12 Fret Appreciation

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by zombywoof, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    Possibly my favorite development in guitars has been the revival of 12 fret X braced instruments. It has been a long time in coming. I am one of those who agree with lutheir John Arnold when he said "the tone in is in the 12 fretters." Even the 00 size instruments are beautifully balanced with a full sound and deep low end. Not sure what it is but I always figured it has to do with shifting everything south placing the bridge more in the center of the lower bout. Perhaps it is just magic.

    So if you got them let's see them. Here is my favorite - an early 1930s Gibson L-1. The Gibson Ls along with the Kel Kroydens were the lightest built guitars ever to come out of Kalamazoo. Gibson has made nothing like them before or after. This one has a hand rubbed stain shaded finish with a very cool tiger stripe thing going on around the edges.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. quilsaw

    quilsaw Member

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    I agree. Of course, the first one I tried was a Santa Cruz RS, which was incredible. Ended up settling on one of these: (Not me or mine, btw).

     
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  3. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Gold Supporting Member

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    The Taylor 12-fretters are outstanding. Small bodies can limit the bass response, but pair them with a short scale and a bridge smack dab in the middle of the lower bout, and a lot of that bass is restored.

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  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Member

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    [​IMG] Love my Yamamoto 12 fret Talus. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
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  5. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    One of these is top of my list right now. Tried one at the store the other day and thought WOW. I have a couple of regular Taylor 12-strings, but these new ones are a serious step forward.
     
  6. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

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    LOVE the 12-fret tone!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  7. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    Waterloos were the first thing that came to my mind. The 12 fret resonators, all-birch ladder braced concerts and such though are a whole different ballgame. Collings obviously took their cue from Gibson which went with 12, 13 and 14 frets on the same guitar only shifting everything around. Martin, on the other hand, altered the body style when they went to 14 frets shortening the upper bout where it met the neck.
     
  8. jklotz

    jklotz Member

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    Mine is nowhere near as cool as the OP's, but I like it a lot. Taylor 322ce

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    Funny thing that while Taylors generally do not work for me, I do like the 12 fretters quite a bit more than their 14 fret kin. They are not quite as bright sounding.
     
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  10. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel Silver Supporting Member

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    I love 12 frets I have one, ok five of them.
     
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  11. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    The best ones I have played/heard were the smaller Froggy Bottom models. One was a P(parlor) size and the next size up(H?). These guitars did not sound small. Supposedly the 12 fret architecture places the soundhole in the "sweet spot".
     
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  12. DanH8482

    DanH8482 Supporting Member

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    Here is my 12 fret Collings 001, an amazing fingerstyle guitar and just beautiful to look at too. I’ve had some really amazing classical guitars too, I’m really fond of this style/size guitar.

     
  13. themannamedbones

    themannamedbones Member

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    I love them. That thump I get with my fingers. Glad to see so many affordable models hit the market
     
  14. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

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    My Goodall 000 below. An absolutely gorgeous sounding instrument.

    The only thing I don't like about 12-fretters is when I play songs that want me to hit notes past the 12th. There's this sliding bit in Treetop Flyer (Stephen Stills) that requires I slide into 13/14 and hit 15 once I'm there. I can't do it smoothly because I'm forever bumping into the body. Then there's this bit in a swampy blues song I kind of noodle around with from time to time (my own). I tune to DADFAD and I have this bit I play up high and I have to Gumby my left wrist and roll my shoulder to play it. I watch Eric Skye play measure after measure down on the 17th and 18th without any trouble, but he's some kind of genius that I'll never match.

    I have been looking around for a 12-fretter with a cutaway or a 14-fretter to compliment my Goodall. I was hoping to run across a SCGC Skye with a cutaway, but no such luck. I almost bought a 14-fret Taylor with cedar over Rosewood, but me and Taylors haven't had a good track record. I got lucky though and found a 14-fret Goodall 00 and bought that today. Should be here later this week or early week after next.

    Next year though I'm going to commission a 12-fret SCGC Skye model the way I want it: keep the Adi top and Coco back, but narrow the nut to 1 3/4, add a cutaway, and have the coy fish inlays done around the 17-19th frets. You all ever seen one with those inlays? Absolutely gorgeous.

     
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  15. jklotz

    jklotz Member

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    The only issue I have with 12 fretters is when I capo. They tend to get a bit cramped anywhere past the 5th fret.
     
  16. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    I have a Bourgeois MS Sig, as shown in the vid, post #2, and it is by far the best guitar I have ever played for its intended purpose, altered tunings and slide. A bit too open-sounding for my tastes for fretted fingerpicking though.

    I think it is worth noting that there are two kinds of steel string 12-fretters, those in which the upper bout is made longer than a 14-fret, as in typical Martin 12 frets, and those which use a 14-fret shaped body and move the bridge back, and to a lesser extent the soundhole. The MS Sig is of this type, as are the Martin Norman Blake models. I discussed the centering of the bridge on the lower bout in UMGF a while back, and Al Carruth, a very technical luthier whose opinions I take note of, pointed out that centering the bridge isn't automatically a good thing, otherwise banjos would have a centered bridge, and they never do. It is more a question of balancing all the constructional factors. He did, however suggest that the longer body of Martin-style 12-fretters could have tonal advantages in their own right.
     
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  17. Parlorman

    Parlorman Silver Supporting Member

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  18. DanH8482

    DanH8482 Supporting Member

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    I played a Goodall 000 for the first time at Rudy’s last week, 14-fret though. I’ve never played a guitar that seemed to have the sound jump off the top so quickly and beautifully. I wish it had been in my price range, it was truly a remarkable instrument
     
  19. DRS

    DRS Member

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    Love my Larrivee SD 50
     
  20. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

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    ... and the shop (Sylvan Music, Santa Cruz) where I bought mine now has a 12-fret 000 with a cutaway, which would have been ideal for me. I don't see a lot of 12-fret guitars—other than Taylors—with cutaways, and I think they are the ones that are most in need of them.
     

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