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12 string thoughts

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It's taken 60 years of playing to get here, but I think I want one.   Do I?   Seems like learning  some 12 string skill and technique  would be enjoyable to me about now.   I'm leaning toward new and rosewood.  I'd appreciate some  thoughts on 12 string guitars themselves and what playing one is really all about .   Thanks everybody. 

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I’ve had a couple of Guilds in the past. Never had Rosewood, but for me it was more or less a waste  of time, & money. Played them a few times, but they spent most of their time in the case, & unplayed. My personal  preference would be Guild, though I understand that Taylor makes some good ones . I have no experience with the Taylor ones. Those seem to be the most popular.  Guild, & Taylor.

Edited by Paul14

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25 minutes ago, Paul14 said:

I’ve had a couple of Guilds in the past. Never had Rosewood, but for me it was more or less a waste  of time, & money. Played them a few times, but they spent most of their time in the case, & unplayed. My personal  preference would be Guild, though I understand that Taylor makes some good ones . I have no experience with the Taylor ones. Those seem to be the most popular.  Guild, & Taylor.

Ditto. 
I’ve owned four.  One a RW. After my four song repertoire of 12 strings I had no interest in it. 

Edited by Dave F

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I like 12 strings.  It might take a bit to get used to the string spacing, but a 12 with good action shouldn't be much harder to handle than a 6 in terms of getting clear notes and chords.  If you can get to a shop with some 12 string stock give them a try.

Guild - agree - yes . . . rosewood:  F-512.   

Gibson's Songwriter Deluxe is underrated - very nice.  I've got one (upper right in the pic) that has rosewood back & sides with ebony fingerboard and bridge.

 

e7Iz9tB.jpg

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53 minutes ago, BigKahune said:

I like 12 strings.  It might take a bit to get used to the string spacing, but a 12 with good action shouldn't be much harder to handle than a 6 in terms of getting clear notes and chords.  If you can get to a shop with some 12 string stock give them a try.

Guild - agree - yes . . . rosewood:  F-512.   

Gibson's Songwriter Deluxe is underrated - very nice.  I've got one (upper right in the pic) that has rosewood back & sides with ebony fingerboard and bridge.

 

e7Iz9tB.jpg

I never noticed much difference in playing a 6 string, or a 12 string. I have a friend who plays an 18 string guitar, that a Luthier built for him. It’s his main guitar. Sort of like a side show. That’s how he markets himself. “Johnny Bencomo, & his 18 string guitar” people come from miles around to see the show. You get a lot of (“how does he do that”) ,from the people at his shows. The headstock has snapped twice. He now sets it up to play tuned 4 steps down. Crazy!!! But it works for him.

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There is definitely a certain itch only a 12 string can scratch.  I have apparently had a hard time settling down with one though as I have owned four over the past 25 or so years  - a Guild F112,  a pre-War Regal Jumbo, a 1963 Gibson B45-12 and a 1961 Gibson B45-12 which I still have.   Never owned a rosewood body 12 stringer though.  Not that I have anything against rosewood but simply do not really plan guitar purchases.  They just tend to fall into my lap.

I have played a Guild F-512.  But I find Guilds a bit too jangly sounding.  The rosewood body guitar that does intrigue me are those Martin D12-25 12 fret anniversary models which were released about five years back.

  • Haha 1

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12 stringers are good to have available. Nothing sounds like em..    But you're not gonna wear the frets out in few years.

Think of going middle of the road on costs.  the USA guilds are superb but you may not want to go that $deep$

Same with Taylors with any models above the 300 series.   (400/500 etc) They've a 12 fret 12 I would LOVE to give a serious try.

For affordable guilds check The Westerly Collection.  which are MIC.

I bought a F1512 (Spruce/Rosewood) jumbo from this line up.  (About a grand new).   It needed a setup, but once that was right, the play ability is great and it sounds really good.  for the money, it is just what I was looking for..

Edited by kidblast

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3 hours ago, BigKahune said:

e7Iz9tB.jpg

I've never seen a 15 series Martin 12'er.

I own a Martin J12-16GT. They are out of production.  GT stands for Gloss Top. The back and sides are satin finished Hog. I don't touch it as much as my 6'ers. They are fun cause you get to tune twice and many strings and they need to be just right. String changes are fun too. Mine is a 2001. Got it about 2 to 3 years back. It was actually never sold and just sat in a store all that while. Got it for a great price. It needed several weeks of hydration for the luthier I go to get it right. You think an SG has neck dive. These are the kings. Guilds are also great 12'ers. My uncle has one from the 70's that sounds amazing.

ocnI6Hs.jpg

 

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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59 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

I've never seen a 15 series Martin 12'er.

I own a Martin J12-16GT. ...

<snip pic>

 

That's a nice looking Martin 16 you've got.

And yep, that's a 2000 Martin J12-15 - a bit unusual.  It's of course all hog - pretty mellow sound for a 12 string.

Another unusual one is the big 1995 Gibson J-100 Xtra with hog back & sides.  Lookin like it's big sister, the J-200 - the hog tones down the jangly highs.

I hope (OP) Hall is taking this all in.  Some good info on a topic that doesn't get much mention.

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Thanks so far everyone.   Yes, I am taking it all in right now.      This is the kind of info I am hoping for.  For sure not the best  time to get such an itch!      I have played 12 strings a bit here and there, but just a bit.   Never got serious before now.   So this is good thought material for me.   

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I went searching for a rich sounding 12-string - finally found it in my rosewood Martin Grand J12-40E Special - Martin's first true jumbo with a 17" lower bout - double the price of a Guild F-512 at the time and not a huge sales success - dropped from production after just 3 years - 2009/10/11 - only 231 ever made - better than a Guild F-512? - probably not.

Don't dismiss Taylor 12-strings while you're looking - excellent playability - they dropped the jumbo body and came up with their Grand Orchestra - a little narrower than the old jumbo but a little deeper - the real value standout in their lineup was the 458eR rosewood.

 

Wa3lG0Fl.jpg

Edited by Brucebubs

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50 minutes ago, BigKahune said:

 

That's a nice looking Martin 16 you've got.

And yep, that's a 2000 Martin J12-15 - a bit unusual.  It's of course all hog - pretty mellow sound for a 12 string.

Another unusual one is the big 1995 Gibson J-100 Xtra with hog back & sides.  Lookin like it's big sister, the J-200 - the hog tones down the jangly highs.

I hope (OP) Hall is taking this all in.  Some good info on a topic that doesn't get much mention.

I own D-15M. And had 2 before this one.

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Couple of nice 12-string collections on here!  Those 18-string guitars had to be built like an air raid bunker!  I remember when the Smith 18's were around and were a big deal; they never interested me much.  But I've never been without a 12, from the cheesy cheap Mexican first one I bought, through a couple of Framus Texans (interesting guitars with a unique sound), a couple of B-45-12's and an Alvarez with the bridge held on with drywall anchors (amazing how good it sounded considering).    I had a Martin D-12-20 but never bonded with it; sounded too "sweet" for my taste.  My current one is the 1970's Westerly Guild F-212XL in my avatar.  I love rosewood guitars but do find they sometimes sound a little muddy in a 12; mahogany or maple works better for my ear.    I agree you probably won't wear one out and probably won't play it as often as the 6's, but nothing puts that rumble in your belly like a good ol' 12, and some songs just don't sound right on anything else.

Edited by PrairieSchooner

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Playing a 12-string is like standing inside a fountain. I've had 2 in my time - an Epiphone as a late teenager and an Ibanez, which was given to me by 'my' bass-player. Don't play it much, but actually learned to fingerpick it some years ago. A very intriguing experience as the thumb-nail attacks the notes from above and by that activates the high string first and loudest. Precious sonic jewels to be found that way. But also either the strumming or flatpicking plectrum offers wealth to enjoy - as said you sense the guitar splash all around you, , , and sometimes need to step out feeling 6 strings too wet.  

 

 

Paul14 - your friend sounds truly amazing. 18 strings for sure, , , how many vocal cords. . 

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This post is not intended to criticize 12-string guitars. They are awesome sound machines............I had a Martin DX2 someting-or-other.  Had the laminatied sides.  Not a top end instrument, but a nice instrument for the money.  Cost me around 525 on sale at the time.   I'd been listening to a lot of Lightfoot and John Denver music and really like the ringng of their guitars.  I had to have one.  My only problem was that I'm accustomed to a very relaxed and even somewhat sloppy technique and that didn't fit too well with a 12-string.  I had to concentrate on making chords that I typically make without even thinking about them----my fingers just go to the right place.  Actually, I was too lazy to put in the effort of "learning to play a 12-string guitar."  I gave it a shot a couple dozen times, maybe more, but always got buzzing strings because I wasn't getting them down all the way to the frets.  I gained a whole new appreciation for the playing talents of Denver and Lightfoot and was even more in awe than before of folks like Glen Campbell. .....I wish I played a 12-string when I first picked-up a guitar, but I didn't.  I sold it.  Don't regret selling it, because all it did was sit in the case.  Sometimes I do regret selling it, because I let it sit in the case.....lol....Anyway, I envey the folks who can reallyl make a 12-string sing.

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I understand, MissouriPicker.    As I said, not a good time  to get such an itch.  

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I have kept a 12 around for most of my playing life. I love them and find that they can be a showstopper for certain songs in the live set.

I have a 2005 Custom Shop Hummingbird 12 which I bought from our very own JohnT a few years ago. Astonishing guitar which has featured heavily on my last few records and is very inspiring for writing purposes too...this is the only 12 I'll ever need, bar some sort of disaster befalling it. Failing that, I'll be buried with it!

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