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Old 01-14-2017, 10:45 AM
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Default 12 String Guitars - Your Thoughts, Experiences, & the Stories Behind Them

I've had a couple of really nice 12 string guitars, a Guild 512 and a Taylor 455. I still think about the tone from these beauties and wonder if it's time to add one to the stable...
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:03 AM
L20A L20A is offline
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I have owned several different 12 strings over the last 35 years.
The best sounding 12 string that I ever owned was a Guild Jumbo. The best playing was a Yamaha solid top Dred.

I love the tone that a 12 string produces.
In reality, I only play a 12 string about 5% of my playing time.
That makes it hard to justify owning a high end 12 string.

I currently own a Crafter 12 string that is a solid top Dred shaped guitar from Korea. If fits my needs for a 12 string and it cost under $500.00.

I will always have a 12 string in the stable.
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:20 AM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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I've owned a few but never spent an awful lot of time with them. They're great for recording because they fill out the sound superbly. But as a solo instrument they're just a bit too much, soundwise, of a good thing - a bit like eating a whole tray of cream cakes instead of just one! They're also murder on the fretting hand, even when the strings are light and the action low. What I do have at the moment is an Emerald Amicus, which is a kind of carbon fiber 12-string mandolin tuned up to high D. It's a great sounding instrument, but I don't play it an awful lot.
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:25 AM
Guitaurman Guitaurman is offline
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I had a cheap Stella 12 string as a teen. It went away when I went to the Army. I loved the 12 string sound on some songs I played.

Fast forward to 1987 when I was in San Diego visiting my brothers. Their friend Kevin was into nice guitars and he and I became friends. He was a generous guy. The day I met him he invited me to go with him to hear Johnny Winter, he had tickets. I was playing out a lot in those days but only had six strings, a Mossman, an Ovation and my trusty Strat. Sadly Kevin got cancer and passed away in 2013. He left his guitars to my brother but told him to give me his mint condition 1987 Guild JF 30 12. The only condition was that a play a Neil Young song or two on it occasionally. I think of Kevin everytime I pick up that Guild.
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:38 AM
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:25 PM
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12-strings have a magical tone in the right hands. My style of playing and my skills as a player don't really get the most out of a 12-string. But I have a really nice Guild F-512 that I won't part with because when I do pick it up and just strum a few chords, the sound transports me.

I mostly fingerpick blues, with bare fingers, on 6-string. I haven't taken the time to transfer what skills I have to 12-string effectively. It's not the guitar's fault but mine. Still, even rudimentary playing can sound fantastic on that guitar. I think it's really a different instrument altogether, relative to a 6-string.
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:30 PM
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I spent several years collecting 12-Strings, everything from vintage, to modern, examples from a dozen or more builders, it was great fun. Tonally my favorite was a toss up between a vintage Guild F series with a neck the size of a baseball bat, and a Gibson B45-12, followed by a 76' Martin D35-12. The most playable 12-strings I owned were Taylors of course, followed by a couple of Breedloves.

In the end, I kept the Gibson B45-12, but added a Rainsong 12-string dreadnought to the mix because everyone should have at least one 12-string they can leave in their car indefinitely. Then last year, I added a Taylor 12-Fret 12-String to the stable, because hey, everyone needs a couch 12-string.
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:41 PM
jemartin jemartin is offline
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My story with 12 string guitar is unusual. I decided at age 40..that I wanted to seriously learn guitar, and that I wanted it to be a 12 string. So, I purchased what I could afford (as most people suggested at the time.. and ended up with a decent Alvarez 5054).
I soon realized that a 6 string guitar would be necessary for learning fingerstyle, so I added one of those.
Over the years I have learned that I love to play both types of acoustic (6 and 12 string), because they both have strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn't be caught dead without a 12 string... especially a good jumbo like my old Guild F512. A great 12 string can be magical (as was mentioned) in alternate tunings.
I do use mine more than I expected since I am a worship leader in church... and especially in the childrens' section (which presently keeps me occupied).
My ears... over the years.. tell me that a great 12 string has a powerful deep bass (which jumbos are known for) to counterbalance the natural trebley tone from the octave and treble strings. If the bass strings don't stand out.. it can come across as a tiring bunch of jangle to the ears after a while.
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:51 PM
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I've had three. They were played a few times, but mostly just hung on the wall taking up space. They are fun for a while, but you have to ask yourself how often will you use it and what else could you buy instead. I'll admit that listening to them in capable hands can precipitate a GAS attack.
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:58 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is online now
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I got myself a large body, ladder braced Harmony 12-string back in 1966 when I graduated from high school. That guitar had to be tuned 3 or 4 half steps below standard tuning to keep it from self-destructing. I learned to play a lot of stuff on that guitar -- old Bob Gibson songs, a whole lot of folk and blues songs, Leadbelly stuff. Then I got to play a Martin 12-string tuned at standard tuning and I thought, wow, this is magic. Then I heard a guy a few times play a Guild F512 and I thought, this is even more magic.

From that point on, I went looking for a used Guild jumbo 12-string. In 1975 in Idaho Falls, ID I finally found an F212 in good shape that was built in 1972. I traded my old Harmony and I think about $300 for that Guild F212. It seemed like a lot at the time, but now it seems like a bargain. I still have that F212. I have kept that guitar at standard tuning for the entire time I've owned it and I use a light set of strings that allows me to do that. It sounds just like Paul Simon's playing of "Emily, Whenever I May Find Her," probably because he used an F212 to record that song.



My F212 has never had a neck reset.

Just recently I bought a year 2013 model F512 from a fellow AGF member off the Classifieds. To me, this guitar is a huge step up the ladder towards the sound I have always craved from a 12-string. More bass, huge available volume, a fuller tone, more chime but less jangle compared to the F212. I still own the F212 but haven't played it since I got this F512. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the F212 at this point.

I have considered putting heavier strings on it and tuning it down 4 half-steps below standard pitch, like Leadbelly and Leo Kottke, but the truth is, I really don't care for that sound. I'm seriously considering giving the F212 to my oldest son, who I think would really appreciate this guitar.

I grew up playing the 12-string so I am very much at home with one. I have really been enjoying playing the new F512 almost every day now. The only negative is that my wife has just told me that I need to memorize all the words to "The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald." I'm probably going to have to...

- Glenn
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:15 PM
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Became acquainted with 12 strings in college where my roomate played a nice Takamine 12 string.We were Gordon Lightfoot fans and loved the tone of the 12 string.
Have bought and sold several over the past dozen years.Seems like they get neglected at times and tuning them can be tedious.

Finally, have a new Martin PA series 12 stringer.The 1 and 13/16 neck is easier to play and although this Martin is not as loud as the Guilds and Kottke Taylors I do enjoy it.
Right now it's in open C tuning as have finally gotten through "Question" by the Moody Blues,one of my favorite tunes.

Open tunings seem to really adapt nicely to the 12 string chime...

Gabe
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:22 PM
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I think Breedlove makes the best 12 String today. I loved the old Guilds as well. I would really try to find a Breedlove. I've heard some Taylor 12 strings I liked but to me the Breedlove's (US Built) are the best sounding and easiest to play. With Breedlove notoriously low re-sale prices you should be able to find one used and not take that first hit.

I don't own a 12 String at this time but have had two Breedlove 12s over that last 25 years...I really miss one of them.

Currently I use a Bowerman 8 string that just has the D and G strings octave and I feel I get the jangle I need with two thirds less effort.
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:36 PM
Steadfastly Steadfastly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitaurman View Post
I had a cheap Stella 12 string as a teen. It went away when I went to the Army. I loved the 12 string sound on some songs I played.

Fast forward to 1987 when I was in San Diego visiting my brothers. Their friend Kevin was into nice guitars and he and I became friends. He was a generous guy. The day I met him he invited me to go with him to hear Johnny Winter, he had tickets. I was playing out a lot in those days but only had six strings, a Mossman, an Ovation and my trusty Strat. Sadly Kevin got cancer and passed away in 2013. He left his guitars to my brother but told him to give me his mint condition 1987 Guild JF 30 12. The only condition was that a play a Neil Young song or two on it occasionally. I think of Kevin everytime I pick up that Guild.
Very nice (but sad) story.
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:42 PM
Guitaurman Guitaurman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inyo View Post
For a number of years, I played an old Stella Harmony 12-string given to me as a present (lost it due to catastrophic structural failure several years ago; I miss that guitar).

Image below is a stock commercial photograph of the model I played. It's the H912 Stella 12-string, Sunburst. Manufactured 1964-1968; other years of reputed production are possible--in other words, pre-1964--but have not been verified. Came in various permutations, with or without the classic white pick guard. Top is birch, body is birch. Scale is 25 and one-quarter inch. The H913 followed in 1969-1971, though it came only in the natural body style.

That looks like the old Stella I had as a kid. I bought it new in '64 or early '65Thanks for the memory. It makes me smile.
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:49 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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I have owned two 12 string guitars in my life. One was a high end Adamas. The problem in both cases was that I thought I wanted to play 12 string, but the reality was that I really wasn't all that interested. I ended trading/selling them both not long after owning each.

So, I would suggest being sure that a 12 string is what you want. Simple, in hindsight.

Today, I own a 7 string, and do play that. Robert Conti suggested I try it for solo chord melody, and it really is cool for playing solo guitar for filling out the overall sound.

Tony
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