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What 12- string to buy?

Tigger the Tiger 25 Jan 12 - 03:59 PM
kendall 25 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM
Dan Schatz 25 Jan 12 - 04:50 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 12 - 06:10 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Jan 12 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 26 Jan 12 - 01:16 AM
George Papavgeris 26 Jan 12 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,Ian Mather sans cookie 26 Jan 12 - 01:56 AM
Backwoodsman 26 Jan 12 - 03:20 AM
Backwoodsman 26 Jan 12 - 03:22 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Jan 12 - 04:12 AM
Tigger the Tiger 26 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM
John MacKenzie 26 Jan 12 - 06:14 AM
GUEST 26 Jan 12 - 07:02 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Jan 12 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,kendall 26 Jan 12 - 08:16 AM
Tigger the Tiger 26 Jan 12 - 08:41 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
catspaw49 26 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,kendall 26 Jan 12 - 10:01 AM
catspaw49 26 Jan 12 - 10:17 AM
kendall 26 Jan 12 - 11:02 AM
catspaw49 26 Jan 12 - 11:48 AM
Bert 26 Jan 12 - 11:58 AM
alex s 26 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM
tonyteach1 26 Jan 12 - 12:09 PM
Tigger the Tiger 26 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM
Bert 26 Jan 12 - 01:08 PM
Bert 26 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,unzip my lips 26 Jan 12 - 01:29 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM
Big Mick 26 Jan 12 - 01:50 PM
catspaw49 26 Jan 12 - 01:52 PM
kendall 26 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM
catspaw49 26 Jan 12 - 03:25 PM
Tigger the Tiger 26 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,guest 26 Jan 12 - 07:56 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jan 12 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Rachel 26 Jan 12 - 09:46 PM
Richard Bridge 26 Jan 12 - 10:48 PM
cooperman 27 Jan 12 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,kendall 27 Jan 12 - 07:57 AM
saulgoldie 27 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM
Dan Schatz 27 Jan 12 - 11:44 AM
Richard Bridge 27 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM
John MacKenzie 27 Jan 12 - 01:19 PM
kendall 27 Jan 12 - 02:09 PM
Dan Schatz 01 Feb 12 - 11:55 AM
banjoman 02 Feb 12 - 06:33 AM
Richard Bridge 02 Feb 12 - 06:58 AM
banjoman 02 Feb 12 - 10:42 AM
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Subject: What 12- string to buy?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 03:59 PM

Is there a middle-range 12 string with a good sound?Any preferences for older ones?I do not need anythin exotic,as it is just for fun. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: kendall
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM

If you are going to spend that much money, get a good one. An Apollo. If you decide to sell it, it will never be worth less than you paid.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:50 PM

Ditto what Kendall said. And aside from that, these 12 strings are incredibly affordable, especially considering how amazing they are. Built by master luthier Nikos Apollonio, these are the instruments played by Gordon Bok, Noel Paul Stookey, and many more (including any number of Mudcatters). A standard or jumbo size starts at $1900 - much cheaper and better than a Martin or a Taylor.

Check out his website: www.nikosapollonio.com

Dan


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 06:10 PM

$1,259 (or less, if you bargain) buys you a Cort CJ10X-12. 6 years ago they were being rebadged as Gibsons at twice the price, at least. A BIG-voiced beast, yet sensitive to the tinest stroke. Good electronics (Fishman Premium with Matrix pickup). I swear by mine and wouldn't change it for the world.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 06:16 PM

Keep a beady eye out second hand. I've got a Yamaha FG 413S 12 with B-band electronics in that I paid the first owner of £200 for a few years back. It's been well looked after, set up by Brian Rodgers the respected Walderslade (UK) guitar tech, and fitted by him with a B-Band undersaddle and pre-amp system. The late Pete Hicks - largely a 12-string player since the 60s and well known in the southern UK - said the original owner of it did not realise how lucky he had been in getting it.

I largely only play my Mugen THE 78-12 now so I'd let it go for £300. No case.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:16 AM

Rather than going by a brand, even though the ones mentioned are all good, go into a store, with a good selection....play EVERYTHING they have. Don't be rushed...there are always other stores...and pick one that you not only like...but love!

Happy Hunting!

GfS

P.S....and be VERY picky, for you will be holding, and playing your lover!


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:49 AM

The first GUEST was me


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,Ian Mather sans cookie
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:56 AM

Yes, try a few. Also ensure the neck is adjustable etc as the tension can be quite strong.

I use a small 12 string, despite fingers like sausages, a Yamaha APX 6-12. I like it a lot. However, I always reckon that to get knowing nods of appreciation, a Guild every time...


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 03:20 AM


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 03:22 AM

Oops! Too quick on the button there! :-)

"The first GUEST was me"

Ya know, I had that sneaking suspicion it was you, George! LOL!
If that Cort 12-string is the one you play, I'll second your suggestion - that's a mighty fine-sounding guitar.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 04:12 AM

A lot of this will turn on what you, Tigger, think of as "middle range" in price terms. If you want cheaper than the £300 for my Yamaha, Many of the old Eko 12 strings are to my ears very under-rated, and having bolt on necks (in many cases) action issues can be easy to fix. But the neck will be a lot wider than the Yamaha.

If on the other hand you think (like other posters here) of upwards of £1,000 as "middle range" then I know of a young lady who was selling and may still be selling a gorgeous Ovation Adamas 12 string, carbon fibre top and all the toys including onboard tuner - it was list price nearly £2,000 new, but is probably a lot less now (if still available).


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM

I appear to have made a monumental error in the posting. In the sixties,we used to define folk music partially by the fact it was acoustic. I thought everyone on the site was playing acoustic only.Thank you all for the information,however.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 06:14 AM

I have a Tanglewood 12 string hanging on my wall, which was my main instrument before Nick built me my Appolo 12. I played a few 12's before I bought the Tanglewood, but when I picked it up, I knew it was the right one. You need to kiss a few frogs before you find your princess/prince, so I suggest you get out there and try a few guitars.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 07:02 AM

My Ovation Pacemaker, made in 1979, cost me €250 with original casein 2007.
Very, very stable and playable (unlike many 12's of that vintage will have structural issues.)


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 07:06 AM

I think, Tigger, that many on this site will take a paid gig if they can get one, and in many places that will make pluggability an advantage.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 08:16 AM

Fable of the oats.

If you want to buy nice fresh top quality oats, you must pay top dollar.
However, if you can be satisfied with those that have gone through the horse, they are much cheaper.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 08:41 AM

Thank you very much for that information. Being female,living in the Village in the sixties,most of the professional musicians I knew were male. They were mostly drug-addicted,as were subsequent college friends. Most died before the age of 45. I decided to play for fun and stay alive. I guess that these pros are a little more careful.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

Kendall, any horse person will tell you that good old oats are worth more than young oats - and law students will tell you about a famous contract law case on the point, too.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

Hi Tigger..........

There are a ton of older 12 String threads that might be of some interest. Here's a few:

Haruo 12 String - What do we know? (110)
Any serious 12 strings players left? (110)
12-string tuning/tension/capo issues (24)
Retuning my 12 string (10)
Cravin' a 12-String (62)
Guild 12 Strings (39)
Help: Help-12-string guitar (12)
Guild 12-String Guitar (36)
12 String Tuning (16)
Twelve-String Tunes (31)
Tuning a 12 string? (56)
Twelve String Tuning (51)
6 string as 12 string (4)
12 string (22)
capo's for 12 strings? Recomendations? (18)
where did the blues 12-string go? (46)
HELP! How to tune a 12 String (18)
Help: $1500 on a 12 string - but which? (19)
pleasures of the 12 (34)
Recommended capo for 12 string (19)
Santa Cruz 12-String (4)
12-String Setup (13)
12 string tuning (14)
12 String guitar rag (1)

I don't know what you are considering financially but play some in your price range and see what FITS you (body and playing style) and then have someone else play it if you can while you listen with your back turned. Compare some that way if you can. Most of the 12's being built now are pretty solid but remember the pressure is different on a 12 and so you don't want something too light.

I can't emphasize enough the fit angle and the blindfolded sound comparison. What you hear is often not what an audience hears. Buy the best you can afford with the sound and feel you like the best.

We had a really wonderful member around here, an excellent picker and fine teacher as well named Rick Fielding who died a few years ago (much too young but not from drugs). When he was a young man he had an experience where he believed the wrong guy about a new Twelve and the result of doing so. Here's the tale as Rick told it:

"Each of my 12 strings has it's own little memory but the worst was "Pedro" the Mexican built beauty that I bought when I was about twenty. The salesman said it was built to be tuned to pitch and I foolishly believed him. Now the problem was that my girlfriend at the time felt (justifiably so) that we should be saving our money, so when I purchased "Pedro" I snuck him into a closet for the night, planning to tell her about it the next day.(after I had thought up some story to justify my purchase) About 5am, a noise like a bazooka woke everyone up with a start in our communal rooming house. People were searching everywhere for the source of the explosion......but in my heart I knew what it was. I let someone else find the broken pieces of wood and wire, but I had to own up to it. Needless to say I got yelled at, AND lost Pedro one day after buying him!"

Spaw


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 10:01 AM

Apples and oranges, Richard. It's still true that you get what you pay for. Otherwise a Rolls Royce would be the same price as a Honda.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 10:17 AM

But Honda makes some damn fine cars Kendall. Perhaps if I had the money I might buy a Rolls but a Honda not only beats walking but it is solid and attractive and performs well.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: kendall
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 11:02 AM

I'm not saying Honda is junk, but it is not a Rolls Royce.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 11:48 AM

And if you can't afford the Rolls?


Spaw


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 11:58 AM

Do what Richard Bridge says. Look out for a used one. It is unlikely to have been passed through a horse. It is only horses from Maine that eat twelve strings.

So toodle 'round the pawn shops and as GfS says, be very picky.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: alex s
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM

takamine 12s are worth a look - mine's been doing heavy ceilidh work for 31 years and is still going strong


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 12:09 PM

Suggest looking at the APX- CPX range for mid price 12s or Gordon Giltrap does a 12 in the Vintage range around £400 ish which get good reviews.

Keep an eye on the Hobgoblin site as secondhand ones come up


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM

I am definitely getting the impression here that 12-strings are much more fragile than 6-strings?In the sixties, I was always told that the vintage guitars had much better sound than new guitars. So I was just thinking a vintage is what you would all like. What acoustic would come closest to a Martin in tone?Just to save money...as this is for my own enjoyment. Do you like the older Guilds and how fragile are they?I am very,very careful with a guitar.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:08 PM

...In the sixties, I was always told that the vintage guitars had much better sound than new guitars. ...

That may have been true in the Sixties, but there has been vast improvements in guitars since then.

Nowadays there are many new mid-priced guitars that sound pretty good.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM

or your money might be better spent getting your Martin and your Gibson set up properly.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,unzip my lips
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:29 PM

Not for nuthin' but who the heck needs a Rolls Royce? If I won the lottery, I wouldn't need to buy anything more than a good car - a brand new Honda or Toyota would be fine.

If you are on a budget , don't worry about used or midrange instruments- 12 strings tend to sound great b/c they're louder than the average guitar, and a used guitar mellows with age so it sounds better than some newer higher priced ones.

I get a lil sick of people saying 'get the best money can buy' without thinking of people's budgets. Did anyone learn anything since the crash of '08?

Tigger, best thing is check your wallet, and then check out some instruments from excellent list that catspaw suggested, strongly consider buying a used one.. You'll be fine.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM

A lot depends on budget. And when you say the Martin sound I don't think their 12s are as resonant as their 6s.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:50 PM

I just skimmed through the messages. Lot of good information. Also a lot of equine fecal matter. Here is my advice, you may put it in whatever camp you feel it belongs. The primary tool for selecting any guitar is your ears. Forget the names. We ain't talking cars, we are talking musical instruments. If you are in a music store, play everyone you are interested in, irrespective of the brand. Make sure you have another musician you trust with you. After you settle on a couple you are interested, get them off the showroom floor and into a practice room. Remember that depending on the store there are dozens, or even hundreds, of other stringed instruments. The sympathetic vibration from all those other strings can deceive you. Take them in the practice room, play them and see how they sound in a dead environment. Then have your buddy play it while you move around the room. You will be far less likely to get a surprise when you got home.

As to what brand, there are many good options. Among custom makers it is hard to beat Nick Appollonio for sound and price. But that is still a large investment. Among production makers the standard is still the Guild 12, although Taylor, Martin and Larrivee make great sounding boxes, but you aren't touching them for less than 1200 US. But, once again, the best buy for the money is the Seagull. Those folks know how to make great sounding instruments, and do so at a very fair price point.

Finally, and this might be most important, remember that Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island, NY (another great shop) conducted a blindfold test with a number of the great NYC players. They blindfolded them and started handing them instruments, had them play them and then rate the overall sound, balance across strings, action, etc. And at the end they added it all up. Guess what brand won as best all around? Martin? Nope. Taylor? Nope. Collings? Nope. Larriveee? Nope. It was a Yamaha, and not one of their top end ones. What's the takeaway? The sound of each guitar is dependant on a lot of variables such as climate it is in, the particular wood, the right luthier, and many other things. Sure the Rolls brands will have higher quality control, access to consistently better woods, etc. But it still comes down to how it feels in your arms, on your hands, and in your ears. Just start looking, playing and listening. Soon enough you will find the one that calls your name and you can afford to take home.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:52 PM

Guild is and has been a sort of benchmark. Very tough, great sound, etc. There are better 12's although a Guild owner would never admit it but unless you go upscale a lot, you get less. On the other hand, you can still go less and have a nice instrument you enjoy.   

Twelves today are far more solid than they used to be.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: kendall
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM

My Apollo was built in 1975 and it is as solid today as it was new.
One mistake people make is tuning them up to concert pitch. That puts a hell of a strain on the whole box. Tune it down to D, that way you get a deeper tone and if you want to play or sing in G, clamp a capo on the second fret.

Look, I am not saying go buy a Rolls Royce! I'm saying you get what you pay for. I drive a Chevy Impala because I can't afford a Mercedes.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 03:25 PM

If you can afford a Mercedes, buy a BMW instead...............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM

I am aware that it depends on the individual guitar to some extent. No one I knew bought new in the sixties,a question that it was the myth at least that old was better sound. We mostly had Martins so I heard a few. Funny that even in the sixties,people liked the Guild for a 12 string. I never knew anyone in the sixties that had a guitar set up;perhaps no one told me. Not aware anyone did anything but play them as found;except Big Joe Williams who added 3 strings.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 07:56 PM

Like alex s said re his Takamine 12. The 'lawsuit years' ones have an especially good transducer system built in that is as good or better than anything I've heard of a more contemporary vintage. Here in Nashville road dogs will buy a whole 'Tawk' just to get the electronics.

My wife has one that is patterned after the Martin Dreadnaught 14 fret 12s and it sounds incredible acoustically or pugged in. If one runs it plugged in an in line Boss bass eq works really well to flush out the sound as the on-board eq is limited to treble/bass/volume...which sounds real good by itself.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 09:11 PM

Awww, people you're making me want to go shopping and I haven't any instrument money.
:-(
...sigh...

I think Big Mick sums up the good advice very well.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,Rachel
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 09:46 PM

Anyone want to buy my gorgeous Ovation Adamas?


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 10:48 PM

I will second that Rachel's Adamas is indeed gorgeous. The only reason I didn't buy it is that I'm, well, a bit of a recovering addict about GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) and I love my Mugen THE78/12 so much. I haven't bought a musical instrument for nearly 6 months!


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: cooperman
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 04:22 AM

Here's a laugh, You could buy an old Ford! My Eko Ranger 12 from the seventies sounds pretty good. Its the Electra with a pickup and that sounds good too. A twelve will always give a bigger sound (the tone on a Ranger 6 is very thin). It is plywood and so strong that there is no problem leaving it tuned to concert pitch. There are plenty around for little money.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 07:57 AM

Plywood guitars are like cement fiddles.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: saulgoldie
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM

I picked up a Yamaha FG-460 12 on eBay for $150. It needed strings, and I probably will get it professionally set up--nother $100. I took it "sight unheard." But it sounds great!

Now, yes, Dan, and Appolonio 12 is very nice. And so are some of the other mentions here. But for $150? Of course, YMMV.

Saul


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 11:44 AM

Tigger, it would probably be helpful to know what your price range is.

Saul, you're sure right about Ebay. I picked up one of Nick's used for $300 - it had some ugly cracks, but I figured the hardshell case was worth $150, so it was worth the risk. I had it shipped directly to Nick and said "Do whatever it needs." He said it needed a tug on the truss rod and a new set of strings - the cracks, while ugly, were purely cosmetic. Now I have a backup 12 - I plan to pick it up from Nick in a couple weeks.

You can see that guitar (though not hear it) in this video, about 2/3 of the way through, when he's talking about Spruce as a top wood.

But that kind of deal comes up maybe once every decade or so, if you're lucky. Still, there are bargains on used instruments and seconds even from the makers, if you keep an eye out for them.

What's important, beyond cheer leading for my personal favorite builder, is that you enjoy playing the guitar. With 12s sometimes you end up wrestling with them, and that's no fun. Or they sound too thin - they just miss the potential of that big sound. Keep looking until you find a guitar that you love playing and love listening to, and that doesn't break the budget too badly. Fall in love. It'll be worth the wait.

Warmly,
Dan


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM

Kendall, don't be a snob. Plenty of plywood guitars sound at least OK and some better than that.

Save the cement for banjo-cases to "float" the banjos out to sea.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 01:19 PM

Concrete do Richard?


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: kendall
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 02:09 PM

I'm not being a snob. Just giving my opinion of plywood guitars. I've played guitar for over 60 years and I've never found a plywood one that was worth the sales tax.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 01 Feb 12 - 11:55 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: banjoman
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 06:33 AM

Surprised no one mentioned Wasburn 12 strings. I have owned2 and although both needed a bit of tweeking they are great for sound. Mine stays in tune right up the neck, the action is low and it has a built in pickup and tuner. I paid £400 for the latest and would recoment it to anyone wanting to play a 12 string.


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 06:58 AM

The late Pete Hicks played a Washburn and if he got heavy-handed with it he could have banjo players complaining they could not hear themselves. His usual answer was "Well now you know how it feels".

But he played 13-56s and the action was about a foot high - he had hands like spanners!


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Subject: RE: What 12- string to buy?
From: banjoman
Date: 02 Feb 12 - 10:42 AM

I learned to play on a Stella 12 string with action even higher than that Richard. I always maintained that if I could play that guitar then when I got a decent one it would be easy. Currently playing a Taylor 810c Ce but hold on to the Washburn, the Ovation's and one of the very first Lakewoods (Great Guitar) plus of course all those banjos and bits of banjos. Wife says I have to decide which I want to keep as she wants the spare room back. Difficult decision - Her or the banjos -


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