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12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question

Wesley S 16 Feb 01 - 04:27 PM
Bert 16 Feb 01 - 04:31 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Feb 01 - 04:35 PM
Ebbie 16 Feb 01 - 04:36 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 01 - 04:42 PM
Murray MacLeod 16 Feb 01 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,John Hardly 16 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM
Don Firth 16 Feb 01 - 07:02 PM
GUEST 16 Feb 01 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,CraigS 16 Feb 01 - 08:48 PM
Lanfranc 16 Feb 01 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,Michael Miland 16 Feb 01 - 11:14 PM
Don Firth 17 Feb 01 - 02:52 AM
Rick Fielding 17 Feb 01 - 11:44 AM
Tiger 17 Feb 01 - 01:57 PM
Don Firth 17 Feb 01 - 03:02 PM
Murray MacLeod 17 Feb 01 - 06:30 PM
Don Firth 17 Feb 01 - 10:28 PM
Sorcha 17 Feb 01 - 10:51 PM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 11:13 PM
Sorcha 17 Feb 01 - 11:15 PM
ThreeSheds 08 Nov 06 - 05:32 AM
Midchuck 08 Nov 06 - 08:39 AM
GLoux 08 Nov 06 - 02:10 PM
Wesley S 08 Nov 06 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Robert G 08 Nov 06 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,van lingle 08 Nov 06 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,PJS 08 Nov 06 - 08:18 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 06 - 09:12 PM
RiGGy 09 Nov 06 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,King Jack 07 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM
Mark Ross 07 Dec 10 - 05:10 PM
banjoman 08 Dec 10 - 07:37 AM
Cool Beans 08 Dec 10 - 10:54 AM
GUEST 08 Jul 14 - 12:58 PM
PHJim 08 Jul 14 - 07:35 PM
Phil Cooper 09 Jul 14 - 09:23 AM
Rex 09 Jul 14 - 02:16 PM
Ebbie 09 Jul 14 - 08:49 PM
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Subject: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Wesley S
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 04:27 PM

I'm thinking of trading in my OM style guitar on a 12 fret slot head model. Perhaps a 000 or even a 00. Do any of you own one ? Most guitar have 14 frets clear of the body but these have only 12 frets clear. My main question is - do you miss the other two frets ? And I've heard that it might be a little more difficult to change the strings on slot heads. Any truth to it ? The few slot heads I've played have had exceptional tone. Thanks - Wesley


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Bert
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 04:31 PM

Anything more than the top three frets is wasted on me.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 04:35 PM

They do have a better tone than 14-fret dreadnoughts, and the reason is that the bridge is more in the centre of the soundboard, rather than towards the soundhole. This makes for better acoustic transmission.

Murray


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 04:36 PM

I don't pick up the neck but I love the tone of my 12 fret, and I notice no problem in changing strings.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 04:42 PM

I don't own one Wes, but I like 12 fretters, for what its worth. (current market value of Spaw advice=zilch)

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 05:22 PM

Oh come on 'Spaw, don't be so modest. FWIW I did once own a Martin D28-S, I think it was the only one in Britain at that time, and I loved it. It is now owned by Paddie Bell (of Corrie Folk Trio fame). It had (and has) a massive sound).

The late Isaac Guillory's favourite guitar was a 12-fret D35-S. Again it was a huge-sounding guitar.

Murray


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,John Hardly
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM

There's a few questions left within your question.

Don't assume 12 frets means shorter scale length (in other words ask or measure)

Therefore don't assume everything true of the differences between OM and 000 will hold true (ie. ease of bending strings on a 000 as compared to OM)

One thing that does run true, and I like the most about a twelve fretter, is ease of left-hand playing. Since the nut is closer to your body you 1. see what you are doing better, and 2. have more strength in you wrist when it's not extended as far.

Cosmetically I love the difference, particularly in 12 fret dreds, because I love that gracefully sloped shoulder.

Yes it's harder to change strings.

Yes it sounds different and you may love the sound as much as I do.

JH


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 07:02 PM

I've played classic guitars or Flamenco guitars (same size, shape, and construction as a classic, but with cypress back and sides instead of rosewood or mahogany -- gives them a very "Spanish" sound) since 1955. They all have slotted heads and 12 frets clear necks. Never had a problem changing strings (always a pain in the neck, no matter what the configuration of the headstock) and I've never had a problem reaching the notes I wanted -- and that includes a few moderately tough classic and Flamenco pieces I've attempted. If you like the guitar, go for it!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 07:39 PM

I like my O-16NY Martin just fine. Great tone good volume , unlike many Martin's it stays in tune. Would it sound different if it were a 14 fret neck rather than a 12? I would have no way to know. On the whole I like shorter scale instruments for sound, playability, and size.

Don


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 08:48 PM

My number 1 guitar is a 12 fret Bacon; after I'd bought it I found that there were a few things I couldn't do as easily, and some things didn't sound as good as they did before. You have to appreciate the sound difference - the 14 fret models have a higher-up-the-body bridge placement, which makes the sound more "bass-heavy". If you play with a pick, it's less difficult to compensate for this than it is if you play with your fingers - the hand has to move round into a "classical" picking position to get more bass response. If you use a capo a lot, you might find the short neck irritating at times. If you record your music, you will probably find that a short-neck guitar is easier to EQ than a 14 fret guitar. Choose a guitar because it sounds good and plays well, then think about how it looks. If it irritates you after a while that you can't play certain things, buy a cheapie (eg. a Seagull or a Norman) to do those particular tunes on.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Lanfranc
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 09:18 PM

I have a 12-fret slotheaded dreadnought - a now-discontinued Washburn D34S. OK, it's not the Martin D28S that I have coveted since I saw Tom Paxton playing one many years ago, but it has a better sound than many much more expensive guitars I have owned.

There are occasional frustrations with the shorter neck, especially when playing capo'd up, and yes, fitting new strings is a bit more of a chore, but I have a couple of 14-fret Martins, so I have a choice. However, for a GBP300 / USD425 guitar, it's pretty damn good.

Wonder why Washburn have discontinued it?


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,Michael Miland
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:14 PM

Thread Creep

Most of the flamenco guitars I have seen aren't slot heads but are friction pegs straight through the peghead from back to front.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 02:52 AM

You can get Flamenco guitars either way. I got a second-hand Domingo Esteso back in 1957 with friction pegs and, although it had a ferocious tone and a bass that registered 3.5 on the Richter Scale, it was an absolute bitch to tune (1 to 1 ratio, obviously). In 1961 I sold it and ordered an Arcangel Fernandez directly from the maker in Madrid (knew a guy who made yearly trips to Spain and he put me in touch with Fernandez). Fernandez asked me if I wanted friction pegs or geared machine-heads in a slotted headstock. He said that hide-bound Flamenco purists prefer the friction pegs, but it makes no difference at all in the tone, and most of the Flamenco guitarists he makes guitars for prefer the geared machine heads. Easier to tune. I opted for the machine heads.

I had to wait for a year and a half for it. It's an absolutely incredible guitar. I paid 6000 pesetas for it ($116.66) plus 30% duty and about $25.00 air freight. Label numbered (136), signed "Arcangel", and dated (1961). Hearing something recently about the value of Arcangel Fernandez guitars, I checked with one of the guitar brokerage houses (the kind of place that sells rare, high-quality instruments) and found out that my guitar is now worth somewhere between $12,000 and $18,000!!

I used to play it in coffeehouses, hootenannies, parties, concerts, just about everywhere. Song accompaniments mostly, but occasional classic pieces -- and some Flamenco pieces that I learned from a genuine Flamenco guitarist who was playing at the Spanish Village at the Seattle World's Fair in 1962. It's still in great shape and it's been getting better all the time.

After talking to the guitar broker, I'm scared to take it out of the house!

It's an absolutely genuine Flamenco guitar, and it has a slotted headstock with geared tuning pegs.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:44 AM

I've had a few slot-head, 12 fret guitars, and I simply love the esthetics of the design...BUT...yah, changing strings is a drag (and I change every three or four weeks) and access to the higher frets for lead playing is more difficult.

I agree that the 12 fret body can often be more resonant. The D-28 S, is a hell of a good sounding guitar!

Now lemme see, which great ancient philosopher (oh yah, it was Joni Mitchell!) said "When something's lost, something's gained?

Rick


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Tiger
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 01:57 PM

This sounds like my dream machine.

Regarding sound, I suppose it will still depend on the woods, construction and maker. Just a few notes:

1) Norman Blake commented that he liked 12 frets (he was playing a 1929 Gibson Nick Lucas at the time), perhaps because the 12th. fret octave (harmonic, etc.) comes right where the neck met the body.

2) The sound chamber will be somewhat larger, relative to total instrument size. Probably important in getting good volume from a smaller size box.

Willie Nelson also uses one of these a lot.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 03:02 PM

A little continued thread creep -- I got so caught up in bragging about my ax that I didn't mention that the only difference between a classic guitar and a Flamenco guitar is the wood. A top classic is usually made with rosewood back and sides and a spruce or cedar soundboard. A Flamenco guitar is constructed exactly the same way, except that the back and sides are made of cypress. In the really good ones, there are a few differences in construction, however. The soundboard (usually spruce) of a Flamenco is shaved or sanded a few molecules thinner than that of a classic, and there is almost always a golpeador -- a thin piece of white or clear plastic -- glued to the soundboard between the soundhole and the bridge to protect the soundboard while tapping rhythmically (golpe). Same general purpose as a pick-guard. The design of the headstock has nothing to do with whether it's a Flamenco guitar or not.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:30 PM

Uh , not quite true, Don. Anyone interested in the differences between classic and flamenco guitars, visit www.MIMF.org for further elucidation.

Murray


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 10:28 PM

Murray, I searched the MIMF website pretty thoroughly, and although I didn't find everything, I'm sure, I couldn't find anything to contradict what I said above. I'm wondering what you are referring to?

Honestly, before I change my mind about what I have been told by Arcangel Fernandez (has made guitars for all the major Flamenco guitarists, including Carlos Montoya), Antonio Zori (my Flamenco teacher in 1962) and Bill James (a member of the Seattle Classic Guitar Society, who has made a pretty thorough study of all phases of Flamenco, including details of the guitars used) I would have to see something pretty overpoweringly authoritative. So far I haven't found it. If you can give me a little more detail on finding what you are referring to . . . I'm open to learning.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 10:51 PM

uuuhhh, from a fiddling/non-guitarist, here, but changing strings is Always a hassle for me, I have geared pegs (like on a guitar or banjo) rather than friction pegs as is usual on a violin. But, what about the cut aways? As far as available frets goes?

Is there a difference in fret gauging, like there is on a lap dulcimer without a 6 1/2 fret? I guess what I am asking is if there is a difference between the actual fret measurments........uuuhh, fingerboard gauging.....uhhh, on a fiddle, the stops (non existant frets) may be just slightly different, but always close to the same so that within a few minutes, a good fiddler can usually play a new instrument in tune. That is, given that s/he figures out the bridge/nut placement, too.

Dumb question? I am just trying to broaden my instrument knowledge here. Not like I will ever play a guitar.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:13 PM

Yeah Sorch, there is a difference, referred to as "Scale Length" There are several standard lengths depending on the guitar type and/or brand. You can design ANY scale length you wanr on any lute type or long zither instrument, because the distance can be broken down into a ratio/percentage of string length. Other things do affect it, but guitars tend to a few standard lengths whereas dulcimers are often vastly different in size.

Was that a decent and simple explanation?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Sorcha
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:15 PM

Yes. I understand scale length. Thanks. Thought that was what it was.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 05:32 AM

My lad has just suprised me by saying hes on the lookout for a 12 fret guitar, The only 12 fret guitars that he has come across are nylon strung classicals a rather fine flamenco guitar (Morning Ted)and a Maccaferri copy, so I'm not totally clear as to what he expects from a 12 fret, other than portability and a olde worlde vibe
Any non boutique suggestions?


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 08:39 AM

Negatives of the 12-fretters:

1) You can't reach quite as high on the neck. This is only a consideration for a small minority of guitarists. I forget who it was said "There ain't no money above the fifth fret," but it was someone who was very good - certainly capable of using as much of the neck as he chose.

2) They're harder to restring (not because of the 12 frets, but because of the slotted headpiece) until you've done it a few times. (But all you need to do is buy coated strings and restring less often, if it bothers you.)

Positives of the 12-fretters:

1) Given equal size and quality of construction and materials, a 12-fretter will have a richer and more powerful tone. There are 3 suggested reasons for this:

- The bridge being nearer the center of the body, as suggested above.

- The rounded shoulders mean that the body has a little more volume than a 14-fretter of the same nominal size. If you compare the 12- fretters and 14-fretters of the same nominal size on Martin's size charts, you'll note that the 12-fretters generally are shorter overall, but have a longer body.

- The slotted headpiece makes the strings "break" over the nut at a sharper angle. That supposedly transmits vibration from the strings through the nut into the body better. I am not enough to an acoustic engineer to know if there's anything to that theory or not.

2) 12-fretters almost always have wider necks. 1.75" at the nut, rather than 1 11/16", is pretty much the standard, and quite a few have 1 13/16" or 1 7/8." If you have tiny hands, you may not consider this an advantage, but those of us with short, fat fingers usually do.

3) I think they're prettier.

Peter.

(Only two out of my 10 are slotheads, but they get the most play.)


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GLoux
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 02:10 PM

Changing strings on a slot head guitar isn't as easy as a solid head stock, but I find that is only an issue when I break a string in performance (when time is of the essence).

I play a 000 slot head 12 fret, but I had it built with a 1 11/16" nut. A friend had one built for her that way, too. Peter is correct about them usually coming with a wider neck width.

I find the tone much more balanced than say, a dreadnought, and it is much more comfortable to play with a strap (after playing a dreadnought for 25 years).

I don't miss the extra two frets at all. I still have my dreadnought, but I rarely play it.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Wesley S
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 02:15 PM

Since I started this thread back in 2001 I have since owned - and sold - a nice Collings 000. I loved the sound but I never felt comfortable with the width of the neck. I traded it for a Collings OM with a more manageable 1.75 inch width on the neck. I still have a hankering for another 000 - if i get one it would have to have the slimmer neck width.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,Robert G
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 02:29 PM

I play a 1934 00-21 and a 1935 00-42 - both great guitars, but buggy when you're playing slide and have capoed on the second fret - wish my voice matched the keys I can sing in better -


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 08:09 PM

Santa Cruz OO and OOO 12 frets seem to have a standard 1 3/4" nut width. vl


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,PJS
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 08:18 PM

Have a Martin D15s that sings! Don't think anything beats a 12 fretted, open headstock Dreadnaught when it comes to fingerpicking,

Don't worry about them extra 2 frets they only get dusty :)

PJS


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 06 - 09:12 PM

If anything happened to my Collings 000, I would replace it immediately.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: RiGGy
Date: 09 Nov 06 - 10:02 AM

I gotta Larrivee SD-50TSB & string it with extra heavy strings.
Only play in DADGAD & it's a cannon. Riggy


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST,King Jack
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 04:04 PM

I'm in the market for my first 12 fret guitar. I tried a Martin 0015s and liked it--it was 1 3/4 at the nut, I think. However, I'm interested in a couple Recording King 12 fret guitars? ROS 16 and ROS 626. I've played their low end 14 freters and found them quite playable. And finally, is it common for most 12 fret guitars to measure 1 13/16th?


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Mark Ross
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 05:10 PM

Lonnie Johnson did a all those classic blues in the '20's & '30' on a 12 fret.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: banjoman
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 07:37 AM

I bought a 12 fret Ovation Folklore in 1983 (with my first redundancy pay) and it has always been a first class instrument which has mellowed over the years. Like a lot of contributors, I don't play much above the 5th fret so the shorter neck is not a problem. As to changing strings, Ovation provided a "Maintenance Manual" with the guitar which has a dtailed method of fitting strings which I have adapted to all of the guitars I also own. In the band I often use the ovation as its on board electrics are great although not quite so good as the onboard system now fitted to my Washburn 12 stringer, or the Lakewood


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Cool Beans
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 10:54 AM

I have a Martin 000-28VS 12-fret with a 1 7/8" neck. It sounds great (with light-gauge strings only) but changing the strings is indeed a hassle.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 14 - 12:58 PM

I also have a Washburn D-34S 12 Fret in near mint condition and I can vouch that it produces a high quality sound that rings out when you play, and you notice almost instantly just how much detail was put into crafting this instrument especially when you play it!


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: PHJim
Date: 08 Jul 14 - 07:35 PM

My wife has a 1921 O-18 or OO-18 that I love to play, but my only complaints are the bar frets, which make sliding difficult. If you're buying a new 12 fret guitar, this will not be a problem. My other complaint is that changing strings is a hassle. I can usually replace a broken string on my guitar before the song is over, but hers takes much longer.
She loves her guitar, but doesn't do much sliding nor break many strings.

If you play slide guitar, you won't want a 12 fret. Even though I hate the looks of acoustic cutaways, they are handy for playing slide.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 09 Jul 14 - 09:23 AM

I borrowed a friend's Martin D-18 with a slotted head and twelve frets and it sounded great. Don't like changing the slotted head strings.


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Rex
Date: 09 Jul 14 - 02:16 PM

I've had a Martin D12-20 most of my life. Slotted head, 12 frets, 12 strings. Sometimes I get a notion to trade it in for 12 string Guild and stop right there. I'll keep this one forever. I am not vexed by the slot head, I just use a string crank for swapping strings.

Rex


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Subject: RE: 12 Fret Slot Head Guitar Question
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Jul 14 - 08:49 PM

Interesting. Rex, I too don't find changing strings on my D35 12-fret slothead a hassle and I too use a string crank.

As for tone, a musician friend once remarked about my guitar, "Sometimes I forget that this is what a guitar should sound like." It has a great bass but the balance is good all the way up.

Oh, and Merle Travis played my guitar back in 1977 and liked it!


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