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advice sought from 12 string players

Big Al Whittle 29 Jan 14 - 03:25 PM
JonWaterman 29 Jan 14 - 05:01 PM
Bugsy 29 Jan 14 - 07:43 PM
alex s 29 Jan 14 - 08:22 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 14 - 08:43 PM
Ross Campbell 29 Jan 14 - 11:06 PM
GUEST 30 Jan 14 - 04:38 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 14 - 04:40 AM
cooperman 30 Jan 14 - 05:00 AM
catspaw49 30 Jan 14 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 30 Jan 14 - 09:58 AM
Rusty Dobro 30 Jan 14 - 10:07 AM
Bugsy 30 Jan 14 - 06:41 PM
Richard Bridge 30 Jan 14 - 07:14 PM
Dan Schatz 31 Jan 14 - 01:32 AM
GUEST 31 Jan 14 - 02:59 AM
cooperman 31 Jan 14 - 03:46 AM
banjoman 31 Jan 14 - 06:16 AM
catspaw49 31 Jan 14 - 07:31 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Jan 14 - 08:37 AM
Richard Bridge 31 Jan 14 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 31 Jan 14 - 01:12 PM
Richard Bridge 31 Jan 14 - 01:30 PM
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Subject: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 03:25 PM

I've had 2 twelve strings a horrible Eko Rio - 40 years ago, and disappointing Yamaha about twenty years ago.

I'm thinking a duo. Istrum tastefully, the other player picks a six string.

Now I need advice Strings - anything that stays in tune. Should I tune it lower than standard. What about those little twelve strings. Effects. String gauges. Plectrum.

looking for that fulfilling experience with a twelve string before pop me clogs.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: JonWaterman
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 05:01 PM

I played a 12 string exclusively for years- until I bought my Gibson. The 12 string was a late 70's Yairi Alarez. Beautiful sounding guitar, no tuning issues (I developed a brushing style on the strings rather than using a flat pick). It held up well, and some would say even sounded better than Martin and Taylor 12 strings. I even bought a second one as a backup at one point. Highly recommend a Yairi if you can find one.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Bugsy
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 07:43 PM

Hi Al, Take a look at the LAG 12 strings. My mate just bought a bottom of the range 66D with all electrics installed. sounds great!
I just got a 6 string T100D and can't stop playing it.

Check them out here
LAG TRAMONTANE GUITARS

I promise you won't be disappointed.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: alex s
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 08:22 PM

I've used my Takamine 12 electro for 34 years for pro gigs and it's still going strong. Lovely low action (so you can do lots of consecutive nights with no trouble. I've had Elixir 10's on it for years (not the same set..) and find they are well worth the extra cost. I DON'T tune down - concert pitch is fine - still no neck problems after all this time - so it's easy to switch to another guitar eg a 6 string for solos etc. Spruce top and rosewood back/sides - great combination of woods which keeps the lows clearly audible and prevents too much jangly top end. Plugged in, it's a dream.
Try one.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 08:43 PM

Small piece of advice: when you find the 'right' strings, keep a record of what each one of the 12 was and made by whom.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 29 Jan 14 - 11:06 PM

My main finger-picking instrument for a while has been my 12-string Fylde Falstaff. I have a capo at 2nd fret and tune to concert from there (dropped-D tuning). The lower tension is not strictly necessary, I just prefer the slack feeling - bending notes is even possible. I usually use Martin Lights or Extra Lights if I can't find those. Tuning and intonation are good all the way up the neck. The guitar has a tremendous ring to it, sustains for ages. Roger used to make a smaller twelve-string with a cutaway body which I liked many years ago. Haven't seen one of those for some time (Don't know the model). I could do with a slightly smaller-bodied guitar these days - maybe when my ship comes in!
Ross


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 04:38 AM

Try a Paul Brett guitar, a viator


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 04:40 AM

How low to tune and what kind of strings should be used?


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: cooperman
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 05:00 AM

Don't know if you are totally acoustic but you can get a twelve string sound with electronics e.g electro harmonix pedal. Or are you having an attack of the dreaded GAS?! (guitar acquisition syndrome)


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 08:49 AM

Al....At the top of some threads there is a thread list of additional threads on the subject. Here is a thread about 12 strings AND another thread you will find an additional listing of threads that I think you will find helpful.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 09:58 AM

No guitar collection will ever be truly complete without a jangly 12 string electric
and a low wattage chimey "Vox" type valve combo amp.

- and just a touch of compression, slap back echo, and reverb..

I can only dream of ever being able to aford a vintage style Rickenbacker semi acoustic;
but in the meantime my late 90's Korean made hollow body Danelectro 12 sounds great
played into a recent budget priced "Vox A4" reissue.

A pleasingly affordable real authentic 1960's Searchers/Byrds/Beatlesque folk rock tone..

[My solid body electric 12's aren't too bad either...]


BTW, there's some not bad semi acoustic electric 12s coming out of Chinese factorys at the moment.

This guitar's too pricey for me, but one I'd fancy a go on..

Hagstrom Viking DLX 12


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 10:07 AM

I have a '70s Mugen (Japanese-made Martin copy) - well worth the search on the previously-cherished market. After 40ish years the bridge was showing signs of lifting so nowadays I keep it tuned down a tone and carry a capo.

Just remember the 12-string player's credo: '75% of your time tuning up, and 25% of your time playing out of tune'.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Bugsy
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 06:41 PM

Rusty, the Daion Mugen is a wonderful guitar but as rare as rocking horse turds. Plus it'd be worth quite a bit of money now.

Al, When I had a 12 string and whenever I play one I also tune it down a tone and add the capo.

As for strings, well that's definitely a matter of personal preference. I know that the LAG that my mate has came with Elixer strings which sounded quite bright.

Good luck with the search.

CHeers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 07:14 PM

I have 3 Mugens - a THE78 (6 string) a THE78/12 (12 string) and the rare as rockinghorseshit THE80W twin-neck.

All have Headway snakes of different generations AND Bridge Doctors in.

Many people rave about the 6. My guitar fettler who has his own stock of very expensive Martins and Matons lusts after my 12 - and it REALLY does roar plugged in. More Oooomph and less jangle than many 12s and that was what I was looking for. I no longer play my Yamaha or Framus 12s.

With a good setup (probably about 23/17) and 10/47s there should be no hand problems playing a 12 in concert. I play my 12s with lower actions than my 6s.

With a Bridge Doctor in there should be no bellying. If the bridge lifts, get it reglued by an expert (although the retaining screw in a Bridge Doctor may help hold it down).

The only problem with the Mugens (and a mate of mine's unlabelled probably Garth 12 string, and my long since sold Bjarton (Hagstrom) BJ12E) is the necks are VERY chunky and Shubbs tend to pop off in mid-song - and Kysers/Dunlop triggers/G7s will not swallow the neck AND pull the strings out of tune unless the rubbers are grooved. I even tried a Bird - but had to get the neck radius machined in and eventually the plastic broke: avoid.

The THE80W is a good compromise instrument to save carrying two and looks superflash but is not quite as good as either the 6 on its own or the 12 on its own. It comes with another problem. Due to the different saddle pressures the pickup in the 12 string neck is about 20DB up on the 6 string neck - AND there is mechanical crosstalk so the vibration from the 12 strings is transmitted by the top and saddle (it's a big saddle for both necks) to the 6 string pickup. This confuses the shit out of sound engineers who cannot get the hang of muting the neck that is not in use (and the differnet EQ for each neck) and complain that both necks are coming down the 6-string pickup. I REALLY need to tweak my two Passacs to reduce the need for different EQs.

Finally, to get a 12-string to play in tune every single string needs to be separately intoned or for example when you play that E diad (079900) or the E minor (0 10 9 0 0 0) it will howl like a wolf - AND when you capo, to get the thin strings down to the fret, the capo bends the thick strings just a little more and pulls them sharp. So you need a capo with grooves in the rubbers for the thick EADGs - and in many cases if the saddle spacing is a lot wider than the nut you need one capo for positions 1-4 and another for 5-8 and if you can capo higher than that and still get your fingers in you are a better man than me Gunga Din.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 01:32 AM

How low to tune largely depends on (a) the instrument you're playing, and where it comes alive, (b) the gauge of strings you're using and (c) where you want it.

I play an Apollonio, and you won't find a better make of 12 in the world - especially for the prices Nick charges. For years I kept mine tuned three frets down, and then one day after restraining accidentally tuned it four frets down. It was excellent before, but - WOW. That's where it wants to be. It resonates like nobody's business. Other instruments sound better in other tunings. For what it's worth, many people tune at least two frets down.

But mind the string gauges! Too light and they'll be slack, which gives you bad intonation. Too heavy and they'll be hard to play, and stress the instrument.

As for a make of strings, I like D'addario's. Of course, since I keep mine tuned so low I make up my own custom sets from singles.

Hope this helps! Good luck, and seriously look at Apollonios. Unbelievable sound, quality, and playability.

Dan


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 02:59 AM

The Seagull 12 string is solid and stable and plays easily. The sqaure end headstock props easily against a wall. D'addario strings are good. I still wish i had my jangly 12 string eko though..


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: cooperman
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 03:46 AM

Richard, on the twin neck you could maybe use a footswitch to cut out (yourself) the pickup that's not in use? I think your post demonstrates the quality of approach that's required for 12 string...assiduity! Lovely sound though when it's just right.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: banjoman
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 06:16 AM

I currently have an Ovation twin neck and the 12 string bit sounds fantastic. I also use a Washburn 12 on a regular basis and urge people not to neglect instruments at the cheaper end of the scale. The Washburn stays in tune all the way up the neck, the action is lower than my Taylor or Lakewood and, using the right capo, holds its tune well. The electrics are also very good.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: catspaw49
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 07:31 AM

Ya' know, it's a gawdamn shame that no one seems capable or interested in old threads and the "gold" they often contain. It appears that everyone is far more interested in posting to hear themselves talk. Especially some who have posted the same shit on umpteen previous threads.

Anybody ever go back and read a capo thread? Lots of great information including the following by the late Rick Fielding, a man worth listening to and which this forum is also so much richer for his contributions.

Subject: RE: Capo - what are the rules?
From: Rick Fielding - PM
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 10:46 PM

Just a bit of background on the "grooved capos" for anyone who might be interested.
I've always loved the 12 string guitar, and have owned at last count 18 of the suckers. Everything from Stellas through Martins, Epiphones, Guilds (several) to my current (and all time favourite) a Big 20 year old Takamine. Being a Leadbelly fanatic, I usually tuned them down to C or even Bb or B. I've always used quite heavy strings (for the last ten years I've used a custom set from Connecticut that has a 68(!) on the bass.)

Right from day one I found that normal capos just couldn't hold down the strings without distorting some, and since I'm a tuning fanatic, I started buying every capo I saw. I'm probably older than you Mooh, so you still have time to catch up to my 50 or so.(I know..there are stupider hobbies than capo collecting but try telling that to your wife!)

One day about twenty five years ago I cut a small "V" in the rubber of a Bill Russell and noticed an immediate difference. The big bass string simply wasn't being stretched as far as before, so I had one less string to retune when the capo was on. Needless to say I've butchered dozens of rubbers on various capos trying to get a perfect fit for whatever guitar I was using, but it was challenging and fun.

Today I use a Golden Gate capo with a piece of floor tile replacing the original rubber. I've cut four very small "v"s under the four "big" strings, and it works best on the second to fourth fret. Rarely do I have to retune, and it makes it soooo much easier to play with others and not be slightly sharp.

You can do the same thing on a Shubb. The rubber they use is just about right. Dunlop "C" clamps are good too...and cheap.

Rick


Mudcat is a wonderful and searchable repository for tons of opinions and information and it saddens me to see it not being used. Sure, have the new conversations but let's not forget what already exists here.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 08:37 AM

honest Spaw I did read the threads but I was depressed to find myself back in 2004, giving up on 12 strings and saying I was using my variax modelling guitar - with 12 string simulator aboard it.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 12:48 PM

Yes, Spaw - that's where I learned about grooving the rubber on a 12-string capo. Rick Fielding was also who I learned HOW to place a capo on from - as close as possible to or even on the fret and as loose as it will stay on and not buzz.

Variax is an immensely useful tool, but never gives you the "wow" factor of when a good wholly acoustic (or pluggable acoustic) is JUST RIGHT.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 01:12 PM

WARNING: Gratuitous Guitar Porn !!!

Magnificent example of an extremely rare fully intact playable survivor from 1969 -

Coral Longhorn (Danelectro) 12 String Guitar Demo


This is probably my personal Holy Grail;

I do actually posess a couple of unused bodies from the bankrupt factory stock,
but no other original parts.

Unfortunately funds ran out a few years ago, so yet another unfinished guitar rebuild project.


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Subject: RE: advice sought from 12 string players
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 01:30 PM

A quite different sound to a Ricky. I imagine the lipstick pickups affect that. Also interesting that despite the light hands of the player the tuning wandered pretty soon!


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