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Old 11-06-2013, 12:48 AM   #1
kylepianoman
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High strung 12 string?

If any of you are familiar with Kaki King I'm sure you know that she has a few odd types of guitars. One of these is as she calls a "high strung 12 string" where instead of having the two strings in each course tuned as octaves, they are tuned to the same pitch

This video is an example of it. Would this be feasible with any 12 string or would I need to have one specifically for that purpose/set up for that? I'm not sure how the extra tension would affect the neck.
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:43 PM   #2
stormin1155
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I don't see why you couldn't do that with a regular 12-string. Generally speaking the larger wound strings have slightly more tension than the unwound. So I would go with pretty light strings all around. 12-strings are built to withstand higher string tensions than 6-strings, but that would still be a concern. The other thing is that you will have to widen the nut slots for the second set of wound strings to accommodate the thicker strings. I would try an extra light set like .10 - .46 or even lighter for your second set.

If you are concerned that the increased tension might damage your guitar, tune it down a step and use a capo. A lot of 12-string players do that.
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormin1155
I don't see why you couldn't do that with a regular 12-string. Generally speaking the larger wound strings have slightly more tension than the unwound. So I would go with pretty light strings all around. 12-strings are built to withstand higher string tensions than 6-strings, but that would still be a concern. The other thing is that you will have to widen the nut slots for the second set of wound strings to accommodate the thicker strings. I would try an extra light set like .10 - .46 or even lighter for your second set.

If you are concerned that the increased tension might damage your guitar, tune it down a step and use a capo. A lot of 12-string players do that.


Awesome! Thanks for the input. I have a cheap 12 string I got from my cousin last year that I haven't ever had a use for since the stuff I write doesn't really sound good with the strings set at different octaves, so I'm not too worried about it. Just wanted to make sure I wouldn't mess it up really bad trying it.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:16 PM   #4
Captaincranky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylepianoman
Awesome! Thanks for the input. I have a cheap 12 string I got from my cousin last year that I haven't ever had a use for since the stuff I write doesn't really sound good with the strings set at different octaves, so I'm not too worried about it. Just wanted to make sure I wouldn't mess it up really bad trying it.

You actually have to learn to play a 12 string. With a 6, electric or acoustic, You sort of wind up playing lead on the top 3 strings. With a 12, the strategy is to avoid them.

Keep in mind that the D-4 string, fretted at the 2nd fret, INCLUdES the open note on e-1!

I have found playing solo with a 12 of any kind needs to be amped, just to be able to EQ the sound, NOT for volume.

Do as you please of course, but DON'T tune this guitar above D-D standard.

D'Addario's web site will give you the absolute, (concert pitch) tension of every string they make.

The easy way out here, is to simply put on 2 sets of "acoustic extra lights", (.010 - .047). However, the combined tension will be on the order of 270 Lbs! (In E-E tuning). A good 12 won't necessarily withstand that, a cheapie stands very little chance.

So, tune down.

Last edited by Captaincranky : 11-07-2013 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captaincranky
You actually have to learn to play a 12 string. With a 6, electric or acoustic, You sort of wind up playing lead on the top 3 strings. With a 12, the strategy is to avoid them.

Keep in mind that the D-4 string, fretted at the 2nd fret, INCLUdES the open note on e-1!

I have found playing solo with a 12 of any kind needs to be amped, just to be able to EQ the sound, NOT for volume.

Do as you please of course, but DON'T tune this guitar above D-D standard.

D'Addario's web site will give you the absolute, (concert pitch) tension of every string they make.

The easy way out here, is to simply put on 2 sets of "acoustic extra lights", (.010 - .047). However, the combined tension will be on the order of 270 Lbs! (In E-E tuning). A good 12 won't necessarily withstand that, a cheapie stands very little chance.

So, tune down.



Thanks for the info. It was never really a matter of the leads sounding weird since I'm playing more solo acoustic style music rather than a straight up guitar solo, rather just my pieces not sounding that great with all 12 strings. I'll keep in mind to not tune that high either. I'm usually in alternate tunings anyway so my tension shouldn't ever really get to that point but I'd rather know that now than a day when I decide to go that high and snap my neck.
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