Hey peeps,

So i'm thinking buying a 12 string...but having never really seriously played a 12 string I need advice (I won't be able to go to the guitar shop for a couple of weeks).

Here are my questions:
- Can the songs I play on my 6 string guitars be played on a 12? (I mainly play fingerstyle songs)
- Apart from a fuller sound, what other benefits does a 12 string have over a 6?
- Are there any 'bad' points about a 12 in comparison to a 6?
- Playing delicate/subtle passages on a my 6 string sounds great... how would playing a soft melody on a 12 string sound?

Cheers, I know I should go to my guitar shop and try all this out, but I can't - just too busy.

anything that you can play on a 6 string can also be played on a 12 string. i know you are a mainly fingerstyle player and it'll take some getting used to and some practice to become profficient at playing both strings of each note. the benefits of a 12 string are numerous but it's also kind of a grey area. it is really just about the different sound you get from a 12 string... so it's a matter of personal preference. i don't really have any "bad points" that i can think of. playing subtle and slow melodic stuff on a 12 string is simply amazing! one of my favorite aspects of having a 12 string actually relates to this. any of my riffs that i play on a 6 string, things like lead licks, become more like verses when played on a 12 string. it's really cool. you can get some really fantastic stuff if you record on a 6 string and then mix in some 12 string over it. i think you'll really enjoy playing 12 string!
I'm with Jimtaka. It's not strange or weird, just different. Each string is an octave, so you just pluck two rather than one.

I learned on a 12 and went to 6 strings from there. The neck will be wider, and fingerpicking will be difficult at first, but you'll enjoy it in the end. It's kinda inspiring...there are songs I've written on the 12 that I never would have come up with on the 6. Enjoy!

p.s. tuning kinda sucks.
-Epiphone Riviera w/ Bigsby and Gibson 490r/498t combo
-Epiphone Es-333 Delonge Edition
-Fender Twin Reverb '65
too much work, too big, too expensive, too high maintanence
Originally posted by SuicideKing
.... so wtf is an emo? is it like an emu only rounder?
fingerpicking an acoustic is more difficult than on a six string, but open chords sounds much better on a twelve string to me.
Yeah I also think jimtaka is right. My mate's dad (back in aus) has a beautiful old Maton 12 string and it was great just to experiment with it. A 12 string can breath new life into a tired old riff and really bring out some interesting possibilities. For example, I "forgot" that I was playing a 12 and just started playing the intro to Little Wing. It sounded unbelieveable and had this fantastic depth that you can't get with a 6 string. I ended up improvising over the chords of Little Wing, and 20 minutes went by without me noticing haha.

Hmm...got a bit off topic there, because that didn't really answer any of your questions:

- I've never played much fingerstyle on a 12 string, and I imagine it would be quite difficult at first. However, there are many amazing 12 string fingerstyle players (john butler for one), so I guess its just a case of moulding your current playing style to a new instrument.

- I don't know if there are many "benefits" as such. As i said above though, it can certainly make an old boring song come alive again, simply because its quite a different instrument to a 6 string. Its just like (well maybe not to the same extent), making a 6 string arrangement for a song originally played on piano, you can put a cool twist on things.

- As for bad points, I hear that the wood in 12 strings tends to warp more easily because of the pressure that the strings exert on the body, but I'm sure with proper care and maintenance you can get around that issue.

- Fact: soft melody on a 12 string sounds brilliant. I played an acoustic version of "across the universe" (beatles) on that 12 string I was talking about and it was just gorgeous. At the end of the song my friend (on 6 string) and I just took turns to add little "solos" of sorts, and a 12 string is perfectly suited to that "soft melody" kinda sound.

Hope that helps!
"Dakota" - Fender Splatter Strat
"Jacqueline" - Maton CW80
Quote by startingline
too much work, too big, too expensive, too high maintanence

there is indeed work involved when learning to play 12 string... but if learning to play a 12 string is TOO MUCH work you probably shouldn't be playing guitar anyway.

the only thing that is really any bigger on a 12 string is the fretboard. it's a little wider but i certainly wouldn't call it TOO BIG. my 12 string is a jumbo body so it is bigger than my dreadnought guitars... but so is a jumbo body 6 string.

i'm not really sure why startingline considers a 12 string to be too high maintenance. i don't take any more special care of my 12 string than i do with my 6 strings.
Cheers guys, this helps loads.

I can't wait to get a 12 - i feel as if it's going to open up a whole new world of music for me. Yeah it may be hard to get used to fingerstyle on a 12 but i'm always up for a challenge...I play classical too and the neck on those things are pretty wide - so I supposa 12 can't be that much of a difference?

Thanks again - now I have to find some money ...

^-- actually i knew you played classical and i didn't even think about it but i'd say the neck on a classical and the neck on a 12 string are damn near the same width. you're gonna love it.
The 12 string guitar is, in a nutshell, different.

? You're going to have to practically relearn how to fingerpick as it is an entirely different style on the 12-string (You have to hit both strings at once or you'll just be playing the octave or the root string -- which is required in some situations, but eh)
? It's a real bitch to keep in tune -- without an electric tuner, tuning can take much longer than a 6-string
? Very large frets -- especially notable if you have small hands like myself
? Extremely low action - Bending is inharmonious on a 12-string and will generally result in a snapped string if you manage to go far enough to get a good sound, and a different level of finger strength is required to sucessfully barre strings, especially at lower frets.

Despite all this, I would recommend a 12-string guitar to anyone. Why? BEcause it just sounds so damn good. Go for it, but make sure you know the negative sides.
The only thing I've found prohibitive on a twelve-string is trying to fret with your thumb. On some of them at least....but maybe I'm weird not everyone finds it easier to fret the 6th string with their thumb?

Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
Quote by startingline
too much work, too big, too expensive, too high maintanence

You forgot too lazy.