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HELP! How to tune a 12 String

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GUEST,Ophelia 28 Mar 01 - 09:46 PM
Bugsy 28 Mar 01 - 09:55 PM
Bugsy 28 Mar 01 - 09:58 PM
Allan C. 28 Mar 01 - 09:58 PM
Allan C. 28 Mar 01 - 10:02 PM
Allan C. 28 Mar 01 - 10:06 PM
Bugsy 28 Mar 01 - 10:06 PM
Allan C. 28 Mar 01 - 10:08 PM
catspaw49 28 Mar 01 - 10:25 PM
catspaw49 28 Mar 01 - 10:27 PM
Big Mick 28 Mar 01 - 10:40 PM
Allan C. 28 Mar 01 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Ophelia 28 Mar 01 - 10:58 PM
catspaw49 28 Mar 01 - 11:09 PM
GUEST,Ophelia 29 Mar 01 - 01:46 AM
P Mitchell@work 29 Mar 01 - 03:25 AM
GUEST 27 Oct 04 - 02:00 PM
red_clay 27 Oct 04 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,stiffleriii26@yahoo.com 28 May 06 - 01:27 PM
Big Mick 28 May 06 - 01:37 PM
John MacKenzie 28 May 06 - 02:23 PM
Peace 28 May 06 - 07:13 PM
paddymac 29 May 06 - 09:35 AM
Peace 29 May 06 - 10:16 AM
The Fooles Troupe 29 May 06 - 10:26 AM
Peter T. 29 May 06 - 02:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 May 06 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,Rev 29 May 06 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,chris 30 May 06 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Dan Schatz at the office 30 May 06 - 04:56 PM
SharonA 30 May 06 - 06:54 PM
s&r 31 May 06 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,guest 31 May 06 - 10:43 PM
Peace 31 May 06 - 10:47 PM
M.Ted 31 May 06 - 11:05 PM
Peace 31 May 06 - 11:10 PM
rock chick 01 Jun 06 - 05:16 PM
HiHo_Silver 01 Jun 06 - 07:03 PM
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Subject: HELP! How to tune a 12 String guitar
From: GUEST,Ophelia
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 09:46 PM

Somebody please help me!

I was recently given a 12 string guitar but have no idea of what to tune the little (thin, 2nd) strings to. I am a 6 string, bedroom strummer who needs help. Do you play it just like a 6 string with your finger covering both strings to get the note/chord? Some advice(in simple terms) would be greatly appreciated.

Yours in confusion,

Ophelia


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Bugsy
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 09:55 PM

They'll have to be simple terms because those are the only ones I Know!

Yes you do play it just like a 6 string, just as you said.

As far as the tuning goes. The basic tuning is the same as for a 6 string (EADGBE). The bottom pair of E (bass) strings are tuned in octaces. So are the A and D strings. The remainder (GB&E) are tuned the same.

Hope this makes sense, and good luck!

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Bugsy
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 09:58 PM

When I said GB&E are tuned the same, I didn't mean the same as the bass strings, I meant both G's to the same pitch, Both B's to the same pitch and both E's to the same pitch.

(But you knew that anyway didn't you)

CHeers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 09:58 PM

Yes, your instincts are correct. You treat it more or less the same as a six string. You can pretend that the pairs are like a single string on a regular guitar. The sixth, fifth, fourth and third pairs are tuned in octaves. The second and first pairs are unison.

You can get into the fancy stuff later on.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:02 PM

Bugsy, you might have your third pair in unison but I believe that the way they are usually strung "off the shelf" is with the G strings in octaves.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:06 PM

Let's simplify this, Ophelia. If one of the pair of third strings is a "wound" string and the other one is just plain wire, then they should be tuned in octaves. If they are both the same, tune them in unison.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Bugsy
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:06 PM

By Jove! You're Right Allan!

CHeers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:08 PM

It happens, Bugsy, but not often.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:25 PM

I don't know what kind of 12 you have, but many of us keep them tuned down a step or a step and a half. It helps to relieve some pressure on the neck. Although many are built to be tunes to pitch, they sound better tunes down also. Use a good capo on the second fret (or third if you go down a step and a half). That's really not to complicated is it??(:<))

Here are some past threads that might be useful where we talk about 12's and the tuning and argue a lot, but the info is good and useful as you progress:

Twelve String Guitars

12 String Tuning

Cravin' a 12 String

Spaw


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:27 PM

tuned down, not tunes down........sorry.....gotta' pruuffreed mor

Spaw


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:40 PM

As the owner of a 35 year old 12 string, I would also advise that you never use a heavier gauge string than a light. We could argue all day as to brand, but Martin Marquis or D'Addario are good sounding and last a reasonable amount of time. As has been said, for entry level players, tune the 1st and 2nd, and the 3rd and 4th in unison. The remaining pairs should be tuned an octave apart. Strictly speaking, Allan C's post on whether one is wound and the other isn't, isn't correct as on many sets the 9th and 10th, and the 11th and 12th are both wound but still should be an octave apart. And just in case you are unfamiliar with the numbering of strings, the highest sounding string is number 1 and as the tone gets lower the string gets higher. Hence, on a 12 string, the string closest to your waist is 1 and the string closest to your chin is 12. Good luck. These are great instruments. Start by playing it like your six, but you will find that you might have to play in different keys than you would on a six due to the octave strings. As you become familiar with it, start to experiment with different playing styles and tunings.

All the best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:58 PM

I agree, Mick, about the light gauge. But on the other thing, I was speaking of the third pair only.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,Ophelia
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:58 PM

Thanks guys, I will try the suggested tuning.

Had a quick cruise through the other threads (I am at work so can't be too long) and there seemed to be some discussion over whether to tune down and how far.

I have a washburn, I think it is a good one, not exactly sure, it is in pristine condition anyway. Doesn't seem to be very old either. Can Washburn's take the regular tuning or should I take it down. And if I take it down what should the 12th string be (what note)?

Can you get cappos that work as well on 6 and 12 strings or should I get a different one for the 12? On my six I am constantly cappo-ing to get a higher key (have a highish voice).

Thanks again guys,

Less confused


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 11:09 PM

Do yourself a favor and tune down Ophelia. Get a decent 12 string capo. The E pair now tunes to D, the A pair to G, the D pair to C, etc. Some will say that a "good 12" can be tuned to pitch, but classically they are tuned down a step to a step and a half.

Capo thread #1

Capo thread #2

Capo thread #3

Capo thread #4

Spaw


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,Ophelia
Date: 29 Mar 01 - 01:46 AM

Thanks Spaw.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: P Mitchell@work
Date: 29 Mar 01 - 03:25 AM

Good luck with the 12 string. I use mine all the time and really enjoy the feel of the thing as you play. All that vibration through the body..... lovely.

Yet another advantage of dropping the tuning is that some stuff becomes easier to play and to reach if you have small hands, like what I do.

Paul.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 02:00 PM


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: red_clay
Date: 27 Oct 04 - 03:13 PM

Step right up!   sit right down!!!! baby let your mind roll on!!!!


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,stiffleriii26@yahoo.com
Date: 28 May 06 - 01:27 PM

what are the letters of the strings for tuning a twelve string I know its lower than a six string


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 May 06 - 01:37 PM

Nope, the "letters" are the same, it is the gauges that differs. One can tune lower if they choose, some awfully good players do.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 28 May 06 - 02:23 PM

Works well if you tune all the strings down 2 steps, e.g. make your top and bottom strings C instead of E, you get more of a 12 string type jangle that way. Mind you you need to be able to transpose keys, especially if you are playing with other people.
Giok


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Peace
Date: 28 May 06 - 07:13 PM

Tuning a 12-string guitar.



'12-string Acoustic Guitar Strings. Made by D'Addario. (MC.EJ39-3SETS)
Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar strings are acclaimed worldwide for their great, long-lasting tone. Phosphor Bronze was introduced to string making by D'Addario in 1974 and has become synonymous with warm acoustic tone.'

Gauges:12-12-16-16-25-10-32-14-42-20-52-30.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: paddymac
Date: 29 May 06 - 09:35 AM

A twelve-string player gave me a good tuning tip for my hammered dulcimer, which he called the "shimmer effect." One string in each pair is tuned correctly, and the other about 5 cents flat. The result is a harmonic mix that creates notes that are not actually played, giving a much fuller and richer sound. A piano-tuner uncle of a lovely local barmaid expanded the technique for me by emphasizing that the first or dominant string in a pair should be tuned correctly, and the other a bit off. I'm familiar with undertones and overtones in choral singing (especially in the "Barbershop" tradition), but I'm not sure whether that's the correct terminology when discussing stringed instruments.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Peace
Date: 29 May 06 - 10:16 AM

Bob Gibson could do tunings with his 12-string that could make an angel cry. Beautiful and exciting sound.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 29 May 06 - 10:26 AM

When tuning my hammered dulcimer, I found that attempting to 'spread tune' it as mentioned above, caused the thig to go out of tune more often. By tuning it so that the same pitch parallel strings were in good resonance, it tended to stay in tune longer, and was far more resonant and louder in volume.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 May 06 - 02:27 PM

Didn't Leadbelly have his 12-string tuned all the way down to a Bb?

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 May 06 - 05:02 PM

Threaten it with violence, shake your fist at it. It's alright, it is inanimate and it can't hear you.

tell it if it doesn't get in tune quickly, you won't take it out, there will be no outings - not even at Christmas, and a dim view will be taken.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,Rev
Date: 29 May 06 - 06:28 PM

If I remember my "tuning and temperament" class, the detuned pairs of strings don't actually create overtones, but they do create what's called "beating." When the strings are just slightly out of tune with each other, the sound waves go out of phase which creates a pulsing or "shimmering" effect. Detuned pairs of instruments are also an important aspect of the tuning of Indonesian gamelans, one of the things that gives that music its distinctive shimmer. Piano tuners are trained to count the number of beats they hear, which is how they can adjust the piano's equal temperament (if a piano was tuned to a natural or "just" intonation you would hear no beating, but it would only sound "in tune" in certain keys)


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,chris
Date: 30 May 06 - 11:12 AM

I suggest that you use 'coated' strings something like 'Elixirs' as they last longer 'cos the biggest pain with a 12 string is changing the strings ( i know that Elixirs sell 12 string sets)not sure if thats how you spell 'Elixirs?????)
chris


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,Dan Schatz at the office
Date: 30 May 06 - 04:56 PM

I have known folks who went out and got _very_ light gauge strings to create octaves on all six courses. It was a nice effect, though I haven't tried it myself.

I now keep my Apollonio 12 tuned 4 frets below normal - the power of the instrument is incredible! Not every instrument will respond well to the same tuning, though - in my experience some guitars have "sweet spots," and the only way to figure out yours is to experiment.

Personally I'm not fond of the Elixers, except on certain instruments. They just seem to sacrifice too much tone.

Once you get the hang of it and own a good string winder, you may find that changing strings on the 12 is as easy or easier than the six. I find that having the other string on the course right there gives me a lot more speed and confidence in bringing the string I'm putting on up to pitch.

Enjoy your new instrument!

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: SharonA
Date: 30 May 06 - 06:54 PM

Just to answer Ophelia's other question: Yes, Washburn makes very good guitars!! Of course, some models are "higher-end" (made with better woods, etc.) than others, which is true of any guitar manufacturer. What model number do you have, Ophelia?

Sharon (proud owner of a Martin J-40 12-string, among other instruments)


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: s&r
Date: 31 May 06 - 01:00 PM

Reed instuments can be ordered with tremelo tuning (reeds tuned to nominally the same note beat) or dry tuning ( the notes are identically tuned so no beat) The Echo harp is tremelo tuned; blues harps aren't (they're single reeds anyway)

Pianos have extra tuning problems, other than Just, Tempered, Pythagorean etc. The low strings produce harmonics that are not an exact multiple of the fundamental (because they aren't a 'perfect' string. This would produce unpleasant beats with higher octaves. To minimise this, the low strings are tuned flat, and the high strings are tuned sharp (stretched tuning).

Stu


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 31 May 06 - 10:43 PM

I always heard that to tune a 12 string, you find the string that is out and tune the other 11 to it.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Peace
Date: 31 May 06 - 10:47 PM

It's NOT a good thing to try tuning a 12-string after a few, uh, self-rolled 'cigarettes'. A friend did that once and he told me all about it--after he was released.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 May 06 - 11:05 PM

Guest, Guest's tuning system works everytime, just as long as you remember to tune the eleven strings to the one that was out--when you try to tune them to each other, that's when the trouble starts.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: Peace
Date: 31 May 06 - 11:10 PM

LOL. That's where it started for my friend, too.


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: rock chick
Date: 01 Jun 06 - 05:16 PM

Having just bought a Simon and Patrick 12 string thought I would re fresh this one.

rc


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Subject: RE: HELP! How to tune a 12 String
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 01 Jun 06 - 07:03 PM

For the Basic 12 string Guitar Tuning visit this site. See and listen. You will not go wrong for a start: http://www.get-tuned.com/12_string_guitar_tuner.php. Good light gauge strings.


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