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SteinbergerHack

Capo question

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I just got a new 12-string that has a VERY thick neck - "baseball bat" style. I grabbed my trusty Shubb to play a few of my stock tunes, and discovered that it will not clamp onto the neck. The neck is so thick that the clamp bar won't go around it, much less clamp on properly.

I've looked at a few other capos in local shops and haven't found anything that would work - nothing. They all seem to be designed around a more standard neck thickness - even the 12-string specific capos all seem to expect a thinner neck.

Has anyone else run into this? If so, what would you suggest? Not using a capo is not an option - and it might actually be a deal-breaker for the guitar (which is not cool to find out after I've already bought it and kept it for the better part of a week.)

Help!

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I have three 12 strings and a Shubb 12 string capo fits them all just fine.   However the only thing I use a capo for on a 12 string is setup - mostly I'm tuning them down or open or both so a capo is kind of unnecessary.   I also have one of those old double strap capos left over from the hippy dippy 70's - as I recall they really threw the tuning off.   Which is nothing surprising on a 12 string of course.

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6 minutes ago, Freeman Keller said:

I have three 12 strings and a Shubb 12 string capo fits them all just fine.   However the only thing I use a capo for on a 12 string is setup - mostly I'm tuning them down or open or both so a capo is kind of unnecessary.   I also have one of those old double strap capos left over from the hippy dippy 70's - as I recall they really threw the tuning off.   Which is nothing surprising on a 12 string of course.

The issues is that the Ovation neck is a LOT thicker than most 12-string necks, so the Shubbs I've tried won't open wide enough to clamp on, even with the stop fully turned out.

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When I built my Stella clone I followed the neck shape taken from an old one (they were some hand drawn plans of Stefan Grossman's old Stella) and I didn't care fore the shape.    Took some instruments of destruction, er, wood removal and made it the same shape as a couple of other guitars that I liked.   Much better now

 

 

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Did you really use that tiny plane to shape the neck, or is that just a prop?

My two favorite neck shaping tools: saw rasp, and cloth-backed sandpaper (shoe shine method).

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10 minutes ago, gitnoob said:

Did you really use that tiny plane to shape the neck, or is that just a prop?

 

I love that little ebony plane and use it a lot.   However I also use a spoke shave, chisels, other planes, rasps and whatever else it takes to make a neck.   I've also made a bunch of templates off of necks that I really like and carve mine to fit.

 

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Posted (edited)

If you haven't tried a saw rasp yet, they're cheap and you'll love it.    Removes material quickly and never loads up.

Edited by gitnoob

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Never tried one.   However I did learn a neat trick for neck carving.   I've always had trouble getting the back of the neck perfectly straight and at the correct depth when hand carving.   I now start off by tapering the neck stick with a Safe-t-planer by putting a little shim under the nut end.   When I get the final thickness I just maintain that in the center as I carve away the facets

This is quite a bit of thread drift, sorry 'Hack

 

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6 minutes ago, Freeman Keller said:

Never tried one.   However I did learn a neat trick for neck carving.   I've always had trouble getting the back of the neck perfectly straight and at the correct depth when hand carving.   I now start off by tapering the neck stick with a Safe-t-planer by putting a little shim under the nut end.   When I get the final thickness I just maintain that in the center as I carve away the facets

This is quite a bit of thread drift, sorry 'Hack

No worries - interestng stuff!

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Posted (edited)

Neck shape can make a big difference in how you react to a guitar and its one of the things that you can taylor to your preferences with a custom guitar.   A few  years ago I built one for a friend and he brought a vintage LP gold top and asked that the neck on his new one be the same.    I have liked that contour so much it has become sort of my standard.  I even used it on my telecaster clone - is that a heresy having a gibson profile on a fender neck?

 

 

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Edited by Freeman Keller
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Any change from factory specs is heretical in the guitar world.     Such a weird world.   👽

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Posted (edited)

What model Shubb capo do you have?  Shubb makes several different models of capos for several different applications.  I'm betting you have a S1 or C1 for standard necks. Not surprising that it won't fit on a fat neck.

Before you butcher up your guitar's neck, maybe you should try the S3 or C3 model. They are specifically designed for 12 strings or just guitars with thick necks. You can peruse what they have to offer here at the Shubb website.

BTW, you can bend a Shubb capo to change the range of neck thicknesses it will clamp onto.

Edited by FretFiend.

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19 hours ago, SteinbergerHack said:

. . . I've looked at a few other capos in local shops and haven't found anything that would work - nothing. They all seem to be designed around a more standard neck thickness - even the 12-string specific capos all seem to expect a thinner neck. . . .

I'm a big fan of Shubb but they can be finicky beasts. My own Shubb wouldn't work on a friend's Norman acoustic. You say you've tried various capos. Paige comes to mind in case you haven't looked at them. G7 makes a 12-string specific capo but they're not cheap. The Planet Waves NS is similar and supposedly works well on a 12-string. My friend with the Norman owns one and he seems to like it. Back in the 70's when I played a 12-string acoustic as my main guitar I used a Dunlop nylon strap capo. It worked but it wasn't great for preserving intonation.

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I'm biting my tongue HARD on not bashing Ovation but if the OP likes it, who am I to argue? Personally, I think Taylor is hitting it out of the park with their current incarnations of 12 strings. No comment on the new V bracing. Electric players seem to like the Taylor necks though and even the lowly 150e is worlds more comfortable than playing on a baseball bat epoxied to a salad bowl.

 

Sorry - couldn't resist! :D

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kwakatak said:

I'm biting my tongue HARD on not bashing Ovation but if the OP likes it, who am I to argue? Personally, I think Taylor is hitting it out of the park with their current incarnations of 12 strings. No comment on the new V bracing. Electric players seem to like the Taylor necks though and even the lowly 150e is worlds more comfortable than playing on a baseball bat epoxied to a salad bowl.

 

Sorry - couldn't resist! :D

I came very close to buying a Taylor 752, and a K66 12-string was tugging, as well.

However, I ended up getting a package deal on a Taylor 814ce and the Ovation - it was sort of a "do you want fries with that" add-on that fills the gap in my toolbox.

I have a lot of experience getting a good sound out an Ovation pickup system, but there's no way to get there with a 150, as near as I can tell.  So.....here I am.

 

 

Edited by SteinbergerHack

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My apologies. I know people love their Ovations but I could never keep them put on my knee. It was very frustrating.

I understand all about those package deals and 12 strings. The Epi 12 string in my sig is utterly unplayable. The action is so high I could probably use it as a crossbow. The shame of it is that somebody actually paid for it to gift it to me. I can't just toss it, but I can't sell it either. It's like the proverbial white elephant.

Getting back on topic though, have you ever looked into a Dunlop rolling capo? It's basically a big spring with a big rubber boot on the back. I just keep it on and if I don't need it I roll it up over the nut.

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23 minutes ago, kwakatak said:

My apologies. I know people love their Ovations but I could never keep them put on my knee. It was very frustrating.

I understand all about those package deals and 12 strings. The Epi 12 string in my sig is utterly unplayable. The action is so high I could probably use it as a crossbow. The shame of it is that somebody actually paid for it to gift it to me. I can't just toss it, but I can't sell it either. It's like the proverbial white elephant.

Getting back on topic though, have you ever looked into a Dunlop rolling capo? It's basically a big spring with a big rubber boot on the back. I just keep it on and if I don't need it I roll it up over the nut.

I've seen 'em from a distance, but never tried one out.  I just ordered the Shubb S3V designed for thicker necks, so I'll see if it works and report back.

The Ovation Elite 12 actually plays quite well, and the majority of the use it will get will either be standing with a strap or affixed to a Gracie stand, so the bowl-back doesn't create much of a problem for me.  That said, I really would prefer one of the super-shallow bowls, but finding a 12-string in that form is, well, challenging.

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23 hours ago, DeepEnd said:

 . . . . .. Back in the 70's when I played a 12-string acoustic as my main guitar I used a Dunlop nylon strap capo. It worked but it wasn't great for preserving intonation.

Poor intonation is often a problem when using a capo on a 12 string due to the different string thicknesses. I've glued a strip of softer rubber on mine to help overcome this. 

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On 8/25/2019 at 1:35 PM, DeepEnd said:

Back in the 70's when I played a 12-string acoustic as my main guitar I used a Dunlop nylon strap capo. It worked but it wasn't great for preserving intonation.

 

Those Dunlop "lever action" strap capos used to be my capo of choice too (they beat the heck out of the elastic strap type capos IMHO), but the lever part of the design tends to make the strings pull away towards one side, and they do it a bit unevenly unless you're really careful as you're putting them on - you have to really press down hard and hold them steady while engaging the lever and locking them down. Some modern capo designs seem to be a bit easier to use in that respect, and tend to be less likely to screw up the tuning / intonation. 

 

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