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Author Topic: 12-string advice needed  (Read 1503 times)
phil
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« on: May 13, 2008, 03:51:19 PM »

I am totally gassing for a 12-string but I need a little advice. I play almost entirely fingerstyle with no picks. I play mostly blues and folk music. I love the sound of twelve strings, but everytime I pick one up the string spacing and nut width makes it impossible for barefingered playing. I'm really not interested in owning an instrument that can only be played by strumming it with a flatpick. I'm wondering if anyone on this forum has any models/makers that they recommend for fingerpicking.

Thanks

Phil
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Phil
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2008, 04:38:39 PM »

Use fingerpicks.
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Roman
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2008, 05:22:51 PM »

Taylor's 12 strings work.  My 355 can be finger picked pretty well.  I think the main thing is a proper setup.
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2008, 07:20:44 PM »

phil, it might be that you just need to spend a little time with a 12 string, get used to playing it with bare fingers.  I remember I used to have a Seagull M12 gloss and at first, I couldn't play fingerstyle at all but after a couple of weeks, I got the hang of the string spacing, plucking 2 strings at the same time...I really find it's the same for any guitar.  Whether it feels good when you first try it or not, eventually, if you play it enough, you'll find all the sweetness that lies within
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Johnny M
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2008, 09:28:15 PM »

Like Denis said, just give it some time and it will come around.  I play a lot of fingerstyle pieces on both my 6 & 12 strings, and I like the added element that the 12 give some songs.  There are only a couple of songs that sound off, but for the most part, most tunes sound great on a 12 string.  If I'm looking for a little more meat from the bass end, I throw on a thumbpick and I'm set.

My OM-03-12 (hog/sitka) sounds, feels and plays amazing - couldn't be happier with it.  You owe it to yourself to give Larrivee 12 strings a try before buying a 12 string - you won't be disappointed.

Without saying, it sounds great strummed as well 

John
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2008, 09:56:30 PM »

My son has a Seagull 12 (sp?) dread that he plays slide on and I was looking for a 12 string to replace one I sold about 15 years ago.

I tried Taylor and Guild which are both great guitars but I ended up with a special ordered Larrivee 12 string LV-03 all mahogany including the top and I couldn't be happier. (Out the door in early 2006 for $1,040 and considerably less than a Taylor). It took 11 weeks to make and it is a great fingerpicker and strummer. It has a really balanced tone and I keep it tuned down a step to D not because I have to but so I can pretend I am Leo Kottke. I think Larrivee 12's are one of the best values and most underrated guitars on the market today.

If lost, stolen or destroyed, I would replace it in a heartbeat. I don't think they make and OM-12 but everyone who has ever posted seems to love theirs. Go to Trinity Guitars and check them out. He had at least two posted to his web site the last time I looked.

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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2008, 11:08:06 PM »

I ended up with a 12 string T-5 Taylor primarily for the compensated saddle that leveled the string field across the fretboard. I believe they were planning production for the full acoustic line to option them in, but I haven't looked into it any further. I find it absolutely beneficial in controlling the volume of attack and the ease of play. No "pick hole" or concern in hitting the octave. I might suggest calling Bob Colosi www.guitarsaddles.com about making one for your Larri, Jim at Trinity may be able to coordinate the fitting with him also. Both are fine guys to work with, truly professional in their trade. I attached a pix of the one on my Taylor, looks like a saw blade, but plays sooo easy.

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whiskeyjack
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2008, 05:41:38 AM »

Quote
I think the main thing is a proper setup.

Absolutely!

If a twelve string isn't set up for finger style, it'll be miserable to get used to.  You'll sacrifice projection by lowering the action but you'll gain tremendous playability.  Also, the angle of attack must change a little to capture each course of strings.  Where a six string allows a lot of latitude for right-hand (I'm right-handed) positioning and plucking of each string, the twelve string requires the player to FIND the sweet spot for each course.  From my standpoint, there's a lot more articulation involved with finger picking a twelve string guitar than a six string.  And sometimes you've just gotta' be happy with what you get rather than what you plan.

My thumb often misses the mark on the bottom four courses and I end up picking just the octave.  The B and E courses maybe aren't so critical since they're tuned in unison.  But some of the sounds surprise me because they aren't what I expected to hear.  It doesn't sound bad; just sometimes unexpected.  And the serendipity keeps the edge alive.  My thought is, if you're obsessive about consistency and perfection it might be best to not bother finger picking a twelve string guitar: it's got half a dozen too many strings for the picking hand to keep track of. wacko.   

I'll say this though.....the smaller the guitar the easier it is to finger pick.  My OM-03R twelve and my Timberline OM cutaway twelve are wonderful guitars to play.  They're set up right for fingerstyle folk and have enough head room for some fairly aggressive strumming.  If you can get your hands on an OM twelve string of some kind, that's the way to go.
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2008, 11:15:04 AM »

Go to: theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com because it has one entire discussion category exclusively devoted to 12 String Guitar.  I don't own a Martin, but do have a Taylor 12 string.  I highly reccomend it for helping you decide whether you should get a 12 string.  imho there's something spiritual about the sound of an acoustic 12.   
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phil
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2008, 11:34:23 PM »

Good advice all. Thanks. I haven't really spent an extended period of time with a quality 12 string. Proper set-up and patience sound like the way to go.
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Phil
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2008, 03:44:00 AM »

Go to: theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com because it has one entire discussion category exclusively devoted to 12 String Guitar.  I don't own a Martin, but do have a Taylor 12 string.  I highly reccomend it for helping you decide whether you should get a 12 string.  imho there's something spiritual about the sound of an acoustic 12.   

Nice website.
How do you join to be able to post? I thought that I had created an account and when I went to post, I couldn't.
Something about membership?

Anyways, I just got into the 12 string so I'm looking for some input from those in the know.
As long as I've been playing those pesky ocatave strings give me grief trying to tuned them correctly.
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limnephilidae
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 11:20:19 PM »

I ended up with a 12 string T-5 Taylor primarily for the compensated saddle that leveled the string field across the fretboard. I believe they were planning production for the full acoustic line to option them in, but I haven't looked into it any further. I find it absolutely beneficial in controlling the volume of attack and the ease of play. No "pick hole" or concern in hitting the octave. I might suggest calling Bob Colosi www.guitarsaddles.com about making one for your Larri, Jim at Trinity may be able to coordinate the fitting with him also. Both are fine guys to work with, truly professional in their trade. I attached a pix of the one on my Taylor, looks like a saw blade, but plays sooo easy.

Do you know if anyone could make those saddles for non-Taylor guitars. TUSQ or Bone, that sounds like it would enhance playability with a pick or fingerstyle. That's f#$$#ing brilliant! I love how people can still come up with terrific ideas after a couple of centuries of steel string guitars.

- Adam
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2008, 03:35:45 AM »

Do you know if anyone could make those saddles for non-Taylor guitars. TUSQ or Bone, that sounds like it would enhance playability with a pick or fingerstyle. That's f#$$#ing brilliant! I love how people can still come up with terrific ideas after a couple of centuries of steel string guitars.

- Adam

Contact Bob Colosi, i'm sure he could do it, but he may need some input, just give him a call. Great guy to work with and fantastic quality merchandise too. BTW, I'm hard to please too 

http://www.guitarsaddles.com/pricing.asp
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2008, 07:20:12 PM »

I ended up with a 12 string T-5 Taylor primarily for the compensated saddle that leveled the string field across the fretboard. I believe they were planning production for the full acoustic line to option them in, but I haven't looked into it any further. I find it absolutely beneficial in controlling the volume of attack and the ease of play. No "pick hole" or concern in hitting the octave. I might suggest calling Bob Colosi www.guitarsaddles.com about making one for your Larri, Jim at Trinity may be able to coordinate the fitting with him also. Both are fine guys to work with, truly professional in their trade. I attached a pix of the one on my Taylor, looks like a saw blade, but plays sooo easy.

Hey Michael T
Are those brass and bone pins?
They look really nice.
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2008, 09:23:20 PM »

Hey Michael T
Are those brass and bone pins?
They look really nice.

Yes & thanks. I got into comparing all kinds of pins and honestly on the T5 couldn't tell the difference myself, some could I guess, but I really couldn't. That said though, supposedly the brass is "brassy" and I love the bell like overtones of the octaves on the 12's, so I put the brass on the octaves and bone on the standard course. With the gold hardware and pickup and bone nut and saddle I think it added a little bling without going too far over the top.
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08 Larrivee L05-12
02 Larrivee DV-09
73 Granada Custom
Kids got the others  :)

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=797065

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