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Author Topic: 12 strings...tuned down 1/2 step...necessary?  (Read 1498 times)
ummagumma
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« on: January 08, 2011, 07:54:33 PM »




 hey, I just got a fantastic Larrivee 12 string ( thx naboz!! ) and have heard it's best to tune them flat 1/2 step to keep the neck from dealing with too much tension

 ...what's the consensus on this? old wives tale, or sage advice?

 thx!
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ummagumma
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 07:59:00 PM »


 ah, I just found some discussion on this very topic in here

http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php?topic=34499.20


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Dr. LJ
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 02:12:57 PM »

Answered your own question, huh? 
I used medium strings on my 12 and tune it to D.  If I used lights or extra lights I would tune it to pitch.

LJ
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 02:48:17 PM »

With a modern properly made guitar with the manufacturer suggested string gauge installed, there is no reason to tune down, structurally.  You might find it easier to play and you might even prefer the sound. 

Ed
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SMan
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2011, 09:02:23 PM »

With a modern properly made guitar with the manufacturer suggested string gauge installed, there is no reason to tune down, structurally.  You might find it easier to play and you might even prefer the sound. 

Ed

Exactly my feelings. 
I tune all my 12ers down 1/2 a step.  I prefer the sound and do find it easier on my older hands and fingers. 
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 09:39:49 PM »

There are a lot of forum members with a lot more experience and knowledge about this subject than me. I am basing my post on the five years I have spent with my Larrivee 12 string. I believe that tuning down 1/2 or 1 whole step does two things:

1) Gives a great full sound across the bottom end, mids and trebles that also softens the jangle just a bit. The mahogany top on my guitar is probably a contributing factor to the sound.

2) Reduces the stress on the guitar. It only stands to reason that with more 6 additional strings in standard tuning with medium gauge strings wound tight, there will be more tension on a 12 string than there is on a 6 string.

My 12 string was set up when the bone saddle and I-Beam were installed at the dealer and I keep it tuned to D and capo up two frets if I want to play in standard tuning. I have never noticed a loss of intonation with or without the capo on the guitar.
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 11:19:53 PM »

I put elixir mediums on my 12string, but I swap the lowest to a .56. Then I detune to c sharp. Nice deep tone and slinky bendable feel. For that Kottke / mcTell vibe.
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ummagumma
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 12:17:58 AM »


 
 after experimenting a bit, I think I prefer the sound tuned to D#....fuller bottom, more oomph

 thx guys
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Mr_LV19E
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 12:21:16 AM »

There are a lot of forum members with a lot more experience and knowledge about this subject than me. I am basing my post on the five years I have spent with my Larrivee 12 string. I believe that tuning down 1/2 or 1 whole step does two things:

1) Gives a great full sound across the bottom end, mids and trebles that also softens the jangle just a bit. The mahogany top on my guitar is probably a contributing factor to the sound.

2) Reduces the stress on the guitar. It only stands to reason that with more 6 additional strings in standard tuning with medium gauge strings wound tight, there will be more tension on a 12 string than there is on a 6 string.
My 12 string was set up when the bone saddle and I-Beam were installed at the dealer and I keep it tuned to D and capo up two frets if I want to play in standard tuning. I have never noticed a loss of intonation with or without the capo on the guitar.

I had a Yairi 12 string for over 30 years and never considered anything but standard tuning, never had any issues. When I sold it there was no bellying and the neck was as straight as an arrow.  There is a lot more neck on a 12'er and I think they brace accordingly for the extra tension.  This was a quality instrument though, I had my share of 12 strings growing up that just separated at the heel of the neck.
I wouldn't worry about a Larrivee.
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2011, 12:21:31 AM »

There are a lot of forum members with a lot more experience and knowledge about this subject than me. I am basing my post on the five years I have spent with my Larrivee 12 string. I believe that tuning down 1/2 or 1 whole step does two things:

2) Reduces the stress on the guitar. It only stands to reason that with more 6 additional strings in standard tuning with medium gauge strings wound tight, there will be more tension on a 12 string than there is on a 6 string.


There *will* be more stress as a result of the string tension.  That's just simple physics.  The flaw (that I see) in your conclusion is that the bracing and other construction isn't designed to compensate for that extra tension.  

Ed
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JOYCEfromNS
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2011, 03:06:07 AM »

There *will* be more stress as a result of the string tension.  That's just simple physics.  The flaw (that I see) in your conclusion is that the bracing and other construction isn't designed to compensate for that extra tension.  

Ed

 +1
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Dr. LJ
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2011, 02:08:44 PM »

To me, the tuned down 12 string sounds the best.  I have used theJohn Pease set that calls for C# tuning and really like those but I have sort of settled on the mediums with D tuning.  To my ears, that is what sounds best.

Most 12 string guitars are designed to take light gauge tuned to pitch but that is just not the sound I like.

LJ
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Michael T
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2011, 02:59:17 PM »

The "L05-12" series is built like a tank. Mine has been strung with 11-50's and custom octaves for over 3 years at 440 and the custom saddles/nut as well as truss has not needed a tweak. She's intonate all the way up on the individual strings and even those haven't needed adjusting. I do keep pretty fresh strings on it though.

I had them check the neck/bridge and bracing when I had the tuners changed out (I hated those spring loaded pings). These are high quality instruments, designed for playing, which means 440 or capo. Unlike some competitors whose design is for 2 or 2 1/2 steps down in voicing where the bracing and neck can't handle it at standard tuning.

 Don't sweat it, your Larrivee can handle what ever you want to throw on it. I don't know if I would go much more than 12-54 which is still considered light by some string manufacturers. Play what makes her sing! 
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 03:15:23 PM »

I have played 12 strings since I was 12.I've had all sorts of make's of 12 strings.The best thing you can do is play.Half step,standard,whole step tuning whatever enjoy it and get to know it.12 strings can take it.
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