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12-strings, more than other guitars, can be a challenge; you could have two guitars of the same make and model and one could be great and the other not so great. Personally, I love my Luna 12-string, but I must admit to having an affiliation with Luna, but that is due to my love of their guitars.
I'm a drummer. Know little about acoustic guitars. My sister wants a 12 string and is asking my advice.
What do you guys recommend?
I would ask some questions first. What kind of music does she want to play on the 12 string? What 12 string players or music does she like? Does she like the jingle-jangle of Roger McGuinn or the throaty roar of Leo Kottke or the thumping bass of Leadbelly? Does she plan to sing with it, strum, play chords, fingerpick or even play slide? Does she know how she wants to tune it? Does she presently play guitar - if so what style (and particularly what neck configuration)? And unfortunately, what is her budget?
Gary and I both play 12 strings - quite different style (plus, he is good and I ain't). I also build them and happen to own three right now so I can talk a little about different guitars, tunings, styles etc. Give us some more information and we can discuss.
Yeah, we'd need a price range. It would also help to know her prior experience level, and how big her hands are.
"Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
- George Carlin
"It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
- Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears
"The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
When I evaluate a 6 string acoustic guitar...there's a lot of features I look for in terms of sound: Balance, volume, tone, sustain, separation, projection.....Of course there are also the structural issues like innotantion, playability, action, stability etc....
When buying a 12 string it's a lot easier because you are only looking for one thing: Bass. Bass and more base. Is there enough bass? Dig into those bottom strings? Are they loud enough? Yes? Mission accomplished.
BTW tell her to get rid of the redundant unison pairs on the top two strings....make it a "10 string"
Thank me later.
"I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen
Well, Dendy hasn't come back with the answers to my questions but for years I put 12 strings in different categories by price. Below $500, don't even think about it. Every one I've ever looked at needed serious setup work to make it playable - not something a newbie wants. From $500 to a grand the Seagull S12+ and the Martin D12X1 were worth considering - the Seagull with its cedar top is a little more balanced and maybe a bit better for fingerstyle and light strumming, the Martin is a big bassy dread. There is a new player in this price range, the Taylor 150, which is a dread sized 12 built in Taylors mexico facility. So far reviews have been good but I haven't played one.
In the $1000-1500 range the classic Taylor 355 and a few Guilds are the standouts . There is one Guild or GAD (but I can't remember the model) that gets good reviews fro the singer/songwriter crowd. Guilds have slightly chunky necks (and dual truss rods), the Taylor neck is a little thinner. In my humble opinion the 355 is one of the best bang for the buck 12's made today (our departed forumite, TAH, played one so well...)
Above 1500 you probably know what you want, but there are some really good options. All the Taylors are great, the LKSM is designed for the C# tuning that Leo used, the Martin Grand J is and outstanding guitar. I happen to like smaller bodies and long scale length - Fraulini's are a real treat.
I asked how she plans to tune it - than means to concert or down one or two semi tones. People do string and tune their 12 in strange fashion, but most of us won't do something weird like leaving a bunch of string off. However, I guess its your guitar and you can do as you please.
I also really hesitate to recommend any used 12's unless the buyer is very capable of judging issues and what to do about them. Many 12's are set up poorly or have issues, the owner gives up trying to play them and they become someone else's problem. At least check neck angle, action all the way up the neck and structural issues (loose bridge, braces) if considering a used 12.
A 12 string is a completely different animal from a normal guitar - be aware of the differences and shop accordingly. they are the Grand Pianos of the guitar world.
Agree on the Guilds for a high end model. For a more moderate price consider the Martin D12X1. Not a Seagull fan.
If you find your self alone riding in green fields with the sun in your face... do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium. And you are already dead! Brothers... what we do in life... echoes in eternity! (Gladiator)
My sister (believe it or not) doesn't do computers. I am still awaiting word from her.
Previously she had looked at the Guild. A friend recommended a Breedlove ...
I didn't realize there were that many choices available anymore ...