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  #1  
Old 09-09-2017, 08:19 PM
Jimmy Recard Jimmy Recard is offline
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Default Unlocking the secrets of the 12 string.

Existing 12 string players will probably roll their eyes and go "well derr, that's the point" but this all new and exciting for me.

When I recently bought my first 12 string I was a little concerned I may have bought something of a white elephant. As its turned out I've loved every moment of it and have been pleased to discover how versatile they are. Starting out, one of the most jarring things was when I tried to play my existing songs, and thumbing the bass notes would ring out the top octave, especially when I'd thumb down to the third and hit that octave G. I've since adjusted my thumb's angle of attack to accentuate the bass more. I've also had to become more versatile with my I, M and A fingers, allowing them to play across the 4th, 5th and 6th courses when I really want the bass strings to ring out. Sometimes I find myself thumbing and fingering the same course, which is different.

This has led me to my biggest discovery, a lot of the blues songs I play in open tunings, once I reorganise the fingerings, are easier to play. One example is Skip James' Special Rider Blues, which has a lot of parts where you run up and down fretboard pinching octaves, which I can now play on one string. Some songs can even be played entirely on 2 strings only.

Last edited by Jimmy Recard; 09-10-2017 at 02:36 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2017, 08:46 PM
Rosewood99 Rosewood99 is offline
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Welcome to the world of 12-strings. Enjoy.
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2017, 09:31 PM
Russell G Russell G is offline
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Welcome Jimmy !

Glad you discovered something new about guitar playing, especially with your 12 string!

Where in Australia are you mate ?
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:52 PM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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I understand your excitement.

My wife and I celebrated my 60th birthday today by driving out the backroads to our favorite music shop. I browsed around a bit, played a few Martins, tried an Eastman... then I took a Taylor 562ce 12x12 down off the rack, took a seat on the stool and started fingerpicking.

Playing this guitar actually gave me goosebumps. It was, by far, the easiest playing 12 string I have ever held. It was easier playing than some of my 6 string guitars, and it sounded incredible. The shorter scale length, the 12 fret configuration, the grand concert size..it was simply a joy to play.

So, I bought it

I'm really thrilled about it... it's as if my personal style has developed over the years to be very well suited to 12 strings, but I had no idea it was happening. It's like an epiphany

I am really looking forward to learning how to take full advantage of all the wonderful things this guitar has brought to my pallette.
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Last edited by Swamp Yankee; 09-09-2017 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:27 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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Aahh ... a flashback to my 1st 12-string in 1978.



It was actually a horrible guitar.
One of the Italian 'Eko' family with a zero fret and height adjustable saddle.
Weighed a ton and had zero bottom end tone.
Just over bright and jangly.
The 6-on-a-plate tuners were so stiff I needed pliers to turn them.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:57 PM
The Growler The Growler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee View Post
I understand your excitement.

My wife and I celebrated my 60th birthday today by driving out the backroads to our favorite music shop. I browsed around a bit, played a few Martins, tried an Eastman... then I took a Taylor 562ce 12x12 down off the rack, took a seat on the stool and started fingerpicking.

Playing this guitar actually gave me goosebumps. It was, by far, the easiest playing 12 string I have ever held. It was easier playing than some of my 6 string guitars, and it sounded incredible. The shorter scale length, the 12 fret configuration, the grand concert size..it was simply a joy to play.

So, I bought it

I'm really thrilled about it... it's as if my personal style has developed over the years to be very well suited to 12 strings, but I had no idea it was happening. It's like an epiphany

I am really looking forward to learning how to take full advantage of all the wonderful things this guitar has brought to my pallette.
Pics or it never happened.

12 strings are wonderful and as you and the OP have found, it can really open up some new music.
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Old 09-10-2017, 04:25 AM
Jimmy Recard Jimmy Recard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell G View Post
Welcome Jimmy !

Glad you discovered something new about guitar playing, especially with your 12 string!

Where in Australia are you mate ?
100 km west of Brisbane, Queensland. As an aside, the top (bunya) on my new 12 string string was grown not far from where I live. As another aside, I was in New Orleans a while ago and met a couple of Texan boys in the lift headed down to Bourbon St. They asked me where I was from to which I replied Queensland. They thought this was hilarious, "Queeeeensland!" they exclaimed, "where the he11 is Queeeeensland?", " Hey, is Queeeeensland full of Queeeeens?" The other asked. I responded, "you know what, Queensland is actually a lot like Texas". How's that? they asked "It's full of Queeeeens" they both just stared at me. Then the lift doors opened and I think the bright lights and raucous music of Bourbon St. saved me.
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:16 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Hi Jimmy,

Congratulations on your new 12-string! I'm glad to read that you are really enjoying it.

I love 12-string guitars, but I love 6-string guitars, as well.

Here is a link to the 10, 12-string songs on my YouTube channel, which might interest you and give you some ideas: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...cGXUrZPOWZs1p0

Have fun!

- Glenn
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:24 AM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Recard View Post
100 km west of Brisbane, Queensland. As an aside, the top (bunya) on my new 12 string string was grown not far from where I live. As another aside, I was in New Orleans a while ago and met a couple of Texan boys in the lift headed down to Bourbon St. They asked me where I was from to which I replied Queensland. They thought this was hilarious, "Queeeeensland!" they exclaimed, "where the he11 is Queeeeensland?", " Hey, is Queeeeensland full of Queeeeens?" The other asked. I responded, "you know what, Queensland is actually a lot like Texas". How's that? they asked "It's full of Queeeeens" they both just stared at me. Then the lift doors opened and I think the bright lights and raucous music of Bourbon St. saved me.
Good on ya, Mate!
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  #10  
Old 09-10-2017, 10:02 AM
ollaimh ollaimh is offline
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i've played 12 string on and off. decades ago i found a gianinni 12, craviola really cheap, and played it a lot, but had to sell it as i was going to university and thought i could only take one guitar(young and foolish).

a few years ago i found a hand made one out in vancouver, b.c., in the style of larrivee. 1979, by shelley sax. no adjustable truss rod. best sounding i ever heard. but the action was poor but playable. there were two wobbles in the neck. my guitar repair guy said don't put in a truss rod, he refretted it and levelled the finger board. then we tweaked it a few times and now it is both a great player and a great tone monster.

i like to finger pick 12 string. i play mostly celtic and they work great for old ballads.

i recently heard a few players tuning the 12 to dadgad. gotta try that next.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:04 AM
ollaimh ollaimh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollaimh View Post
i've played 12 string on and off. decades ago i found a gianinni 12, craviola really cheap, and played it a lot, but had to sell it as i was going to university and thought i could only take one guitar(young and foolish).

a few years ago i found a hand made one out in vancouver, b.c., in the style of larrivee. 1979, by shelley sax. no adjustable truss rod. best sounding i ever heard. but the action was poor but playable. there were two wobbles in the neck. my guitar repair guy said don't put in a truss rod, he refretted it and levelled the finger board. then we tweaked it a few times and now it is both a great player and a great tone monster.

i like to finger pick 12 string. i play mostly celtic and they work great for old ballads.

i recently heard a few players tuning the 12 to dadgad. gotta try that next.
luckily the finger board was twice the thickness of most thick ones, and goos ebony so he was able to level and tilt the whole orientation to achieve the same effect as if it had a neck set. this created a lot of saddle height and that also improved the tone as the top pressure at the saddle drives the top better with a sharper break.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:21 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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12 string blues players were not unknown to remove some of the octave low end strings. Big Joe Williams played a 9 string and Daddy Stovepipe an 8 string. Oddly, Lonnie Johnson is believed by some to have removed the B and E strings. One thing I still want to try is try unison G strings which is how Gibson set up their 12 strings in the 1960s.
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Last edited by zombywoof; 09-10-2017 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:51 AM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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Bruce Springsteen plays an interesting standard open tuning with out all of the G strings. I think he has an 11 string? I detect a plain G string?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7XLeYMUZY4

Last edited by tippy5; 09-10-2017 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:35 AM
Dakota Red Dakota Red is offline
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My 1st acoustic guitar was a 12-string, bought new in 1967. I was primarily an elec 6-str plyr prior & for a long time thereafter, but cumulative time spent learning how [for me] to "work with" a 12-string has stuck with me.

1) Agree, certain things are actually "easier" on a 12 when one can grasp the illogic of finding some melody notes on the octave-string of a lower-pitched course.

2) I almost immediately began using open tunings & a bottle-neck on my 12. 1st for my ver of "No Expectations", then to [badly] emulate Leo Kottke. Open tunings on a 12 can be really orchestral.

3) If the "octave-string-up" thing bugs you, consider re-stringing the way Rickenbacker 12-strings were/are - octave strings "down" [towards the floor]. This could entail getting a new nut and perhaps saddle if you stuck with this but could be test-flown as-is. Intonation might be a tad wonky & the fat strings might sit high or "proud" in the octave-strings' nut-slots but it'd give you an idea.

At one point in the '90s I had 3 elec 12s & 2 acoustic 12s, but am now happy with just '67 Fender Villager XII as a "beater" and '84 Guild F-45CE-NT 12. Welcome to "twelves-ville"!
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:40 AM
Swamp Yankee Swamp Yankee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Growler View Post
Pics or it never happened.

12 strings are wonderful and as you and the OP have found, it can really open up some new music.


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Martin 000-17SM
Supro 2030 Hampton
Taylor 562ce 12 X 12
Taylor GS Mini-e Spruce/Rosewood
Waterloo WL-S
Wechter TO-8418

Cordoba 24T tenor ukulele
Kanile'a Islander MST-4 tenor ukulele
Kiwaya KTC-1 concert ukulele
Kolohe concert ukulele
Mainland Mahogany soprano ukulele
Ohana SK-28 soprano ukulele
Brüko No. 6 soprano ukulele
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