The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools
Old 02-22-2021, 09:49 PM
spirittoo spirittoo is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 16
Question 12 String Guitar Standard E or D?

Hello all .... wellsir I just got a Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic Guitar. My first 12 string.
I heard that most tune theirs to standard D to reduce the stress on the neck, then I heard that guitars made now can handle standard E tuning.
What would be the recommended tuning for this guitar?

Thanks for reading my post.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 09:58 PM
stormin1155 stormin1155 is online now
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,246

Most modern 12-strings are built to handle the tension of being tuned to E standard. Many players tune to D or Eb to reduce tension... easier on the guitar, easier to play, some tune down so they don't have to strain their voices, I tune down because I like the sound.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 10:14 PM
Tannin Tannin is offline
Registered User
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Huon Valley, Tasmania
Posts: 187

Matter of taste which you like; matter of judgment whether the instrument can take the strain.

I do find my 12-string easier to play tuned down a little. This puzzles me as it is perfetly set up and is wearing light strings, while I generally don't mind a heavier feel - all my other guitars have medium-light or medium strings and I play bass and baritone. Oh, and I've played 12-strings for more than 40 years.

Anyway, I've recently taken to going half-way and tuning it to Eb. Nice soft feel under the left hand, but still plenty of zing.

Spirittoo, my advice to you is to try it in E, in Eb, and in D, and go with the one you prefer. Don't worry about being out as compared to other instruments, you can always use a capo.
Tacoma Thunderhawk baritone, spruce & maple.
Maton SRS60C, cedar & Queensland Maple.
Maton Messiah 808, spruce & rosewood.
Cole Clark Angel 3, Huon Pine & silkwood.
Cole Clark Fat Lady 2 12-string, Bunya & Blackwood.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 11:34 PM
gibpicker gibpicker is online now
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: SoCal
Posts: 544

Mine is a half step down and sounds great and plays easier. If you want pitch just put a capo on the first fret. On a 89 buck guitar I wouldn't even think of going to pitch. One half step down and maybe even a full step down.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 11:47 PM
donlyn donlyn is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,283

12 String Guitar Standard E or D?

Based on your topic, standard tuning is still 'E' for guitars.

However, I tune mine to D# and capo 1 to play in standard with other people. If I'm playing solo, I usually don't capo. Best capo out there for my Taylor 12ers is the G7th Newport 12 string capo with the compensated string pad.

I go way back and used to always tune 12 stringers to 'D', a 60s staple habit I have since upped to D#. Never played or examined a Rogue, so I don't know what it can handle for tuning. But tuning down does take a bit of tension off and make it easier to play.

*The Heard:
85 Gibson J 200 sitka/rosewood Jumbo
99 Taylor 355 sitka/sapele 12 string Jumbo
06? Alvarez AJ60S englmn/mpl lam md Jumbo
14 Taylor 818e sitka/rosewood Grand Orchestra
05 Taylor 512ce L10 all mahogany Grand Concert
09 Taylor all walnut Jumbo
94 Epiphone EJ 200 spruce/mpl lam Jumbo
16 Taylor 412e-R sitka/rosewood GC
16 Taylor 458e-R s/rw 12 string GO
Kala ATP5
et alia
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 01:42 AM
tdq tdq is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,343

I tune mine to D. I don't think I have to, but I like the sound and feel of it like that, seems richer somehow. It's a maton 425.
National Resophonic NRP 12 Fret
Loar LH-700-VS Archtop
Herrmann Weissenborn
Recording King RP-10
Recording King RG-35-SN Lapsteel
Maton 425 12-string
Stella Tenor
ESP 400 series telecaster
My Youtube
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 02:03 AM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nottinghamshire, U.K.
Posts: 676
Default D# is a good middle ground...

I find this a good compromise between playability and being buzz free. With a good setup and light gauge strings (10-47), dropping a full tone elicits fret buzz when played firmly.

D# also seems to produce more bottom end without losing the treble sparkle. Down at D, light gauge strings lose quite a bit of tone.

Worth experimenting with all options to see what suits you and your instrument best.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 02:34 AM
NotveryGood NotveryGood is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 268

Told this story before. In the seventies even though I couldn't yet play properly, I bought an EKO Ranger 12string. (it seemed an "exotic" thing to do at the time) I knew nothing about light string gauges or detuning (or even how to tune properly, this was before electronic tuners in the old dreadful "pitch pipe" days).
One night in bed I was awakened by a loud bang followed by a sound like a chiming harp.
I've only had brief flirtations with 12 strings since then, but always favoured detuning and putting a capo on the second fret.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 02:34 AM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Arizona
Posts: 7,561

My Taylor (and Larrivee when I had it) are tuned to E

The 12-string neck on my Emerald Chimaera is tuned to E.

The Rainsong is tuned to Eb, because it doesn't have a truss rod and I don't like the neck relief tuned to E.

The 1973 Guild is tuned to D, and at 48 years old could really use a neck reset.
Larrivee OM-03RE; O-01
Martin D-35; Guild F-212; Tacoma Roadking
Breedlove American Series C20/SR
Rainsong SFTA-FLE; WS3000; CH-PA
Taylor GA3-12, Guild F-212
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 03:01 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK/EU
Posts: 18,134

I have Martin D12-20 customised and Harmony H1270. Both from the '60s.

Martin wears D'addario EJ37s and Harmony wears Martin M190s. Both 54/30- 12/12 tuned to D.

This gives me a different dynamic to my six strings.
Silly Moustache,
Elderly singer, guitarist, dobrolist and mandolinist.

Hey folks, I'm now offering one to one lessons/meetings via Zoom! See:
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 04:28 AM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Ohio the heart of it all
Posts: 2,579

My Yamaha CPX700 II-12 wore 12s, was tuned to E, and was a breeze to play. The neck didn't seek to mind a bit and it was a narrow neck for a 12 string.
AC3M Deluxe

Revstar 502T
Pacifica 012
Weddington Special

Ibanez AW54CE

Takamine P5DC

Cole Clark FL1E-BM
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 04:51 AM
FingahPickah FingahPickah is offline
Registered User
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 424

I have kept my 87' Guild JF65-12 tuned to standard pitch with light gauge (i.e., D'Addario EJ38) since it was new without issues. Except - for some reason the guitar itself feels a lot heavier than it did 34 years ago... N'yuk, N'yuk.

Last edited by FingahPickah; 02-23-2021 at 05:00 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 05:40 AM
EllenGtrGrl EllenGtrGrl is online now
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Greenfield, WI
Posts: 366

I tune to D, and have for the past 10 plus years. This was reinforced by the 70s Guild G212 I used to have, that suffered damage from previous owners tuning it to Standard (E) for decades - the neck pulling up, the bridge lifting, and the top bellying (I should have noticed these things when I bought the guitar at a guitar show, but the price was right, it sounded good, and I was in a hurry [haste makes waste], due to a long drive home ahead of me). Also, I like the darker sound down tuning produces. I use D'Addario EJ38s.
Play Whatever Brings a Smile To Your Face

My Smile Makers:

Taylor 150e 12-string
Eastman E8OM
Fender Britt Daniel Tele Thinline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 06:45 AM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mohawk Valley
Posts: 6,300

I keep mine tuned D to D even though the maker told me to go ahead and use standard Less stress is one reason + as it is a 14 fretter, a capo on the second fret still leaves it useful to me. Mostly, I prefer the lower sound. It fits 12 string well, more rumple, less jangle. And it gives me the opportunity to fit my voice better on some songs.
The Bard Rocks

Kinnaird 000 Adk/Ziricote
Sexauer L00 Adk/Magnolia
Hatcher Jumbo Bearclaw/"Bacon" Padauk
Leach "Arctos" OM Millenium Sequioa/Macassar Ebony
Goodall Jumbo POC/flamed Mahogany
McAlister baritone Adk/Bubinga
Appollonio 12 POC/Myrtle
MJ Franks Resonator, all Australian Blackwood
'31 National Duolian
banjos of all kinds, mandolin, autoharp, tiple...
Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2021, 06:47 AM
rstaight rstaight is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Lafayette Indiana
Posts: 1,090

I tune my Takamine GJ72CE 12 string to standard tuning. I have to say it is arguably my easiest playing guitar.

To me it doesn't matter if tuned to E, Eb, or D, there is something about a 12 string and a capo.
2007 Indiana Scout
2018 Indiana Madison Quilt Elite
2018 Takamine GJ72CE 12-String
2019 Takamine GD93
1963 Gibson SG
2016 Kala uke
Dean A style mandolin. (Year unknown)
Lotus L80 (1984ish)
Plus a few lower end I have had for years
Reply With Quote

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=