Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Played the Holy 12 String Grail Yesterday


albertjohn

Recommended Posts

Those of you in the UK may know Johnt and I are in the process of setting up an "Event". Will bump the correct thread with more news soon.

 

I went to speak to the good folks at Gibson in London yesterday and had a brief look round the offices. Not surprisingly they have a big collection of the range and I had the chance to very quickly play a couple.

 

They have a red J185-12 which, despite having a couple of cracks on the back, is exquisite. Red is a great colour for this guitar. I didn't want to put it down.

 

Some may know I do like a 12 string and have always felt the Holy Grail for me is a J185.

 

Yesterday confirmed this.

 

Any lucky gits out there got one?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've played that 185 several times...in fact, my band tried to persuade the Gibson guys to sell it to us, but they wouldn't do it as it was an artist loaner guitar.

 

We even tried to order one, but they don't make 185-12s any more.

 

Amazing, amazing, amazing guitar. I love that shade of purple-y/red that it is too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've played that 185 several times...in fact' date=' my band tried to persuade the Gibson guys to sell it to us, but they wouldn't do it as it was an artist loaner guitar.

 

We even tried to order one, but they don't make 185-12s any more.

 

Amazing, amazing, amazing guitar. I love that shade of purple-y/red that it is too.[/quote']

 

Yes it's not the bright red I've seen on the forum.

 

It's a real belter I tell thee.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A neighbor of mine has a Sigma (via Martin) 12-string, probably made in the '80s. I thought enough of it when I played it to say "Let me know if you ever want to sell this," knowing of course it is only worth a couple hundred dollars. Now he's taking me up on it, and I am having second thoughts! (I won't reneg on my offer.) How would something like that compare to the Gibson 12s you guys are discussing? (Of course, it is 1/10th the price.) Aren't Gibson 12s that sound great also at risk from the light construction that produces that sound? I hear most of the good 12s have self-destructed over the years unless they have always been tuned down a step or more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12strings will last if you keep them maintained via a good luthier who can spot problems and prevent major damage by performing minor repairs before they get out of hand. A lot of those with bad problems let their 12s belly too much creating heavy top damage before taking them in for a look see. I had a Takamine for 25 years (tuned to pitch) with no problems. Sold it, now I've got a Guild F412. Use a luthier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been seriously into 12ers for about 8 years now and I'm on my third. My first one was a 25 year old Taiwanese Yamaha which had been badly abused most of its life. Got it fixed up by a good luthier and it played really well. My current 12er - the Tak was a real find for me and I'm very happy with it until I buy my J185-12 that is!

 

Always keep mine at standard tuning and use 10s. As BigKahune rightly says, use a luthier. You wouldn't buy a car and drive it without having it serviced first. It's all part of the maintenance. I've bought 6 or 7 guitars over the last few years and had them all checked over (nut, saddle, frets, truss rod) every time.

 

I'm not skilled enough to do it myself so...... GSI.............Get Someone In!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first 12 string was an Eko Ranger bought new in about 1969/70. Had around 10 since all concert pitch none suffered any damage at all except

 

1.The "pick of the bunch"- an old Aria John Pearse 12 string, rosewood sides (i think). That was a great guiat bought from a flatmate in London at the end of the swinging 60s! It was abused, picnic'd played by all in the flat and eventually when I realised how bad it was when I took it to be repaired I was told the table had lifted too far to be worth repair.

 

2. My present SWD12. In fairness bought from EBay at 50% of shop price. Needed a reset and setup and now is an excellent working 12 string admired by all.

 

So why have I rid myself of 8/9 12s over the years?

 

Well one was a Fender Electric XII ( Now I KNOW I douldn't have sold that in 1970 something, I KNOW it must be in the house somewhere, just a question of finding that big brown case, I KNOW I wouldn't have sold that.... would I?)

 

One was an Ovation Glenn Campbell (Sold it cos I couldn't get my fat gut around the bowl back)

 

One was a Godin Acousticaster 12 ) Was playing a lot in church at the time and the thing was so headstock heavy I couldn't use it on a strap)

 

Guild F512 ( Too bling for me!! ....... No hell she was a casulty of the 80s recession and a redundancy!)

 

Yamaha FG720S 12 ( wasn't good)

 

Seagull X 2 (One got really badly beaten up with pick marks etc ( Cedar). the other? well not my finest hour, I drove a car over it in the garage!

 

 

Martin D12-28 12 ( had to sell that as my entry fee to this forum)

 

All joking aside the best advice has been given

 

Before you buy take it to a luthier you trust

 

After 6 somths take it to a luthier you trust

 

Every 18 months or so take it to a luthier you trust

 

If you think something's wrong take it to a luthier you trust

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sense is being spoken in this thread.

 

I played 12ers for years, but am currently without one.

 

You have to expect to spend money maintaining a 12er if you want it to remain in tip-top playing condition. They're just that way inclined.

 

My first 12er was a black Kimbara with red binding (very 70s!) that I bought from a local celebrity, the kid who played 'Damian' in the BBC sitcom 'Only Fools & Horses'. It'd been bought for him by his parents who didn't realise the difference between a 12er and a 6 string, and when he couldn't cope with the extra strings, it was was restrung as a 6. This was no better due to the wide ol' neck, which he couldn't get around, so it was put up for sale and advertised as a 6 string...I went to see it (I was 15) and snapped it up for about £30. I couldn't believe my luck! I sallied forth to my local guitar emporium the very next day and picked up the requisite set of 10 gauge strings, and it served as a wonderful 12er until I sold it in a fit of pique when financing a Les Paul Standard in 2000.

 

I've had various since then, a surprisingly nice Vintage and a superb Takamine among others.

 

I am really finding myself fancying another at the moment, but I am just to skint to finance it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: "Use a luthier" to keep 12-strings alive: The saga of Gibson's 12-string design travails are well documented. If you happen to have one of the lightly-built models that were described by Gibson themselves to be designed for below-standard tuning, how could a luthier keep it healthy in standard tuning, other than beefing up the top bracing? Unless you mean you need a luthier to tell you "Don't tune it to standard pitch." If a pin bridge model has an extreme top belly, or a tailpiece model has a sunken top (all due to incorrect tuning) how is a luthier going to help you? (An honest question, not offence intended.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If my J185-12 were a sports car she'd be a garage princess. For some reason I play this one rather infrequently. Maybe that's just the nature of having a twelve-string; nevertheless, it may be the most satisfying guitar I own. It's only every couple of weeks that I'll pull it out, but it's always a brilliant rediscovery at that moment - more so than for any guitar I play. A quest-worthy grail indeed!

 

I wanted to post to this thread the other day, but didn't have any photos. Had a moment for a quick few this afternoon. Poor lighting, camera set to auto - I'm afraid that they really just don't do the subtle flame maple justice.

 

top.jpg

 

back.jpg

 

3-4.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...