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I pulled all my songs out of my brain - Bukka White

Author Topic: 12 string string guages  (Read 11116 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2004, 06:52:42 PM »
I'm attracted to twelves for the reasons already stated - that 'nyah' factor of a low-tuned 12, the big, ballsy sound. I guess in part it's just plain old variety, another reason I'm fond of mandolin. Also like Slack, I really like the sound of slide on a 12. Whether I'd like playing one is a whole other story! That said, I agree, there are things I hear played on a 12 that I find myself wanting to hear on a six string.

Offline Johnm

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2004, 07:01:30 PM »
Thanks, Frank and John D for the input.  When I thought about it more, I realized that there were many more 12-string Country Blues players, particularly from Georgia, that I really like--George Carter, Charley Lincoln, Barbecue Bob, and Willie Baker, as well as John Byrd, from elsewhere.  Rev. Davis on a 12 seems like a shame to me, though.  He's so harmonically dense that all those octave strings make for a sound that is too jumbled for me.  I think my grudge against the 12-string, such as it is, derives from New Age or fingerpicking specialists on it--not my favorite music, I guess.
all best,
Johnm     

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2004, 09:06:38 PM »
I admit that I'm not a huge fan of Rev. Davis' music on the 12-string, although there are a few things I like.

Regarding Bbq Bob - don't the bass strings of his guitar sound strange for a 12-string?? Almost as if he isn't using the octave course at all (just a single string) or maybe is using unison courses?  Try listening to Crooked Woman Blues.  It sounds like there's clearly double courses in the treble, but the bass...

Or...? maybe I'm losing it...
« Last Edit: May 18, 2004, 09:20:24 PM by frankie »

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2004, 09:46:00 PM »
I think my grudge against the 12-string, such as it is, derives from New Age or fingerpicking specialists on it--not my favorite music, I guess.

Eeeeeew!

Eew! Eew! Eew! Eew! Eew! Eew! Eew! Eew! Eew!

That kind of stuff makes me hate life, much less twelve string guitars.

Modern 12 string guitars tend to make me think of guys in brown turtleneck sweaters singing about vegetarian hot dogs.

Offline Johnm

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2004, 10:12:29 PM »
Thanks Frank, I needed that!? You have a career awaiting you in the diplomatic corps should you ever want one.? Re your Barbecue Bob observation, I am intrigued by the idea of a 12-string with unison courses, especially if tuned low.? I think you would get the super-powerful "nyah" in the bass that you and John D and Andrew referred to and lose the jumbled mid-range "dropped sack of marbles" sound that I hate, which is caused by the courses clashing with the treble where melody is voiced.? Seems like it is worth checking out.
All best,
Johnm?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2004, 10:14:42 PM by Johnm »

Offline waxwing

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2004, 01:15:03 AM »
Hehehe, you're crackin' me up, Ramblin' Frank.
 
Just got back from Jersey, where I only had time to give Frank a call, so I didn't get a chance to check out the new 12, nor to get my Stella 6, which I had with me, together with the Fraulini, which would have been fun. Next time.

Well, for me it's that baritone "organ" sound. My 26.5" Sovereign is tuned to B and strung with the heavy La Bella set that Harry Lewman sells. (.014 .014 .018 .018 .025 .014 .036 .016 .046 .019 .064 .025 - although Harry recommends doubling the .025 3rd pair and using the .014 as a double octave on the 6th pair, which is what Leadbelly did)(BTW apparently Huddie used a .070!! I bet he had some serious forearms) I have pretty big and strong hands and I feel a real affinity for this guitar. String tension seems just right to power the grand concert size top and, thanks to a great neck reset by my luthier, the action is pretty low and easy all the way up. But I can still play 'till my forearms ache. This baby will definitely be coming to PT and all are welcome to play her.

As I mentioned in the "what are you working on" thread, Blind Willie McTell is really the man for me right now. He seems to walk the line of just the right amount of complexity without letting the sound turn to mud. Harry talks about letting the 12 sing, and McTell often gets a call and response going between the bass and treble that does just that. At the same time as I look for new 12 string songs to learn I am also experimenting with which songs from my 6 string repertoire can cross over effectively. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of the Blind Boy Fuller songs that I do, arranged for resonator, of course, seem to translate well. Fulton used a lot of midrange (and bass) runs, which are the strength of the resonator, and that seems to translate well. Another song that I do that works well is Dave van Ronk's version of St. James Infirmary. It's not terribly complex and the 12 really gives it that New Orleans brass band sound you guys are talking about, with the added bonus that by dropping it down to what becomes the key of Eminor, I can sing it at the top of my range and really cut loose.

It was very inspirational to hear Paul Geremia play recently, and, among others, he did at least one Blind Lemon song with his long scale Stella 12 and it sounded great. I guess there are lots of players out there who try to do too much, but in the right hands the sound of a 12 can have a truely haunting bluesy feel.
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

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
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Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2004, 06:52:13 AM »
Quote
Regarding Bbq Bob - don't the bass strings of his guitar sound strange for a 12-string?  Almost as if he isn't using the octave course at all (just a single string) or maybe is using unison courses?  Try listening to Crooked Woman Blues.  It sounds like there's clearly double courses in the treble, but the bass...

Yea, I think you have something there - the bass does sound like he is using unisons or single strings... but whatever, it sounds great.  Might be worth experimenting with.

Quote
Modern 12 string guitars tend to make me think of guys in brown turtleneck sweaters singing about vegetarian hot dogs.

 :P

Offline GhostRider

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2004, 08:08:41 AM »
HI all:

I'm with Johnm, I don't really see the attraction of the 12 string. But one fellow who really could play the big fellow was Lonnie Johnson. He was able to play it without getting the muddy sound I typically associate with the 12 string.

Tim Williams from my neck of the woods uses a 12 string on some of his blues and other than the slide tunes, I as well wish they were being played on a 6.

Alex

Offline Lwoodblues

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2004, 08:00:10 PM »
Frank, the neckset seems to be ok, not perfect but very playable. Haven't got the blond 6-string yet. Hope it's ok too.
Lwood
 Restringing the 12-string now, damn, there are a lot of strings.
 Already changed tuners on my "child-sized" guitar today.

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2004, 11:13:53 AM »
Restringing the 12-string now, damn, there are a lot of strings.

Good luck - I haven't had the pleasure of re-stringing mine yet...  yeesh!  Here's a couple of other string set possibilities that might work for you.  Todd C. included them in a note that he sent with my Harmony:

Geremia
14/14
18/18
16/13 (octave 3rd course - Mctell does this on his LoC recordings)
39/17
49/20
62/14 or 30 (wound)  the 14 is tuned two octaves above the heavier string

Lead Belly
14/14
19/19
22/22
19/38
19/49
14/70  two octaves, again

These are all meant to be tuned down to B or C.  I prefer B, myself, as it makes playing along with other instruments pretty straightforward in most keys, except where a normally tuned guitar is playing in the key of C.  That puts the 12 string in F position.  I like F on a six string, but on a 12 it's a load of work, especially the IV chord!

I was listening to McTell's LoC recordings the other day and it seems to me like he's tuned to C sharp and using a third course tuned in octaves.  I haven't spent too much time with his older recordings - I think I generally prefer McTell's music as an older man...

Offline Rivers

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2004, 08:02:08 PM »
Nice looking guitar Frank but it needs to go on a diet.  :P

Got to agree with Slack about Deacon's v. memorable sunburst L'Arivee 12. I couldn't put it down, could get through most of repertoire on it like it was a 6, and Rev. Gary Davis tunes sounded brilliant on it. It opened my eyes to what a good 12 string can be, but I'm still searching for the one.

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2004, 10:56:49 PM »
Nice looking guitar Frank but it needs to go on a diet.? :P

Dude...? look who owns it!  I got in touch with my inner lardass and now I have an outer lardass...
« Last Edit: May 23, 2004, 11:02:43 PM by frankie »

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2004, 09:12:30 PM »
String guage update:? With the guages I had on before (13-66), I was having trouble keeping things in tune down in the B range.? The scale on the Harmony is only about 25 1/4", so things were sounding pretty wobbly.? If I tuned up to C sharp, that eliminated the problem, but makes playing with other instruments painful, not to mention that tuning down to B is one the things I live for...? so, here are the guages I've currently got:

014/014
018/018
027/027
039/018
049/024 (wound)
070/029 (wound)

The wound octave on the 5th course *definitely* stays in tune better than the unwound I was using before, as does the 070 on the 6th course.? Finding that was a real nutbuster, though.

I got a chance to play waxwing's Sovereign, and to hear him play his "Broke Down Engine" on it - that belongs on the Back Porch, for sure!? That Sovereign is nice, man... wow...

Offline waxwing

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2004, 02:44:42 AM »
I got a chance to play waxwing's Sovereign, and to hear him play his "Broke Down Engine" on it - that belongs on the Back Porch, for sure!? That Sovereign is nice, man... wow...
Thanks Frank. Yeah, I was thinkin' we should have minidisked it, but I got to your house so late we were both a little groggy, eh? But it was great playin' for you and hearin' you and Kim playin' together. Didn't get to bed 'til 'bout 3. But I'm back in SF now. Both the Sovereign and Broke Down Engine will be at PT. I'll get it on the Back Porch after that.
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

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
CD on YT

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2004, 11:38:09 AM »
I was thinkin' we should have minidisked it, but I got to your house so late we were both a little groggy, eh

I'll say...  I didn't think of recording you until after you'd left - Kim said the same thing...  next time!

 


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