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pleasures of the 12

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Dunkle 06 Mar 02 - 10:06 AM
greg stephens 06 Mar 02 - 10:11 AM
SharonA 06 Mar 02 - 10:46 AM
greg stephens 06 Mar 02 - 10:59 AM
Finn McCool 06 Mar 02 - 11:42 AM
M.Ted 06 Mar 02 - 12:11 PM
SharonA 06 Mar 02 - 12:13 PM
Don Firth 06 Mar 02 - 01:55 PM
Bobert 06 Mar 02 - 02:26 PM
dwditty 06 Mar 02 - 02:43 PM
Murray MacLeod 06 Mar 02 - 02:46 PM
Gypsy 06 Mar 02 - 05:17 PM
Anahootz 06 Mar 02 - 10:56 PM
greg stephens 07 Mar 02 - 04:13 AM
Fossil 07 Mar 02 - 04:27 AM
GUEST 07 Mar 02 - 06:37 AM
Roger in Baltimore 07 Mar 02 - 08:07 AM
Murray MacLeod 07 Mar 02 - 09:05 AM
musiclover 28 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM
freightdawg 28 Feb 04 - 07:37 PM
chris nightbird childs 22 Oct 04 - 05:53 PM
PoppaGator 22 Oct 04 - 06:13 PM
chris nightbird childs 23 Oct 04 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,BlueJay 23 Oct 04 - 03:47 AM
GUEST,Eric Levine 23 Oct 04 - 08:17 PM
chris nightbird childs 23 Oct 04 - 09:26 PM
GUEST,thomasrleeds@aol.com 23 Oct 04 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,Eric Levine 23 Oct 04 - 09:45 PM
GUEST,thomasrleeds@aol.com 23 Oct 04 - 11:28 PM
chris nightbird childs 23 Oct 04 - 11:38 PM
Auggie 24 Oct 04 - 08:26 AM
John MacKenzie 24 Oct 04 - 09:29 AM
Amos 24 Oct 04 - 09:42 AM
chris nightbird childs 25 Oct 04 - 02:58 AM
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Subject: pleasures of the 12
From: Dunkle
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 10:06 AM

I surprised myself by buying the used Guild F512 that I just 'stumbled' across on Saturday; it's a beautiful instrument, both in how it looks and how it rings. I'd be interested in hearing from others aficianados - what is it that makes you love playing a twelve? Don H.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 10:11 AM

I can shut my eyes and pretend I'm Leadbelly.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: SharonA
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 10:46 AM

I'm in awe of people who can flat-pick 12-strings, such as Peter Berryman. I can strum mine but that's about it as far as proficiency goes! I do love that "ring", but I hate changing all those strings!


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 10:59 AM

Isn't tuning a pain? John Dowland said he thought he'd spent a third of his life tuning his lute, and my recollection of the years I spent as a 12-string player were much the same.T found an old Stella in a junk shop in Skibbereen last year, £40. I saw it in the window and was disappointed to see someone had taken off half the machine heads to convert it to a 6-string. I mentioned this to the shopkeeper and she said there might have been some other junk with it. She drove off home to look, and came back with an envelope: which contained not only the 6 machine heads, but all the screws Now i really can pretend to be Leadbelly1


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Finn McCool
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 11:42 AM

Sharon,

Flat picking a 12 string isn't that difficult once you get used to the feel of the instrument, provided that the action is low enough for decent playability.

Dunkle,

You won't have any problem with playability on a Guild 12 string. The double truss rod system on all Guild 12s keeps the neck in great shape.

What does it for me playing a 12 string is tunes where you can hold a chord shape and keep a lot of the strings ringing at once while playing ornamental figures or solos.

--Finn


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 12:11 PM

Dropped D tuning is great on a 12, as well--and Hawaiian music--try simple thumb arpeggio on this chord:
3-x-3-2-0-0-


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: SharonA
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 12:13 PM

Finn: I should've mentioned that I'm not very good at flat-picking a 6-string, either! (I'm only just learning!)


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 01:55 PM

The nice thing about a 12-string is that you don't have to work all that hard, and it still sounds important! The bad thing about a 12-string is that it isn't twiceas hard to tune as a 6-string, it's 144 times as hard to tune!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 02:26 PM

Now, the ol bobert doesn't play the 12 string much because its a pain to tune, probably more because its an Alverez, and not a Guild or Martin, but I do have one question: I have not tried this but I've been told that if after you get the danged thing in standard tuning, you remove the primary strings (leaving only the harmonic strings) that the guitar takes on a entire sound of it's own. Any Catfolk know about this trick? (And no, I'm not trying to start any purist fights here. Just curious.)


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: dwditty
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 02:43 PM

Bobert, this "trick" does not have to be done on a twelve string. A good shop may be willing to sell individual strings at guages matching the sympathetic strings in a 12 string set, or just buy a 12 string set. Just string up yer guitar with just the sympathetic strings, and, voila, you have a completely new and different instrument. If I remember, the G string becomes the highest note of the six. It makes for a wonderful sound, and be sure to try a capo at maybe the 4th or 5th fret. I love to fingerpick with this set up. The high lonesome sound. I have seen this technique referred to as "high-strung" guitar.
As for a 12, there is just nothing like that jingly jangly sound on some songs. Fingerpick, flatpick, or strum can all do just find on the right songs. I fell in love with a custom Santa Cruz 12....a Model H (small body, but deeper than most), koa top, sides, and back, 42 style inlay, and she sounds like a cathedral.

dw


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 02:46 PM

greg, I am somewhat bemused by your post. If you click on Leadbelly's 12-string Stella you will see that the headstock was slotted, as were all Stella twelve strings, as well as almost all their six strings.

Now, my understanding is that the machine heads were all of the "six on a plate" type, I find it inconceivable that indivudual tuners would have been used on such an inexpensive guitar. Even my 1964 Gibson 12 string uses six-on-a-plate tuners.

So can you elaborate further on how the guitar was "converted" to a six string ? Enquiring minds wish to know.

Murray


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Gypsy
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 05:17 PM

Gee, i took up the twelve string cuz it is so much easier to tune than my hammered dulcimer. 12 strings? It's positivly malnourished!


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Anahootz
Date: 06 Mar 02 - 10:56 PM

If any of you frea...er, folks wish to own another 12-string guitar, feel free to buy mine. It is a Washburn D-12-12, spruce top, mahogany back/sides, discontinued model with fewer than 100 playing hours on it...I will part with it for $400. OHSC included


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 04:13 AM

Murray MacLeod: sorry i should have been a bit more precise. The machineheads are indeed 6 in a row. What the previous owner had done is to remove every other worm gear and the bit you twiddle, presumably because they rattled when they werent under tension from a string. As you seem to know aboutthis, a separate question..are there any photos of Leadbelly playing an accordion? It sounds to me that he's playing a 4-stop one row melodeon in G, played backwards in the cajun style, but i've never seen anything to confirm this.( Sorry about thread creep..too lazy to start a new one)


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Fossil
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 04:27 AM

Pleasures of the 12? The sound, the sound, that's all.

The rest of it's a pain. But I too had the opportunity a few years back to buy a secondhand Guild 12: it was at *the best* guitar shop in London ("Rock Around the Clock" in Crouch End, actually) and like an idiot I bought a new Ovation 12 there instead. OK it sounds alright, but tinny when played acoustically compared to the Guild. It's OK if I put it through the amp, but that only magnifies the defects in my technique.

Good luck with yours, Dunkle.

But tuning? Don't even mention it.... "How will you know when the Day of Judgement has arrived?" "When the 12-string's ready to play....."


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 06:37 AM

I've currently got the loan of a 12 str, and have no problem tuning it - I just wack the old Intellituner onto it and it tells me just what to do.
12str has a lovely full sound, but now I have to sing louder to keep up.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 08:07 AM

Greg,

Yes, Lead Belly played an accordian. I am not sure what type. My often poor memory says it has seen a picture of Lead Belly with one.

If you really want the Lead Belly sound, you will need to restring it with heavier gauge and tune it down three whole steps so the first string is now B. If you search the Forum for "Leadbelly's strings" there should be a thread way way back. It was my first post on Mudcat.

I own a Guild 12 string. The rich, warm sound of high strings with the ring of the bass enhances many tunes. I usually flat-pick, even on Lead Belly tunes. Lead Belly used a thumb pick and a pick on his index finger to do all those powerful bass runs.

I'm not sure my Guild would be my "deserted island" choice for a guitar (it has its own limitations), but I don't want to part with it either.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 07 Mar 02 - 09:05 AM

Greg, although I know that the Cajun accordion was actually the first instrument Ladbelly learnt to play, I cannot locate any photographs of him playing accordion.

The foremost expert on the African-American accordion tradition is Jared Snyder, who wrote "Leadbelly and his Windjammer: Examing the African American Button Accordion Tradition," American Music 12 (1994) . If you really wanted to find a photo, he would be the man to contact.

Murray


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: musiclover
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM

man, do you guys know lead bellys story?
He is definitely one of my biggest heroes and inspirations.
But in no way, shape, or form would I wish to be him.
His life is THE BLUES sounds pretty but isn't, you know?


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: freightdawg
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 07:37 PM

Boy, lot's of threads on 12 strings popping up these days.

dwditty - "She sounds like a cathedral" - aaaaahhhhh, pure poetry.

As I mentioned in another thread, the undertaker will have to pry my fingers from my 12 to get me in the box (or, maybe the Mrs. is going to have to order a bigger box).

As just about everyone has mentioned, the 12 can be tempermental, especially to change strings or tune. However, mine stays in tune every bit as well as my 6 string or my nylon string classical (I tune down to D).

I adore all of my guitars for very different reasons - the softness of the classical, the mellow tones of my 6 string, but the 12, yessir, that's my baby.

Now if I could just play the darned thing as well as she deserves.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 05:53 PM

I flatpick mine as well. I also drop the E's to D's to play Willie McTell tunes. It sounds soooooooo good...


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: PoppaGator
Date: 22 Oct 04 - 06:13 PM

I've heard the term "Nashville tuning" used in reference to stringing up a six-string guitar with the octave-higher 12-string-type strings as substitutes for the four lowest strings.

Apparently, studio players on Country Music Row have used guitars with this setup for ensemble playing -- in combination with one or more other 6-string guitars strung in the standard manner,adding one of these "high-strung" instruments creates an extra-complex 12-string sound.

Any thoughts on the electric twelve, a la Roger McGuinn? (Yeah, I know -- that's not his *real* first name...)


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 12:25 AM

McGuinn is great as an electric player. Never heard him on acoustic 12 though... Right now he's playing 6-string acoustic with an octave string on the G for a slight 12-string sound.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: GUEST,BlueJay
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 03:47 AM

Mike Cross: I love the twelve string, "Doubles my chances of hitting the right note". I have a bottom of the line Guild 212. Not fancy, but it has a great sound, great neck and once tuned, it stays in tune like a friggin rock. My son-in-law David has a plywood top Takamine 12, which he calls his "magic guitar", and he plays at most of our gigs. It just rings for a plywood top, plays and sounds great. Thanks, BlueJay


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: GUEST,Eric Levine
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 08:17 PM

I have been playing a twelve string for more time then I want to admit. Got A few of the good one's stolen, that is a sore subject, but anyway;

You can tune it with good tuning pegs. It's worth getting them easy as pie.

Then as far as how to tune it let your action and your insticts guide you. 2 half steps down even 3 or 4. Some today like to keep it at Standard pitch because it is louder and better. But there is something fine about that low sound too, even if you use it only once in a while (rest of the time you can use a Capo)

Leadbelly is great so is Pete Seeger Mark Sposelstra from copied them when I was first starting the 12lve I based my stuff on those three. Also alternate tunings are great but practice retuning before you perform. You can imitate a train really well on a 12lve THINK(Pook a chucka Pook a chuck a) Go up to the treble strings and find a whistle with a few bass notes in it too. The back to the low first position and more (pook a chuck a)you got a train.

Eric Levine


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 09:26 PM

I occasionally drop the Es to Ds. I never tried dropping them all. How different does this make it sound, Eric?


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: GUEST,thomasrleeds@aol.com
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 09:28 PM

To all you 12 stringers out there. Try this. Put your simpithetic strings in an under position. 3 through 6 just change places.
You get a whole different effect. You get the sim' strings on the back strum. I don't play with a pick much because of the clicky sound.
Try down stoke with the back of your nails, up with back of thumb.
You will get a softer more harpsicord sound.It also finger picks differently. Check it out and tell me what you think.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: GUEST,Eric Levine
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 09:45 PM

Facinating Idea about reversing the strings, its hard to undue it though, I will try at some point.

As for dropping E's to D's thats what I do most of the time. Get this, if you drop both E's to D (what I call double drop D) then you are one more drop away from G Tuning anyway, which is dropping your A string down to a G. Faster to get from double drop D to G then back to standard E. So if you have to you can go in increments. G tuning is a full fleged open tuning but the others are just as good for their own things. I like all 3. Also sometimes I drop the E to a C (I have a very heavey low E string). Then I more likley drop the A to a G too. Play a C chord with just two fingers and it sounds great. But watch out if it buzzzzzes

Eric Levine


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: GUEST,thomasrleeds@aol.com
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 11:28 PM

I admire the sounds created by open tunings. But for thoses who want a open tuning sound without the change from standard.
Try putting a partial capo on the 3,4 5 strings at the 2nd fret.
You'll get an interesting effect that sounds impressive.
I also get similar effects from playing short chords on the trebles
with the basses as drones. It is even interesting for picking.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 23 Oct 04 - 11:38 PM

The buzz kills me sometimes, but the Double-D/Open G thing sounds promising. Does anyone know what tuning Willie McTell used? I drop my Ds on his songs all the time.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Auggie
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 08:26 AM

Bobert
I tried the Nashville Tuning you mentioned sometime back with one of my guitars. I think Mudcat even had a thread relating to this stringing. It's definately different, tho I wasn't all that impressed (then again, no one else is ever all that impressed by my playing when the usual strings are on either). Unless you've got a 2nd instrument to dedicate to this or a lot of time to kill, I'd take a pass on this offering from the good folks in Nashville.


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 09:29 AM

I'm about to restring my '65' Epiphone Serenader, and having bought 'lights' and tuned to concert for years, I'm going to try tuning it to 'C' for the first time.
Wish me luck!
Giok


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: Amos
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 09:42 AM

Good luck, Giok!!


A


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Subject: RE: pleasures of the 12
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 25 Oct 04 - 02:58 AM

The only problem with tuning the 12 to open tunings is when you want to barre the strings. I never thought acoustics (12's in particular) sounded good when you played barre chords.


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