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bayoubengal1954

Conversion of a 12 String to a Six String.

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I am not a luthier or even very handy, but I'm lucky to have access to two good ones here in New Orleans and I thought some on this forum might find this project interesting, even though it does not involve a Gibson. If the Mods feel this post is inappropriate, I will understand.

 

I was wanting to buy a 70's Guild F30 because I love the tone and body shape (mahogany b/s) and they can be bought at a pretty reasonable price compared to old Gibsons and Martins.

 

The problem is that the nut width on many of them them can be as tiny as 1 5/8" (the specs say 1 11/16" but in my experience they seem to really run smaller).

 

As luck would have it, during the same era Guild made a 12 String called the F112 which had the exact same body shape as the F30. Two main differences: a slightly heavier build (which doesn't bother me) and of course a bigger nut width (1 13/16") to accommodate 12 strings. Nice!

 

When I got on the Let's Talk Guild Forum forum I found that a member had converted an F112 into a six string and was very happy with the results. He had done the work himself. I found and purchased a 1972 F112 and started corresponding with the guy about his experience. He was very gracious and helpful. I do not have his skills so I enlisted Aaron and Benjamin at Strange Guitarworks here in New Orleans to do the work.

 

They did this:

 

1.) They used the tuning keys at the 2, 4 and 6 positions and filled in the unused holes at the 1, 3 and 5 on the headstock.

 

2.) I bought six replacement tuning machines to replace the 6 on a plate that came with the guitar.

 

3.) Then of course they had to cut a new nut to get the spacing correct since the old nut was for 12 strings.

 

4.) Since we were only using the 6 front end pin holes, they filled in the back 6 holes.

 

5.) They refinished the headstock to somewhat camouflage where the six holes have been plugged.

 

I got it back recently and I could not be happier! It looks great and sounds even better. The nut width makes it so comfortable to play and it is a fingerpicker's delight. With the heavier bracing, I have found that medium strings make it resonate better.

 

Here are the before and after pictures:

Before:

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After:

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That’s awesome and something I’ve thought about doing many times! How is the bridge area? Any bellying? I’m guessing since there’s less tension, if it was flat before with a straight neck it should be really good now.

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That’s awesome and something I’ve thought about doing many times! How is the bridge area? Any bellying? I’m guessing since there’s less tension, if it was flat before with a straight neck it should be really good now.

Thanks! The bridge area is good and the seller (a guitar shop) had recently reset the neck. The project ended up running me $1214.70 ($712 for the guitar and $502.70 for the work which included the purchase and installation of a K&K pickup...that was $150 for that), so I was satisfied.

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Why not just string it with six strings and leave the rest alone. You may need to take 6 of the tuners off so they don't rattle, and then if you want to go back you can, but its not mine.

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Thanks! The bridge area is good and the seller (a guitar shop) had recently reset the neck. The project ended up running me $1214.70 ($712 for the guitar and $502.70 for the work which included the purchase and installation of a K&K pickup...that was $150 for that), so I was satisfied.

 

Right on man. Good price for a great unique guitar. I bet the nut width is a dream. I once had a little 63 Gibson f25 and it had a 2in nut width. I loved it. So I’m def a fan of that wide spacing.

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Why not just string it with six strings and leave the rest alone. You may need to take 6 of the tuners off so they don't rattle, and then if you want to go back you can, but its not mine.

I tried that, but the spacing at the nut was funky since it is made to accommodate 12 strings. You would have to experience it, and maybe it wouldn't bother you. To me, a new nut had to be made. The original tuners were on a plate, so removal of individual tuners was not an option.

 

I previously owned a 12 String and didn't enjoy it, so I don't need to go back. :)

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What a great idea and a unique result! I love the feel of Guild 12er necks, I bet that’s roomy and silky on the left hand.

 

The other beauty of it is that the bespoke conversion more or less forces you to keep the guitar as a lifer because it’s an entirely “you” thing and not something you’re going to be tempted to trade away, as I’d imagine the trade value of a converted 12 would be largely unknown.

 

I’d love to do a project like this, it’s a real signature instrument that will undoubtedly become uniquely associated with you as a performer.

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What a great idea and a unique result! I love the feel of Guild 12er necks, I bet that’s roomy and silky on the left hand.

 

The other beauty of it is that the bespoke conversion more or less forces you to keep the guitar as a lifer because it’s an entirely “you” thing and not something you’re going to be tempted to trade away, as I’d imagine the trade value of a converted 12 would be largely unknown.

 

I’d love to do a project like this, it’s a real signature instrument that will undoubtedly become uniquely associated with you as a performer.

 

Thanks, Jinder! Yeah, I knew doing this would destroy any resale value. It's definitely a "Me Guitar", for better or worse!

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.

The work looks well done. Glad you're so happy with your mods. Congrats! . B)

 

 

Just to add to the options for those that might consider this type of mod:

 

Martin's 7-String Roger McGuinn D7 Sig Model #121 - McGuinn is going for a little more fullness and shimmer with an octave pair at G. . Link

 

Taylor 8-String "Baritone" 326 - Taylor is after a little more shimmer and high end to go with the low tunings with octave pairs at D and G. . Link

 

Ibanez's 8-String AEL108TDNT. Ibanez is going for more jangle with octave pairs at B and high E. . Link

 

Taylor Custom 9-String. Here Taylor is going for more jangle with octave pairs at G, B and high E, but leaving single strings at low E, A and D for more clear bass notes. .

 

Michael Kelly 10-String Triad 10E. Kelly is going for more or a 12-string jangle with octave pairs at D, G, B and high E, but leaving single strings at low E, and A for more clear bass notes. . Link

 

 

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Edited by BigKahune

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Looks real good, plus if you ever get a wild hair, drill out the plugs, put the old nut and tuners back on.

I had a 60's twelve string Hagstrom that I only strung up as a 6-string and I really liked the wide neck.

They did a real good job on it.

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Congrats on creating something to suit your needs and imagination.

 

 

Looks real good, plus if you ever get a wild hair, drill out the plugs, put the old nut and tuners back on.

 

This is also what crossed my mind- a totally reversible experiment. . . you or the guitar's next keeper can always go back to twelve- you might've just bought it another fifty years of trouble-free life.

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