Re-string a 12-string??

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Steve Gambrell, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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    Sorry, but I've been up all night, and thinking. One of the reasons that Rickenbacker 12-strings sound so chimey, is because, unlike everybody else, Rick has the lower strings on top, and the octave string is underneath. I'm wondering, has anybody tried this with an acoustic guitar?
     
  2. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    That's how I string my Guild 12-string ... sounds great. I just needed to replace the original nut.
     
  3. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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    I figured there wouldn't be much to it. The tone is good, though?
     
  4. ctman64

    ctman64 Supporting Member

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    That is certainly part of it, but another big part of it (for lots of people, anyways, myself included) is flatwound strings. Less overtones on the low strings to compete with the higher octave strings = more apparent chime.
     
  5. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    The way a Ric is constructed has a lot to do with the "chime".
     
  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    why would that be the case?

    guitars get played with up and down strokes, i don't see how that makes an overall difference to the sound.
     
  7. Duffy

    Duffy Member

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    Is this a Rickenbacker acoustic we are talking about?

    I like the idea of trying flat wounds on an acoustic. What brand are they made in, especially for the 12 string.

    I can see where they would produce a nice mellow tone.

    I used to use flat strings a lot years ago on my guitars, acoustic and electric, then I switched over to the brighter round wound a some point and haven't use flats on anything but my basses.

    I can see trying a set of flats on my bright sounding acoustic, but it sounds beautiful as is. It is a six string Yamaha LXJ6C, acoustic electric - a really beautiful guitar but I would like to experiment with some different sounding strings on it. It currently has Martin SP "tens" on it, phosphor bronze. I want to try 80/20's bronze on it too. I think I have yet to bring the best sound out of the guitar.

    Compared to my Martin D16 (SPD16-W) with a solid walnut body, the Yamaha is not nearly as loud and, of course, does not have the same tone. It has laminated rosewood sides and back. I think I can get it to sound super good though, after some experimenting. It is a super nice guitar.

    For way too many years though, I have wanted an older Martin real wood acoustic, but never thought I'd be able to afford one. I am now fortunate and lucky enough to own a super nice one, but I still dig my really nice "L" series Yamaha.

    This Yamaha is a possible candidate for a set of flat wounds if I can find out where to get them and the brands that make them. Years ago they were easy to find.
     
  8. Seorie

    Seorie Member

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    hi Steve,
    from an answer I gave on another forum back in ’10.
    yip, been doin it for years.
    Pickin with a a "robust":eeks right hand using a thumb pick the "octave" strings can be higher picked that the treble strings and the "melody" line gets confused or even lost. I made a new NUT and reversed the standard / octaves, this way most of the down stroke energy of the thumb pick goes into making the "standard" note sound out with less volume from the octave string.
    here's an example with a fair bit of the melody being played on the "bass" strings, as you can imagine the tune would not come through as clearly with normal stringing.”



    additional reply -
    many thanks for your kind comments.
    And you're right in mentioning the G course, I'm a fairly conventional fingerpicker so my thumb "usually" picks the E A B strings and the fingers "usually" do the rest, G B E.
    The G is picked with an upstroke of the finger so, to my way of thinking you'd want the picking "energy" to go into the fundamental, simply - the normal string goes to the treble side and the octave goes to the bass.
    These considerations re: string layout might throw some light on the fact that there is little done in the way of "lead line" playing on 12 string guitar other than the very occasional novel use of "that sound", may I add that finger picking a twelve string and making musical sense is a very different mater to simply strumming chords.
    regards
    Seorie
     
  9. Sweetfinger

    Sweetfinger Supporting Member

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    It is a subtle difference to be sure. Kind of the difference between a right and left hand stagger on Strat pickups. I just string 'em the way people want.
     
  10. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    In my experience flats don't really work on a flat-top; too tubby, no harmonic overtones to speak of, loss of sustain. Of course this is subjective and what I like might be anathema to you! I do like flats on archtops and electric jazzers though for that 'plummy', smooth tone.
    You also mentioned experimenting with some new strings. I use Elixir 80-20 Nanoweb bronze 12s on all my guitars. Fantastic strings which need a day or two's playing to bring the best out of them. After that you have virtually unchanging tone for months.
     
  11. tobereeno

    tobereeno Member

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    all maple construction + hot wound single coils = also a big part of the construction
     
  12. Duffy

    Duffy Member

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    Stretcher, my 150e came with Elixir 80/20 bronze and I ordered a spare set of them. So these are what I'm using and prepared to use at this point, "tens". Nanowebs.

    The guitar has very nice bass and the mids and highs are great, but this guitar does not demonstrate any need for more bass like some have alluded to. It sounds as bassy or more bassy than my Martin SPD16-W, and way more bassy and full than my Yamaha LJX6C - but the Yamaha does not have Elixirs on it. It has Martin SP phosphor bronze. I plan to put 80/20 Elixers or EXPs on it and I won't be surprised if it brightens that guitar right up with some way more full and louder sound and better tone.

    I took the flats I had put on my Ibanez AF125 Custom full hollow body jazz type guitar, off. I put rounds on. The flats sounded "flat" and I missed the brightness of the rounds. It's funny, because years ago I used to use flats all the time and really liked that mellow, smooth tone. Back then they were not "Chromes" and were Rotomatics that were available most widely. This is years and years ago. I think I should put a set of flats on one of my bright strats, just so I have a guitar with flats. I have two nice strats with Texas Specials on them. I can keep one ice pickin' it and have the other one mellow. It might be a plan.

    I am playing the 12 in standard tuning. Have you had problems breaking the "G" octave string? I'm going to take the advice and put it on last.

    When I re-string a guitar I do it one string at a time, keeping the guitar in tune. I think that the neck likes this method, as it doesn't go thru the big change of having all the strings taken off at one time, so the tension stays almost the same throughout the re-stringing process. I also "knot" the string at the post - you know, thru the hole, back around backwards, and then kinked upward to lock it on the post before I wind up the strings. Should this method work equally well on the twelve string?

    I am totally still getting used to the twelve string. After playing for several hours yesterday I was getting fairly decent at playing it. This morning I noticed that it was hard for me to work my fretting hand as effectively. I guess I'll have to work on my fretting technique and practice a lot until I have this down really well.

    I appreciate the great advice I'm getting from you guys here. As I said, I have never had a twelve string and always wanted one, so I have a lot to learn and I think this is a great guitar to learn about.
     

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