View Full Version : 12 string tuning in 3rds to achieve harmony

Steve Z
08-15-2007, 01:38 PM
I was just reading an article on Jimmy Bryant that had a brief description of how he achieved a unique sound from his 12 string guitar on the 1954 recording of "Stratoshpere Boogie" (he played a Stratosphere Twin double neck electric guitar with a 12 and 6 string neck).

The tuning of the 12 string was in thirds - its courses tuned E/G, A/C, D/F, etc., low to high to achieve a "twin guitar" sound. This sound was described as sounding like overdubbed guitars in harmony.

Has anyone ever tried this tuning? Does anyone with a 12 string guitar, acoustic or electric, want to try this tuning and share a brief recording comparing a standard tuning and the tuning in 3rds?

This is rather intriguing... thoughts?

08-15-2007, 01:47 PM
I've tried it in fifths but not thirds. I figured it was a way you could outdo piano players with their ten voices. Anyway, it sounded pretty cool.......the V chord has to be suspended though.

Steve Z
08-16-2007, 10:39 AM

Thanks for the comment on the tuning.

- - -

Has anyone else ever tried this? Does anyone want to try it and let us folks without 12 strings know how it sounded?


08-16-2007, 10:50 AM
I'm with John in that I've fooled around with a 12 tuned in 5ths. Also, you might want to check out "Icefire" on Pat Metheny's "Watercolors" album. It's an electric 12-string solo with the strings pairs tuned in 4ths and probably 5ths. Really beautiful!

08-16-2007, 11:22 AM
Hi Steve...
Here's an interesting article/document on Jazz tuning a guitar in thirds for easier solo playing (not a 12 string & not for folk-chord playing).
Tuning in thirds - click (http://www.ralphpatt.com/Tune.html)

Many have experimented with altered tunings to achieve effects or textures.