12 fret guitars ?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by doublestop, Nov 10, 2005.


  1. doublestop

    doublestop Member

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    Can anyone tell me what are the pros and cons of a 12 fret guitar, compared to a standard 14 fret guitar?

    Thanks, Peter
     
  2. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Pro: Possibly better tone as a result of the soundhole being more centered in the top.
    Con: Inaccessability to notes above the 12th fret.
    I have checked out hundreds of guitars by most of the premier builders, and I think there is something to it, tone-wise. It is a subtle difference. If you do the lions' share of your playing below the 12th fret, it is worth investigating.
     
  3. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    I like the older 12 fret guitars I've played. Many of them have wider fingerboards and feel more comfortable probably because I don't seem to have to reach as far to play in the 1st position.
     
  4. kilgorekid

    kilgorekid Member

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    I own a Larrivee SD-50 (slope shoulder dread) which is a 12-fret slot head and I love it! It has a wide nut (1 & 7/8") and it is so very comfortable. It produces a lot of volume also. I never miss the access to the higher frets as I hardly ever need to go there. Not very many acoustic players need that access. I say go for it and you'll be a happy camper and 12-fret advocate.
    Bill:D
     
  5. 57special

    57special Member

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    12 fretters have more body volume, due to the extended upper bouts, hence more volume. I think they sound better than 14 fretters, all things being equal. I'd love to try a 12 Fret Dread sometime.
     
  6. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    I have both a Dread and a OO 12 fretters (Collings). They are both among the finest acoustic guitars I've had the pleasure to own/play. They truly do move alot of air...

    Eugene
     
  7. kwaves99

    kwaves99 Member

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    I played a 12 fret Collings at Matt Umanov's in NYC about 6 months ago..the guitar is a cannon!
     
  8. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a very recent Martin 000-16SGT 12-fret. It has a bit more of a mid- and treble-biased tone to it over my more traditional Larrivee dread. Dig it. I'm thinking about picking up a Larrivee 12-fret early next year if I can find a good deal on one.

    --chiba
     
  9. 57special

    57special Member

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    I bet that 00 is sweet! Never played a 12 fret 00. I had a beautiful old (31) 0-18 12 fret Martin that had tons of sound, and have just finished a 12 fret 0 size that i'm very happy with, though it's left me very curious as to what the next size up would deliver. Almost the perfect guitar for playing around the house, and with other acoustic players, i'd imagine.
     
  10. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    You bethcha! Very complex and quite loud for a little box. Man, they sure had it right in the 20's and 30's!

    Eugene
     
  11. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    I'm on the lookout for a relatively inexpensive solidwood 12 fret'er...Really looking for a V shape neck and folk style body for a fingerpicking treat.

    The best quality solidwood acoustic for a steal I've found so far is the Alvarez MD90. Although it's a dread size, 14 fretter.

    Does anyone have any other ideas?

    Thanks
     
  12. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    I believe Martin's -15 Series (all mahogany) includes either a 00 or 000 12-fret model. Might be worth checking out....

    Eugene
     
  13. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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  14. Fantom1

    Fantom1 Member

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    Yup, the 000-15 and 000-15S (slothead).

    I've got one (the S), and for the price I don't think they can be beat. On the Martin guitar forum when they come up for sale they usually sell in a few hours. It's an incredible slide/fingerpicking guitar. Its much more mid-treble articulate than any dreads I've played.
     
  15. thesedaze

    thesedaze Member

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    Those Martin's seem very close! I'll have to try them out...What exactly is the difference in build between the slothead model and the regular blockhead? $300 price difference would have me hoping for atleast some sort of bracing differences or something? Don't tell me it's all because of a slot head?

    Thanks
     
  16. Fantom1

    Fantom1 Member

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    Oops. I checked the Martin site to check out what the difference was and apparently the 000-15 is a 14 fret, while the 000-15S is a 12 fret. I guess the 12fret models take a little more work or something. I think this is a recent change as I'm pretty sure both were 12 fret before, but I could be completely wrong.
     
  17. bajasuhr

    bajasuhr Guest

    For fingerstyle you can't beat the sound and playability of the 12 fretters. I'm had a 1973 Martin D-35S since new (12 fret, Slothead, slope-shouldered canon) and have played many others such as the older 00-21 and the newer 000-28VS. The new Larrivee 00-50 & 60's should be great based on the other Larrivees I've played.
     
  18. Praline

    Praline Member

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    12 frets sound better, deeper, louder. Not a subtle difference at all, should be very obvious when you play them. If I must have a 14 fret guitar, I try to choose one that is not too much of a compromise in sound.
     
  19. KenSea

    KenSea Member

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    Both can be great guitars. Yes the voice is different but is all in the tools we use.
    Happy Holidays to A/all
     
  20. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    It's usually hard to compare exactly, a 12 fret version of a certain model guitar against that same model with 14 frets. In the small-body, non-dreadnaught guitars I prefer, 12 frets seems to win out in tone, more than making up for any loss of high-end playability. My '63 Martin 00-21 New Yorker is one of those perfect fingerpicking guitars. Completely balanced for lead and rythym (which IMHO has more to do with body size, as in 0 vs 000 vs. D than in frets to the body). The body is bigger, makes for a very comfortable, substantial guitar to play.
     

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