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Author Topic: 12 String Guitars For Dummies  (Read 1387 times)
poki
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« on: October 03, 2004, 05:15:46 AM »

The more i see 12 string guitars the more i'm interested in at least trying one out if not owning one some day but frankly i know very little about them so i'll ask some possibly dumb questions but you got to start somewhere i guess.

If i remember correct, each twin set of strings are tuned to the same key but an octave apart?  

Are the twin strings alway tuned to the same key?

Can 12 stringers be played in the various finger picking methods?  Somehow looking at them it seems it would be difficult to pluck both strings evenly.

Therefore are they best suited for strumming?

The purpose of having 12 strings is to make for a fuller sound?  

any other comments on 12 stringers welcome
thanks poki B)

 
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2004, 02:31:31 PM »

If i remember correct, each twin set of strings are tuned to the same key but an octave apart?

The low 4 are tuned to the same note an octave apart, the high two are doubles (thanks Don)

Are the twin strings alway tuned to the same key?

Normally. However I believe that I have heard of one of the strings in a pair being tuned to a 3rd or 5th in an open tuning.

Can 12 stringers be played in the various finger picking methods? Somehow looking at them it seems it would be difficult to pluck both strings evenly.

Its more difficult, but can be fingerpicked.

Therefore are they best suited for strumming?

I would rather say this is their most common use

The purpose of having 12 strings is to make for a fuller sound?

Yes, or just a different sound. The sound of the octive pairs can be attractive if used appropriately. It can be overused though.
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dbirchett
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2004, 03:39:13 PM »

Actually the first two are unison strings. From the 3rd (G) string and lower they are in octaves. That double G string in octaves is the one that really cuts through and as much as anything gives the 12 its characteristic sound.
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Don

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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2004, 04:56:32 PM »

Quote
Actually the first two are unison strings. From the 3rd (G) string and lower they are in octaves. That double G string in octaves is the one that really cuts through and as much as anything gives the 12 its characteristic sound.
I corrected my earlier post Thanks Don.

re: G string standing out. Jim McGuinn seems to think so, which has led to his custom Martin 7-string. A 6-string Martin adding a high octive G. There was a prior discussion thread about this. The G is used in a lot of power chords.

http://www.larriveeforum.com/forums/index....t=0&#entry18747


I'm not sure Jim McGuinns style is representative of all 12-string players though, ala Leo Kotke, Glenn Campbell, etc.

I've been playing around with short mandolin style rapid strumming of the high three pairs of my 12-string as fill-in for normal strumming with a flat pick
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2004, 01:50:25 AM »

Randy and Don are both rite.I finger style my 12's and I keep my Guild 12 in open tuning mostly DADDAD.I keep my Larrivee 12 in standard.You can also play lead on a 12,think George Harrison.Bending lead note's can be tricky but it can be done.I always tell people to think of the 12 string just like a 6 but more fun.
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poki
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2004, 04:26:34 AM »

Thanks for all the info folks.  i'm sure now i'm going to give a 12 string a try sooner or latter but i can imagine keeping all them strings in tune must be a pain. B)  
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2004, 06:01:43 AM »

Regarding picking or leads...practice, practice, practice. If Roger McGuinn can play leads using a 12 string why not anyone else? I find that I play my 6 strings easier after I'm finished playing my 12.


If you have a good twelve string you shouldn't have to worry all that much about keeping them in tune. However it's changing them that is a pain for me  :(

Okay I have a Q...I just recently purchased a D-09 12 and what the guy before me did was opposite wind both Low & High E's (1 & 12) tuning pegs. Anyone hear about this method? He did it so that the strings would travel over the nut better.  :unsure:  Just never heard of anyone doing that so wondering if anyone else does it?

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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2004, 01:16:02 PM »

Keeping it in tune is one issue, but for me just managing to play it is another.  Three times I decided that I had to have a 12-string.  I like the chimey sound and the way it seems like more of an orchestra under your arm.  But beyond some basic strumming, I would always find I just didn't play it much.  I'm not exactly sure why, but then I would sell them.

My point is to make sure you want and need one before you buy.

E. Shoaf
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2004, 01:55:18 PM »

Quote
My point is to make sure you want and need one before you buy.

 
Geez, advice like that (if taken seriously) will certainly slow things down around here!

Ron
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2004, 02:30:43 PM »

I have played 12 string for 27 yrs. and would not be without one!  I think, for me, the 12 excells in the use of "open" chords; minor 5ths, diminished 7ths, etc.  the sympathetic ring of these chords makes the 12 definitely sound like a synth-guitar or more than one guitar being played--kind of "jazzy"- "new-agey"  :)
I also find it difficult, but worth it, to utilize the fingerstyle capabilities of the 12, as it has a uniqueness to that also; whether using the strings as single six to pick or a heavier attack to get both string sounds.
Poki- I think we went thru the "tuning a 12 string" thread just a little while back.  It really isnt that different using an electronic tuner.
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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2004, 03:20:50 PM »

My $0.02 on the tuning issue.

I had an old beater 12 string acoustic/electric dread-style 12 years ago. I don't recall any tuning issues and this was years before I had a tuner. I just tune the low A string to my harmonica and did the rest by ear...

Changing strings was kind of a pain in the a** though.   :lol:


Mark
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2004, 04:54:44 PM »

Remember that with a 12, less is often more. By that I mean that a simpler motif or line may be more effective than a flashier one, Leo Kottke and Chris Proctor aside. Most of McGuinn and Harrison's 12 string leads are not difficult at all but sound great in their simplicity. Listen to Paul Simon on "For Emily Wherever I May Find Her" for a perfect example of this. While "8 Miles High" may be a tour de force for McGuinn, listen to his take on "From a Distance" from the Boxed Set. Very simple, very basic.

Just my .02.
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