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Author Topic: 12 fret to 14 fret mental lag?  (Read 4426 times)
ncognito
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« on: September 12, 2010, 11:42:30 PM »

For those of you fortunate enough to own both 12 and 14 fret to the body guitars, have you had any adjustment issues going back and forth playing them?  In particular, I am especially interested  to hear from players who utilize most of the fretboard.  It's looking very promising that I will be (in time) blessed to own a custom built guitar so I'm in the process of deciding on the specs.  Also, has anyone had the opportunity to AB two guitars side by side with all the specs being equal with the exception of frets to the body?  How does the tone compare? Thanks , as always, in advance for your insights.

          DAVE   
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2010, 01:16:57 AM »

Dave,

I own a 14 fret L-03, a 14 fret OM (Collings) with cutaway, and a 12 fret 00. There is a little adjustment in locating the octave, particularly on the cutaway, but apart from that, it's not too bad transitioning between the three. There are certain songs I play on each guitar and their voice are all different.

I find that the 12 fret 00 (Huss and Dalton) has a decidedly throaty tone, much like a trained operatic singer with a very open throat. The 00 is every bit as loud as the L or the OM, probably because the top is European Spruce and is braced for light gauge strings only. It's an amazing little guitar. The 14 fretters seem like the sound is at the front of the mouth (using the singer analogy).

Unfortunately I have never AB'ed the 12/14 fret identical guitars. That would tell all wouldn't it?

f
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 01:32:03 AM »

Though different body type's I don't have any problem going from one to the other.Mine is a OM 12 fret and the LS 14 fret.I play all over the neck chords and leads/slide.I play mainly my 2 maple bodies so the wood tone match's.With the LS 14 fret the tone is very dry as opposed to the OM 12 fret that puts the bridge dead center of the lower bout,completely different beast.Its really hard to discribe.
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2010, 01:38:05 AM »

For those of you fortunate enough to own both 12 and 14 fret to the body guitars, have you had any adjustment issues going back and forth playing them?  In particular, I am especially interested  to hear from players who utilize most of the fretboard.  

I have the F-IV and a LSV. I have more of an issue switching from the wider neck to the thinner than the 14 to the 12 neck. Although I sometimes get fooled going up for an octave on the F-IV, but that may be due to it's impossibly small dots.


It's looking very promising that I will be (in time) blessed to own a custom built guitar so I'm in the process of deciding on the specs.  Also, has anyone had the opportunity to AB two guitars side by side with all the specs being equal with the exception of frets to the body?  How does the tone compare?

For me the biggest difference between the two quitars when playing them is that it's harder to be subtle on the 12 fret due to it's greater volume and the fact that the right hand is fingerpicking further away from the bridge. The tone and, for lack of a better term, "snap" of the strings, has a different feel closer to the string's midpoint.

I trust that's clear. My main point is that the right hand is generally positioned closer to the middle of the strings on a 12 fret than a 14 fret and that really can make a difference in tone and playability. The tone being more pronounced and the feel of the strings a bit looser. So it's not so much the neck that requires adjustment when switching back and forth, but the effect of the different bridge placement.

Take your 14 fret guitar and move your picking hand up toward the nut about an inch and a half or two and you'll get what I mean.

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ncognito
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2010, 01:58:29 AM »

What great responses!

The few 12 fret guitars that I've played have had shorter scale lengths.  A 12 fretter can have standard (25.5") length scale as well, right?  If (I'm unsure) that's the case, I would assume that a 12 fret, standard scale length guitar would handle lower tunings better since it has increased string tension, and maybe still have that "sweet spot" tone.  Am I making any sense, or just babbling cause this is all conjecture on my part.  What do you more experienced folks have to say?

           DAVE
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 02:07:47 AM »

What great responses!

The few 12 fret guitars that I've played have had shorter scale lengths.  A 12 fretter can have standard (25.5") length scale as well, right?  If (I'm unsure) that's the case, I would assume that a 12 fret, standard scale length guitar would handle lower tunings better since it has increased string tension, and maybe still have that "sweet spot" tone.  Am I making any sense, or just babbling cause this is all conjecture on my part.  What do you more experienced folks have to say?

           DAVE
No the tension is the same for a given scale length. To make a 14 frets you either square the shoulder (like Martin did with their 12 fret 000 to make the first OM) or you move the bridge toward the soundhole. Or some combination.
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 02:43:45 AM »

I occasionally have a problem - If I practice alot on the 12 fret 000, and then pick up the 14 fret OM to go out and play, I sometimes miss my position up the neck - I think I may be referencing the 12th fret as the join point, and then when its changed to 14, I get thrown off. Not a huge problem, but I've screwed up on occasion.

There are alot of threads about how the change in the relationship of the bridge position on the lower bout, and the location of the sound hole, can affect the tone. Not better or worse - just different. With the same scale length, the tension doesn't change at all. The shape of the body, especially the location of the waist, can affect how long a "reach" you have to the first position if you play sitting down, less so if you strap to the heel and stand. The 12 fret neck is particularly comfortable when playing alot of basic chords in the first couple positions.

That's just my take on it - I like 'em both. This question is one of the reasons they started building the H13 - the ultimate compromise.
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 02:47:52 AM »

  The F-III and F-IV are both long scale 12 fret. ie. same length as a 14 fret standard Larrivee, just that the bridge is moved farther away from the nut.

   I had no trouble switching from the 12 to the 14 and back. But if you are doing a custom you may want to consider a 12 fret standard scale with a cutaway for reaching up the neck. Yet you have the bridge and bracing shifted so the sound is fuller than a 14 fret.

  Just a few extra thoughts. Personally a 13 fret would be a great compromise for me. As Tad brought up.
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 03:06:33 AM »

 The F-III and F-IV are both long scale 12 fret. ie. same length as a 14 fret standard Larrivee, just that the bridge is moved farther away from the nut.

   I had no trouble switching from the 12 to the 14 and back. But if you are doing a custom you may want to consider a 12 fret standard scale with a cutaway for reaching up the neck. Yet you have the bridge and bracing shifted so the sound is fuller than a 14 fret.

  Just a few extra thoughts. Personally a 13 fret would be a great compromise for me. As Tad brought up.


Danny--

I have been leaning toward your sugesstion of 12 fret, standard scale, cutaway all along.  Does the H-13 have the same total number of frets as the twelve fret guitar you've described?  I really like the harmonics on the 19th fret of a 20 fret  25.5" guitar, and would hate to give that up.  I realize the seventh fret harmonics are just about (but, not quite) the same.

         DAVE
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 03:21:22 AM »

The guitar I am currently having built is a 12 fret, 24.9 scale.  Because I play higher I am adding a cutaway.  I have both 12 fret and 14 fret guitars and really have no issues switching from one to the other (as long as the 12 fret has a cutaway).  Reluctantly I am selling all my larger guitars (Dred's, Jumbo's and anything over 8lbs) as they have just become difficult for me to play.   
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2010, 03:21:59 AM »

My OM is standard scale it sounds wonderful tuned down.It only has 18 frets though.I've never had a problem playing notes past it though a cutaway might be nice.
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2010, 03:25:58 AM »



Danny--

I have been leaning toward your sugesstion of 12 fret, standard scale, cutaway all along.  Does the H-13 have the same total number of frets as the twelve fret guitar you've described?  I really like the harmonics on the 19th fret of a 20 fret  25.5" guitar, and would hate to give that up.  I realize the seventh fret harmonics are just about (but, not quite) the same.

         DAVE
  There are 18 frets on the F-IV, I imagine a custom could have more. The H-13 has 21 total.

Body     Wood Type     Mahogany
     Back Stripe    S29
     Binding    Ivoroid
Top    Wood Type    Sitka Spruce
     Rosette    Ivoroid
     Purfling    S29
     Bracing/Voicing    H 13 Scallop/Tapered
Neck    Peghead    Slotted
     Peghead Binding    None
     Overlay Material    Ebony
     Headstock Inslay    Santa Cruz Ivoroid Script Logo
     Width at Nut    1-3/4"
     Neck Shape    V
Fingerboard    Side Dots    Black
     Inlay    None
     Width at 14th Fret    2-3/16"
     Binding    Ivoroid
     Scale Length    25.375
Finish    Top    Sunburst
     Back & Sides    Tobacco/Buffed
     Neck    Tobacco/Matte
Setup    Pickguard    Tortoise
     Tuners/gears    Nickel open-back w/ Ivoroid Buttons
Dimensions    Body Length    19.25"
     Body Depth    3.875-4.875"
     Number of Frets    21
     Frets Clear of the Body    13
     Lower Bout    14.5"
     Waist    8.75"
     Upper Bout    10.375"
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2010, 03:31:23 AM »

   Here is the link to the SCGC H-13.

www.santacruzguitar.com/instruments/h_model_cat/h13/h13_model.html

I wish I had not looked at it. Because now I really want one (again).

The pic is from the Folkway website.

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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010, 01:52:28 PM »

Dave, you will love the 12 fret!  My first one was a Forum I OM-03MT.  Now all my guitars are 12-fretters, except for my Yami.  Very easy to go from one to the other.  The tone changes are great and yes, if a long-scale, the dropped tunings are great.  What did you say you were getting in a 12 fret?
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2010, 03:11:32 PM »

I have no problems going back and forth between said instruments but one thing I often notice with a 12 fretter is that ... it's missing a couple of frets   and the body gets in the way two frets earlier.   
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2010, 03:19:48 PM »

I have no problems going back and forth between said instruments but one thing I often notice with a 12 fretter is that ... it's missing a couple of frets   and the body gets in the way two frets earlier.   
  +1 Much as I like them (played classicals most of my life. ) Capo high and  - where did the neck go?
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2010, 03:41:39 PM »

"I really like the harmonics on the 19th fret of a 20 fret  25.5" guitar, and would hate to give that up.

Dave, the only thing you give up is the reference point, the harmonic is still there.

f
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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2010, 02:35:21 AM »

The 13 fret SC H-13 sounds intrigueing Tad and Danny.  On the Dream Guitars site if you use the advanced search function you can locate and listen to previously sold guitars.  There is a Petros Tunnel 13 model with similar construction to the Santa Cruz.  It's built with redwood over walnut.  I love the tone of it! 

Nothing has been finalized, but at this point I'm leaning toward sinker redwood over black walnut, 12 (or 13) fret to the body join, standard scale, 000 with cutaway, 1 and 13/16" at the nut, and the other specs I'm not yet so clear on.  At this point everything is still tentative.

Thanks everyone for the great feedback.

         DAVE
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« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2010, 02:56:42 AM »

Dave, I'm not sure if you are still considering alternate builders, but I have a build read going that you may want to check out. It's call bluesman67 Green Mountain SD walnut or something like that. Anyways, email me if you want any info. I'm not sure if you are still weighing all your options.
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« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2010, 01:34:11 PM »

The 13 fret SC H-13 sounds intrigueing Tad and Danny.  On the Dream Guitars site if you use the advanced search function you can locate and listen to previously sold guitars.  There is a Petros Tunnel 13 model with similar construction to the Santa Cruz.  It's built with redwood over walnut.  I love the tone of it! 

Nothing has been finalized, but at this point I'm leaning toward sinker redwood over black walnut, 12 (or 13) fret to the body join, standard scale, 000 with cutaway, 1 and 13/16" at the nut, and the other specs I'm not yet so clear on.  At this point everything is still tentative.

Thanks everyone for the great feedback.

         DAVE
   Keep us posted. This will be intriguing.
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