I want a Martin 12-string. What to know?

jdogric12

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Anything in particular to avoid or look for? A 28 like McGuinn plays would be nice but I'm expecting that may be out of range, so I'm all ears for anything. Thanks, J
 

Sigmund

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The best 12 string i've tried is actually a early 70s D35-12, the 12 fret dread type.
70s Martins doesn't have too great a reputation, but damn that guitar sounded absolutely fantastic.
 

0018g

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12 fret or 14 fret? I've had multiple D-12-20's and D-12-35's. They are fabulous guitars, but they tend to have relief and neck angle issues. Some years the tuners SUCK. I had a D-12-35 reworked years ago, and I reworked a 12-20 myself.

Why did they leave? They just don't have the nuts that a Guild does. They sound better up to a point, but if you really push them they hit a ceiling of sorts. The Guilds just get bigger and louder. The Martin is a much finer finesse guitar, the Guild wants to be beaten like a two-bit hooker.

I'd probably still have the D-12-20, but a buddy loved it and didn't have a 12, so....

I never owned a 14 fret Martin 12, so I'll leave that for those who have.
 

royd

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yeah, the 12 fret models are much bigger, richer sounding guitars than the 14 fret ones. The neck issues that @0018g raised are not uncommon with older Martin 12's. That said I've never played a D-12-20 that didn't make me smile

If you're open to something other than Martins, the jumbo Taylors and the Guilds tend to be the preferred 12 strings.
 

davess23

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The best 12 string i've tried is actually a early 70s D35-12, the 12 fret dread type.
70s Martins doesn't have too great a reputation, but damn that guitar sounded absolutely fantastic.

Interesting: so many people echo this "70s Martins suck, but mine didn't" line. I used to have a good one myself, a 71 D-35. I think the reality is that some 70s Martins suck, but others are good or even great. Martins are expensive guitars, and any expensive guitar regardless of make should be judged on its own individual merits. Plenty of 70s Martins are excellent guitars.

I'd agree with previous posts that the big 12 fret models are the nicest sounding Martin 12-strings. I look like a dwarf when I try to play one of those monsters, but they sound good. But I'd also say that I've played at least a few old Westerly Guild 12s that I liked better than just about every Martin 12 I've ever tried. I briefly owned an F-212E that I wish I still had: just didn't use it enough to justify keeping it. Great sounding, louder, with an easier playing neck than the Martins.
 
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jdogric12

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12 fret or 14 fret?

Why did they leave? They just don't have the nuts that a Guild does. They sound better up to a point, but if you really push them they hit a ceiling of sorts. The Guilds just get bigger and louder. The Martin is a much finer finesse guitar, the Guild wants to be beaten like a two-bit hooker.

No idea what the differences (other than the obvious one) are between 12 or 14.

I think the octave strings are reversed from Rics. As in what is above and below from the normal strings. Could be odd for a Ric player.
http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/22046--string-setup-secrets?page=2

It's pretty much the Rics that are reverse compared to everything else?

Yup. I actually have a 60's Rick 12 that I had the nut reversed on for one specific song in my Genesis tribute band - Rutherford's Rick 12's all got reversed to traditional. And I had the nut on my Rutherford Rick doubleneck set up as flipped to traditional too.

yeah, the 12 fret models are much bigger, richer sounding guitars than the 14 fret ones. The neck issues that @0018g raised are not uncommon with older Martin 12's. That said I've never played a D-12-20 that didn't make me smile

If you're open to something other than Martins, the jumbo Taylors and the Guilds tend to be the preferred 12 strings.

Great to know!

I should add this was all sparked by my '81 Westerly Guild D212M biting the dust. I sold it a few years ago, UPS broke the headstock off, so I refunded the seller, accepted the insurance money (after 2 weeks and many calls they came through), repaired it myself (they never came to pick it up despite my honest efforts to get it to them). So I got another 3 years out of it, but my poor repair job busted recently, and my Epi Bard 12 and Eko Ranger XII are, naturally, laughable compared to any really good guitar. I've always loved the sound of a nice jangly Martin 12, like on Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever (at least I assume those are Martins I'm hearing). The comment about the "beatability" of the Guilds is true. I could really wail on that thing. So I can expect a Martin to be more delicate?
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
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Btw a 70s Martin 12-string neck is really huge and fat, see if the neck profile is to your liking before diving in. The more recent Martin 12s are far more manageable haha.

I have a 69 Guild F312 that has a very comfortable neck carve and can either be played nicely fingerstyle or get pushed hard just fine. I highly recommend guilds.

333007.jpg
 

Jeff Scott

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Yeah, I'll just swing by after work LOL
I'm sure that's a great guitar, but I'll bet it doesn't sound like this:

We'll keep the light on for you! :D

The only guitar that sounds like a 12 string in that Petty song is either an electric, or it's highly processed. :confused:
 

jens5

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Get a Guild or a Taylor. I love Martins but the afore mentioned are better instruments.
 

jdogric12

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Get a Guild or a Taylor. I love Martins but the afore mentioned are better instruments.

Thanks for the input, but I'm not looking for a "good instrument" as if that were the only qualification. I'm looking for "that sound." Hopefully the instrument that helps me arrive there happens to be packaged inside a "good instrument." Definitely not interested in a Taylor. I've done the Guild thing, so I'm trying to lean elsewhere on this one. I recently sold a Rickenbacker 730L/12 for a dump truck full of money, so as far as "good instrument" is concerned, been there done that. It was a factory RIC acoustic, not one of the post-factory ones assembled by a 3rd party tech after 2005.

I actually played a Martin D12XAE1 or whatever that goofy model number is, in a local GC recently. I loved it! Probably ought to snag it. Nice straight neck with low action like I like.
 

jdogric12

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2,582
Is that the one I had that was subsequently owned by Dusan, then Russ? A MG made in 2001?

What are the chord changes, and was it capo'd? I'll try it on the MS-12 to hear how it sounds. I take it a pick was used (something I very rarely use, these days)?

Nope, the '05 FG 730L/12.

Am

Am D/F# G Am
Am D/F# G
Am D/F# G Am
Am D/F# G

Em C G D
Em C G D D
G D C
G D C
G D C
G D C C D
 




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