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When Alan posed the question "What are the blues? What do they mean to you?" the answers were in part something he sought for himself, to understand this musical form that may have been as ancient as the griots in West Africa, or perhaps as recent as the automobile, the airplane, and the phonograph (all of which made guest appearances in the blues). The blues had become a craze, like ragtime, which grew up alongside it, and it leaped from the bottom of the social order to the Astors and the Vanderbilts, who staged blues contests for their own amusement well before the rest of white America came to know them - from Alan Lomax, The Man Who Recorded the World, by John Szwed

Author Topic: 12 string string guages  (Read 11113 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2004, 11:23:28 AM »
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...

Hey Frank, you still using these guages on your 12 (BBQ Bob-ing up the Harmony aside)?


Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2004, 04:53:53 PM »
Hey Frank, you still using these guages on your 12 (BBQ Bob-ing up the Harmony aside)?

I'm still in BBQ Bob land, but if I were to put the Harmony back to "normal", I'd go back to the original set I had on there and tune to C.

Does this mean you've bought something?? Do tell...

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2004, 07:39:39 PM »
Hey Frank, you still using these guages on your 12 (BBQ Bob-ing up the Harmony aside)?

I'm still in BBQ Bob land, but if I were to put the Harmony back to "normal", I'd go back to the original set I had on there and tune to C.

Does this mean you've bought something?? Do tell...

Yes, got a Larrivee L-03 12 'cause I couldn't put it down! Looks much like this: http://12fret.com/used/larriveeL0312n65024.jpg. Am in Blind Willie heaven. Need to play around with guages. The owner of the 12th Fret opened the nut slots a bit and got me going with an initial heavier setup and has given me a whack of different guages to try.

By "original set" do you mean the one above or the earlier set you had on there?


Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2004, 08:14:20 PM »
Quote
Yes, got a Larrivee L-03 12 'cause I couldn't put it down! Looks much like this: http://12fret.com/used/larriveeL0312n65024.jpg. Am in Blind Willie heaven.

Cool!  Looks similar (the same?) as the Deacons' - whcih is a great playing 12 string.  Larrivee does a fine job on their line of guitars... great value.

Cheers,
slack

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2004, 08:31:52 PM »
Playing it reminded me of playing the Deacon's. The action is ridiculous. The neck on this might be bigger, can't remember Jeff's. This is 1 7/8ths. It's a pretty big neck and will take a little getting used to, but the L-size fits me way better than a dreadnaught.

Offline Slack

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2004, 08:58:11 PM »
I think they are all the 12's are 1 7/8".  Yeah, I think that is the model Deacon has - great action and very soft to play.  I'm jealous!

cheers,

Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2004, 06:28:50 AM »
Yes, got a Larrivee L-03 12 'cause I couldn't put it down!

Congratulations!  Sounds like the right reason to buy a guitar to me.

By "original set" do you mean the one above or the earlier set you had on there?

The earlier set I had on:

Quote
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

Good luck - can't wait to hear it!

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2004, 04:57:58 PM »
So all you 12-string players, if you're tuning down to C or B, what do you do when you go to an open tuning? For instance, on a six-string tuned to pitch (or a half step below as is usually the case with me), most of us would normally drop the 6th, the 5th and the 1st strings a full step to get into Spanish tuning. Do you do the same on a 12 tuned low, i.e., dropping (if tuned to C) the 6th string and 1st string to a Bb, and the 5th to an E? Or do you tune the other strings up?

Inquiring minds want to know...




Offline frankie

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2004, 05:37:31 PM »
Depends - I find that I can go either way.  Parenthetically, I just realized that I was completely wrong about Blind Willie McTell's 1940 LoC sessions.  Rather than being tuned down to Csharp, I think he was tuned down to A (below B).  That's probably best elaborated on in another thread, though...

Offline Cambio

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2004, 08:35:22 PM »
I think that too much tuning of a 12 string can lead to insanity.   That's why I think that everyone should have two, one in standard, one for open tunings.

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2013, 10:36:00 AM »
Just bringing this thread back to life cuz I've been studying it a lot in the past couple days and what I'm about to ask seems like a natural continuation (but please feel free to move this if it seems more appropriate elsewhere).
So a friend and I recently tried working on some later BWMcT/Curley stuff (THANK YOU WEENIEPEDIA!), which led me to tune my 12 down to A for the first time ever.  I LOVE being tuned that low, but can't stay in tune at all.  Been looking for a heavier 12 set, but can't find anything aside from a silk and steel La Bella set which Mr. Cambio informed me will not provide the tension I'm seeking. 
So I'm planning on buying two sets of La Bella Electric Baritone strings (.014-.070), then improvising with some single strings to create this beastly set:
.014 .014
.018 .018
.028 .014
.040 .020 wound
.050 .025 wound
.070 .015 unwound double octave (or .030 wound single octave)
Just pulling some of these numbers outta my arse after beefing up some of the numbers in this thread. Curious about the combination of the octave third course and the double octave 6th. I might hate it but I wanna give it a shot. Does this seem TOO heavy? I wouldn't use these strings for anything other than A standard, A vastapol and/or D spanish. Might end up with a combination of La Bellas, John Pearses and/or Ernie Balls, but... Well, they'll all be nickel. I'm rarin' to go, so I'm just gonna start ordering strings but I'm very curious to hear from anyone else that has tried tuning down to A or lower.
Thanks.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2013, 11:38:28 AM »
Hey Mike, I am usually somewhere between A-flat--A--B-flat. Once I get the damn thing in tune I'm not too particular! I've had a .070 on there though believe I have a .066 currently, which seems good enough for me. The .070 is some heavy string.

Since you mention you are playing later McTell, you should take a look at this section of this thread http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=508.msg5708#msg5708 which begins:

Quote from: frankie
One other weird thing about McTell - it seems to me that from the 1940's session on, he very often seems to use not only an octave third course, but an octave 2nd course.  I could be nuts, of course...

And get more interesting from there. Frankie goes on to discuss some gauges.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 11:40:33 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2013, 02:23:15 PM »
Thanks, Andrew!  I had forgotten about that thread and the octave second course.  Sounded like crazy talk the first time I read that, but now I can't wait to try it.  Maybe I'll experiment with octave 2nd-5th courses and a double octave 6th!  Oh what fun!  Strings are on the way!  I'll let y'all know how it turns out...

Offline sustaireblues

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2013, 07:07:20 AM »
Looking forward to hearing what you come up with. Low tuned 12 string gauges and tuning is a very interesting area of exploration!

And you sure can't beat McTell and Weaver!

Offline alyoung

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Re: 12 string string guages
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2013, 06:00:09 AM »
I've also experimented with low tuning for McTell and Lead Belly; I'm now strung 14/14, 18/18, 26/26, 36/16, 46/20p, 66/14.  But the big trouble with making up your own sets is that buying individual strings is about the most expensive way of doing it. Elderly Instruments sells a phosphor bronze/steel set 14/14, 018/018, 025/025, 36/16, 45/19, 64/14, for US$6. I bought a set recently, but my musical attention has been distracted elsewhere lately, so I haven't put 'em on yet. But one advantage I already see is that they come with a unison third course and a double octave bass... which make them ideal for Lead Belly playing. (They're the second-last item in Elderly's listing of 12-string sets.)

 


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