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happy-man

12 string poll. Do you tune your guitar down?

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Several days ago I noticed the action was slightly higher than usual on my 12 string, and I started remembering all the comments I've read lately on people tuning their 12 strings down. It's just a mental thing at this point, but every day I've had this thought while I'm at work of my 12 string at home in it's case and all that tension... and the top just starting to bulge. Last night, I couldn't take the mental anguish any longer, and tuned it down a whole step. It still sounds great, but it does sound different.

 

I wonder what percentage of 12 string owners tune their guitar down, and why? Is it because of a problem, or just to prevent a problem?

 

If you keep it tuned in something like an open D, where selected strings are only tuned down, I'd like you to vote "Tuned Down". I'm trying to get a feel for how may purposely keep their 12 strings tuned down.

 

Scott O

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Have never known how to tune my guitars other than standard.:o:cry: Always seems like some special magic that only the enlightened ones can do...

 

Several days ago I noticed the action was slightly higher than usual on my 12 string, and I started remembering all the comments I've read lately on people tuning their 12 strings down. It's just a mental thing at this point, but every day I've had this thought while I'm at work of my 12 string at home in it's case and all that tension... and the top just starting to bulge. Last night, I couldn't take the mental anguish any longer, and tuned it down a whole step. It still sounds great, but it does sound different.


I wonder what percentage of 12 string owners tune their guitar down, and why? Is it because of a problem, or just to prevent a problem?


If you keep it tuned in something like an open D, where selected strings are only tuned down, I'd like you to vote "Tuned Down". I'm trying to get a feel for how may purposely keep their 12 strings tuned down.


Scott O

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I tune down two half steps for "standard" and to many open tunings, all lower (open G down two would be open F, I guess).

 

My Martin 12 has exactly the same 5/16 non scalloped bracing as the equivalent D28 six string, yet it has about 50 percent more top tension at concert - that ought to be reason enough to tune down, but....

 

down tuning changes the Mr Tamborine Man jingle jangle to that incredible roar that we thank Leo for, or that driving bass line that Heddy Leadbetter brought to his music.

 

So, go to the bottom of this for one reason to tune down

 

http://p082.ezboard.com/ftheunofficialmartinguitarforumfrm19.showMessage?topicID=27.topic

 

and listen to Leo play Vaseline Machine Gun for another

 

 

Have never known how to tune my guitars other than standard.
:o
:cry: Always seems like some special magic that only the enlightened ones can do...

 

The magic is a good chromatic tuner

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I tune mine down two half-steps. That can be good played open, because of access to lower registers, and also good capoed, because the action at the capoed fret is better than the action at the nut. Which can be especially helpful on a twelve for a person who plays a six almost exclusively.

 

Wish I played the twelve more. I'll bet it gets about 1% of my playing time, if that. I should sell it--it's a very nice, very underutilized guitar (late 70s Tak F-395 Guild clone).

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Tuned down because after 30 years of standard tuning it developed a case of belly bulge. I could actually get it fixed fairly reasonably but I haven't and now I don't play it any more.

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Thank's for the link, very educational.



I can't imagine putting these on a guitar of mine, but I'd love to hear what it sounds like on something like a Guild.


Scott O

 

Leo said his old Bozo liked to be tuned to C# and the LKSM is specificially designed for those strings and tuning (interestingly most Taylor 12 are not scalloped, altho they have thicker braces, a thicker top and three tone bars. The LKSM on the other hand is heavily scalloped). Leadbelly's old Stella was reputed to have 0.016 to 0.060's on it and he favored C or even lower tuning.

 

I've tried a Kottke set on my D12-28 and it sounded pretty muddy at C#, so I went back to Elixer mediums and D.

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I only have one 12 string so I keep it in standard. Of course it's 40 years old and has allready had one neck reset.:):wave:

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I capo on the second fret and tune it to standard- think thats what you mean by tuning it down ? With all the tension it saves your neck and the bridge from flying off - done this with my Yamaha since i bought it new in '71.

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This is a one dimensional question, but interesting question. To get a useful a answer we need to know the string gauge and the guitar, and maybe more specifically the type of neck attachment/support used.

 

Presently I am playing both a Martin D12-28 (traditional dovetail joint) at home and the Seagull S12+ (bolt on neck) when I'm traveling.

 

Both are strung with D'addario EXP38 Lights (10-47) tuned to concert, though I find this last a very loose use of the term.

 

On the Seagull I am testing the strength of the compound curve top.

 

The Martin has a lifetime warranty(unless Gibson buys them). Admittedly, the Martin is only 3 months old, but I check the neck with a straight edge, shooting for the top edge of the bridge every couple of weeks to see if the angle is changing. So far it's OK. I am also controlling the humidity very carefully.

 

Thus far I love the sound of both of these quite different guitars with the D'Addarios. I may try one or the other with some heavier strings at reduced tension. If I do, I will calculate string tension carefully before buying strings.

 

Clif

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I have a Martin DX12-1 and it really "woke up" (for lack of a better way to express it) when I strung with light silk & steel instead of ultra-light phosphor-bronze and tuned it down just a wee bit - now generally tune to D or E-flat, depending on whether or not my aging voice will cooperate at certain keys.

 

Mine is currently strung with D'Angelico Silk & Steel, gauges (counting down from 12th string; SS = silk & steel, others are plain steel): .030SS; .050SS; .024SS; .040SS; .014; .030SS; .010; .024SS; .014; .014; .011; .011.

 

The looser tension sometimes gives me a bit of fret buzz in the mids, mostly on #5 & 6, but that's undoubtedly due to my lousy technique more than anything else.

 

Can't say D'Angelico is my favorite string mfr, but they produce the gauges I want so I don't have to buy individual strings. For some odd reason, I don't like a plain steel #10 string - prefer wrapped. Seems more suited to my finger-picking style and the mellow stuff I tend to play.

 

Just my .02

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I keep my Carvin 980T12 tuned down two half-steps (or a whole tone, if you will) basically as a preventative measure. I figure it will prolong the life of the neck of the guitar without having to worry about a neck reset.

 

I've got Elixers on it (they came with the guitar), but have had to replace the high G-string once as it broke the first week I had the guitar. :mad:

 

It was Freeman who linked me over to "The Cafe" where I read about the different tensions and came to the conclusion that I should tune down (BTW, if I haven't said it before, thank you Freeman).

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Tune all 3 of mine to "standard":

 

Taylor 355 - E A D G B E - Elixor poly lights

 

Guild F212XL #1 - D G D G B D - mixed Elixor poly set w/ mediums for the lowered strings

 

Guild F212XL #2 - D A D F# A D/D A D G A D - as above

 

Used to tune #1 down to C F Bb Eb G C, but it really confuses bass players a lot! :lol:

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I have a Martin DX12-1 and it really "woke up" (for lack of a better way to express it) when I strung with light silk & steel instead of ultra-light phosphor-bronze and tuned it down just a wee bit - now generally tune to D or E-flat, depending on whether or not my aging voice will cooperate at certain keys.

 

Interesting. I fell in love with the D12X1 on the first strum, and before now, never wanted to change anything. Same way with my Taylor 110. On both those guitars, I've wanted to keep them just the way they are, so I've always used Martin XL PB on the Martin and Med Elixir Polyweb on the Taylor. If I never experiment with different strings, I guess I'll never know if there's something I'll like better. On my other guitars I experiment with different strings.

 

Scott O

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Interesting. I fell in love with the D12X1 on the first strum, and before now, never wanted to change anything. Same way with my Taylor 110. On both those guitars, I've wanted to keep them just the way they are, so I've always used Martin XL PB on the Martin and Med Elixir Polyweb on the Taylor. If I never experiment with different strings, I guess I'll never know if there's something I'll like better. On my other guitars I experiment with different strings.


Scott O

 

Isn't the D12X1 amazing? After selling my beloved 1978 "lawsuit" Tak F400 many years ago, I thought I'd never again love a guitar as much as that one. Wrong.

 

I fell in love with the D12X1 the way it was strung when I got it, and love it now. I'll probably change strings back and forth, depending on whim and mood. And yup - I've got a set of Martin PBs sitting here along with another set of S&S.

 

I'm also tempted to try a set of Thomastik-Infeld round wound as well. I've never played them and have heard good things.

 

Best thing is that this Martin can go from bright to mellow, depending on strings, and sound absolutely lovely either way.:love:

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Full step down and tuned to E. That's when I did play 12. I'm looking to get another one but I'm currently going through the hassle of moving, yet again.

 

I played for years in standard tuning but when I began to find alternate tunings I found E to be quite nice. So, I raised the action a bit, tuned down a full step and re-tuned to open E.

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Hello old thread.

 

The only 12 string I have is a Rickenbacker 330-12.

I keep it in standard tuning. 

It's kind of a one trick pony, but what it does is really done by no other.

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On 6/19/2020 at 12:24 PM, Brad J. said:

For the past 29 years, I have tuned down one whole step.

For the past thirteen years this thread has been dead. :facepalm:

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for the past 8 years i aint had a cigarette .when this thread was launched i was a 30 a day smoker and only played electric.

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When this thread started I only had one kid and was still changing diapers. Since then I've learned to keep my guitars in their cases and tune then all down a half step so that all the dogs in the neighborhood don't lose their minds because I'm straining my voice and being all pitchy. 

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i keep the guild tuned standard...    the martin is tuned down to D and set up like a rick, (reverse octave string position on low e, a, d &g...) craviola is constantly changing, right now its d,a,e,e,a,a.    

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