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Phil O'Keefe

Small-bodied 12 string guitars

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I've always thought that a good 12 string needs at least a dreadnought sized body to balance it out, and even bigger jumbos work really well as 12 string guitars. I really don't have any experience with small-bodied 12's, and I thought their small size would lead to not so great sound - but I just watched a video that kind of changed my outlook. It's not full or big sounding, but the bright delicate sound could have its own uses IMO. It kind of reminds me of a harpsichord in a way.

 

 

Here's the video...

 

[video=youtube;J3puEO9TN0o]

 

 

And here is a link to the press release about the guitar.

 

 

Are there any other smaller-bodied 12 string acoustics that you're aware of? Do any of you own such a guitar, and if so, what do you think of it?

 

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I have a lovely old Martin 12 string dreadnaught that I never completely bonded with, so I built two others with smaller bodies (but not nearly as small as the one in your video.

 

IMG_2024.jpg

 

On the left is the D12-28, short Martin scale, usually tuned to D. In the middle is an OM bodied short scale, again, usually tuned to D. Its my go to 12 string when I want to play finger style. On the right is a very long scale (26.5 inch) ladder braced 000 sized 12 string - my Stella clone. It is strung with cables and usually tuned to B or C# or some low open tuning. A bit of a monster in spite of its size.

 

Todd Cambio at Fraulini Guitars builds some small bodied 12's, usually ladder braced (his web site is acting flaky)

 

http://fraulini.com/index.html

 

I know that Bill Collings has built an 0 sized 12 and of course there are several 12 strings that are intended to be tuned above the "normal" E or D

 

http://www.veilletteguitars.com/acoustic_merlin.shtml

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One of the loudest 12 strings I ever played was an old Gibson B12. It had loads of bass and projection compared to larger 12 strings. Maybe something was going on similar to a bass amp that uses 10" speakers instead of 12. For whatever reason it was a surprise to me:

 

GIA0113-Gibson-B-12-25.jpg

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Similar to what guitarcapo mentioned, there's the old Gibson B25 12 string:

 

fetch?filedataid=120981

 

I remember seeing Buck Owens play one, back in the day, and it was surprisingly small. In more modern times, Breedlove makes auditorium and concert size 12 strings:

 

fetch?filedataid=120982

 

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Hi Freeman, I am looking for a small body 12-string just like the ones you made. Do you make and sell guitars? I would be interested in finding out about them if so. Thanks.

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I immediately was taken back to my [mainly mis-spent] youth as an archaeology intern in southern Mexico looking for Mayan ruins [and found one!], where the local musicians played some very strange guitar variants, including 1/2 and even 1/3 size body 10 and 12 string guitars...Bajo Sexto, I think, or maybe requinto [?]...

I see them in use on occasion ...but I don't know where you would go to get one...maybe Olvera Street?

I bought a mini 6 string down there years ago, lent it out and never saw it again...:mad:

 

There are local luthiers who cater to the Hispanic market who certainly would know about these.

 

like this, but smaller: https://www.guitarcenter.com/Paracho...pCZRoCmBbw_wcB

 

Then there is this: https://www.ebay.com/p/Ibanez%2DAW54...01583505&rt=nc

Edited by daddymack

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Taylor 752, if you can find one. 12-fret neck, smallish body with very nice projection and great balance I almost bought one yesterday, but ended up getting an 814CE 6-string instead.

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