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#1 2012-09-12 23:45:54

kpshea
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-12-26
Posts: 5

12 String

Just purchased a 12 string Ovation AE. Would anybody on this forum comment on whether or not I should go to a drop D tuning?

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#2 2012-09-13 02:34:39

NELA
Senior Member
From: West Monroe, La. 71292
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 941
Website

Re: 12 String

And my question is "why would you want to go to a dropped D tuning? Are the songs you are wanting to play in a dropped D tuning? You can do ANYTHING you want to do but you need to remember the tuning needs to match the song and the voice of whoever is doing the singing. Now if you are asking if you should tune your guitar to a Open D tuning so as to reduce the string tension on your instrument that is NOT the same thing as a Dropped D tuning. Give us more of of what you are wanting to accomplish so we can better answer your question.

Nela

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#3 2012-09-14 04:42:45

jgreen
Senior Member
From: Northern BC (Canada)
Registered: 2007-03-05
Posts: 135

Re: 12 String

Hey KP, 

I too am stepping into the 12 string world and there is some debate as to whether detuning (down a half step or two - probably have the terminology wrong...) is necessary with new builds.  Mine is from the late 70's and hasn't had a great life, so  I plan to reduce the stress as much as possible - light strings; detune, I'm thinking a full step and capo to standard tuning.

Mike Golay wrote a tech article on the issue (I'm not sure I can drop a link here... the mods will fix it as required)
http://www.bansheewerks.com/frivolities … tml#gauges 
A couple pages down is the 12 string info.

Good luck,
Jim

Last edited by jgreen (2012-09-14 04:44:25)

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#4 2012-09-14 09:48:06

Roger Guppy
The Laid Back Moderator
From: Almancil, Algarve, Portugal
Registered: 2006-09-02
Posts: 4766
Website

Re: 12 String

I am afraid that I disagree with Jim (in the nicest possible way, of course).

Normal guitar tuning is to E and, in my opinion, if a 12er is built that will not stand the stress of tuning to standard tuning then it is designed incorrectly and is only fit for the rubbish skip.

I have had 12er's off ond on for the past 40 years and my current baby is a 70's, Italian made, Melody; my previous one was a new, made in China, Channel guitar and both have only known standard E tuning with no adverse affects.

Modern strings are available in lighter gauges than they were in my early playing days so I believe that there is no problem using standard tuning.

Roger


“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” -Plato
Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. (George Bernard Shaw)
Do, or do not. There is no try. (Yoda)

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#5 2012-09-14 15:17:28

kpshea
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-12-26
Posts: 5

Re: 12 String

No offense to Nela. . . but . . . Open tuning is when you tune to a specific chord, ie D, C, G etc. Dropped tuning is to relieve tension. Thanks to everyone, I have found the awswer that I sought.

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#6 2012-09-14 15:51:14

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5718

Re: 12 String

I've always heard drop tuning to mean dropping one or more of the strings.  Drop D has consistently been used to refer to standard tuning, with the exception of dropping the low E string to a low D.  Double drop d would lower the upper e strong to d.


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#7 2012-09-14 18:53:08

TwangTown
Senior Member
From: Dunedin, New Zealand
Registered: 2007-01-01
Posts: 187

Re: 12 String

I agree with Roger - if a 12 wont hold up to  standard E tuning then dont buy it.  Mine has nevr been a problem.


"War never determines who is right , only who is left"
"Democracy is the right to protest about  the lack of it!"

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#8 2012-09-14 19:53:22

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1209
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Re: 12 String

No offense to original poster, but Zurf is correct. Drop D refers to tuning to standared E and dropping the low E to D. OP is talking about just tuning down a whole step. Detuning 1/2 step is no big deal; I tune all my guitars to Eb to reduce string tension b/c I like enormous string bends on heavy gauge strings. Try a whole step but you might have trouble with the guitar fretting out and/or the strings hitting one another. But try it and if it works and sounds good, go for it! If you're committed to tuning down a whole step, take it to a tech and have him or her set the action to allow for the lower tension and larger arc on the strings during vibration.

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#9 2012-09-14 23:14:15

bushy243
Senior Member
From: Queensland Australia
Registered: 2007-05-07
Posts: 224

Re: 12 String

I have an old 1983 model, MIJ Ibanez 12er I've always tuned to standard tuning. A couple of things I do is always use medium light strings, and when I am not going to use it for a while, de-tune it. Just turn the tuners down a turn to release the tension. After you have done this a few times, you find that the tuners almost always end up in the same place so that when you need to tune up again, one turn up gets you almost back in tune and justs needs tweaking. Never tried drop D tuning, might one day just for comparison.
Good comment above from Zurf and BGD.

All the best
Bushy


Low expectations bring few surprises.

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#10 2012-09-14 23:45:27

beamer
THE METALIZER
From: Texas
Registered: 2006-07-30
Posts: 1391

Re: 12 String

I like the 1/2 step lower  for the same reason a lot of bands do,,, easier to sing to and it adds a little meat to the sond big_smile  (I think Kiss only has one song in E tuning out of all the records they have made.)


Mal - Well, lady, I must say, you're my kinda stupid.
Mal - Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that
Kaylee - No power in the verse can stop me. BOOK-  you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.

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#11 2012-09-14 23:46:51

bluejeep
Senior Member
From: Scott County, Virginia, U.S.A.
Registered: 2008-03-19
Posts: 402

Re: 12 String

Just returned from my trip to Pennsylvania with a Yamaha 12er. My brother has been playing his 12er for about 40 years. He uses standard tuning and never detunes, says he has never had any problems and always uses light guage strings. I've decided to do the same with my 12er. I do however sometimes like to play around with dropped D tuning but always retune to standard when I'm finished noodlin around.


Sometimes dreams should just remain dreams - once attained whats next?  Live in the "now" - a contentment of the moment - the past is gone - the future doesn't exist - all we ever really have is "now" and it's always now.

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#12 2012-09-15 00:01:13

Guitarpix
Underwater Firefighter
From: North Carolina
Registered: 2007-02-08
Posts: 1905
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Re: 12 String

My .02... If it's a cheaper laminate top standard is fine, if it's a solid top tune 1/2 step down and capo on 1 for standard


If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something.
         Peace of mind. That's my piece of mind...

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#13 2012-09-15 21:35:43

Howard Bell
Member
From: Telford U.K.
Registered: 2006-12-08
Posts: 48
Website

Re: 12 String

Hiya gang
I play a lot of song in the key of D. (I play with a penny whistle player who only owns two whistles , D and A) LOL
My 12 string is always in "Double drop D" - both the high and low E strings are tuned down to D. not because of reducing any strain on the guitar but, for me it makes it easier to play and sounds tremendous
Give it a try.
Cheers
Howard

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#14 2012-09-15 21:59:40

bushy243
Senior Member
From: Queensland Australia
Registered: 2007-05-07
Posts: 224

Re: 12 String

Howard,  if using double drop D tuning on a 12er, are you tuning all 4 E strings to D?

All the best
Bushy


Low expectations bring few surprises.

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#15 2012-09-15 22:21:55

Howard Bell
Member
From: Telford U.K.
Registered: 2006-12-08
Posts: 48
Website

Re: 12 String

Hiya Bushy

Yes, sorry. All 4 E strings are tuned down to D.

I'm not sure if this is in "double drop D" but it's the type of sound I was after and it works great in that tuning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYlUyi1hmqI

Cheers
Howard

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#16 2012-09-16 10:32:01

bushy243
Senior Member
From: Queensland Australia
Registered: 2007-05-07
Posts: 224

Re: 12 String

Howard,
            OK, I'll give this a crack, never tried it before

All the best
Bushy


Low expectations bring few surprises.

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#17 2012-09-16 18:16:54

Howard Bell
Member
From: Telford U.K.
Registered: 2006-12-08
Posts: 48
Website

Re: 12 String

Hiya Bushy

Some chord shapes to try for songs in D

D    O O O 2 3 O 
A    0 O 2 2 2 2
G    5 5 O O O O
Bm    9 9 9 7 O O
Em    2 2 2 o o o
A    7 7 7 6 o o

Mainly on the 4 low strings ( or 8 on a 12 string )
Major and minor chords can all be created with 2 shapes and moved up the neck

E    2 2 2 1 o o
Em    2 2 2 o o o
F    3 3 3 2 O O
Fm    3 3 3 1 O O
G    5 5 5 4 0 0
Gm    5 5 5 3 o o
A    7 7 7 6 o o
Am    7 7 7 5 o o
B    9 9 9 8 o o
Bm    9 9 9 7 o o
C    10 10 10 9 o o
Cm    10 10 10 8 o o
D    o o o 2 3 o     or    o o o 7 7 o

And don't forget that the middle strings haven't changed so you can play a normal C or Am if you only play those strings.

Glad your giving it a go and I hope you enjoy it.
Cheers
Howard

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#18 2012-10-09 16:25:30

flester
Senior Member
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 155

Re: 12 String

Ovation 12-strings in particular are very stable. Mine is a 1979 Pacemaker, whats yours, KPSHEA ?

Last edited by flester (2012-10-09 16:25:51)

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#19 2012-10-09 23:25:40

beamer
THE METALIZER
From: Texas
Registered: 2006-07-30
Posts: 1391

Re: 12 String

flester wrote:

Ovation 12-strings in particular are very stable. Mine is a 1979 Pacemaker, whats yours, KPSHEA ?

While Im not KPSHEA,, I also have a 79 Pacemaker. smile  What a great guitar!


Mal - Well, lady, I must say, you're my kinda stupid.
Mal - Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that
Kaylee - No power in the verse can stop me. BOOK-  you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.

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#20 2012-10-10 10:28:47

whitewater55
Senior Member
Registered: 2011-01-09
Posts: 243

Re: 12 String

I've owned a number of 12ers - if it has a laminate top, tune 1/2 step down, otherwise, concert pitch will be fine.
Just remember, each string, at concert pitch, applies about 180 lbs of pressure the the saddle, multiply that by 12 and you get the idea.
Randy


Hank's prosepctive gutiar player said: "Mr Williams, I'm not sure I can play for you, the onliest chords I know are C D & G"
Hank repleis, after a short pause: "Well, what else is there?"

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#21 2012-10-12 16:54:51

poaderman
Junior Member
Registered: 2008-01-27
Posts: 3

Re: 12 String

If you are wanting or feel the need to enhance your songs I highly recommend a 12, I have had one since 1967 she is a 1967 Epiphone El Dorado and I use Earthwood Silk and Steel on her and only Earthwood Silk and Steel, I have tried the Martin strings and the DAddario but they just don't have the magic the Earthwood has, Trust me if you want beautiful Chords that is the only way to go as far as I am concerned. oh yeah I have been playing since I was 4 and I am 63 now and I own 20 guitars now 4 acoustic and 16 Electric from a 1941 Rickenbacker Lap steel 7 string not 6 to a doubleneck and a Rickenbacker 360/ 12 whoops there it is. another 12, I also own a 1975 Ovation Balladeer, I have also made 2 other guitars that look like a Strat one 6 string and the other is a 12 whoops there it is again. I have a few guitars, but these are what I play everyday. and if you want FLAT wound they produce the prettiest harmony and stay in tune all the time I found them from some friends at Sweet Water they are at the Best of Rics in New Jersey and they the 12 strings are $36.00 a set. and they put the sets together themselves.

Last edited by poaderman (2012-10-12 17:00:15)

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#22 2012-10-12 17:02:03

poaderman
Junior Member
Registered: 2008-01-27
Posts: 3

Re: 12 String

If anyone can help me I am looking for the TAB'S for Buddy Hollie's that'll be the day can someone direct me to them????  Thanks Mike

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#23 2012-10-12 17:04:10

poaderman
Junior Member
Registered: 2008-01-27
Posts: 3

Re: 12 String

I love 12 strings and play mine all the time I have an Epiphone ElDorado 1200 and I never drop tune the strings I have used now I have used for 30 yrs they are Earthwood Silk & Steelthey are great strings.

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#24 2012-10-12 23:50:04

beamer
THE METALIZER
From: Texas
Registered: 2006-07-30
Posts: 1391

Re: 12 String

I am going to try thoes strings.  I think my Ovation could sound a bit nicer with them.


Mal - Well, lady, I must say, you're my kinda stupid.
Mal - Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that
Kaylee - No power in the verse can stop me. BOOK-  you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.

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#25 2012-10-13 09:06:10

joeyjoeyjoey
Honoured Member
From: massachusetts
Registered: 2010-10-18
Posts: 1115

Re: 12 String

A great song for 12 string is "playing with fire" by the rolling stones. Fingerpicked


Enjoy Every Sandwich - Dr. Lee Lipsenthal

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