 JF30-12 is essentially an F412, but lacking a bit of the bling. But, I mean, ebony fretboard and bridge, AAA sitka top, all for under a grand? GRAB!

 

gfj350.jpg

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Speaking as the previous custodian of Jinder's HBird and present owner of

J200-12

Songwriter12

B45-12

Ovation Glenn Campbell 12

Cort something or other 12

 

Dude, you are THE MAN! I noticed and wondered about a Songwriter12 recently. What's your take on that one?

 

F-612 = holiest of the holy grails!

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Dude, you are THE MAN! I noticed and wondered about a Songwriter12 recently. What's your take on that one?

 

F-612 = holiest of the holy grails!

 

 

I’ve had two

The first was an Dogs arse

Jinder and I discussed it the other day, it needed a collar and a lead

 

The one I have now cost £1200 and is a players guitar little ragged here and there but on the other hand maturing nicely ( it’s a 05)

The smaller body is very comfortable and of course it’s rosewood

 

I like it very much iy plays better than the J200

 

Interested on your Guild

I had a look at rue JF512 ( if that’s the correct model)

But (heresy) I’d really like a Brazilian Rosewood from the 60/70s

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Funny now to think of it but if you go back to the later 1930s the only U.S. companies even offering a stock 12 string were Regal and Harmony (beginning in 1935 even the Oscar Schmidt 12 strings like the one Leadbelly played were only available as a custom order). Jump ahead to the late 1950s and you narrow it down to Harmony alone.

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Well...the Guitar is a “Run Away!” Grade. There is a crack on the neck joint on the treble side .and it’s pulling away from the body enough to get paper in. Working on plan b as soon as I decide what that is. Rats. Would have been a good buy. My birthday is in a week so I have a justification free period.

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.

Too bad your 12-string find didn't pan out.

 

I'm a big 12 string fan. I currently have eight acoustic 12 strings:

. 1972 Epiphone FT-165 sitka/hog (sold off)

. 1979 Takamine sitka/hog .(Martin 12-28 clone)

. 1995 Gibson J-100 Xtra sitka/hog

. 2000 Martin J12-15 all hog

. 2007 Guild F-412 sitka/maple

. 2008 Gibson Songwriter sitka/rosewood

. 2011 Rainsong JM-3000 carbon fiber

. 2015 Taylor K-66 all koa

. 2016 Taylor 562ce all hog 12-fret

 

My favorite is the Guild F-412 - a bit on the bright side (but I like the jangle) and great volume range, sounding fantastic from gentle picking/strumming to strong strumming with powerful projection. . Most interesting is the Martin J12-15 - the all hog takes the edge off the high end jangle - warm and mellow. Most curious is the Taylor 562ce - it's a 12 fret 12 string, and being all hog again takes the edge off the high end. Most surprising is the Rainsong JM-3000 - even though it's all carbon fiber, the sound is unexpectedly balanced from bass to high end. <added> Most underrated is the Gibson Songwriter - I find it plays and sounds great; and can be purchased very reasonably used.

 

Regarding tuning and staying in tune: More strings means more ways to go out of tune. It's always wise to make sure the guitar is setup nicely with a well cut nut (special attention to the slot depths), as well as the correct saddle setup as some guitars require more compensations than just the B-string. This is especially true of 12 strings. One time I got a good deal on a 12 simply because the previous owner had a lot of trouble tuning it. I could see the nut slots for the high end strings and the low E weren't cut deep enough which was causing strings to sound sharp when fretted in the first three or four frets - I took out my nut files and it was an easy fix.

 

Some things to look at: Bridge tilt possibly accompanied by belly rise and or deck sinking. The neck angle. The saddle height.

 

Best of luck in your hunt. . B)

 

 

.

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Further to earlier post.......

 

My 'go to' 12 at the moment is my profile avatar Breedlove.....well built, large body with stylish headstock and good electrics

 

 

The opposite end was a Yamaha APX.....smallish, shallow body with excellent electrics....narrower neck than most, good for strumming....less so for finger style.....very popular on the live circuit. Had to be rebuilt due to neck bend even when down tuned with light gauge strings.....:blink:

 

 

The Taylor bolt-on neck tech is a life saver.....had my Taylor 12 re-shimmed and it has been stable ever since (down-tuned to C ).....a beautiful, bright instrument which is ageing nicely.....[thumbup]

 

 

It is logical and sensible to have more than one 12 string......[biggrin]

 

 

V

 

 

:-({|=

 

PS The post avatar is a low end Fender 12 which, with a Baggs pickup punches way above expectations.....[thumbup]

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