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SteinbergerHack

12-string recommendations?

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Short version: I need a 12 string and wpuld prefer not to pay the full $3K for a Gibson Songwriter. What do you guys recommend in the $1,000-$1,500 range?

 

Not a fan of the $500-800 ones I've seen at GC, etc.

 

Long version - I do a lot of theater pit gigs, and it seems that nearly every book calls for a 12 on one or two songs. I've been getting by without, but I really should get something the sounds decent, holds tune well, has a decent pickup, etc. Needs to be good enough for serious paying gigs, but it won't get used enough to merit paying an arm and a leg, though.....

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Guild and Taylor are the gold standard for 12-strings. Used is iffy so let's talk new. A Taylor 150E will run you $899: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...back-and-sides. For $1199, there's the Guild F-1512E, part of their Asian made "Westerly" line: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-1512e-natural. No idea how they compare to USA Guilds in terms of long term build quality though.

Edited by DeepEnd
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You're asking for the best and hoping to get it with something less.

 

Tuning stability with a 12 string acoustic relies on a sturdy build. That pretty much rules out all brands except Guild with its double torsion rod and laminated, coined back for strength. If you look around you might find a decent used one. The F412 Maple I had for many years was very strong (and heavy) and would definitely cut through a mix. I've played many others and owned some of them.

 

Probably the closest thing that came to the Guild was a Norman B20-12 in pure loudness and brilliance. It had a solid spruce top over cherry laminated back and sides. I should have held onto that one.

 

Not to take the opportunity to bash the brand, but the one you mention has never found my ear in any 6 or 12. For that money you could do much better with a used Taylor 355, though I do find them 2nd to the Norman in loudness and articulation.

 

Or...

 

https://www.amazon.com/Digitech-MOSAIC-12-String-Effect-Pedal/dp/B00RC09YK8

 

 

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Guild and Taylor are the gold standard for 12-strings. Used is iffy so let's talk new. A Taylor 150E will run you $899: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...back-and-sides. For $1199' date=' there's the Guild F-1512E, part of their Asian made "Westerly" line: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...-1512e-natural. No idea how they compare to USA Guilds in terms of long term build quality though.

 

I played a Taylor 150e and found it to be really, well.....uninspiring. Same with the lower end Guild (2512) at a big-box store, but I've played some really nice Guilds in the past. Need to find a 1512 to play......

Edited by SteinbergerHack

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I happen to like 12 strings a lot and currently own three. They are very different guitars - I string them differently, tune them differently and play them differently. l'm not currently in the 12 string market and have kind of lost touch with what is currently available, but my recommendations were always Taylor (whatever would be the current equivalent of their classic 355) and most of the Guilds, unless you need a special tuning and/or sound.

 

The 150 is supposed to be a pretty good bang for the buck guitar but I think most everything below a grand is pretty limited. The iconic LKSM (out of production) is, or I guess, was a killer guitar if you want Leo's low tunings. I'm a big fan of ladder braced 12's for blues - Fraulini makes some great models.

 

How about a little more information about the tuning(s) and playing style you want.

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I happen to like 12 strings a lot and currently own three. They are very different guitars - I string them differently, tune them differently and play them differently. l'm not currently in the 12 string market and have kind of lost touch with what is currently available, but my recommendations were always Taylor (whatever would be the current equivalent of their classic 355) and most of the Guilds, unless you need a special tuning and/or sound.

 

The 150 is supposed to be a pretty good bang for the buck guitar but I think most everything below a grand is pretty limited. The iconic LKSM (out of production) is, or I guess, was a killer guitar if you want Leo's low tunings. I'm a big fan of ladder braced 12's for blues - Fraulini makes some great models.

 

How about a little more information about the tuning(s) and playing style you want.

 

The majority of my use for a 12-string is musical theater work, so there's generally no need for odd tunings. Playing style varies from week to week, depending on the show I'm playing...and some shows change genre from song to song. What I need in any instrument is a solid workhorse that is stable, reliable, holds tune, plays well, and sounds decent. It doesn't need to be the 100% perfect-sounding recording instrument; it just needs to sound right - intonation issues and unusual sounds aren't welcome in a pit gig.

 

Are Guilds the same guitars that they used to be? Does anyone know if the change in ownership has had an impact for better or worse?

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You're asking for the best and hoping to get it with something less.

 

Well....yes, of course. More to the point, I am trying to determine the minimum price point to get to what I need/want, and get a sense of what to look for to achieve that balance. For my main electrics and amps I have spent the big $$$ to get precisely what I want; this is more of a second-tier support instrument for me, so it's hard to justify spending $3K+ for something that will only get 5-7 minutes of playing per night.

 

Tuning stability with a 12 string acoustic relies on a sturdy build. That pretty much rules out all brands except Guild with its double torsion rod and laminated, coined back for strength. If you look around you might find a decent used one. The F412 Maple I had for many years was very strong (and heavy) and would definitely cut through a mix. I've played many others and owned some of them.

 

Good input - thanks.

 

 

I've been doing something similar and it just doesn't do the trick. I need the real thing.

Edited by SteinbergerHack

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you would play your 12 string mostly plugged in an pa and the accoustic sound itself is not that important?

 

why not have a look at an ovation 12 string?

they are great quality, lots of artists have proven their workhorseness and there higher end modells are just above $1000

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you would play your 12 string mostly plugged in an pa and the accoustic sound itself is not that important?

 

Generally speaking, yes. I run everything through a console with an output for my monitor and an output for tech.

 

why not have a look at an ovation 12 string?

they are great quality, lots of artists have proven their workhorseness and there higher end modells are just above $1000[/Quote]

 

I actually use one for my steel 6-string pit work, and it works really well for this application. I've had it more than 30 years, I've figured out how to make it sound really good through a sound system, and it's just about worn out. Trouble is, we play seated, and the only Ovation body style that works for me seated is super-shallow. They no longer make a super-shallow 12 (except the double-neck, which would be a problem for quick changes between instruments).

 

Simply put, if I could get an exact duplicate of my 1980s Elite in a 12, I would have already done it. Ovation has pushed the Elite series down-scale, though, cheapened the electronics and woodwork, and they just don't sound or play the same as the original ones do....and they don't make a 12 version anyway.

Edited by SteinbergerHack

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I played a Taylor 150e and found it to be really, well.....uninspiring. Same with the lower end Guild (2512) at a big-box store, but I've played some really nice Guilds in the past. Need to find a 1512 to play......

 

I absolutely love my Taylor 150e... I wanted a good sounding 12 string that wouldn’t break the bank and that was relatively comfortable for me to play, even with my small hands. I have been very satisfied with my decision, but since you’ve already tried one, my choice apparently isn’t the right one for you....

 

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I absolutely love my Taylor 150e... I wanted a good sounding 12 string that wouldn’t break the bank and that was relatively comfortable for me to play, even with my small hands. I have been very satisfied with my decision, but since you’ve already tried one, my choice apparently isn’t the right one for you....

 

I found the Taylor to be the best of the high-volume ($500-800) models I've played, but then I made the mistake of playing the $3k Gibson. I think that the difference between them is really significant in volume, sound, and playability, so I am looking for the middle ground.

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I found the Taylor to be the best of the high-volume ($500-800) models I've played, but then I made the mistake of playing the $3k Gibson.

 

Well, there you go! :lol: I really would love to have a high-end Gibson, but as rarely as I need a 12 string acoustic, I really couldn't justify the expenditure.

 

I'll be watching the thread with interest to see what you eventually end up finding / getting in the middle ground... :snax::wave:

 

 

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Generally speaking, yes. I run everything through a console with an output for my monitor and an output for tech.

 

 

 

I actually use one for my steel 6-string pit work, and it works really well for this application. I've had it more than 30 years, I've figured out how to make it sound really good through a sound system, and it's just about worn out. Trouble is, we play seated, and the only Ovation body style that works for me seated is super-shallow. They no longer make a super-shallow 12 (except the double-neck, which would be a problem for quick changes between instruments).

 

Simply put, if I could get an exact duplicate of my 1980s Elite in a 12, I would have already done it. Ovation has pushed the Elite series down-scale, though, cheapened the electronics and woodwork, and they just don't sound or play the same as the original ones do....and they don't make a 12 version anyway.

 

while we are at it: what happened to ovation?

i my memories they where very high end top notch electric accoustic guitars which not everybody could afford

 

now they seem to only be present in the low and mid price massproduced segement, what was the reason for that change?

 

does anyone have any insights?

 

edit: oh and you still have the possibility to get a used one from reverb or ebay, reverb has currently 78 12 string ovations there, maybe you can find the right one there

Edited by t_e_l_e
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A few more thoughts:

Used, you might be able to find a USA Guild JF30-12 (there are also Asian made JF30's from the discontinued GAD line so do your homework) or a Taylor 355 in your price range but all the usual caveats that apply to a used guitar apply doubly to a 12-string.

Second, have you tried a 6-string in Nashville tuning? Not a 12-string but some of the properties of one, especially if you play along with another guitarist.

Finally, does it need to be acoustic? You could find a 12-string electric, say a Danelectro, in your price range fairly easily.

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:sm-heart::sm-heart::sm-heart::sm-heart:

I have one of these in a 6 string model. If I got a 12 string I would put this high on my list.

 

Otherwise, my only 12 string is a Rickenbacker 330-12, which I love.

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"lg_8ee6f00614575c94c64f834a2da32dd9.jpg","data-attachmentid":32488418}[/ATTACH]

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does anyone have any insights?

 

edit: oh and you still have the possibility to get a used one from reverb or ebay, reverb has currently 78 12 string ovations there, maybe you can find the right one there

 

Honestly, I'm not interested in buying a guitar that I can't play first. I tend to buy good instruments and keep them forever, so I'm just not into trading around or getting something I might have to aell off or return.

 

That said, I am willing to burn a day and drive a reasonable distance to check out a likely candidate.

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A few more thoughts:

Used, you might be able to find a USA Guild JF30-12 (there are also Asian made JF30's from the discontinued GAD line so do your homework) or a Taylor 355 in your price range but all the usual caveats that apply to a used guitar apply doubly to a 12-string.

 

Good options to try and find!

 

Second, have you tried a 6-string in Nashville tuning? Not a 12-string but some of the properties of one, especially if you play along with another guitarist.

Finally, does it need to be acoustic? You could find a 12-string electric, say a Danelectro, in your price range fairly easily.

 

Not an option. The point is that the books I get handed often call for 12 string acoustic. I have never seen a theater book call for nashville tuning or electric 12....yet. That said, I jist finished tech rehearsal for a show where I am playing electric solidbody, steel string, nylon string, mandolin, and ukelele. It calls for 12, too, but I'm covering with a 6. Typical theater book.

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Sounds like you have a bunch of options. As the guy who fixes guitars I'l add that most of the time I think a used 12 is a bad idea unless you can really evaluate them. The most common problem, like any used guitar, is neck angle. Current Taylors are easy to fix, Guilds are particularly hard since they not only have dovetail joints but also are finished with the neck on meaning you damage the finish to do the reset. Guilds do have the dual truss rods but that does nothing for the rotation of the upper body that causes the to need resets.

 

Another maybe minor problem with 12's is getting pickups that are really well balanced. I have installed several UST's in Guilds and a couple of other guitars - I've almost sworn never again. K&K dots seem to work pretty good - they have a model that is designed for 12 strings. Obviously buying one that has a p/u in it that you can test is probably desirable.

 

I don't know the current Taylor models (and another thing, I don't know if they are putting their new Vee bracing in 12's) but my go to suggestion would be to try them for sure. Breedloves were a love-em or hate-em twelve, and while I'm not a big fan of Ovations their 12s have always been pretty good. I have a wonderful old Martin D12-28 that has had a neck reset and a bunch of other work, however it never really fit my style of play so I build 2 more. Guild is a fine old company that has bounced around a lot, once again I love their old guitars but just don't know about current stuff. Lastly, I have played a couple of PacRim 12 strings (Ibanez I think) that seemed pretty good - its been a while and I don't remember as well as I used to....

 

Here are my 36 strings...

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"medium","data-attachmentid":32488436}[/ATTACH]

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+1 for a dano dc59 twelve string

 

the plywood hollow body gives it an accoustically sound, no not the full great gibson blah, but amplified i always want to play bon jovis wanted dead or alive with mine.

for $490 you really get a great great guitar, i do not want a accoustic 12 string nor are rickenbacker anymore since i got mine.

 

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Another 12-string slinger here. I owned a lot and still have two. I can only support Freeman Keller here. 12-stringers are different beasts, but unfortunately only very few companies build true 12's, the others just add 6 strings to the existing set, which inevitably leads to trouble.

 

IMHO, the only real options for a good 12 is Guild. Proven rock solid. Apart from Guild, maybe a Martin DX12, maybe a Taylor ... but my money would always go to Guild.

 

Well, almost. I also have an Ovation Balladeer 12 string which is in my stable for now more than 25 years. If it survived for that long, it should be okay. It has had some repair work done over time with braces becoming unglued and even split, but that is due to the hard life it has had. I have no clue about modern day Ovation build quality, but the stuff built 25+ years ago was bloody good.

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+1 for a dano dc59 twelve string

 

the plywood hollow body gives it an accoustically sound, no not the full great gibson blah, but amplified i always want to play bon jovis wanted dead or alive with mine.

for $490 you really get a great great guitar, i do not want a accoustic 12 string nor are rickenbacker anymore since i got mine.

 

I have a late 90s era DC12, which I really like a lot. MIK, blue sparkle... and it plays and sounds great. Killed my Ric 12 GAS nearly completely... but it wasn't going to do anything about my acoustic 12 GAS, which is why I added the Taylor 150e.

 

For me, one of the big deciding factors for both models was the neck - both are slim and trim by 12 string standards, and it's much easier for me to play them than a 12 string with a big, fat, chunky neck.

 

Little hands suck if you're a musician. :lol::0:(

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The only acoustic 12 string I've played in 30 years that I've actually liked was an Ovation Elite.

 

I don't like 12 strings though.

 

I buy 12-string sets & string one of my guitar w/ the high octave strings for Nashville tuning. It's a cleaner sound than a 12 string & a lot easier to tune.

 

Anyway, there's a US-made one on EBay for around $950. A new MIK Ovation 12 costs the same.

 

Looking on Reverb, I see several old Gibson 12-strings for under $1k.

Edited by Etienne Rambert

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. . . Not an option. The point is that the books I get handed often call for 12 string acoustic. I have never seen a theater book call for nashville tuning or electric 12....yet. That said' date=' I jist finished tech rehearsal for a show where I am playing electric solidbody, steel string, nylon string, mandolin, and ukelele. It calls for 12, too, but I'm covering with a 6. Typical theater book.[/quote']

The books call for something that sounds like a 12-string acoustic, right? For the most part, the audience doesn't care. That said, have you played a Line 6 Variax, one of the older acoustic models? It might be convincing enough and its bolt-on solidbody construction would eliminate many of the typical issues with 12-strings.

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The books call for something that sounds like a 12-string acoustic, right? For the most part, the audience doesn't care. That said, have you played a Line 6 Variax, one of the older acoustic models? It might be convincing enough and its bolt-on solidbody construction would eliminate many of the typical issues with 12-strings.

 

:barf:

 

Not a fan, just like I'm not a fan of the pedals that try to emulate acoustics guitars from a solidbody. If it doesn't sound right acoustically and vibrate right in my hands, I have trouble playing it, no matter what is coming out of the PA. In any case, for the price of a Variax I can get a real guitar.

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