I just love the sound of a 12 string guitar. I don’t play acoustic guitars very often, usually when I do it is a 6 string acoustic guitar like our non-cutaway Tacoma KOA wood guitar. I’ll tell you this, if I get into acoustic guitars, it will be a 12 string cutaway, that is some blend of beautiful sounds that radiate out of this instrument. You got to have strong hands to play a 12 string guitar. All I can tell you is that it is in about 40 years old and is in terrific condition.
The guitar repairs I’m making are, one of my hand carved, polished bone nuts, and a good old fashioned neck straightening, fret leveling, trim and bevel edges of frets, and polish job. Restring, lube tuners and intonation. This nut is the same length as a six string nut, but, it has 12 string grooves instead of 6, think about it. This requires making 6 sets of 2 grooves. Each set of string grooves has to be close enough to each other so the guitar player can push both strings down at once. But they can’t be too close or they may touch when they vibrate if the guitar is played with gusto. It takes twice as long to cut the string grooves.
Anyway, if you click the pictures they should enlarge. You can see where I have started the bone nut. The grooves need to be filed deeper to the proper specifications, but all are started. Cool, eh? There are some really dial template gauges you can use to mark where you want to cut the grooves in the nut. I recommend them highly to anyone who wants to fix their own guitar. The stringing pattern is the same for most 12 string guitars. The top string or low E, numbered or called the 12th string, then 11th comes next, etc. on down to the bottom string or #1 string which is the high E. You’ll also see the top string 12 is thinner than the next one 11 (see picture). Because the string is thinner, it is tuned higher. The same is true with the next 3 pairs of strings or the top 4 sets. The bottom 2 strings, the high E and B strings are the same gauges respectively. Tuning is not too bad. An electric tuner helps a lot if you have one. The reason for the difference in gauges for the top four sets of strings is the same reason the guitar sounds so cool to lots of people.
The Low E, A, D, G strings use the same basic gauge string you would use on a six string guitar, the second string, as in, the low E, A, D and G is they are one octave higher. The vibes between two different gauge strings, one that is one octave higher in the same key are some good sounding vibes. Once you get the heavy gauge strings tuned to concert pitch and the high E strings and the B strings tuned to their respective keys, you have to then tune the thinner of the two top 4 strings one octave higher than the thick ones. Some folks can do it with out a tuner. Some folks use a tuners, and some of folks come by and let me give them a lesson. I hope you understand. The only company I know of that places the strings on 12 string guitars differently, (thick on top) is Rickenbacker. If a guitarist wants to reverse the order on their 12 string guitar from the way it was designed from the manufacturer, be careful, the grooves in the nut will be back wards, the nut would have the wider for the thicker strings and narrower for the thinner string grooves backwards. Stringing it in reverse may cause problems. Also the intonation at the saddle and bridge would probably be off if it was accurately set up in the first place.
I hope you enjoy this, I’m making better pictures now. Maybe soon I’ll have the process of making videos down. I’m practicing making a guitar repair video, but have yet produce anything but a comedy! Stay tuned, I’ll be back soon with the finished job and some more pictures. GuitarPlayersCenter.com