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Tuning a 12 string Guitar

Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 04:04 AM
GUEST 06 Jan 10 - 04:08 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 04:30 AM
Bryn Pugh 06 Jan 10 - 04:31 AM
Tangledwood 06 Jan 10 - 04:40 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 04:47 AM
Leadfingers 06 Jan 10 - 04:47 AM
Leadfingers 06 Jan 10 - 04:49 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 05:00 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 05:11 AM
John MacKenzie 06 Jan 10 - 05:27 AM
alex s 06 Jan 10 - 05:29 AM
GUEST,KP 06 Jan 10 - 05:41 AM
Allan C. 06 Jan 10 - 05:53 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 10 - 06:33 AM
Lonesome EJ 06 Jan 10 - 08:25 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 09:16 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 10 - 09:34 AM
John MacKenzie 06 Jan 10 - 10:00 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 10:20 AM
Pete Jennings 06 Jan 10 - 10:32 AM
Nick 06 Jan 10 - 10:34 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Jan 10 - 11:08 AM
MikeL2 06 Jan 10 - 11:23 AM
kendall 06 Jan 10 - 11:49 AM
Pete Jennings 06 Jan 10 - 11:50 AM
Backwoodsman 06 Jan 10 - 11:54 AM
kendall 06 Jan 10 - 01:02 PM
Tangledwood 06 Jan 10 - 05:02 PM
John MacKenzie 06 Jan 10 - 05:21 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Jan 10 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,dan grigor 07 Jan 10 - 03:00 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 07 Jan 10 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,999 07 Jan 10 - 03:26 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 10 - 03:30 PM
Nick 07 Jan 10 - 03:55 PM
Nick 07 Jan 10 - 03:55 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 07 Jan 10 - 04:32 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 10 - 05:27 PM
Nick 08 Jan 10 - 08:36 AM
M.Ted 08 Jan 10 - 08:56 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Jan 10 - 11:12 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Jan 10 - 02:18 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Jan 10 - 02:40 PM
PoppaGator 12 Jan 10 - 03:38 PM
Tangledwood 12 Jan 10 - 04:06 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Jan 10 - 04:44 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Jan 10 - 04:49 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Jan 10 - 05:00 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Jan 10 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Fossil at work 12 Jan 10 - 10:35 PM
Tangledwood 13 Jan 10 - 10:38 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Jan 10 - 11:22 PM
GUEST,KP 14 Jan 10 - 12:06 PM
Tangledwood 14 Jan 10 - 03:29 PM
M.Ted 14 Jan 10 - 05:27 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Jan 10 - 06:47 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 14 Jan 10 - 08:39 PM
M.Ted 15 Jan 10 - 12:52 AM
John MacKenzie 15 Jan 10 - 05:10 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Jan 10 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,Abdul on laptop 15 Jan 10 - 07:37 AM
M.Ted 15 Jan 10 - 08:34 AM
John MacKenzie 15 Jan 10 - 08:51 AM
M.Ted 15 Jan 10 - 11:29 AM
Bernard 15 Jan 10 - 03:00 PM
The Sandman 15 Jan 10 - 07:07 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jan 10 - 05:04 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 16 Jan 10 - 01:57 PM
M.Ted 16 Jan 10 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,dan grigor 13 Jun 10 - 05:03 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Jun 10 - 06:06 AM
Tangledwood 13 Jun 10 - 07:08 PM
Midchuck 13 Jun 10 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Uncle Rumpo 13 Jun 10 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,Songbob 13 Jun 10 - 11:37 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 14 Jun 10 - 05:38 PM
Mark Ross 14 Jun 10 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Guest (Mark Bluemel) 15 Jun 10 - 10:46 AM
morning wood 15 Jun 10 - 11:45 AM
Brian May 16 Jun 10 - 08:20 AM
Bernard 22 Jul 10 - 05:18 AM
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Bernard 22 Jul 10 - 06:53 AM
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Subject: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:04 AM

I have just purchased a £500 Tanglewood 12 string guitar.
it is identical to my six string Tanglewood. I am being a bit ambitious because I have never played a 12 string guitar and have no idea how to tune it.

A friend of mine has warned me it is a right parlava tuning 12 strings? so has usual I turn to Mudcat members for advice. The guitar is now mine so there is no going back. I should receive it the 12 string soon has it is being shipped out the factory within the next couple of days.

I cannot tune a guitar by ear which I think is my friends concern.

Question
Can I buy a 12 string guitar tuner or can I use the guitar tuner I have which is a clip on to tune this new instrument. or indeed must one learn to tune by ear?
Kind regards Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:08 AM

can I use the guitar tuner I have

Yes, the tuning is the same but with additional octaves.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:30 AM

Thats good so if someone shows me how to incorporate the tuner with the tuning in regards to these additional octaves then I should have no problems?


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:31 AM

There are those who will say that a 12 should be tuned three semitones down from Concert, and then capoed at the third fret.

Incidentally : the third strings should be tuned in unison, not in octaves. This is where the characteristic "jangle" of the 12 derives.

Enjoy, but it is a very different playing technique from the standard guitar.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Tangledwood
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:40 AM

A friend of mine has warned me it is a right parlava tuning 12 strings?

I wouldn't agree with that, but it does take longer than a six string of course, and inaccurate tuning is probably more noticeable.

I cannot tune a guitar by ear which I think is my friends concern.

The electronic tuner will get you close but the sound will be nicer if you can do the final tweaking by ear. In each course it will help if you play the low pitch string's harmonic on the twelfth fret and compare that with the corresponding octave string.

What you are listening for once they are close isn't so much "is this string higher or lower than the other", but a beat between them. That is, a slight "wow, wow, wow" of the combined tones. As you adjust the string the speed of the wows changes. The aim is to eliminate it altogether.

If that doesn't make sense to you, or you can't detect it, it will be well worth your while to get somebody to demonstrate it to you.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:47 AM

Thanks Bryn.
I am sure I will get round the playing technique in time its a lovely instrument
The guitar will get a standard set up prior to it leaving the factory,
I will have it set up professionally by my Guitar technician. He did a wonderful job on the 6 string Tanglewood. Clearly I want to tune it correctly so it sounds great but I am already confused. But confident that a electric tuner will help me
Thanks again Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:47 AM

Pete - A lot of players tune a twelve string a tone low to reduce strain on the neck , so E A D G B E becomes D G C F A D


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 04:49 AM

Though Bryn things a tone and a half


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:00 AM

3 different opinions,already Saints preserve us,

so E A D G B E Becomes D G C F A D. and where does the capo go if one tunes a tone down?
Clearly I know nothing but I will master it. after all I could freak out and send it back but where is the challenge in that?


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:11 AM

Thanks Tanglewood your posting just popped up Im confident that folk will show me.
I assume finger picking on a 12 string is easy am I correct in thinking that.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:27 AM

I have a Tanglewood 12, and it came with an almost perfect setup. I was surprised, having previously bought a D28, and been disappointed that a guitar of this calibre needed setting up properly, after purchase.
I tune to concert, but I use light gauge strings, if you use heavier, then you would need to tune down to compensate. Tanglewoods are supplied with Elixir lights, and tuned to concert. So I would suggest that they are designed to be played that way.
I use an electronic tuner, but I find that the guitar isn't always in tune with itself when I use it, and it needs tweaking, by checking the fourths fifths and harmonics.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: alex s
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:29 AM

I've played 12s for 30 years with no prob in standard tuning. I use Elixir strings for ceilidh playing.

Try this tuner:

http://www.get-tuned.com/12_string_guitar_tuner.php


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,KP
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:41 AM

Pierre
Lots more advice on this thread
12 string guitars

Essentially you have 4 pairs of strings (technically termed 'courses') with the lowest 4 tuned in octaves and the highest 2 tuned in unison. So your normal 6th string, (that's the thickest one) is tuned to E as usual, but it is paired with a thinner string tuned an octave above it. To find how it should sound, go to the 4th (D) string on a normal guitar and play it at the second fret. That note is an octave above your open 6th string and your octave string on a 12 should be tuned to that note.

So then you have an octave A at the 5th pair/course (same note as the 3rd string 2nd fret on a normal guitar), an octave D at the 4th pair (same as 2nd string 3rd fret) and an octave G on the 3rd pair (same as 1st string 3rd fret)

Some 12 string guitars will tune to normal EADG(pairs one octave apart)BE(pairs in Unison), while some 'ring out' more tuned down to DGCFAD. With DGCFAD you would use a capo at the 2nd fret to get back to 'normal' tuning.

What I tend to do using a chromatic tuner is to do the 'normal' 6 strings first, and then tune up the octave strings. As you tune up the octave strings you'll notice that the extra tension on the neck causes the 'normal' strings to go a bit flat, so you'll need to return to these. If the strings are new you may then need to revisit the octave strings as they stretch.

Two extra tips
Be gentle when bringing the octave G up to tune. You can break a new string if you go hard at it. Not only is that annoying but the breaking string can lash your finger and be quite painful. I usually do this string last of all, and I often carry a spare octave G with me.

A twelve string needs a good capo (I have a couple of Shubbs), but you will almost always need to tweak the tuning a bit with the capo on. Typically the E and A (the non-octave 6th and 5th strings) will get pulled a bit sharp with a capo on, and you'll need to bring them down a fraction.

cheers
KP


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Allan C.
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:53 AM

In an older thread on the subject it was pointed out that the whole business of down-tuning 12-strings was to compensate for the comparatively poorly reinforced necks (and in some instances, bodies,) of some of the earlier models. I believe I am safe in saying that virtually all 12's manufactured after about 1970 have more improved reinforcements. They don't require down-tuning. However, having said that, I know that some folks simply like the sound of the down-tuned 12's, especially when capoed.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 06:33 AM

Pete, I will show you tuning. Finger picking a 12 is harder than finger picking a 6.

Have the guitar Rodgersed and tell him you want it set up and intoned like my Mugen 12, with almost no rounding of the edges of the frets.

Tune to concert (EADGBE) to start with: it simplifies life.

Do NOT use strings heavier than 10/47 at that pitch, at least to start with.

The bottom E has a fat string tuned the same as the bottom E on your 6, plus one an octave higher.

Then A - same as your 6, and one an octave higher.

Then D - same as your 6 and one an octave higher.

Then G, one the same as your 6 and one an octave higher.

Then B - both the same as your 6.

Then top E, both the same as your 6.


First tune all the strings roughly with your tuner.

Designate this point in the progress "Step Two"
Next tune the thinner ones in each course and one of the B and top E accurately, using the tuner.
Next tune the fatter ones of the octave pairs to be exact octaves. Do this by playing the octave harmonic on the fat one and bringing it up or down until that octave harmonic is exactly the same (no "beating") as thinner one.
THen tune the oter one of the B and top E to be exactly the same as the one you did first - same objective, to eliminate the "beat".

Go back to Step Two and do it again - the change in tension on the neck as you did it the first time will have caused slight variations to creep in.

Your D and G chords and E minor should now sound sweet. Your E major will sound as if you should flatten the G strings a bit, but do not do so or all the other chords will go "off".

Now the capo. You will need a Shubb 12-string capo. You might get away with one of the new G7s but I suggest not on a 12 string.

If your guitar has been set up right (trust Rodgers on this), the clearance fret to string should be the same for each string in a course. As a result the other side of each string (the side facing the audience) will be a little different.

You want the capo to pull both strings in each course down to the fret - and no further or it will pull the string sharp. So put hte capo withthe front of the rubber exactly on the fret - no further up or the sound will go "thuddy" - and keep the tension on the capo as low as possible. Just tight enough not to fall off is tight enough.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES PULL THE STRINGS DOWN TO THE FRETBOARD OR YOUR TUNING WILL SOUND LIKE CATS IN A SACK.

But since the capo is wider than the fret, there will be a bit of rubber behind each fret that is tending to bend each string a bit sharp. And since the fat strings are fatter they will tend to get bent a little bit more. The way to cure this is to get Rodgers, with afine file, to put tiny grooves in the rubber of the capo to relieve the pressure on the fatter EAD and G strings a little: half the thickness of each string is a big enough groove and one third would be safer - but it's no big issue if it's overdone, just get a new capo rubber and try again.

The reason you don't want the ends of the frets over-rounded is part of this too. If the edge of the fret is rounded off too much, to get the thin E string onto the fret you will need to make the capo over-tight on the fat E string, pulling it sharp.

The grooves will however mean that your capo will only be usable part of the way up the neck because the string spacing changes as you go up the neck. But you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.



When you have a little more experience, ask Rodgers to show you his Martin 12 - he is now using Newtone strings for equalised tension, and tuning down a tone so he can use strings with more mass, and the Martin seems to like that: it sounds far bigger than it did.   But I suggest you do not go there to start with.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 08:25 AM

My Alvarez 12 string is now about 9 years old and I have always kept it in standard tuning. I will say that it has developed a noticeable hump in the top at the bridge which has not affected the playing but does not go away when its de-tuned. I think if I had it do do again, I might detune and capo up to prevent this.
Have fun. I think the longer sustain achieved by the harmonic of the paired strings gives a 12 string a very interesting effect when finger picked or flat picked. Just arpeggiating the chords gives a nice rolling, ringing sound compared to a 6.
But remember the saying about 12 strings... "12 string players spend half the time tuning, and the other half out of tune." ;>)


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 09:16 AM

The tuning side sounds a nightmare has I read through these threads but I am confident after trial and error I will get used to it
A new £130,00 flight case has been thrown in with the guitar for £30.00. I have been told it is essential for the 12 string to have a hard case so I have excepted the case offer.

The alternative is a foam soft but STURDY carry case which I usually use for me Tanglewood
6 string.

Richard I have phoned Rogers and told him I want him to do work for me. When I meet up with him I will ask him to read through your above thread. I will get a Capo has recommended.

I have received a phone call stating that My Tanglewood had been delivered but they had sent the wrong one out.
Bloody Par-lava..
They sent out the plug in version. I was tempted but that takes it into the £600 bracket so I refused delivery and they have taken it back.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 09:34 AM

Just tell Brian it wants to be like my Mugen 12.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 10:00 AM

What suits you, might not suit Pierre, Richard. They should talk about what he wants, and I still think he might find it well set up originally. I do think he should play it for a while, before he has anything done, to find out what problems, if any, he encounters.
Who knows, he may be like me, and find it plays OK from first try.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 10:20 AM

I have emailed Brian and refereed him to this thread so he can read the problems I face Re tuning etc and Richard's recommendations too.
I have told Brian that I will approach him at the end of the month by which times I will have had time to both play it and find any further problems if any.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 10:32 AM

Excuse my ignorance here guys - who is Brian Rodgers?

Pete


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Nick
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 10:34 AM

There's always ebay if you can't tune it...

Or you could play it as a wide necked 6 string.

It's not hard though to tune your ears to hear an octave (and good training). Play the one note and get the other close with your tuner. If you twiddle the tuner up and down you should soon hear when they are the same note an octave apart - once your ear gets used to it you are on your way. If they are that close that you can't hear they are wrong just move one string away and it will clash like mad - it's then easy to take it back until they sing together.

One other way is to tune it in front of a TV screen - which acts a bit like a stroboscope. No I'm serious. If you pluck the lower note and move the tuning thing the other note will start to vibrate in sympathy when they are in tune. Not always practical in a pub or performance place unless they are kind enough to leave the telly on :)


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:08 AM

Brian Rodgers is a guitar tech (and fine musician too, comprising "No Worries" with his trouble and strife) from the Medway conurbation. Professional musos travel long distances for his setups.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: MikeL2
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:23 AM

Hi Pierre

Lots of good advice ( if somewhat differing) here.

However I will offer this - I have used 12 strings guitars for many years.

I use it as a second instrument to six stringer for certain numbers.

With regard to tuning I had no problem -; being able to tune by ear on my six stinger. Of course it takes a little longer because you have twice as many strings.

What I did when I got my first 12 stringer was to tune it using the thicker set to my standard set up six.

Then I tuned in the thinner ones by ear. At first I did have problems getting it dead right as I found that my 12 stringer did not hold it's tune as well as the six. But practice soon got my around this and I have had three others and have had no problems.

I use light strings and standard tunings and have had no problems with neck or body etc.

I will say however that you should try to learn to tune by ear as it not only is the best way to ensure perfect pitch but I found it helped my music generally as you are more aware of the tonic qualities of the music.

Whatever you decide I am sure that you will enjoy the experience of playing 12 strings but I agree with others above that you should treat your six and 12s as completely different instruments. There are many things I can do with a six that I have difficulty with on the 12 and vice versa.

Happy Playing and let us know how you go.

regards

Mike


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:49 AM

I've been playing a 12 string for the last nearly 40 years, and most of that time I've had an Apollo by Nick Apollonio. It is bigger than any Dreadnaught so it sounds better tuned down to "D". That also allows me to use wound "B" strings which ease the intonation problem that B is famous for.

To get standard pitch I simply clamp a capo on the second fret.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:50 AM

Thanks Richard

Pete


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 11:54 AM

My pal does exactly the same as Kendall with his Takamine 12.
Kendall, never heard of a wound 'B' string - is it a specific 'B' string, or do you use, e.g., a 'G' tuned up a whole step?


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: kendall
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 01:02 PM

Sorry about that, should have known I was being obtuse. I'm not sure what it is, I just order the smallest, lightest wound string there is. Not even sure it's a guitar string, but it probably is.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Tangledwood
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:02 PM

Thanks Tanglewood your posting just popped up Im confident that folk will show me.
I assume finger picking on a 12 string is easy am I correct in thinking that.


I don't find it easy to get clean picking on the 12 but then I'm not a good guitarist on a 6 either.

RE tuning down a tone or so - my 12 string (Hohner) was bought in 1980 and always kept in standard tuning with no problems. It's always had very light strings on though.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 05:21 PM

I get a cleaner pick on the 12, when I use a thumb pick, but I do prefer not to use finger or thumb picks, for finger style.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Jan 10 - 08:02 PM

Im so pleased so many folk have posted Thank you all I always wanted a 12 string. One positive person said "I think you will get on with a 12 string regarding the material you play,
I have taken in all advice and trust that from all that has been said will help me Thanks again.
I will bring the Tanglewood to Otford if they run another one out in 2 days.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,dan grigor
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 03:00 PM

http://sharemyguitar.com/blog/how-to-tune-and-play-a-12-string-guitar/
hope this helps


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 03:22 PM

Thankyou.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,999
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 03:26 PM

"I have never played a 12 string guitar and have no idea how to tune it."


Free advice is seldom taken, but that aside, may I suggest that you NOT blow a joint before proceeding with the enterprise? Thank you. I only say that because I did that once and ended up in some open tuning that was almost like something Bob Gibson would have done and then I went to the fridge and that was the end of that.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 03:30 PM

There is one BIG difference about playing a 12. The direction of picking determines which string in a course dominates, so a chord played upswept sounds really quite like the same chord on a 6 string, whereas downswept it sounds more like a 6 in Nashville tuning. The same applies to picks of single strings apart of course from the B and top E which are in unison.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Nick
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 03:55 PM

The one thing I hope, Pierre, is that you didn't buy it for the reason the other 3 people I know who bought them did.

WHICH WAS TO BE LOUDER THAN EVERYONE ELSE...

...rather than to see it as a different guitar option.

They just play them the same as a six string but just drown out more people than they used to do when they only played a six string.

:)


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Nick
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 03:55 PM

I meant to say - instruments change - habits don't


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 04:32 PM

Hi Nick
I brought the 12 string Nick not to drown other people out "that would be the actions of a idiot to spend good money solely for that reason.
I have brought a 12 string simply because Im intrerested in playing guitar and wish to broaden that interest.
Regards Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 10 - 05:27 PM

If you want the tuning FX Pete, I'll show you how to use my silly capos. But as with all "open tunings" you really have to be spot on in tune to get the right drone sounds.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Nick
Date: 08 Jan 10 - 08:36 AM

Thank goodness. Unfortunately I know 3 idiots :)


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Jan 10 - 08:56 PM

The problem with tuning a 12-string is that you can lose track of where you started, and end up tuning a string that is on pitch to match one that is out of pitch, rather than the other way around. This can increase tuning time exponentially.

The easy way to avoid this is to simply tune it like a conventional six string first, then go back and match up the octave/unison strings. (which would generally mean tuning the 2nd string in each course first.

Not only is the 12-string a significantly different instrument from the 6-string, 12-strings from different makers often seem like different instruments entirely, requiring significantly different playing techniques, and offering different musical possibilities.

I had an old Harmony Sovereign that played like a regular six, and have played a good Mexican 12 that had to be fingered more like an acoustic bass. I once ran across a luthier-made half-size instrument that was   more like a melody instrument--


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 11:12 AM

My 12 string arrived yesterday
Tuning is easy start on the first machine head E octave and work your way down.
My clip on tuner tunes the main strings and the octave strings it sound great but the string are a bit high further up the neck so it will need a Rogering,


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:18 PM

Should I keep a 12 string on a guitar stand in a central heated room or should I keep it in a coffin (Flight case) in a cool room ?


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 02:40 PM

Keep it at the temperature you are going to use it at.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 03:38 PM

I've never owned a 12, but over the years have had plenty of opportunities to play several of them.

"Easy to fingerpick"? I don't think so. For truly "clean" picking, you need to develop a touch that will sound both strings of each pair without touching either string of either adjacent pair.

I'm sure this can be accomplished, eventually, assuming that as the owner you will be playing/practicing regularly; for an occasional player like myself, picking up a different 12-string, belonging to a different friend, only on rare occasions, it's tricky.

Also, as noted above, on the four lower pairs of strings ("courses"?), where the two strings are tuned an octave apart, it makes a considerable difference in the sound whether the pair is played with an upstroke or downstroke. Standard fingerpicking technique would have you play your bass strings (3 of the 4, if not all 4, of the "octave-apart" courses) downstroking with the thumb. Conversely, you generally play your treble strings (the top two "unison" courses, plus the G/g octave pair) upstroking with your finger(s).

Admittedly, this is a pretty subtle distinction, and one you may not be able to do much about ~ but it's an interesting observation, and there may be songs/passages where you'll want to play certain notes on the middle courses (D/d and G/g) a certain way, either down with the thumb or up with a finger.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Tangledwood
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:06 PM

Should I keep a 12 string on a guitar stand in a central heated room or should I keep it in a coffin (Flight case) in a cool room ?

There doesn't seem to be much discussion on this subject relating to guitars, but on a mandolin forum it generates a great number of posts. The issue usually discussed isn't so much temperature as humidity. Consensus seems to be that allowing a wooden instrument to get too dry is a bad thing. A heated room can have very low humidity so mandolin players in that situation apparently place a humidifier in their instrument case.

Not specific to instruments, but generally speaking and not getting to the extremes of temperature - it's not the change from hot to cold or vice versa that is a problem; it's the rate of change that may cause damage. If accurate tuning is important, at a performance for example, allow adequate time for the instrument's temperature to stablise e.g. coming from a cool room to a hot stage.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:44 PM

Thank you for you advice.
I find picking with route not and any of the strings below sounds good and the hummer on really ring out?
Regards Pierre


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 04:49 PM

having just been woken up by the cat and some what half asleep I post again.

I find finger picking the 12 string example /first finger route note and any of the strings underneath sounds good.
And all the Hammer on.s ring out much better then the six string.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 05:00 PM

It appears Tanglewood knock out there 12 strings with Elixir string attached which is helpful because thats what my Guitar tech suggested I brought with me for the set up..

There is a issue Im fighting with Tanglewood over the flight case but I am confident all we be has ok ?


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 06:29 PM

50 Posts.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,Fossil at work
Date: 12 Jan 10 - 10:35 PM

Speaking as the owner, at various times and in various places of 10 an Eko Ranger 12; 2) an Ovation Celebrity 12 and now, (at last a good one!) - 3) a 29-year old Japanese-made Sigma 12 I can confidently say that tuning a 12 is neither easy nor pleasant.

The Sigma sounds great and doesn't go off-tune very easily, except if it is subjected to significant temperature changes. So I don't gig with it and it lives - on a stand - in the room I play it in the most.

Both the others would go out of tune if you looked at them sideways. The Ovation was the worst, possibly due to neck flexion, but if you played it long enough and tuned it between every song, it would eventually settle down. The Eko was good from the tuning point of view but was terribly heavy to play and not a very inspiring sound.

I very nearly gave up playing 12's altogether, but was tempted by the Sigma and I'm glad I fell! I think that a good-quality guitar should maintain tune. As to getting it there, I use a tuner for the lower four strings (D through bottom E) of the lower courses and then tune the octaves and the top four by ear. At least the Sigma holds the tune on the lowers no matter what you do on the octave strings, so it is fairly easy to get it all sounding nice.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Tangledwood
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 10:38 PM

Well there you go. My Hohner 12 string holds its tuning much more reliably than my six string or mandolin. It is twenty five years older than them if that means anything.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Jan 10 - 11:22 PM

So far My Tanglewood is holding tuning very well indeed,Im surprised in regards to some of the posting on here that seemingly use that very thing has a warning. I have had no problems at all in regards to tuning, staying in tune ,Muddies the waters really?
Regards Pierre


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,KP
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 12:06 PM

Glad to hear its going well Pierre. You might be interested in this video lesson on the Acoustic Guitar website. Little bits of Leo Kottke (the great 12 string guitarist) analyzed, played slowly on a six string, and then quicker on a six and finally a 12. Great to hear the difference the 12 string makes!
Happy picking!

Acoustic Guitar Icons: Leo Kottke


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Tangledwood
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 03:29 PM

Thanks KP, that an interesting link.
I'm pleased that you're finding no tuning problems Pierre. Have fun!


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 05:27 PM

The problem comes when you notice that a chord seems a bit off, so you find the B course is out, and tune the offending string back to pitch, then discover that, though the pair now match pitch, they are off from the E pitch above, but in tune to the G course below, so you retune E the course above, and when you've got it right, you strum a chord, only to find that
the e's are of from the octave of the low E string--so you check and make sure that the D G B are in tune, then check the Gs on the high E string, and decide that it is the octave of the low E that is out, so you retune it and match the lowest E string, then you play a G chord and discover that the B notes on the A course are out of tune with the open B course, and when you fix that, you notice that the high G string in the G course is a tad off, and when you tighten it, it breaks and when you put the spare on, it breaks, as well, and now you are playing an 11-string that is still out of tune. About this time, you decide the tune would reall sound better on your six string;-)


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 06:47 PM

Well, no, it's usually the G octave or D octave that starts it, but otherwise that is very fair as a summary.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 14 Jan 10 - 08:39 PM

I have been shown a pattern that stops that happening.
tune bottom E octave.first machine head. then thick E, and follow the machine heads down to the top Es.

Strict instruction given to me was follow this pattern do not start tuning any where.
So far som good.
Thanks Folks.

The G string is a sod but that because of the high tension.
regards Pierre.
I have not experience it yet but I bet when that G string snaps it can whip you.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 12:52 AM

In fact, the B is generally the one out of tune, owing to the peculiar fact that, if you start with a note, takes its fifth, and the fifth of that, by the time you make it back around to the original pitch, you will in fact reach a pitch some 24 cents off of where the actual octave is, which will not sound good--so the frets are fudged a bit(this is, technically called tempering) so that the high e sounds where it should.

Unfortunately, this means that the open strings can't actually be tuned to perfect intervals, because then, when you tune that B a pure third above the G, it is going to be too high, so the b-e interval is going to sound a little squeezed, and the b-g(third fret on the e string) is going to be really awful because the g will be out of tune with the open G string.

At this point, it's going to seem like the problem is the e string, and when you try to tune it so it fits with the b and g strings, it is going to sound out of tune with the E and A, and that problem is going to be amplified by the fact that the low strings have octaves sounding.

To get the guitar (any guitar) in proper tune, you have to tune the A string first, then make sure that the A's on all the other strings are in perfect unison. This is somewhat complex, because it requires the use of harmonics, but it eliminates the need for electronic tuners, and you'll be amazed by the sound of the guitar when you're done.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 05:10 AM

I also found, it easier to distort the strings a bit when holding down a chord, with the 12, when I started with it. With practice you learn how much weight/pressure to exert. Using a capo is the same, too tightm and it really distorts, too loose, and it buzzes.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 06:29 AM

M Ted, you will then (as always with equal temperament) have, if you tune the fretted A on the top E string to the second octave of the fat A string (or the octave of the thin A string) a top open E that is not a perfect harmonic of the open A. What goes around comes around. So many chords use the three-way-unison of the bottom E string, the top E string, and the D string 2 frets up that it makes sense to use the E as your referent not the A. If you are playing in any drop D or DADGAD then the D is a sensible referent.

Another part of the problem is that apart from the saddle that Brian Rodgers built for me with each string (I mean each string, not each course) separately intoned every time you fret an octave course end-effect will mean your strings in that course will be out of tune.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,Abdul on laptop
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:37 AM

Aha, that's where you got it Richard.

Al


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 08:34 AM

A440 is the standard referent for tuning, not E or D, so I try and stay in tune with the rest of the world to such degree as I can.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 08:51 AM

A440 goes into Upton on Severn [Won't Severn be plaesed]


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 11:29 AM

I have no idea what you're talking about.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Bernard
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 03:00 PM

It's the Brit equivalent to Route 66...!


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 10 - 07:07 PM

upton under severn.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 05:04 AM

Or, as we in North Kent say

"Get your kicks
On the A226"


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 01:57 PM

I get my kicks on the 286 ?
My local bus.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Jan 10 - 02:16 PM

For what it's worth, Route 66 no longer exists. It's been replaced by a string of multilane limited access highways, Interstate 40 being the main one. For some reason, no one sings about it--


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,dan grigor
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 05:03 AM

This post has been moved to here

http://barefootmusicnews.com/blog1.php/2010/02/04/how-to-tune-and-play-a-12-string-guitar


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 06:06 AM

I put new strings on my 12 string Tanglewood two days before Rochester Sweeps and could not get it too tune 'I couldn't get a note out of It?

It was showing in tune on the tuner but it clearly was not in tune" so i missed out on a lot of playing' The strings just kept stretching but showing in tune. also the pegs kept popping up out the holes which didnt help?

I am a newbie to the 12 string and really did not know what to do. I was concerned there was some thing wrong with the neck and the guitar is only six months old.

Indeed several folk tried to tune it on my behalf and all handed it back with concerned looks on faces and worrying comments.

Anyways Richard Bridge heard my concern and credit where credits due he took the 12 string outside whereby he was gone for some 5 minutes.

What he done to it my 12 string I wouldn't know. but he then reappeared with my guitar sat down and tuned it and 'HEY PRESTO'
I now tune the 12 the same way Richard did and I find it much easier and all problems are now sorted and the guitar sounds stunning.
THANKS RICHARD.
Regards Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Tangledwood
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 07:08 PM

It was showing in tune on the tuner but it clearly was not in tune" so i missed out on a lot of playing' The strings just kept stretching but showing in tune. also the pegs kept popping up out the holes which didnt help?

There are two separate issues there - you won't have much luck tuning if the strings aren't installed securely. Next time you have a string off have a thorough inspection of just how the string sits in the bridge and how the peg holds it.

A tuner is likely to be confused by harmonics from other strings and this will be worse the greater number of strings you have. Try muting all strings except the one that you are trying to tune.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Midchuck
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 09:55 PM

To those who are concerned with tuning the twelve string:

It could be worse.

You could have The Worst Thing in the Whole World.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,Uncle Rumpo
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 10:02 PM

.. or the Coral electic Sitar and its modern day budget priced derivatives..

or the effing autharp..

now start moaning about tuning up under pub rock gig conditions..


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 13 Jun 10 - 11:37 PM

Someone upthread suggested pairing the 3d string, instead of using an octave. Gibson used to do that, and Gibson strings had no octave 3d, but most other makers of strings and guitars use an octave 3d string. If you want to pair it, you'll need to get a single G string of the same gauge, and you may run into problems with the nut slot being too narrow, since it was cut for a thin octave string.

Other'n that, you're good to go.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:38 PM

Hi Uncle Rumpo
Firstly I dont moan?
Well I have been known" when in bed"

You clearly did not read my thread.
I was at Sweeps not a bloody AC/DC Concert.
I Have done more then a few of them in me time,
I remember when...................................." Angus had real Hair?


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Mark Ross
Date: 14 Jun 10 - 05:57 PM

Lead Belly used to tune his 12 string down to B or Bflat. He had a unison 3rd course and a double octave on the 6th.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,Guest (Mark Bluemel)
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 10:46 AM

Q: How long does it take to tune a 12-string guitar?
A: It's too soon to tell, but research is continuing....


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: morning wood
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 11:45 AM

"I put new strings on my 12 string Tanglewood two days before Rochester Sweeps and could not get it too tune 'I couldn't get a note out of It?"

Perhaps you should stop stringing your guitar like this then Pierre!!

Novel stringing


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Brian May
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 08:20 AM

With an electronic tuner, putting new strings (Newtones 10-47) on my Guild G212 takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

I find I tune it up to just ABOVE concert (wind the octave G SLOoowly) and let it settle for about an hour on its stand.

Go back and tune to concert, you'll often find that it's settled below concert pitch as the guitar and strings get to know each other.

After that, I'm fat, dumb and happy.

I used to finger pick my EKO Ranger in the 60s, but can't get a sound I like out of the Guild, so I use a soft flatpick.

The nut width is the same as my Martins and feels a bit crowded down there - however, persevere and it'll get sorted.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 05:18 AM

The correct way to fit strings in a pin bridge is to gently push the ball-end into the pin hole using the pin, keeping a little tension on the string.

When you feel the pin slip past the ball-end, push the pin the rest of the way but without any extra pressure. You will find the string will not pull the pin out, because the pin is doing its job - to deflect the ball-end so that it is pulling against the undeside of the belly, not the pin.

You should also find that the next time you change the strings, the pins should come out easily without the need for a tool. Simply push the string down the hole a little, and the pin should come out without any effort.

My Yamaha FG260 (circa 1970) has been at concert pitch for its entire life, and is showing no signs of fatigue.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 05:24 AM

Some-one may have said this earlier but I solved 90% of my tuning problems when I bought a Freshman 12 string. As part of the electric pick-up it has a built in tuner with the usual flashing lights and with a needle/display which tells you all the notes (#s included). I can't understand why they don't build this into all guitars with electrics fitted.

So tuning is easy - it's the playing I still have to figure out.


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Subject: RE: Tuning a 12 string Guitar
From: Bernard
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 06:53 AM

Just a thought... part of the character of a 12-string is the slight imperfections in tuning that give it the 'jangly' sound.

Gordon Giltrap recorded 'Ive's Horizon' ('Contemporary Guitar Sampler' compilation) back in 1968 (engineered by Bill Leader) on a Harmony 12 string. He recently re-recorded it on his new, very odd looking Fylde 12-string with fan fretting... the recording ('Shining Morn' CD) is perfectly in tune, and I'm afraid that, for me, it has lost all the drive and excitement of the original recording...


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