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Twelve String Tuning

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Stringsinger 05 Aug 07 - 02:40 PM
evansakes 05 Aug 07 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,12 is the loneliest number 04 Aug 07 - 11:29 AM
Richard Bridge 06 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM
Skipjack K8 06 Nov 05 - 04:59 PM
12string growler 06 Nov 05 - 01:10 PM
Skipjack K8 06 Nov 05 - 04:54 AM
chris nightbird childs 05 Nov 05 - 11:22 PM
chris nightbird childs 24 Oct 04 - 04:08 AM
Amos 04 Mar 04 - 02:57 PM
GUEST 04 Mar 04 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Chris Flint 17 May 00 - 03:23 PM
Rick Fielding 16 May 00 - 10:04 PM
JamesJim 15 May 00 - 11:38 PM
Mooh 15 May 00 - 01:07 PM
Rex 15 May 00 - 01:00 PM
Richard Bridge 13 May 00 - 05:32 PM
catspaw49 13 May 00 - 05:14 PM
Roger in Baltimore 13 May 00 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Rich 13 May 00 - 10:06 AM
Whistle Stop 12 May 00 - 03:07 PM
BlueJay 12 May 00 - 02:51 PM
BlueJay 12 May 00 - 02:49 PM
BlueJay 12 May 00 - 02:46 PM
BlueJay 12 May 00 - 02:37 PM
Whistle Stop 12 May 00 - 01:03 PM
Jon W. 12 May 00 - 12:46 PM
Rex 12 May 00 - 12:15 PM
Scotsbard 12 May 00 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Slider 12 May 00 - 05:10 AM
Cap't Bob 12 May 00 - 12:40 AM
catspaw49 11 May 00 - 10:31 PM
Cap't Bob 11 May 00 - 10:28 PM
catspaw49 11 May 00 - 09:45 PM
Mooh 11 May 00 - 09:20 PM
kendall 11 May 00 - 09:01 PM
Whistle Stop 11 May 00 - 03:17 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 May 00 - 12:46 PM
catspaw49 11 May 00 - 12:45 PM
Songster Bob 11 May 00 - 11:58 AM
Rex 11 May 00 - 11:35 AM
Mooh 11 May 00 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 11 May 00 - 09:18 AM
Whistle Stop 11 May 00 - 08:43 AM
rangeroger 10 May 00 - 11:58 PM
GUEST,lazrat 10 May 00 - 10:23 PM
catspaw49 10 May 00 - 10:15 PM
Mooh 10 May 00 - 10:10 PM
catspaw49 10 May 00 - 10:01 PM
Clinton Hammond2 10 May 00 - 10:01 PM
kendall 10 May 00 - 08:08 PM
BlueJay 10 May 00 - 07:22 PM
catspaw49 10 May 00 - 05:20 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 May 00 - 04:45 PM
catspaw49 10 May 00 - 04:32 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 May 00 - 04:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Aug 07 - 02:40 PM

I'll take a standard-tuned Guild. The low-tuned sound like wallowing in musical mud.

I like Leadbelly, though but no one plays it like him. He invented that sound.

The thing about the 12 is the fourth string G above the first string E. The octave match above the standard G that is. That's where the bright comes in.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: evansakes
Date: 05 Aug 07 - 03:17 AM

Ever considered tuning your 12 string in fifths as opposed to octaves?

It can produce interesting effects...Read all about the technique here

http://www.daveandboo.com/tips/tips1.html#Anchor12string

The sound becomes decidedly Crosby-esque (and I don't mean Bing!)

gerry


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST,12 is the loneliest number
Date: 04 Aug 07 - 11:29 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 06 Nov 05 - 05:02 PM

I know a man who has been playing a Washburn 12, in concert, with 13s on it, for years. Hands like spanners!

He uses an 88 pick or heavier, and has been known to break 3 strings with the first swipe of the evening...


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 06 Nov 05 - 04:59 PM

LOL Chris! That's suspicious, as said EKO is covered with Anti Nuke stickers, so no doubt Eric has been dishing it out in the Seventies!


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: 12string growler
Date: 06 Nov 05 - 01:10 PM

Used to have an EKO Ranger 12 in standard tuning, it started to lift the bridge off the body after about 8 years. I've had a Yam FG412b since 1978, always been in standard tuning, mainly with MEDIUM gauge on it, no problem with bridge or body, but I can get through strings at an alarming rate. BUt as my handle suggest's, I am rather heavy handed with the J Dunlop 60 gauge pick. Just in case you missed it SkipJack, there was e thread about EKo axes a couple of month's back. On entry I rather liked was the idea that they are a good protest march guitar, cos they still play in tune after laying somebody out with one. The original Aldermaston fighting guitar then!!!

Chris


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 06 Nov 05 - 04:54 AM

Yo Chris, long time no speak! How ya doin'?

I have just this past week borrowed Eric the Viking's trusty EKO 12 string, and done something wicked with the tuning. I have it 9 strung, with the fat strings single and the thin ones doubled.

The tuning is unusual, in that it is DAGDAE, so the third string down is a tone lower than the second. The bottom four strings are tuned in 5ths, like the mandolin family.

I had a couple of custom sets made up, and it sounds fantastic both picked as a melody instrument and with power chords.

Greg


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 05 Nov 05 - 11:22 PM

Still playin' in Standard. Not a crack yet.....
; )


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 04:08 AM

I use a capo A LOT. I have a 1970's Ventura. They're Japanese, and it's very light. I've been using standard tuning, but listening to everyone here, I should probably tune down quick before ba-BOOM!!


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Amos
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 02:57 PM

I'm using Tanstaffel brand strings on my generic 12-string and it stays in tune very well. But they're not really called TANSTAAFL. They're called some brand I have forgotten. Helpful, huh?? :>) Lemme think.....Thomastek Infeld, that's the name I was looking for. You can find them at JustStrings.com, and I am very happy with them.

A


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Mar 04 - 02:08 PM

how do I see this?


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST,Chris Flint
Date: 17 May 00 - 03:23 PM

but aren't they a pain when you have to change strings I use G6 tuning


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 May 00 - 10:04 PM

Richard, I paid my dues and trained my ear for a lot of years.....but boy, am I glad to have my Seiko tuner! If you can keep a bunch of 12 stringers in reasonable tune over the course of a night, you're doin' ok. Ten to one it would be the on and off of capos that are throwin' things out a bit.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: JamesJim
Date: 15 May 00 - 11:38 PM

Just bought some new strings for my Martin Shenandoah 12 string. First, I was surprised to find that Martin no longer makes this guitar. The owner of the music store told me he wished Martin still made them - he could sell a lot of them. I've had it for about 15 years and it is a fine sounding instrument. Second, when I got home from the music shop, I found that the strings I had bought were Martin Marquis extra lights (Obviously I didn't look at them close enough). Since I had always used light strings, I called the owner and told him I had the wrong strings. He said I could bring them back if I didn't like them, but that everyone he knows who plays a 12 string is using them now. I have always tuned down a half step, but since these are extra light strings, I decided to use concert tuning. The action is good and the sound is not bad. Maybe I could get used to it, but I think the lights sound better. Any opinions are appreciated.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Mooh
Date: 15 May 00 - 01:07 PM

Richard Bridge...No problem here. Stays in tune as well as any 6 string. Minor tweaking, that's all. I think I do this without even really thinking about it though, but an excellent set-up is crucial. My previous description is above somewhere. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Rex
Date: 15 May 00 - 01:00 PM

Like Roger says, you can keep the Guilds up to standard tuning. You can tell by hefting one the things. Compared to a Martin, they are built like a '40 Chevy and can take it. They have a monstrous heel block. Wish I had one. I do have the six string version of it, the F50. Guilds are good workhorse guitars.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 May 00 - 05:32 PM

Just to stir the pot, has anyone found a way of keeping a 12 in whatever tuning you do elect? None of the 12 players at our club (most of whom are pretty good, no names no pack drill) finish up playing with the tuning "near enough", and my wife won't let me have one at all because she says I have enough trouble tuning a 6.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 May 00 - 05:14 PM

Hi RiB.....Great summary...where ya' been? Pass by a little more often huh....we miss you.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 13 May 00 - 04:45 PM

To summarize:

You can tune the strings any way you wish. There are some factors to consider.

1. Tension on the guitar. The lighter the strings, the less the tension. The lower the pitch, the less the tension. And for you poor six stringers out there, the fewer the strings, the less the tension.

2. Sound taste. Catspaw likes that boom you get with a lower pitch. Some cats don't like it. I believe Kottke actually tunes down one and 1/2 steps to C#. I have put heavy gauge strings on an old 12 and tuned it to B (makes for good transposition for a harp player). Sounds mo' like Lead Belly that'a way.

3. Guitar construction. My 1967 Guild has been at concert pitch for the last 12 years. It's doin' OK. (I use light strings tho').

4. If your tension gets too loose, it is difficult to keep the strings in pitch and to keep from slappin' 'em on the frets as you play.

5. I would recommend strongly against using concert pitch and then tuning up to open E (EBEG#BE)with medium gauge strings unless explosions are a hobby for you and you really didn't want the guitar anyway.

Roger in Baltimore (Just passin' through the Mudcat)


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 13 May 00 - 10:06 AM

I am one of those 12-stringers who plays in standard tuning.I have a Gibson B25-12N --the smaller body version of the one Gordon Lightfoot plays. I do prefer the tone it projects at standard pitch.

I bought it in 1962,and there have been no problems with keeping it in that tension.

But it IS built like a brick commode. There is very little dip or hump at the bridge; much less so in fact than my 6-strings. It has a 3-ply bridge plate 50 % thicker than normal (in a 6 string). It also has the infamous adjustable Gibson saddle, that can be raised or lowered from the top,with a screwdriver--there are 2 threaded bolts,plus 2 non-adjustable smaller bolts attaching it to the top. I think this mass of metal must detract from the tone or volume a bit.It sounds good though...

I am tempted to put in a thinner bridge plate, and a new standard bridge and saddle, just to see what it would sound like. I am not sure at this point, whether this is considered a "vintage" guitar and whether this would affect its value.

I did intend originally to get the big body version but I didn't want to wait a month! But I really like the sweet tone of the smaller body.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 12 May 00 - 03:07 PM

That's okay, BlueJay; it was worth repeating. Especially the "Whistle Stop probably said it better" part (I'll take my ego gratification wherever I can get it).


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: BlueJay
Date: 12 May 00 - 02:51 PM

Sorry- having trouble withmy server BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: BlueJay
Date: 12 May 00 - 02:49 PM

Just a few things. Kendall- I didn't mean to raise any hackles and start a "standard vs drop tuning" thing. I guess, since I'm fairly new to twelve string, I tend to treat it like a six string, and the folks I've known, (not many), who tune their twelve strings down have had guitars with defects that made them difficult to play even dropped down. I suppose some of Leo Kottke's songs are tuned low, but I have no real idea what tunings he uses. Sorry if I started something already covered in another thread, but I had to respond to the best of my naivety.
Spaw- OK, I tuned down, sort of like you said, only to an open D. For what I wanted to play, I just about HAD to since I sure didn't want to pop any strings by tuning to a full open E. And I admit that the low registers do sound great. I haven't yet tried it, but I'm sure a standard drop tuning sounds as good. But it seems it'd make it difficult to play with others, as I don't have a "Transposition Wizard", (Microsoft), downloaded into the guitar yet, (or it's player)! And beat me, flog me, and whip me with a wet High G string, but it seems to me that tuning it down and using heavier gauge string would equal the same tension. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. Please tell me if I'm missing something here. I really appreciate your posts on this thread. Much food for thought. Is the stress really that big of a concern? I've seen lot's of bridges pop off of six strings, too. I've only had mine a couple of years, (a Guild 112), with less soundboard arch than my six string. Anyway I'll fool around a little.
LEJ- Congrats on getting a twelve string. Since I got mine, I hardly play the old 6 anymore. I don't know, maybe it's just a phase, but I love the rich and full sound, even tuned standard. Maybe we can get together and play at Stapleton someday, waiting for a Steam Powered Aeroplane with Spaw aboard.
Cap't Bob- Congrats and Salutes on obtaining a Guild! Those guys really knew how to make a twelve string!
Jon W- (And then I'll shut up)! Whistle Stop probably put it better than I can. Fingerpicking a twelve string is a process which I am still learning. It is hard to catch the higher octave strings, and for me, fingerpicks don't seem to help. But there is something in the nature of the beast that makes it particularly amenable to a combination of fingerpicking and brush-strokes. You just about can't go wrong. Please forgive the length of my diatribe, but I haven't had time to answer in kind. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: BlueJay
Date: 12 May 00 - 02:46 PM

Just a few things. Kendall- I didn't mean to raise any hackles and start a "standard vs drop tuning" thing. I guess, since I'm fairly new to twelve string, I tend to treat it like a six string, and the folks I've known, (not many), who tune their twelve strings down have had guitars with defects that made them difficult to play even dropped down. I suppose some of Leo Kottke's songs are tuned low, but I have no real idea what tunings he uses. Sorry if I started something already covered in another thread, but I had to respond to the best of my naivety.
Spaw- OK, I tuned down, sort of like you said, only to an open D. For what I wanted to play, I just about HAD to since I sure didn't want to pop any strings by tuning to a full open E. And I admit that the low registers do sound great. I haven't yet tried it, but I'm sure a standard drop tuning sounds as good. But it seems it'd make it difficult to play with others, as I don't have a "Transposition Wizard", (Microsoft), downloaded into the guitar yet, (or it's player)! And beat me, flog me, and whip me with a wet High G string, but it seems to me that tuning it down and using heavier gauge string would equal the same tension. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. Please tell me if I'm missing something here. I really appreciate your posts on this thread. Much food for thought. Is the stress really that big of a concern? I've seen lot's of bridges pop off of six strings, too. I've only had mine a couple of years, (a Guild 112), with less soundboard arch than my six string. Anyway I'll fool around a little.
LEJ- Congrats on getting a twelve string. Since I got mine, I hardly play the old 6 anymore. I don't know, maybe it's just a phase, but I love the rich and full sound, even tuned standard. Maybe we can get together and play at Stapleton someday, waiting for a Steam Powered Aeroplane with Spaw aboard.
Cap't Bob- Congrats and Salutes on obtaining a Guild! Those guys really knew how to make a twelve string!
Jon W- (And then I'll shut up)! Whistle Stop probably put it better than I can. Fingerpicking a twelve string is a process which I am still learning. It is hard to catch the higher octave strings, and for me, fingerpicks don't seem to help. But there is something in the nature of the beast that makes it particularly amenable to a combination of fingerpicking and brush-strokes. You just about can't go wrong. Please forgive the length of my diatribe, but I haven't had time to answer in kind. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: BlueJay
Date: 12 May 00 - 02:37 PM

Just a few things. Kendall- I didn't mean to raise any hackles and start a "standard vs drop tuning" thing. I guess, since I'm fairly new to twelve string, I tend to treat it like a six string, and the folks I've known, (not many), who tune their twelve strings down have had guitars with defects that made them difficult to play even dropped down. I suppose some of Leo Kottke's songs are tuned low, but I have no real idea what tunings he uses. Sorry if I started something already covered in another thread, but I had to respond to the best of my naivety.
Spaw- OK, I tuned down, sort of like you said, only to an open D. For what I wanted to play, I just about HAD to since I sure didn't want to pop any strings by tuning to a full open E. And I admit that the low registers do sound great. I haven't yet tried it, but I'm sure a standard drop tuning sounds as good. But it seems it'd make it difficult to play with others, as I don't have a "Transposition Wizard", (Microsoft), downloaded into the guitar yet, (or it's player)! And beat me, flog me, and whip me with a wet High G string, but it seems to me that tuning it down and using heavier gauge string would equal the same tension. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. Please tell me if I'm missing something here. I really appreciate your posts on this thread. Much food for thought. Is the stress really that big of a concern? I've seen lot's of bridges pop off of six strings, too. I've only had mine a couple of years, (a Guild 112), with less soundboard arch than my six string. Anyway I'll fool around a little.
LEJ- Congrats on getting a twelve string. Since I got mine, I hardly play the old 6 anymore. I don't know, maybe it's just a phase, but I love the rich and full sound, even tuned standard. Maybe we can get together and play at Stapleton someday, waiting for a Steam Powered Aeroplane with Spaw aboard.
Cap't Bob- Congrats and Salutes on obtaining a Guild! Those guys really knew how to make a twelve string!
Jon W- (And then I'll shut up)! Whistle Stop probably put it better than I can. Fingerpicking a twelve string is a process which I am still learning. It is hard to catch the higher octave strings, and for me, fingerpicks don't seem to help. But there is something in the nature of the beast that makes it particularly amenable to a combination of fingerpicking and brush-strokes. You just about can't go wrong. Please forgive the length of my diatribe, but I haven't had time to answer in kind. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 12 May 00 - 01:03 PM

I wouldn't call it "extremely difficult," just different. I don't currently own a 12-string, but I have played them frequently, generally fingerpicking. It requires some adjustment of your right-hand finger motions to hit both strings without getting hung up in either; you need more of a sweeping motion, but at the same time you need a certain precision about it, because the string pairs are closer to the adjacent pairs on a 12-string than single strings are to each other on a 6-string. It's actually pretty obvious and intuitive once you start to get a feel for how the thing works. Two of my favorite guitarists -- Leo Kottke and Ralph Towner -- have devoted a substantial amount of their time and energies to fingerpicking 12-strings, with outstanding results.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Jon W.
Date: 12 May 00 - 12:46 PM

Okay, here's a question for all you 12-stringers. As you know, Blind Willie McTell played 12-string and he finger-picked just about everything. The liner notes on a reissue album of some of his early stuff say that (fingerpicking) is extremely difficult on 12-strings. What do y'all think? How many of you finger pick and how much harder is it than on a 6-string?

Jon W.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Rex
Date: 12 May 00 - 12:15 PM

Well EJ, that'll work. But I should be able to come by some time before that. Well, maybe. Got that scout canoe trip getting close! Oh, don't forget the Mayday celebration at the Wheatridge museum is this Saturday. My group will be playing there from 12 to 2 I'm told. I hope I can get there on time.

Rex

Hey, you could bring the thing there.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Scotsbard
Date: 12 May 00 - 11:44 AM

My first guitar was a 12-string import from mexico, with a neck about 2.5" wide and a body only slightly smaller than a basso-sexto. It stood up to standard pitch tuning quite well, but that might have been due to the robust construction. Most of the other 12-strings I've known of eventually bent or broke when left at concert pitch. One of the few exceptions I've seen to that is my cheap Ovation, which still seems very stable after maybe 15 years. It took some fiddling with the truss rod and bridge height occasionally to keep the intonation and action reasonable during the first couple of year, but since then I haven't had to change anything. Dropping the tuning a fret or two eases the neck back and lets the strings rattle just a little on the next fret when picking with enthusiasm, its a delightfully dirty sound.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST,Slider
Date: 12 May 00 - 05:10 AM

Let's see... Tuning a twelve sting...hmmmmmm... Well, I finally bought one last June,(No, I won't say what brand lest I be banished for being too cheap, I mean Frugal ( although I promise not to bugger the hired help),and was presented with that age-old problem: concert pitch and risk disintegration or use the ancient Chinese tuning called one-step-low and enjoy my new baby for many long seasons. Well, I opted for the later, but use a capo at the second fret. Works for me , but I'm sure that there is some anal retentive socialist out there that wants to set me right about how the use of capos is a result of capitalist blaaa blaaa blaaaa woof woof woof...


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 12 May 00 - 12:40 AM

Spaw...you hit the nail on the head....It was all Micks fault that I bought the Guild. Actually when I went into the music store I was looking for a small guitar to keep on the boat. The mistake occurred when I took a Guild off the rack and strumemd a few tunes...I still need to get a small guitar for the boat because there just ain't room for me and the jumbo 12 string on my little boat.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 May 00 - 10:31 PM

Bobbo, you got a Guild? Couldn't stand it after playin' Micks huh? Do yourself a favor and try the advice above on a bit heavier and tuning down. That Guild will boom!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Cap't Bob
Date: 11 May 00 - 10:28 PM

I had an older Yamaha and when I bought it I tuned it up to standard pitch. It developed a crack across the bridge and became very difficult to play down the neck. I would suggest using lite or extra lite strings and tuning lower as mentioned above.

I currently have a Guild 12 that is tuned to standard pitch, however, I'm keeping an eye on it just in case.

Cap't Bob


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:45 PM

One of the other 12 string threads we got to talking about that Mooh. Also, in the "Monty Python, And Now for Something Completely Different Department," try a Hi-string "Nashville Tuning" on your 12. But an extra-lite set and throw out the 11 and 12. Shift everything up 1 and use 006's for the high E. Tune a step above pitch and then play around with the capo....interesting effects. If I had an old beater, I'd leave it tuned that way for fun.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Mooh
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:20 PM

Howdy again. I didn't mention this earlier 'cause of a general sense of longwindedness but here goes.

Once in a while I've tuned the octave strings a 3rd, 4th, or 5th away from their lower mates, but this requires very specific tune to tune attention. The effect is cool and worth trying. The fifths allow for a sorta power chord thing to happen, which is great for open string drones.

Fun, huh? Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: kendall
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:01 PM

I use an old Hamilton capo on my 12 banger. The original plaSTIC CRUMBLED YEARS AGO, SO, I made another from an old rubber tube, dont remember, but it might have been an old catheter. Then it was easy to cut away for the fat strings.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 11 May 00 - 03:17 PM

All kinds of good stuff here. Spaw, I use a capo a lot (on a six string), and generally favor the Shubb, largely because you can adjust the tension to suit you (I'm very particular about this). But the curvature of the bar is a little too much for the flatter fingerboards on my Lowden and my Larrivee; if it's the right tension for the low E string, it's a little too loose for the D and G. Perhaps I'll try the razor solution; thanks for the tip.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 May 00 - 12:46 PM

Thanks for all the valuable information, phoaks. I now know how to get my 12 string tuned: I wait til Rex comes over for the Allan C hootenanny and let him do it. :>) LEJ


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 May 00 - 12:45 PM

Loved your post Mooh....And I agree that you certainly took a chance, but it was one based on good knowledge.

Bob's points are good on tuning too, but as you can see, he too agrees that the lower sound is well worth it. But speaking of capos.........

Capos: I personally like the Shubb. Its a tight and easy to use capo and has a slight curve in the bar which helps. You can of course bend the bar on others to fit too. A lot of tuning problems can be solved by slitting the soft rubber/neoprene/whatever stuff of the capo where the considerably fatter 7, 9, and 11 strings hit. A small Xacto slice there will allow them to bed down a bit deeper and allow the 8, 10, and 12 to be compressed properly.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Songster Bob
Date: 11 May 00 - 11:58 AM

The question of how/where to tune the 12-string depends somewhat on what you're going to be doing with it. For example,

Down a whole tone (2 frets) and C standard is your D ... but E = F# (ouch) Down 3 frets, C = Eb (ouch again), but E = G (yay!) Down 4 frets, C = E (yay!), but G = B (yecch)

See what I'm getting at? For some keys, it's an easy transposition, for other keys, it's a pain. With a capo, of course, you can overcome these problems, but you introduce the out-of-tuneness that comes with capoed 12-strings (and no, I've never heard a single acoustic 12-string guitar that would capo perfectly for more than three or four frets... not a one... really... well, if you know of one, send it to me and I'll play it a year and tell you if I like it).

De-tuning and transposing are part of the game with 12s, and that's the nature of the beast. Tuning to standard sacrifices part of the inherent quality of the 12-string sound, but makes transposing as easy as on a six-string. Tuning low makes transposing more of a nightmare, but the sound! The sound!

If I ever get another 12-string (I just bought a boo-teeky guitar, so another one -- soon -- is out of the question) I'll tune it low and live with it. And whether it's two frets, three frets, four or even five frets low will depend on the sound and the amount of transposing I want to be subjected to.

Bob C.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Rex
Date: 11 May 00 - 11:35 AM

I have an ol Martin D12-20 with light gauge strings and kept it tuned down a step for over a decade. Then I figured, hey, the strings are light gauge, tune it up and quick fooling with the troublesome capos. The next day I opened the case and found the top pulled up at the bridge. [What have I done?!!] I quick tuned it down and wondered where I would have to take it. [yeah, Bruce can fix it] But it came down on its own. I've never had to do anything to this guitar so far and it's been faithfully tuned a step down from that painful incident. So EJ, lets do some pickin. In the 80's the 12 banger was sort of my trademark instrument. Drop D tuning is fun.

Rex


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Mooh
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:26 AM

Whistle Stop, you're welcome. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 11 May 00 - 09:18 AM

I have only had one twelve string in my life; got it in 1961 for $48.50 and it was a Stella. No, not the GOOD kind that Leadbelly had but something made mainly out of plywood. When it came from the factory it had unison G strings and with nobody to talk to or learn from it was about a year till I got Fred Gerlach's record and saw that the 3rd pair was also tuned in octaves. I also started with it tuned up to concert and quickly tuned it down a full tone, where I kept it until it imploded some years later. For the ten years i had it as a workable instrument, I called it a combination hygrometer and guitar; you could made a good guess of the realtive humidity by the degree of warp in the neck. Maybe it's almost time to buy another twelve. . . twilight is stealing!


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 11 May 00 - 08:43 AM

Mooh, thanks for the level of detail in your post. I've been threatening to get a 12-string for years, and I think my bank account may just be able to handle another good quality instrument pretty soon. Your insight into design considerations is definitely helpful -- I appreciate your taking the time to pass these tips along.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: rangeroger
Date: 10 May 00 - 11:58 PM

My 12 was built by John Slaughter in San Diego, and for years I kept it tuned in standard pitch.Until the tuning head let go in the Redding heat in my Suburban.
Now it stays tuned down one full step with heavier strings as 'Spaw said.
For open tunings I( and the guitar) love open D.In this case C. CGCEGC.The guitar is a triple-O size and in an open tuning really resonates.I have come to regard a capo as an essential tool in my guitar playing and use it a lot.
rr


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: GUEST,lazrat
Date: 10 May 00 - 10:23 PM

My 12 string is tuned CGCGCE which I find good for Cajun style - it's an old Yamaha and has served me well for years. Only problem is 11th and 9the tend to go out of tune when capo goes on - lack of tension I suppose


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 May 00 - 10:15 PM

BTW, people have been saying for years that their 12 will tune at standard pitch, but most sound lousy there and its hard on the instrument, no matter who built it. Once you listen to the sound difference, you'll realize why tuning down with heavier makes sense.

But here's an opp for Rick to tell one on himself. Proving that we have all bought that line about tuning them up to pitch, including Mr. Fielding.....well in his younger days anyway.

The sad tale of Pedro, the Imploding Twelve

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Mooh
Date: 10 May 00 - 10:10 PM

Hi, settle in for a long read.

EJ, maybe you won't be lonesome with your new 12. it is shaped like a...oh never mind...

I'd like to share my take on 12 strings. I don't understand why there aren't more of them used these days when the general quality of factory 12's is pretty good.

I always disliked alot of 12's just because they didn't sound "warm" enough for me, and my first one's top couldn't even be felt to be moving when strummed hard, unlike my 6 at the time that rang and vibrated like crazy. When I had a 12 made (Marc Beneteau, St.Thomas Ontario), I took alot of chances design wise, but happily they were worth the risk.

Because I screw around with tunings, I wanted a stable neck, so I ordered a 12 fret (to the body) neck which had the convenient benefit of also moving the bridge back into the wider area of the top, which I think improves the tone, volume and clarity. This also meant there'd be no problems with standard tuning, which is an issue since its often used in a band context where I don't always have the time or liberty to mess with tunings. For my personal use however I can up the gauges a bit and detune somewhat. DADGAD sounds like the earth opening up to swallow me.

The body size of many 12's is more designed for a 6 string so I opted for a tighter waisted shape, almost a 3/4 jumbo sort of thing. This reduced the boom, particularly in front of a microphone. Marc adapted the top bracing and the top is lively but controlled. I wish I could thank this guy enough for how he's acommodated me, and his incredible work.

To reduce the weight of the headstock thereby improving the balance on my lap I have ebony tuner buttons which are significantly lighter than steel ones, and look great. Perhaps mock pearl (plastic?) would look good too. I figure that 12 tuners are heavy enough. (I once saw a 12 string player with different buttons on the octave strings to help the player tell them apart, but I thought it also looked lousy.) The balance is also improved by the 12 fret neck, and guess what, it fits in my good hardshell 6 string case.

I didn't want a cutaway since I obviously like playing low anyway. But my other concern was with the soundhole being moved back the distance of (roughly) 2 frets, the top area ahead of the hole would be increased and I thought I'd like to exploit that a bit, no matter how it was braced. I have no way of knowing for sure how this worked except to say I don't miss the cutaway, and it sounds glorious, loud and full.

Wood wise I chose rosewood back and sides, spruce top, mahogany neck and ebony for everything else. I don't think woods are a fussy part of 12 string consideration, except that I've never heard a plywood top 12 that I liked, and I think ply tops require too much bracing for the 12 string tension.

Having burdened you generous readers with all this detail, I have still been impressed with some factory 12's lately. The Yamaha, Martin (even the less expensive ones), are quite acceptable. I never thought I'd say this but I heard an Ovation 12 tuned low last year (I think at the Owen Sound Celtic Festival) which was surprisingly clear. Perhaps it was the combination of 12 strings and low pitches which improved the plastic sound. With the current interest in citterns and octave mandolins and bouzoukis (why doesn't that word look right?) and the like, a 12 string can sometimes even pinch hit for those sounds if retuned, that is if you can suspend your disbelief awhile.

I just scanned this post and I obviously like talking about guitar concepts, anyone share this interest?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 May 00 - 10:01 PM

A twelve has a boatlod more tension on it and either its built like a tank or you tune down. More to the point though is sound. A twelve has two things going for it....that neat jangly kinda autoharp sound and a booming bass. A lot of twelves are overbuilt and supposedly can take it. Bullshit. Unless you're using relly extra light strings, over time its going to wear down on it.

But the real point is that the sound is so much better (even on one of Kendall's hated "overbuilts"---he has an Appollonia as I recall?---nice ax) when you tune down. Then if you go with heavier gauge strings, you'll find the bass gets bigger too! Rick said that he'd found out that Seeger was using a LaBella .068 Silk and Steel on the 11th.

My advice, for the absolute nothing its worth, is to try a set of mediums (.012-.052) and tune down one and a half steps and see what you think. If you got some real guts and real fingers, try the GHS Leo Kottke set, a heavy gauge (.013-.056) and try tuning down either one and a half or two. Bet you're amazed at the sound.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 10 May 00 - 10:01 PM

Or even better... a great huge 12 tuned in DADGAD!!!

Sounds like heaven!!

{~`


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: kendall
Date: 10 May 00 - 08:08 PM

Here we go again...the factory made 12 bangers are all built like Grand Banks schooners, so, they can take the extra tension of standard pitch. However, they do lose some resonance because of the extra wood. I had a Yamaha 12 string years ago, and, the bridge lifted after 10 or 15 years of standard pitch. You just cant equal the deep tones you get with a big body 12 string tuned down to D or C. especially in Em or Am.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: BlueJay
Date: 10 May 00 - 07:22 PM

'Spaw-I beg to differ. Maybe I'm asking for trouble down the road, but I prefer standard tuning rather than tuning down and using a capo. Weren't twelve-strings designed for standard tuning? If it's a well made guitar, I think it'll take the added tension. Mine has done fine, and I'd rather not use a capo. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 May 00 - 05:20 PM

I thought they were still calling it Stapleton. Well I'll be dipped in luke warm gook. Last time I was there was way too far back....86 maybe? Whatever, it was pre-Karen. As to your gross incompetence, I guess I'll let it slide.....Just happy to hear you got a 12!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 May 00 - 04:45 PM

Stapleton closed about 5 years ago when Denver International Airprt opened, Mr Dumbass, Sir. Thanks for the instructions, though. I did enter "twelve string" in Thread Search, but not Supersearch. I am Supersorry.


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Subject: RE: Twelve String Tuning
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 May 00 - 04:32 PM

Glad ya got one Bro.......First two pair (E-B) the same, the rest in octaves, tune the whole thing down one or one and a half steps. Use capo. THEN, you old fart......check out all the other postings and threads we have had about 12 string tuning and variants by entering 12 string or twelve string in the Super Search.

Finally, pick me up at Stapleton tomorrow morning cause I need to come out there and kick your balls for not looking at all that other shit first!!!!!!!

But I still love ya anyway......especially after your latest post on the Gun thread.

Spaw


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Subject: Twelve String Tuning
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 May 00 - 04:22 PM

OK, dumb question. I have a 6 string acoustic and am reasonably competent at tuning it. I recently acquired a 12 string Yamaha, but don't know how to go about tuning it. Anybody?


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