#1
Im working on my next acoustic purchase... one of the things I picked up was Martin's base model 12 string:
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Martin-X-Series-D12X1AE-Custom-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-109316729-i2471514.gc

I havent spent much time playing a 12 but I really enjoyed my brief time with this at the store. Im going to give it a few more runs. I guess my main concern is simply that It too niche to be considered a main or go-to axe.

I honestly believe my Yamaha is the best guitar under $250 I could want, but Ive outgrown it some and am simply looking to expand.

I like the $500-$800 range for guitars. It seems a pretty good sweet spot to get real quality sound and durability. I shy away from stuff much more pricey because
a) I dont want to ding or bang a $1000+ guitar drinking and making a racket with my buddies
b) For $1200 I can get the 12 string above and the Breedlove Ive had my eye on

Back to simple topic question, anyone buy a 12 and either just not play it as much as you thought? Or actually trade it out for a regular 6 string?

OR

Did it take your playing in a better direction? Maybe it had a positive effect...

Looking forward to hearing some of your experiences... thanks in advance folks
he of tranquil mind
#2
That's exactly what happened to me - I love the sound of a good 12 string, but even when I played in an acoustic duo it only really got used for a couple of songs in the set so I eventually stopped taking it to gigs, before selling it to fund other purchases.

I think I've owned three 12 strings over the years, and the same thing has happened each time. When I looked at my kit objectively to see what was expendable and can be sold to fund a new purchase, it's always been my 12 string.

Sad, but true.

Don't let me talk you out of buying one though, I know other people who have bought them and ended up hardly ever playing their 6 string guitars.
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#3
thanks Gary... good feedback. Im at a bit of a cross roads with playing. My passion is plugging in. In fact I have a Gibson LP studio also. Love it despite issues with keeping it in tune (you have any of that???)

But I have an 18 month old baby and two other big kids and its hard to play, but I can always pick up the acoustic and play in the baby's room and jam out for 45 minutes or more and he loves it.

So if I want to play guitar more nights than more its acoustic or bust, and I like the unplugged stuff. Ive surpassed my equipment though and I want to keep growing. I love playing so much. Im 40 years old and years into it and cant think of anything I would rather spend my time doing...
he of tranquil mind
#4
Don't have any issues with my LPs staying in tune, but I think the bridges might need looking at because I seem to break strings sooner than I'd expect, and it's almost always the A&D strings that go.

Getting off topic now, but as you have a young baby if you need a way of practicing late at night without waking him/her, you could consider a multi effects unit & headphones.

To bring it back onto the topic of 12 strings, my only other experience with them was when I briefly owned a twin neck (see my main profile pic). That was an absolute nightmare, the 12 string neck was no wider than a 6 string neck so it was pretty much impossible to hit the strings accurately without touching the neighbouring strings, and I also found that the 6 string neck got in the way when I was trying to play barre chords on the 12 string neck.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#5
i have a mitchell 12 (very very cheap yes but it does have good reviews and i can say the same for it) but yeah i don't use it too often (as well as i dont even use acoustics too often either) but what i did do to make it more interesting was tune it down a couple steps and even put it in drop D sometimes ( as in dadgbe not just a lower tuning) id say try that next time you pick her up (unless youve already done that)
#6
You certainly do have to adapt what you play to suit the 12 string sound.

I generally don't play any 12 without an amp. Not so much for volume, but for EQ. I push extra bass into the mix, and give the high and mids a cut. That takes some of the shrill out of them. A chorus, (believe it or not), helps also. Maybe even delay from time to time.

A 12 string will load up if you try to use the same hard and heavy dynamic attack you can easily get away with using a 6 string acoustic.

I actually prefer my 12 strings, but I'm using mostly two hybrid Crafter models, which aren't as boomy as your typical 12 string dreadnought. I have a dread 12 string, (Crafter again), but I do find it's a bit tiring sonically and physically.

I'm an old timer though, so most of what I play will be pulled from early Eagles, Byrds, maybe Al Stewart, and old folk and protest songs that lend themselves to the 12 string sound. In fact, many of them were performed on a twelve to begin with.

You really have to lighten up your touch with an acoustic 12, sometimes even try a lighter pick.

And a strobe tuner. If a 12 is a tiny bit off, they sound like shit. I don't think your standard chromatic tuners like the "Snark", are anywhere near accurate enough, even though they'll dial in a six right away. They're too soft around center to get a 12 string dialed in close enough.

Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven", is a great song for the 12 string. Lot's of open chords, lots of opportunities for arpeggio, and pretentious as all hell. Just love it, I do. You can get away with the Who, "Christmas", The Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil", and even Bryan Adam's "Summer of '69 as well.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 26, 2013,
#7
^ An Eagles guy & you didn't mention how awesome Hotel California sounds on a 12 string? Maybe it's one of those songs which is almost too obvious!! OK, so I don't know too much about their other work but that song really works well on a 12 string.

My personal favourites from when I had a 12 string were Nothing Ever Happens by Del Amitri and Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
Last edited by GaryBillington at Nov 26, 2013,
#8
great musings guys... love the amp and EQ feedback.

I bought the Martin last night. I had been laid off from my job and was very lucky to get a new gig at a better shop with a better culture and better money. This was the job I was looking for when I was getting whacked from my last. Bottom line is the budget restrictions are off so I just pulled the trigger. So far Im loving it. A lot of fun.

Really appreciate the song feedback also.

I bought the floor model. I have a sales guy at GC I like a lot. Older dude with kids like myself and rather then just get me to buy stuff he's never pressured me to walk out with anything and he's put tons of fun toys in my hands and just said 'enjoy' and walked away (no hovering).

So when I saw him last night I opted to pull the trigger. I picked the floor model because I liked the way it played. I didnt want deal with setup issues out of the box. The only thing is it needs new strings. I suspect the current ones are a year old
he of tranquil mind
#9
You should have got them to put new strings on it as part of the deal, but other than that....

HNGD
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud
#10
Quote by GaryBillington
You should have got them to put new strings on it as part of the deal, but other than that....

HNGD

well, one plus was he said any issues at all in the next couple weeks bring it in and his tech will setup free of charge. So my plan is to restring it this weekend and pound away on it and work out any kinks, try some lower tunings (I generally tune down a half step) and see how it goes. If I get some buzz or experience any general discontent Ill swing back to the store. Im spoiled being literally minutes away.

Im excited
he of tranquil mind
#11
Quote by fishmike
well, one plus was he said any issues at all in the next couple weeks bring it in and his tech will setup free of charge. So my plan is to restring it this weekend and pound away on it and work out any kinks, try some lower tunings (I generally tune down a half step) and see how it goes. If I get some buzz or experience any general discontent Ill swing back to the store. Im spoiled being literally minutes away.

Im excited
OK, you're gonna want to tune the 12 down a whole step, to D-D standard. No excuses....! A light 12 string set tops out at 250 lbs tension at concert pitch, way too much.

What ever you do, DO NOT put "brass" strings, (80/20 alloy), on your guitar. They're way too shrill. You're best off with phosphor bronze..

Keep in mind that "new string sound" is exponentially more annoying on a 12 than it is on a 6....! 12 strings are resonant enough I hardly ever change them. Usually the amp's reverb is enough to get you were you want to be in the sense of ambiance.

If you want to play in E-E standard, use a capo. Price vs. performance, "Planet Waves" has the best offerings in the "screw me on" type of capo. "Kyser's 12 String Capo", won't hold down all 12 strings on any 12 string I've ever dealt with!

The octave strings bend, and therefore change pitch at a different rate than do the prime strings, so my approach is to tune the guitar with the capo in place. It takes some fiddling, and some getting used to.

Quote by GaryBillington
^ An Eagles guy & you didn't mention how awesome Hotel California sounds on a 12 string? Maybe it's one of those songs which is almost too obvious!! OK, so I don't know too much about their other work but that song really works well on a 12 string.
Indeed it does. However, you should have an electric 12 to play it. The song gets a capo on the 6th fret, if you're tuned to D standard, the capo would be on 8, and you're well out of neck with an acoustic. (The video lessons I've seen on YouTube have portrayed the part that way). You can obviously play it open as well, maintaining the rhythm and feel, but not the exact set of arpeggios.

I also didn't include the other two standard "12 string anthems", "Stairway to Heaven" and Pink's "Wish you were Here" either, both of which are great songs. Gilmour's voice isn't very high, so that, "Wish" is very singable as well. I think that's part of why people turn away from 12 strings. It's like after those 3 songs, you're scratching your head thinking, "where do I go from here"?

The early Eagles repertoire shares a Jackson Browne tune, "Take it Easy", then there's, "Lyin' Eyes", and "Desperado" ("Desperado", is a 3 song cycle, and you want to listen to the ones that Linda Ronstadt DIDN'T cover, it's a lot of piano). All three performers were part of "the California sound", which, (perhaps obviously) , includes the Jefferson Airplane.

Quote by GaryBillington
My personal favourites from when I had a 12 string were Nothing Ever Happens by Del Amitri and Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi.
I only have one Del album, "Change Everything", but I"m quite fond of it. "Be My Downfall", is grrrrr-ate, but the resonator gives it its signature sound.

Ritchie Sambora (is that right?), had a massively unique and ornate custom 12 string , when Bon Jovi performed that tune at, "The Concert for Sandy".

As for the double neck issues, Jimmy Page, actually thinks it's funny that people assume he did, "Stairway", with a double neck. Yeah, that's an acoustic 12 on the record.

While we're on Zep, "Thank You", (Led 2), and "Tangerine", (led 3), are very playable and singable, 12 string songs.

Here's some more 12 string recommendations, and try not to laugh, cause they're sooooo..... old.

The Beatles.....! "Norwegian Wood", and "You've got to hide your Love Away". George Harrison played the Rickenbacker 12 string electric a lot, and Roger McGuinn from "The Byrds", picked it up from him. (At least that's what Roger said in an interview)!

The Rolling Stones, "Paint it Black". Awesome! It's originally played on a sitar but, slam in a chorus, and a delay, and you have something that resembles a herd of angry sitars charging... Also, "Play with Fire", they didn't use a 12 for this, but damn, they sure should have.

Alice Cooper, "Desperado", (from "Killer").

And....(wait fot it)....."The House of the Rising Sun"! Everybody knows the arpeggio for this song, and those octave strings ringing only make it way better. (In E minor..Em, G, A, C, Em, B7, Em, B7. (all open chords).

Lest I forget Mike, Happy New Guitar Day....enjoy...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 26, 2013,
#12
You know what they say about guitar players.... they spend half of their time tuning their guitar and the other half playing out of tune..... Well, it takes at least twice as long to tune a 12-string, so do the math....

I'll always have a 12-string acoustic. They just sound so rich and resonate, and are perfect for some songs. Wish I still had my 12-string electric. I don't play a 12 enough to justify investing a bunch of money. My Seagull C-12 suits my needs perfectly, although I'd love to have a Guild.
#13
Quote by stormin1155
You know what they say about guitar players.... they spend half of their time tuning their guitar and the other half playing out of tune..... Well, it takes at least twice as long to tune a 12-string, so do the math....
Is the Seagull A/E? Because if it is, this is just what the doctor ordered: http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/plwatrpetu.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=productfeed Not to mention a price you couldn't beat with a tall boy! The tuner has been discontinued, and that's a blowout price I found. M'sF or Sweetwater no longer have any...

Quote by stormin1155
I'll always have a 12-string acoustic. They just sound so rich and resonate, and are perfect for some songs. Wish I still had my 12-string electric. I don't play a 12 enough to justify investing a bunch of money. My Seagull C-12 suits my needs perfectly, although I'd love to have a Guild.
I went from an Ovation "Matrix" 12 string, to a Guild all maple jumbo 12. (B & S of course). The Ovation played like an electric, and the Guild well, it was simply the most beautiful sounding, but hardest to play guitar I've ever owned. The neck should have had, "Louisville Slugger" stamped on it...

In any case, I'm not sure what you mean by, "a lot of money", but Eastwood Guitars has a Gretsch knock off 12, for about a nickel. (Unlike the Gretsch though, it has a sustain block running through it).


http://eastwoodguitars.com/index.php/eastwood-guitars/all-eastwood-guitars/semi-hollow-body-guitars/item/classic-12
Last edited by Captaincranky at Nov 28, 2013,
#14
awesome feedback all around.

On the strings... Ive used the Ernie Ball everlast coated strings in the past with acceptable results. Im not sure they even make them for 12s, anyone have any experience?

Friday night:
I had an acoustic jam in the my buddies basement. I brought my regular guitar and the 12 as well. Really great time... the Martin was a big hit. I used to to play some Alice n Chains unplugged stuff, Dead Flowers and Used to Love Her. It was a blast. Its a pretty guitar and plugs in really well.

I think my next move is just to try and lay some cool chord progressions with the 12 and loop over them. Ill keep you guys posted.

HNGD indeed!

thanks guys
he of tranquil mind
#16
I bought a Yamaha APX-500 12 string for £100 used, and gigged with it an awful lot, because the pickup was pretty decent, and I just enjoyed it for a while. Haven't used it in about 4 years, as it lives at my parents house, and has an enormous crack in the neck, due to lending it out to some scene kid, who dropped it on the headstock.

Haven't played a 12 string since - I feel that the sound is very niche and can work well in only a few situations, and my current style doesn't call for it.
#17
When I started playing back in the 70s, the 12 was pretty hot stuff. Folkies like Lightfoot and Seeger and the Byrds and all were very popular, and both acoustic and electric 12s were heavy sellers.
When Kottke hit with "6 and 12 string Guitar" in '69... That impressed a lot of guys as well.

The 12 was a pretty common instrument in folkie circles for some time after that.