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For decades, practically every big circus on the road had a black band and minstrel company attached to its sideshow, performing on the streets and inside the sideshow tent before people of all races, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the southern reaches of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. During the 1910s, these companies constituted a significant pathway for the dissemination of ragtime, blues, and jazz." - Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, Ragged But Right: Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs", And The Dark Pathway To Blues And Jazz

Author Topic: 12 string string guages  (Read 11117 times)

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Offline Lwoodblues

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12 string string guages
« on: May 16, 2004, 08:22:47 PM »
  What do you 12 string people use?
Lwood

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2004, 11:08:26 PM »
Here's what I've got on mine:

Course 1:  13/13
Course 2:  17/17
Course 3:  26/26 (wound)
Course 4:  17/38
Course 5:  22/48
Course 6:  26/66

I'm tuned down to B and thinking I might go a little heavier on the 1st and 2nd courses, after I get a little more used to the whole thing.  I think I pulled a muscle playing it this morning!

Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2004, 07:02:56 AM »
Quote
Here's what I've got on mine:

So whadja get, whadja get?

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2004, 07:07:04 AM »
Yes, you must tell, I am jealous already, must buy a guitar, must buy a guitar, must buy a guitar...

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2004, 02:03:32 PM »
It's kind of a 12 string starter guitar:  a 60's ladder braced Harmony that Todd C. graced with a neck reset.  At one point Heidi Loetscher Hart made a new nut for it and put a couple of extra braces under the top.  It's a pretty ugly guitar, but interesting in a shapeless kind of way.  What it does have is a pretty cool sound and perfect action.  It's got a great crunchy, brawny sound.  A year of playing this thing and I'll have forearms like Popeye, like when I had a 68 Impala whose power booster gave up and I drove it for two years with no power steering...  playing this is way more fun, though.

Having access to this is getting me psyched for a real 12...  thinking about what I need to sell to make it happen...

Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2004, 02:55:27 PM »
Cool... and funky!

Looking forward to a Back Porch mp3 of it.   :)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2004, 06:41:26 PM »
It's kind of a 12 string starter guitar:? a 60's ladder braced Harmony that Todd C. graced with a neck reset.? At one point Heidi Loetscher Hart made a new nut for it and put a couple of extra braces under the top.? It's a pretty ugly guitar, but interesting in a shapeless kind of way.? What it does have is a pretty cool sound and perfect action.? It's got a great crunchy, brawny sound.? A year of playing this thing and I'll have forearms like Popeye, like when I had a 68 Impala whose power booster gave up and I drove it for two years with no power steering...? playing this is way more fun, though.

Having access to this is getting me psyched for a real 12...? thinking about what I need to sell to make it happen...

Cool! A few questions, not necessarily to Frank, since we're talking 'bout 12-strings. First off, I've toyed with the idea of getting a 12, but worry about the hand stress factor given my tendonitis issues. Your reference to Popeye forearms reinforces that fear. My experience with 12s is limited to a little playing on a Yamaha tuned to concert pitch and it was not fun. How does tuning down to C or B affect the playability of 12s, even regardless of hand issues.

Second, what is a good scale length for a 12 for A) playability and B) volume, given that the two are not necessarily conducive to each other. What was standard scale length for OS Stella 12s?

Third, are Harmony 60s-era 12s all ladder-braced? And what is their usual scale length?

Fourth, if any of youse was looking for a starter 12-string, what would you consider to be your options? Harmony seems to be the main option. Old Guilds are pricey. I'm not prepared to invest the multi-thousands in the real thing (OS Stella and their ilk, or the attractive Fraulini option) until I figure my hands can handle such a beast.

Frankie, I look forward to some Back Porch action with your new baby!

Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2004, 08:20:09 PM »
Deacon has or had a very nice Larrivee 12-string - it was a L model and it played like butta... easiest playing 12 I ever layed hands on, hated to hand it back to him (I think that must be why he quit bringing it - no one would give it back to him).  I think with your tendonitus you need a guitar with a very low setup - new that would be Larrivee or Taylor... or know a good luthier that can look at a used guitar and tell you if it is possible to set it up low (not all used guitars can be set up low, economically that is).  Repps had very light strings (10s), but tuned to pitch.  Low tuning makes them easier to play too.  A new Larrivee L-03 model is about a grand... may be more than you want to spend.  You might also check out a Seagull 12 for a low end alternative that is still decent.

FWIW 

Offline Lwoodblues

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2004, 08:22:33 PM »
  Lwood says, I bought a 50's Harmony/Stella for $160 and am looking to restring. I also picked up a parlor stella Blond 6 string. Both with orig cases. Stella Blond cost me $58. US
Bye

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2004, 08:38:25 PM »
Deacon has or had a very nice Larrivee 12-string - it was a L model and it played like butta... easiest playing 12 I ever layed hands on, hated to hand it back to him (I think that must be why he quit bringing it - no one would give it back to him).

I don't think he quit bringing it did he? And if he no longer has it, he's nuts. :D It is a great guitar. I'm not interested in a 12 tuned to pitch though. I defintely want to tune it low. The Taylors are made to tune to pitch as far asI know, dunno about Larrivees.


Quote
I think with your tendonitus you need a guitar with a very low setup - new that would be Larrivee or Taylor... or know a good luthier that can look at a used guitar and tell you if it is possible to set it up low (not all used guitars can be set up low, economically that is).  Repps had very light strings (10s), but tuned to pitch.  Low tuning makes them easier to play too.  A new Larrivee L-03 model is about a grand... may be more than you want to spend.  You might also check out a Seagull 12 for a low end alternative that is still decent.

FWIW 


When you say set up low are you talking low action or set up for low tuning? I don't know how low I'd want the action, as I'd want play slide on it as well.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2004, 11:04:07 AM by uncle bud »

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2004, 08:57:47 PM »
Cool! A few questions, not necessarily to Frank, since we're talking 'bout 12-strings. First off, I've toyed with the idea of getting a 12, but worry about the hand stress factor given my tendonitis issues. Your reference to Popeye forearms reinforces that fear. My experience with 12s is limited to a little playing on a Yamaha tuned to concert pitch and it was not fun. How does tuning down to C or B affect the playability of 12s, even regardless of hand issues.

In my experience, all twelve strings are at least a little more work than a typical six-string.? Part of the reason I'm struggling with mine is that I'm still in that mode where I want to play it just like a six string.? It's just *not* the guitar for that kind of attitude.? It's certainly not a good guitar for playing Rev. Davis material, for instance (although Buck Dance is fun on it).? I think a more modern 12-string would be more appropriate for that.? When I play more economically (maybe sparsely is a better word), it's a lot easier on me and lets the guitar speak more clearly.? I had some real fun this evening singing Leadbelly songs with my daughter after dinner and it really brought home to me how important it is to be miserly with notes but generous with rhythm.

Second, what is a good scale length for a 12 for A) playability and B) volume, given that the two are not necessarily conducive to each other. What was standard scale length for OS Stella 12s?

OS 12 strings tended to have a longer 26+ inch scale.? Regal made 12's usually have a shorter scale:? 25 1/4 or 25 1/2.? I like the easy reach of the shorter scale, but I think the longer scale has greater clarity & tunes easier, especially when you're tuning down to C or B.

Third, are Harmony 60s-era 12s all ladder-braced? And what is their usual scale length?

I think that they are typically ladder braced, although the bracing pattern is different from the 12's of the 20's & 30's.? Typical scale length is 25 1/4, I believe.

Fourth, if any of youse was looking for a starter 12-string, what would you consider to be your options? Harmony seems to be the main option. Old Guilds are pricey. I'm not prepared to invest the multi-thousands in the real thing (OS Stella and their ilk, or the attractive Fraulini option) until I figure my hands can handle such a beast.

If this Harmony hadn't fallen on me, I would have gone with any number of inexpensive used 12 strings that seem to be superabundant at a local store.? There was a used Daion 12 string that clearly blew away all the other 12 strings there (and there were many), including a couple very expensive older Guilds.? Still, these have typical X-bracing and respond very differently than a ladder braced guitar.? For a starter, I think they would have been fine, though.

Frankie, I look forward to some Back Porch action with your new baby!

Maybe I can get my daughter to sing a tune or two with me...? we'll see!

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2004, 09:04:22 PM »
Lwood says, I bought a 50's Harmony/Stella for $160 and am looking to restring. I also picked up a parlor stella Blond 6 string. Both with orig cases. Stella Blond cost me $58. US
Bye

Way to go Lwood - gotta love cheap guitars!  Is the neck set decent on the 12 string?  If you're not sure about it, maybe string it up with something that starts with a 10 or 11 and keep it tuned down about a whole step or so.  If you tune too low with really light strings, things get kinda "slappy".  Everything just kinda sounds like: fwap, fwap, fwap, fwap....

Online Johnm

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2004, 04:32:16 PM »
Hi all,
A question for any of you 12-string aficionados out there, I guess.  What is it that you like about 12-string guitars?  With the exception of Mexican music, Leadbelly and Blind Willie McTell, my most fervent wish when hearing most 12-string music is that it was being played on a 6-string guitar.  They go down a bit easier when the G strings are in unisons, with no high octave.  I must be missing something.  What is the appeal?
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2004, 05:13:53 PM »
Mexican music, Leadbelly and Blind Willie McTell

I don't know much about Mexican music, but Leadbelly and Blind Willie McTell are the guys I like best when it comes to twelve string.  I dunno - I think a low-tuned 12 string has a certain 'nyah'.  Sounds kinda like a brass band if you really dig into it, somehow.  Not great for everything, but definitely compelling at times.  I've even been using it for <gasp> fiddle backup on a tune or two...

Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2004, 05:32:18 PM »
Quote
When you say set up low are you talking low action or set up for low tuning? I don't know how low I'd want the action, as I'd want play slide on it as well.

Hey UB,
Yea, I meant low action, but maybe I'm thinking of the wrong arm giving you problems?  Is it your right arm that has the tendonitis?

JohnM,

Agree with frankie, It's that big "airy" brass band sound!  :D  ....  I really like the sound of 12 string slide also and it gives guys like BBQ Bob a very distinctive sound. 

Although I gotta - 12 string has not been compelling enough for me to buy or build one yet.

cheers,
slack

 


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