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View Full Version : Best (relatively) cheap 12-string?


JackLeggedDawg
04-09-2004, 08:52 AM
I've got a bad case of GAS for a 12-string, but I don't want to break the bank. This would be my second guitar. I want this for fingerstyle, with no electronics. And I would prefer a relatively smaller body. (A grand auditorium would be ideal.) I don't think I can swing for the Taylor 355 (not crazy about the jumbo body, anyway). So I'm looking at the world of Fender, Takamine, Yamaha, etc. Under a grand, but probably more than 500. It's a crowded field, so I could use some informed recommendations.

bukwheat
04-09-2004, 08:57 AM
Give a Seagull a try. Big bang for the buck. Under $500.

bukwheat

bradley dr20
04-09-2004, 09:05 AM
I would have said Guild, but they have a big huge sound and are mostly jumbos as well. Taylor does make 12s in the Grand Auditorium body (345, etc), but that might still be too expensive for you. Larrivee makes 12s of most (if not all) of their models. You might want to check those out. I think the Seagulls sound a little thin, and I don't think you'd be satisfied with it for very long (no offense, buk :) ).

mac1588
04-09-2004, 09:07 AM
The Seagull might be a good option.

Martin also makes one, the D12X1, that is in the same price range (street), and I've heard good reports about it. The top is solid Sitka, the back and sides are HPL:

http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=s&g=X&m=D12X1

Mac Carter

taygull
04-09-2004, 09:18 AM
Seagull, they sound great! You can get them for $350-$400 new! Very good quality. My instructor writes for Vintage Guitar and he did a review a few years back on Seagulls, quote "best guitar under $1000.00, ad a bone saddle and WOW!"

Andromeda
04-09-2004, 09:19 AM
Alvarez is also agood choice. I owned their small jumbo model and that had a good tone and action. I also played a Alvarez 12 in a dread body and that guitar had such a warm tone and the smoothest action.

MadeintheUSA
04-09-2004, 09:27 AM
martin 12 string on ebay for next to nothing. it was a d1 or something or other

Cree
04-09-2004, 09:31 AM
You can get a 355 on e-bay for @ 800.00 . I own one and it's a keeper. The martin 15 series 12's are also excellent and at that lower price of @ 6 to 7 hundred.

hamlet
04-09-2004, 09:34 AM
I too have seen several Martin 12's go in the $600 range on eBay.

Also, consider looking on eBay for a 20-year old solid top Yamaha (look
for an S after the model number)... lok for high numbers, 400's, 500's,
600's, they got for $200- $300 with case.

For example...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=33033&item=3716778126&rd=1

I don't care for all the talking that partiocular seller is doing, but a few
emails asking about fret wear, etc would be in order.

mdunn
04-09-2004, 09:54 AM
Also check out Simon & Patrick.

Same parent company as Seagull, but instead of the pinched headstock you will get a more traditional looking headstock.

At one time I owned a Seagull M-12 and for the $$$$ it is a great sounding and easy playing 12 string. :)

Engineer
04-09-2004, 10:18 AM
I'd suggest a Seagull as well. I had one for a couple of years and it was a great playing and sounding guitar.

Freeman
04-09-2004, 10:23 AM
Jack

Save your money and look for a used T355 or a Guild F212. You won't be sorry.

I also highly recommend playing a lot of 12's before you commit - they are very different and only a few work really well for fingerstyle. My Martin D12-28 is a beautiful guitar but I would trade down any day for a Taylor for finger picking. One nice things about Taylors (and Guilds) is that they seem to be pretty consistant - if you play one in a store and like it chance are one on evil bay will sound about the same. The same can't necessarily be said about Martin.

For fingerstyle the most desirable Martins are the 12 fret D12-20 and some of the J's - the dreads (like mine) tend to be better strummer/flat pickers.

You might also want to check out the Carvin cobalt. They have a return policy that would let you try first. I don't care for the barn door in the side but you would be getting an new 12 with factory warranty.

Older inexpensive 12's have a habit of self destructing - I would suggest looking very carefully a them structurally (Tak, Yamaha, etc). Braces, bridge, neck angle, action are all suspect. Ask the previous owner how he strings and tunes - I would stay away from guitars that have been tuned to concert for longs periods of time.

Good luck and don't be in a hurry

samchar
04-09-2004, 10:39 AM
I've tried a lot of them. Short of the dough necessary to pick up a Martin/Taylor/Guild 12, look no further than Seagull or Simon & Patrick. Same manufacturer, but I went Simon & Patrick because of the traditional headstock and the fact that, at the time, I don't think Seagull had the low-end model 12 with a spruce top. Only cedar. Simon & Patrick has a 12 string with a solid spruce top that is just tonally awesome....and can be bought for about a song. The cedar is nice too, but if you like that classic bright punchy jangle, I prefer the spruce.

Jack_9
04-09-2004, 10:58 AM
Hey Freeman, I also have a FG 150, circa around 60 or 70 I keep it in Raised B, How do you like that guitar? Mines pretty much a beater , I think it has a cedar top and I guess mahogany back and sides but i'm not sure. What do you know about this guitar, I can't find any info on it hardly, if you could give me some feed back that would be cool.

hamlet
04-09-2004, 11:09 AM
Hey Freeman, I also have a FG 150, circa around 60 or 70 I keep it in Raised B, How do you like that guitar? Mines pretty much a beater , I think it has a cedar top and I guess mahogany back and sides but i'm not sure. What do you know about this guitar, I can't find any info on it hardly, if you could give me some feed back that would be cool.

Here is some Yamaha history
http://www.guitarist.co.uk/print.asp?ID=6848&type=feat
http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Data4/Yamaha/FG-150-01.html

I have a FG-150 also... in great shape, love the parlor size, and my girls are learning to play on it. It is all solids... great value for a well made solids guitar IMHO.

MadeintheUSA
04-09-2004, 11:19 AM
do a search on ebay for a d12-1 martin...cheap as heck, dont know the original price tho

Jack_9
04-09-2004, 11:26 AM
Thanks for the links, yeah I got this guitar from my grandpa, I self taught myself how to play on this guitar while i saved for my Taylor. Its very loud when I push it, real punchy, I now keep it in raised b tuning. Didn't know it was a solid wood guitar no wonder it sounds so good.

Freeman
04-09-2004, 01:59 PM
Here is some Yamaha history
http://www.guitarist.co.uk/print.asp?ID=6848&type=feat
http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Data4/Yamaha/FG-150-01.html

I have a FG-150 also... in great shape, love the parlor size, and my girls are learning to play on it. It is all solids... great value for a well made solids guitar IMHO.

This was my first real guitar - bought it while in school during the late 60's for probably a hundred buck. Shortly after I also bought a Yamaha 12 string (to keep the thread from drifting too badly) which I then traded up to my Marty about 12 or so years ago.

I had been using the FG-150 as my beater after getting a Martin - taking it on ski trips and such when I realized that (1) its a pretty good sounding little box, and (2) it had been a dear friend for many years. This year when I did my ski trip I took the Taylor instead - it's replaceble if I drop it out of the helicopter - the Yamaha isn't.

Ironically, I played it last night. I often keep it tuned to open C, a tuning I don't use a lot and its kind of a hassle to get in and out of. I played one of my 'bros, then got the old Yamaha out and played a few of the songs from its era - Fahey's Sun Flower River Blues (or what ever its called) and Kottke's Tennesse Toad and Busted Bicycle. And I thought to myself what a wonderful little guitar that has been

Interesting that both Jack-9 and Hamlet responded - and thanks Hamlet for the links. I printed them out and will put them in the case. Jack, mine is solid spruce top and solid Mahog sides and back - like Hamlet says a heck of a buy in a solid wood guitar. I've never been crazy about the tuners but they are original and they work. I really don't know what the size corresponds to - its a little smaller than my 314 and the upper bout is more squared off than a OO of OOO. Its bigger than a parlor, but still a small guitar. It has not had any work done to it - not even the truss rod - and the action is low and neck is straight. The rosewood fretboard is fairly flat, which I like for playing slide, and it feels narrower than the 1-3/4 that I've grown to like. I typically string with light Nanos or Polys (since I don't play it a lot I like the strings to last). Now days I mostly play fingerstyle with flesh and nails and its frankly a much better guitar than my D-18 for this (as good as, but different, from my 314).

I apologize for the thread drift - to get back on subject I did own an Yamaha FG-230 12 string and it had nothing to recommend it. If you can find a FG-150, buy it. If you find a FG-230, you might want to pass.