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12 String Acoustic Guitar. Advice please!!!.
Old 13th May 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 

12 String Acoustic Guitar. Advice please!!!.

Hi. I own a good inexpensive 6 string acoustic.

I want to upgrade to a high-end guitar, and I'm considering a 12 string because it would be nice to have another timbre choice in my productions.

My question is, if I buy a 12 string guitar, but only install 6 strings, will it have intonation and tuning problems? Will it work as a 6 string guitar?

I don't have too much experience, so any help is welcome.

Pandemonium
Old 13th May 2008
  #2
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
I've never heard of anyone doing this. I'd think that a 12-string strung up as a 6-string would be such a compromise you wouldn't want to play it. The headstock on a 12-string is pretty heavy, and it really changes the balance of the guitar for the worse. And then, you'd have those unused tuning machines rattling around there. Even good ones will have some play in them when there's no string on. There's also the question of the truss-rod setting, which will affect the playability and intonation.

I don't think the intonation on a 12-string is set any differently than on a 6-string, particularly on a flat-top with a non-adjustable bridge, in general. However, some makers may have some "trade secret" they use to get ever-so-slightly better intonation out of some particular set of strings they use. The guitar I have with the best intonation is a 6-string flattop, so there must be something the maker knows about getting that just right that other makers don't know. So that's definitely a maybe.

As a practical matter, I can't see swapping back and forth as a solution. A high-end 12-string is designed to be a high-end 12-string, and not a high-end 6-string. They're just voiced and braced differently. It could work, but you'd have to try it to see. You could borrow a 12-string and try it out. I'm just doubtful that you'd feel like you're playing anything but a compromise.
Old 13th May 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Pasta4lnch's Avatar
there;s a local NYC S/S girl who actually uses a 12 string as a six but puts the doubles on the high "E" and "B" (so technically an 8 string) . . . was like a little chorus effect. kinda innovative really. . .
Old 13th May 2008
  #4
Gear Addict
 
sfoote's Avatar
alternative 12 string stringing

I've always contemplated stringing my 12 string in unison, instead of just the higher G, B, E strings in unison. I thought that might give it more bass rumble, at the cost of much more tension on the top. I'm scared to try it.

I've never heard of anyone stringing a 12 as a 6, but I agree, the difference in tension would change the action, probably causing fret buzzing and such. I suppose you could have the action reset for this new configuration, but then when you wanted to go to 12 strings, the action would be too high.
Old 13th May 2008
  #5
Lives for gear
 
feyshay's Avatar
 

I just saw Willy Porter play a 9 string guitar.
2 strings for E, G, B; 1 string on the rest.
Sounded great.
He did some interesting tunings and then had capos on just a few strings.
What an incredible guitarist.
Old 14th May 2008
  #6
Gear Addict
Keep your 6 string and buy a cheaper 12 string with a good sound like a Seagull or something similar. You may regret ditching your current guitar to mess around with a vague idea that may not work.
Old 14th May 2008
  #7
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfoote View Post
I've always contemplated stringing my 12 string in unison, instead of just the higher G, B, E strings in unison. I thought that might give it more bass rumble, at the cost of much more tension on the top. I'm scared to try it.
You should be. That will ruin your neck, or your top, or both.
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