#1
Hi I'm looking at getting my first 12 string acoustic. Probably the Epiphone dr-212. Because its cheap and it has good reviews. But my question about that guitar and all other 12 strings is about the bridge. I've heard a lot of people say "stay clear from 12 strings. They're nothing but trouble, the bridge lifts and so on.." But is that true? Or are people just not taking care of their guitar? Is there a certain way to take care of them that's different from any other acoustic?
#2
You just can't tune them up to concert pitch E-e.

The most you should try for is D-d (2 semi tones down.)

At E-e, the string tension even with a 12 string "light" set is 250 Lbs. That will lift the bridge, cause the sound board to sink. Everything that goes wrong eventually with a 6 string, happens a whole lot sooner with a 12.

Tuned down, the instrument stands a much better chance of lasting a good while. And don't forget to check the humidity in the winter.
#3
12 strings are a greater risk than 6-strings. I've seen a couple of old Japanese ones where the bridge had rotated so much that that the string on the back pins had lifted clear of the bridge.

As CC says, use light strings and maybe tune down as well (eg D standard intervals), using a capo if need be. 12-strings take more work to play than 6-strings and a good set up helps, so include that in your budget.
#4
Thanks for the advice. I have another question now, about tuning down.

There's a lot of songs recorded/ played on 12 strings that don't sound like they're tuned down. And I've seen a lot of musicians playing 12 strings without a capo and it sounds like standard tuning. Are they actually tuned down, just playing in a different key? Or do they tune down and I just don't realize it? And for the 12 string songs I hear on the radio or album, do they use a capo in the studio? Or are those tuned down as well?
Sorry for all the questions. I'm new to 12 strings. I really appreciate the advice though.
#5
Quote by davidspondike
Thanks for the advice. I have another question now, about tuning down.

There's a lot of songs recorded/ played on 12 strings that don't sound like they're tuned down. And I've seen a lot of musicians playing 12 strings without a capo and it sounds like standard tuning. Are they actually tuned down, just playing in a different key? Or do they tune down and I just don't realize it? And for the 12 string songs I hear on the radio or album, do they use a capo in the studio? Or are those tuned down as well?
Sorry for all the questions. I'm new to 12 strings. I really appreciate the advice though.


I can't answer those questions specifically, but I would guess that when you hear standard tuning it is done with very light strings, and/or a very solidly built 12-string. The only specific I can recall is that the Taylor LKSM 12 string was designed to be used tuned down (to C?) with medium gauge strings. Here's a bit of info you might find useful:

http://www.its-all-about-guitar.com/12-string-guitars.html

If you want to go deeper into, a good start would be to sign up for Acoustic Guitar Forum and ask there. The members there have a huge acoustic knowledge base between them.
#6
An extra light electric 12 string set has something like an .042 E-6, and the are NO wound octave strings. The overall tension is about 200 Lbs or less.

This goes to D'Addario "Extra Light PB 12 String" : http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail.Page?ActiveID=3769&productid=79&productname=EJ41_12_String_Phosphor_Bronze__Extra_Light__9_45&sid=e02a168c-be62-45ca-a49c-639837361687#

Hit the "family tension chart" button. You'll see the "medium 12 string" tension listed @ 326 Lbs. It's doubtful that any guitar will survive that for too long. You would need to tune up for gigs, and tune down while the guitar is "resting".

Leo Kotke suggests tuning a 12 string to C#-c# (3 semis down).

When you're tuned down to D-d, then playing in D will net you the key of C. So, you can get to the key you want by changing chord shapes or capo.

Which is incidentally, the "trick" behind "Hotel California". The 12 string is (I believe), capoed at the 7th fret.

Here's "Hotel California" in 3 different versions:

Played open: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/e/eagles/hotel_california_crd.htm

Capoed on 2nd fret: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/e/eagles/hotel_california_ver6_crd.htm

And lastly, capoed on the 7th fret: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/e/eagles/hotel_california_ver10_crd.htm

If you can sing the G above middle C, fine. If not, then use version 6 without a capo.
That places the vocal melody in the chorus @F above middle C (on the F chord, "welcome to the hotel" Cali---)

With an all acoustic 12 string, I'm going to recommend this strobe tuner: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/peterson-stroboclip-sc-1-clip-on-strobe-tuner It's expensive, yes. But, standard chromatic tuners aren't accurate enough to fine tune a 12 string.

I use a strobe foot pedal for my 12 strings.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 17, 2014,
#7
I have an Ibanez 12-string, tuned to standard pitch, light strings, no issues as of yet (knock on wood).
If you've got the budget (~$700), go for a Taylor 150e 12string - lifetime warranty (when you buy it new) against things like a bridge lifting.
My reverbnation page


2012 Taylor 310ce
2011 Fender CD140SCE
Ibanez 12 string a/e
73 Epi 6830E
72 Fender Telecaster
Epi Dot Studio
Epi LP Jr
Chinese Strat clone
Washburn Mandolin
Luna 'tatoo' a/e uke
antique banjolin
Squire J bass
#8
Quote by MikeBmusic
I have an Ibanez 12-string, tuned to standard pitch, light strings, no issues as of yet (knock on wood).
If you've got the budget (~$700), go for a Taylor 150e 12string - lifetime warranty (when you buy it new) against things like a bridge lifting.


Plus on a Taylor, the neck is very easily and cheaply reset if the guitar goes badly out of shape. I was looking at that Taylor 150 a couple of weeks ago. A terrific guitar, if I was in the market for a relatively inexpensive 12-string, that would be the first one I would look at.
#9
Quote by Tony Done
Plus on a Taylor, the neck is very easily and cheaply reset if the guitar goes badly out of shape. I was looking at that Taylor 150 a couple of weeks ago. A terrific guitar, if I was in the market for a relatively inexpensive 12-string, that would be the first one I would look at.
This was the opening bid here: Epiphone dr-212. Two hundred bucks, out the door.

So, while the Taylor isn't that all that expensive, it is 3 1/2 times the money @ $700.00
#10
Quote by Captaincranky
This was the opening bid here: Epiphone dr-212. Two hundred bucks, out the door.

So, while the Taylor isn't that all that expensive, it is 3 1/2 times the money @ $700.00


True enough, and heres a thought for the OP. Before buying check the neck angle. This is to make sure that there will still be plenty of saddle showing after neck relief has been set and the action height adjusted to your liking. All acoustics go banana-shaped over time, so while I check neck angle on all potential purchases regardless of price (except Taylors!), I think it would be particularly important on inexpensive 12-strings.
#11
Quote by Tony Done
True enough, and heres a thought for the OP. Before buying check the neck angle. This is to make sure that there will still be plenty of saddle showing after neck relief has been set and the action height adjusted to your liking. All acoustics go banana-shaped over time, so while I check neck angle on all potential purchases regardless of price (except Taylors!), I think it would be particularly important on inexpensive 12-strings.

No doubt. In fact I bought an Epiphone 12 string sixteen years ago which I'm still regretting.

With that said, during the 90's, most of the Asian guitars were pure shit. The neck angles were all too high. Washburn offered several LH models including a 12 string. The one on the wall at the music store, had strings that must have been 3/8" off the deck

They've got their act a lot better together today. Everything I have, came out of the box pretty much playable, and certainly adjustable to within tolerance.

The Epi did get a good review in GP Magazine, earning an "Editors Pick". They give everything a decent review due to advertising concerns, but they don't give everything a editor's pick.

The neck on the Epiphone 12 I had, was way too high, and I couldn't get the strings low enough without notching the bridge.

To the upside, stringing with 12 string lights, (.010 to .047), and tuning to D-d, in 16 years, it never really got worse, or fell apart...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 18, 2014,