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Old 05-16-2013, 10:31 PM   #1
PatrickRBallard
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Question Help me choose a 12 string, please!

Alrighty UG. I've been playing guitar for a while and I think it's about time I get myself an acoustic 12 sting.

What I'd like to do:

I would like to to tune this guitar to D standard (Use capo for E) so that there's not too much tension on the neck. Doing this I'd be able to go back and forth with multiple alternate tunings. That's basically it I guess.

What I'd like to know:

Will there be any intonation issues?

How heavy of a set of strings should I use?

I was thinking about getting either a Fender Villager 12: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Villager12

...or a Martin D12X1AE: http://www.martinguitar.com/model/item/146-d12x1ae.html

Let me know what you guys think. Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:40 PM   #2
stepchildusmc
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i dunno, i've been toying with the idea of getting an Ovation cc245. my last 12 didn't last long sadly. the cc245's cheap and sounds great for the price plus onboard electronics.
i'll just send it down to Philly so Cranky(UG's inhouse 12'er specialist) can restring it for me, not sure i have the patience.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:03 PM   #3
Addonexus408
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I would definitely get the Martin over the Fender. I've seen many 12 players tune down like you said to avoid excess tension, though i'm sure using a capo will throw off the intonation a bit. If it is properly setup the intonation throw off would be minimal.
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:35 AM   #4
Captaincranky
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You might want to look at the Seagull Coastline S-12 also. It's a little over 6 bills. These have cedar tops, which should be a bit more mellow than the common spruce: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...electric-guitar

Fender just released the all mahogany, "Tim Armstrong Hellcat 12 string", which as an educated guess, seems like it would just be really annoying sounding. Although, if live performance is your goal, this should have that "jangle", in spades.

I expect the Seagull 12 would be built better than your average fender, jus' sayin'.

Don't buy a 12 string without electronics for any reason.

They require a different EQ for playing solo as opposed to with a band. They're way too shrill, (IMHO), without a bass boost and treble cut when playing alone. Just a touch of amp is all that's needed to balance the sound.

I tune all my 12 strings to D standard, then capo up to concert pitch.

It f***s up the intonation big time, since what was once a 25.5 inch scale, is now about 23.5" scale tuned to the same pitch.

I've found the best way to deal with that is to tune right through the capo, since if you tune the guitar open, the string pitch change when you put on the capo is very irregular.

What you do gain with the capo, is a very low action, as your guitar now behaves like it has a zero fret, and the lower string tension lets you play longer and fret much more easily..

Electric guys have to modify their approach when going to a 12. Unless you're really strong, there's no bending, and you run out of neck in a big hurry. Arpeggiating open chords is an approach that works well, as it mitigates the effect of the ever present tuning inconsistencies of a 12 string. A full strum tends to obviate them.

Look forward to tuning more and playing less.

A standard 12 string light set, (.010-.047), is what most players use. These strings apply about 250 lbs of tension at E standard. Too much tension on the guitar IMHO.

A standard 6 string light set, (.012-.053) is about 165 lbs tension for reference.

Twelves are a bitch to tune, and trying to tune through a capo doesn't help one bit. So, I sprung for a "strobe tuner", and all is right in the world. The little Snark tuners and the like which are perfect for 6 strings, aren't accurate enough around center, (between lights) to critically tune a 12. I have a Crafter 12 with Baggs and an onboard tuner which I no longer even try to use, I just plug in to this Planet Waves: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...CFcad4AodP0oAVA and I'm a happy camper. Another reason to buy an AE 12, as this unit doesn't have a mic built in.

For anybody that's interested in a really good stomp box tuner, these are the sheet, and the price is now 50 bucks, down from 90 at Musician's Friend a couple of months ago.

And next time, please do us the courtesy of sparing us the 24 point print. It's unnecessary as we're glad to, and do, answer questions even if they're printed in normal sized text.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 05-18-2013 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:56 PM   #5
PatrickRBallard
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Thanks for the replies and help!
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Jackson JS32R Dinky (w/EMG 81 and brass parts)
Ovation Applause AE128
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Dunlop GCB95 Original Crybaby Wah
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