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OldManGuitarNewbie

Tuning, care and feeding of a 12 (steel) string guitar?

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Just bought a Taylor 354C E 12 string guitar yesterday. Loved the size and sound and playability......

I had an inexpensive 12 string a few years back and traded it rather quickly. It was difficult for a novice to play. But I'm a little better now and think I can handle it. :winkwink:

I found an online 12 string tuner, and I have one of those clip-on electronic tuners, so I think I am equipped to tune the beast. Any special techniques or pitfalls to avoid?

This 12 string joins the stable with 2 6-string guitars that I will play much more often than the 12 string....along with a ukulele. <g> I know the 12 strings exert a bit of stress on the neck, and wonder just how much I need to loosen the tension if the guitar is not to be played for say, a week? Heck, I wonder that will the 6 strings.....I usually loosen them one tone/key (from E to D for instance) if they will not be played for several days. Thoughts on that?

Any other thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks!

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GotDeeBlues    3

I have six 5 string guitars which hang on the wall 100% of the time when not traveling.( One all solid wood acoustic, one A/E all solid, three hollow or semi hollow jazz laminates) Never backed off the tuning, as a matter of fact, if not played for a few days, each is checked and adjusted if necessary. The room is temp and humidity stable at 65-70 deg. F and 50% humidty.

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I have six 5 string guitars which hang on the wall 100% of the time when not traveling.( One all solid wood acoustic, one A/E all solid, three hollow or semi hollow jazz laminates) Never backed off the tuning, as a matter of fact, if not played for a few days, each is checked and adjusted if necessary. The room is temp and humidity stable at 65-70 deg. F and 50% humidty.

I bet you meant to say "six six string guitars"....but whatever. Thanks for that. I did some additional research and Martin recommends pretty much what you are doing. THey say lossening/tensioning the strings more often that every couple of months (or when traveling) doesn't help the neck and hurts the strings. So I will follow your (and Martin's) advice with my guitars.

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mset3    158

OldManGuitarNewbie,

I never detune my guitars when I don't play them. I have a Taylor 814CE and keep it in the case when I'm not playing it. I also purchased a Planet Wave Humidpak. I put one behind the tuning pegs and the other one over the strings in the sound hole. They maintain the inside of the case at 45% Relative Humidity. You have to watch the humidity on the Taylor's. They will crack, if allowed to dry out or warp if there is too much mosture. They have a lot of information on their site. Nice 12-String.

Mike

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GotDeeBlues    3

Actually (5) 6 string...there now I got it straight. My typing teacher would be very disappointed. And, Mike, That 814CE is sooo sweet, congrats, I'm a little jealous.

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karcey    42

Here's a question to expand the 12 string story.

Do 12 strings have weak necks, or is that a myth?

We all know lack of care can damage a guitar, but are manufacturers making 12 strings so fragile that they fail? (Actually that's two questions!)

I have a Cort Earth 200 12 that I bought a few years ago simply because I liked it. Can't play it so it stays cased for most of the time. Sometimes I get it out to look at it, sometimes I give it a polish, Sometimes I have a go at playing it. But the fact remains it's the most underutilized guitar I own. It's still straight. The strings are generally tensioned.

Any ideas?

And if you'd like to swap my Cort for your Taylor, I'll pay the postage.

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Here's a question to expand the 12 string story.

Do 12 strings have weak necks, or is that a myth?

We all know lack of care can damage a guitar, but are manufacturers making 12 strings so fragile that they fail? (Actually that's two questions!)

I have a Cort Earth 200 12 that I bought a few years ago simply because I liked it. Can't play it so it stays cased for most of the time. Sometimes I get it out to look at it, sometimes I give it a polish, Sometimes I have a go at playing it. But the fact remains it's the most underutilized guitar I own. It's still straight. The strings are generally tensioned.

Any ideas?

And if you'd like to swap my Cort for your Taylor, I'll pay the postage.

HA! Good to see folks around here have a good sense of humor! :clap:

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OldManGuitarNewbie,

I never detune my guitars when I don't play them. I have a Taylor 814CE and keep it in the case when I'm not playing it. I also purchased a Planet Wave Humidpak. I put one behind the tuning pegs and the other one over the strings in the sound hole. They maintain the inside of the case at 45% Relative Humidity. You have to watch the humidity on the Taylor's. They will crack, if allowed to dry out or warp if there is too much mosture. They have a lot of information on their site. Nice 12-String.

Mike

I might go that route also, although my house stays about 50% humidity all the time anyway. But I believe I will quit loosening the strings on any guitar just because it will sit without playing for a week or so. Now my uke is a different matter - I never loosen its strings......they just stretch and stretch and stretch.........will, it's still new, so maybe the strings will quit stretching in a few more weeks.

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mset3    158

I have a Yamaha 12-string that I purchased in Japan several years ago. The action is perfect and the neck is still straight as the day I bought it. I can't speak to the new 12-strings so I think it is a myth.

Mike

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GotDeeBlues    3

"I might go that route also, although my house stays about 50% humidity all the time anyway."

You must live in heaven...or at the very least Eden. Keeping my place that constant is definately a "Hands-on" necessity, especially in winter.

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shonie777    3

I have 2 acoustic 12 strings and 2 electric 12 strings. I live in northern Arizona and here we lack humidity. Big time. I keep my acoustic 12s in their cases, each with an Oasis humidifier all the time. I have to check the humidifiers at least every 2 weeks and refill with distilled water as neccessary. I never detune or loosen the strings while they are stored away.

As far as neck issues go, I've never had any problems with mine. I have seen a number of 12 strings acoustics that had major neck and action issues. But I'm pretty sure they became that way because of neglect and some possibly because of poor construction as well.

12 string guitars have a heck of a lot more tension on the necks than a regular 6 string would simply because a 12 string has twice as many strings as a 6 string guitar. So I'm quite sure many reputable guitar companies build the necks as well as the entire guitar to withstand the constant tension of 12 strings.

As far as tuning goes, I use a lot of alternate tunings and open tunings which are usually lower than standard tuning. I play a lot of Zeppelin and Tea Party stuff. I rarely ever play standard tuning on any of my guitars because when I first started playing guitar I wanted to learn the songs that I liked and they were all in alternate and open tunings. To this day, I still can't play standard tuning worth a crap. LOL

String changing and tuning on a 12 string will take much longer to do compared to a 6 string simply because there are twice as many strings. Also, you may want to try different brands of strings, most of them sound and feel much different from each other and sound much more differently on different brands of guitars. Find a brand you like and have fun.

By the way, you bought a really nice 12 string. I'm sure it will last you a lifetime if you take care of it well.

Shonie

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"I might go that route also, although my house stays about 50% humidity all the time anyway."

You must live in heaven...or at the very least Eden. Keeping my place that constant is definately a "Hands-on" necessity, especially in winter.

I decided I ought to verify my claim about humidity (I live near Memphis, TN) so I bought a couple of humidity/temperature gauges.....in the last 24 hrs the humidity where my guitars live varied from 42% to 48%, so I believe they will be okay without additional humidity. Now in the summer I will probably go up into the 50s - but I don't think that's high enough to cause any problems.

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...............

By the way, you bought a really nice 12 string. I'm sure it will last you a lifetime if you take care of it well.

Shonie

Thanks, I'm looking forward to many years with the Taylor.

PS - I love AZ! Did some motorcycle touring there based from Sedona last May. We toured northern AZ and UT mainly. Great place for motorcycling....but I can only imagine what the low humidity does to guitars! It felt so very low to us; me from Memphis, TN and my riding pal from near Portland, Oregon.

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shonie777    3

Thanks, I'm looking forward to many years with the Taylor.

PS - I love AZ! Did some motorcycle touring there based from Sedona last May. We toured northern AZ and UT mainly. Great place for motorcycling....but I can only imagine what the low humidity does to guitars! It felt so very low to us; me from Memphis, TN and my riding pal from near Portland, Oregon.

Your humidity is great for geetars as well as cigars! I'm an avid cigar smoker and I always have to keep checking on my cigars in my humidor.Living just about anywhere around here in the southwest will suck the moisture out of anything. So constant monitoring of the humidity of my "geetars and cigars" (hey! that rhyms and would make a very good song!) is something I have come used to doing all the time. My babies. :)

So how did you like motorcycle touring AZ and UT? Maybe you came through my hometown of Kayenta? It's quite possible you may have if you went to Monument Valley. We have tons of people touring on motorcycles coming through our town nearly year round. Spring and Summer is when our little town gets really busy with the tour season.

I can imagine that riding on a bike through this area would be an awesome ride for anyone that has never been here. I don't own a motorcycle but I do own 2 Honda TRX 700xx Quads and I do a lot of riding here where I live. I have gone to so many beautiful places that most people never get to see.

If you ever get back over this way again, contact me. Maybe we could get together and jam? Go for an awesome quad ride? Smoke a cigar together?

Shonie

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Your humidity is great for geetars as well as cigars! I'm an avid cigar smoker and I always have to keep checking on my cigars in my humidor.Living just about anywhere around here in the southwest will suck the moisture out of anything. So constant monitoring of the humidity of my "geetars and cigars" (hey! that rhyms and would make a very good song!) is something I have come used to doing all the time. My babies. :)

So how did you like motorcycle touring AZ and UT? Maybe you came through my hometown of Kayenta? It's quite possible you may have if you went to Monument Valley. We have tons of people touring on motorcycles coming through our town nearly year round. Spring and Summer is when our little town gets really busy with the tour season.

I can imagine that riding on a bike through this area would be an awesome ride for anyone that has never been here. I don't own a motorcycle but I do own 2 Honda TRX 700xx Quads and I do a lot of riding here where I live. I have gone to so many beautiful places that most people never get to see.

If you ever get back over this way again, contact me. Maybe we could get together and jam? Go for an awesome quad ride? Smoke a cigar together?

Shonie

Yes, we did ride through that area, and I remember the town Kayenta because it sounds pretty. <g> We thoroughly enjoyed the riding in that area, although it was a lot cold than we'd planned.....we rode once from Sedona to Flagstaff to buy warmer motorcycle gear and transitted a HAIL STORM! That was a first for me, and not something I will forget anytime soon!

:isaynothing:

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