In Love With Music!
Join date: Mar 2005
360 IQ
Hi everyone! I have a question about options for tuning a twelve-string guitar. I just bought a gorgeous Washburn 12-string elec/acous on ebay, and while it gets here I'm thinking of fun stuff to do with the tuning.

I know the typical 12-string tuning, with the e and B pairs tuned in unison, and the rest of the strings as normal with the "extra" string an octave higher. I have also heard about tuning to Eb or D standard to take down some of the tension, because it can cause problems. That got me to thinking: What if I got really creative with the way I tuned the "extra" strings? Like lowering them all by a third? Might it then REALLY sound like two guitars playing at once?

I guess I'm kind of wondering whether or not this has even been done before, and what the results were. I plan on giving it a shot regardless

Comments or input of any sort is welcomed!
Join date: Aug 2004
624 IQ
be careful if youre tuning the other strings down by a certain number of steps, they wont be harmonized if you start moving up and down the fretboard
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Registered User
Join date: Nov 2005
10 IQ
you can tune your high string down by a third or a fifth but it would probably not sound great for traditional chords. you might how ever have a really cool lead sound. but you can used chord tunings for you would like. or you could try tuning in double octive triad format, but that can get very tediusand not great for traditional chords.

I am not sure if this helps but hey it could be fun..


Rock on Rock well And Rock Free
(the return)
Join date: Apr 2004
1,255 IQ
The twelve string tuning was originally developed with the extra strings tuned in major and minor thirds, which sounded good for lead lines and such, but wasnt very nice at all for chord work. It was Rickenbacker who introduced the tuning we have today.
Double Neck Project - Winner of 2006 GB&C "Best guitar build from scratch", "(Best) Most expensive build" and "Best Idea" awards - FINISHED!

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In Love With Music!
Join date: Mar 2005
360 IQ
My thought was that if I lowered every "extra" by a minor third, then every time I played a chord - say, an open C chord - that the "regular" strings would be playing a normal open C chord, and completely independent of that would be the extra strings, which would be playing what would in effect be an A minor chord (right?). Is this thinking incorrect, or is it correct but just awful sounding in practice?