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If you can play the tune better than me, it's yours - Big Bill Broonzy

Author Topic: Retuning 12 Strings?  (Read 1342 times)

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Offline sustaireblues

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Retuning 12 Strings?
« on: January 25, 2010, 05:37:38 PM »
Just wondering how you handle going from standard tuning to spanish and vastapol when playing on a 12 string. That's a lot of retuning. Going from standard to drop D isn't much trouble, but changing from standard to open tunings is a bear. Seems like I need one 12 for standard and drop D, and then another for slide on open G and D.  :D

How do you deal with it?


Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: Retuning 12 Strings?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 06:05:03 PM »
Well, I'm relatively new to the world of 12 strings, but retuning these things is a serious pain in the arse.  I'm getting used to it, but I can't stand to do it more than a few times a week.  Having two 12 strings would be ideal.

Offline onewent

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Re: Retuning 12 Strings?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 08:07:42 PM »
I have three 12's, pretty much for that reason.  You can find cheap 12's at flea mkts or ebay that can work ok for slide and open tuning work..or, just get used to gets easier with practice. 

Offline Stuart

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Re: Retuning 12 Strings?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 11:02:20 PM »
First of all, make sure that you have good tuners. It may seem obvious, but I have a Martin 12-35 that was a bitch to tune until I replaced the stock tuning machines with the recent Stew-Mac offerings.

The next question is whether you're talking about retuning when you are performing or playing at home, etc. If you're performing, it might be best to use Spanish for your 12 string tunes in one set and Vestapol for the 12 string tunes in the other. (Retuning in between sets.) Unless you have retuning down to a fine art, your audience might run short on patience. Of course, you could always pass it off as some Avant-garde experiential sounds thrown in for their musical enlightenment, but I wouldn't press my luck.

Edited to add: If forced to choose a sequence, it would be: Standard, dropped D, Spanish, and then Vestapol. As far as I can tell, this minimizes the number of strings that need to be re-tuned between tunings. I also find that using a flat pick helps me when tuning / retuning. If you're playing out, you're going to have to mix keys so your audience's ears don't doze off. If you only have one guitar and it's a 12, this naturally presents a challenge.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 08:27:43 AM by Stuart »

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Retuning 12 Strings?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2010, 04:57:52 AM »
When will non-players begin to understand that we genuinely need a different, specialised, guitar for each song?

Offline sustaireblues

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Re: Retuning 12 Strings?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2010, 07:00:48 AM »
Ain't that the truth!

Thanks for the replies everyone, just hoping someone had a magic trick up their sleeve.  :)
Sure does make retuning the six seem simple!



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