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Man, don't ever take a drink from an open bottle. You don't know what might be in it - Sonny Boy Williamson II, (reportedly) to Robert Johnson Aug 13 1938

Author Topic: 12-String for Blues & Rags ??  (Read 4545 times)

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Offline SteveMcBill

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12-String for Blues & Rags ??
« on: October 09, 2006, 07:06:56 AM »
You guys have an awful lot of experience between you and I know there are a number of 12-string players out there. As I am considering a 12-string I thought I'd ask the question:

Which 12-string would you recommend for fingerpicking (blues and rags) and why ?

Cheers and thanks

Steve
www.stevemcwilliam.co.uk/guitar/
www.weeniecampbell.com



Offline waxwing

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Re: 12-String for Blues & Rags ??
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2006, 08:31:30 AM »
Since you haven't mention price as a consideration, I would recommend going for an old (1920's) Oscar Schmidt 12 with a long scale, either a Stella or a mahogany Sovereign. If it is really the sound you are after these babies have it. Heck, they created it. I have a Sov, and what is usually striking to others who play it is that, tuned down to about B, the two strings of each course do not sound like two strings, one low and one high, but more like one complex string. Of course, to play these wide, long fretboards, one needs a somewhat large hand, but with a good set-up, they are not hard to play after some getting used to.

Far more available, and somewhat less expensive, are the great replicas by Todd Cambio at Fraulini. I have only played one of his early tailpiece models, but that had quite a sound, very similar to the old Stellas I have played. I have spoken to Paul Geremia and others who own Fraulini 12s and they are very satisfied customers.

I would highly recommend getting a pin bridge as opposed to a tailpiece, as I think the stronger connection to, and tensioning of the top gives much better tone and volume. Personally, I like the 6 pin bridge. When restringing, I remove all strings so that I can get my hand inside and make sure each pair of string balls is correctly seated under its pin before stringing the head and tensioning.

I know that Mike Hauver is also making Oscar Schmidt replicas, but I have never heard or played one of his guitars. You can learn more about them thru Neil Harpe's stellaguitars.com site, where you're probably already headed.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12-String for Blues & Rags ??
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2006, 09:05:02 AM »
Steve -

When you say for playing blues and rags, do you intend to tune down like Willie McTell or Leadbelly to C, B or even A? Is that the sound you're looking for? Then I'd say wax's advice is on the money (which you'll need a lot of if you're able to find a real OS Stella 12). One other budget option is to buy a cheap Harmony Stella 12 from the 1960s to see how you like the whole routine, tuned down, big neck, different playing approach etc. Then if you like it, spend the $$$. Or you may just like the Harmony and stick with it.

Offline harpe

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Re: 12-String for Blues & Rags ??
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2006, 04:37:01 AM »
Mike Hauver was mentioned in regard to new 12-strings made in the style of the old Stellas. Naturally, I have "test driven" some of these. They are really close to the originals in construction, appearance and sound. Recently, he has produced an ebony finish "Gambler" model with "playing cards" decals. Copied from original "Gambler" decals on a 1930s Stella Gambler, I created the original drawings for the "card suites" decals Mike is using on his "Gambler clone."

I have been discussing another project with Mike: to build a prototype "Holzapfel 12-string clone". I own one of these. They were made in Baltimore in the early part of the 20th century. Holzapfel 12-string guitars are more scarce than even Stellas. Perhaps 200 were ever made - perhaps less than that. A Holzapfel 12-string is sort of like a big Stella-12 on steroids!

BTW...In case any Weenies out there are looking to own "the real deal", I have an original long scale Oscar Schmidt Stella jumbo 12-string (not yet listed on my web site). It was formerly owned by Paul Geremia. With a spruce top, oak body and "souped up" by Paul, this thing is amazing. Email if interested. ($5800 firm).

Neil Harpe


 


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