12 string, string guage

ezstrummer

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I now my new guild 12 string came with 10's on it, but its very bright sounding. I was hoping to put a set of 12's on it? Would this be too much tension for the bridge? I play with other so I really don't want to tune down.
 

Brad Little

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I had 12s on my F-212 for decades, until age and infirmity caught up with me, did need a neck reset after almost 50 years, but probably would have anyhow at that age. Now I use 10s on both of my 12 strings.
Brad
 

adorshki

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I now my new guild 12 string came with 10's on it, but its very bright sounding. I was hoping to put a set of 12's on it?
What model 12-string?
Maple archback JF30-12 or F412?


Would this be too much tension for the bridge?
For anything post mid-'70's built, Absolutely.
And the neck joint too.
Take a look at D'Addario's site where they list the total tensions of various sets to get an idea of just how much additional stress is added by going up a gauge:
(in your case, EJ38=250.68 lbs, here: http://www.daddario.com/DADProductFamily.Page?ActiveID=3768&familyid=9&sid=c079166a-5e5a-43b5-a1e4-2d335a9902a1 )
Note going up to 12's puts top tension at 319.98lbs (!) or an almost 30% increase in tension.
(Note Brad Little's guitar was from the "built like a tank" era)
And even if you go to 12's and tune down a whole step, you're still going to wind up with about 6lbs more tension than the the .10's at standard tuning, which might be acceptable but kind of defeats the purpose. If the top's just as tight as it was it's still gonna sound bright.
Try some silk and steels instead, if you must stay at standard tuning.
I play with other so I really don't want to tune down.
If you tune down a whole step it's not that hard to make the adjustment.
Also I suspect you'll be quite pleasantly surprised at what it really does for the guitar's voice.
I'm sympathetic to the "bright" thing because I just spent around a year with my F65ce tuned down a whole step before finally putting on some silk and steels 'cause it was still too bright.
That did the trick.
I looked up the set tension of the standard pb .010's it came with.
On the GHS site https://www.ghsstrings.com/products?categories=acoustic I could then calculate that tuning down a whole step reduced tension by approx. 20%, then looked for a set of Silk'n'steel that would still come in lower than the tension it was designed for after tuning down a whole step.
The aim was to start with lower frequencies driving the top in addition to lower total set tension.
I went with GHS because they had an option that allowed me to use .11's in Silk'n'steel
This coming from a man who was a strict purist regarding factory string specs and standard tuning for over 20 years.
:friendly_wink:
 
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Brucebubs

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Newtone Strings in the UK make 'Heritage' low tension 12-string sets.

All the benefits of heavier gauge strings but without the extra tension.

- .010 - .043

- .011 - .047

- .012 - .051

- .013 - .055

You order them straight from the factory. https://newtonestrings.com/shop/heritage-series-acoustic-12-string/

Martin Flexible Core are also available in .010 - .054 gauge 12-string sets that might be interesting too. I have a set but haven't tried them yet - I really like D'Addario Nickel Bronze on my F-412.
 
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fronobulax

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If you tune down a whole step it's not that hard to make the adjustment.
Huh? If you are saying tune down and use a capo then never mind. Otherwise I am wondering what kind of adjustment you are thinking of that are easy and deal with the mental gymnastics of transposition.
 

Cougar

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I now my new guild 12 string came with 10's on it, but its very bright sounding. ...
Man, I wouldn't put 12s on a 12-string. Are the strings new along with the new guitar? I'd play it a while. It may just de-brighten on its own.
 

Guildedagain

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I'm putting Earthwood Silk and Steels on my vint Washburn 12 as soon as I get a chance, excited to hear and feel the difference.

I might be putting GHS .11 S&S on both my D35 and D5CE, the cutaway acoustic electric for sure.

They did wonders for my F30, it plays like an electric on the treble strings, but can still handle hard strumming, and sweet sounding...
 

Tom O

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13st

Newtone Strings in the UK make 'Heritage' low tension 12-string sets.

All the benefits of heavier gauge strings but without the extra tension.

- .010 - .043

- .011 - .047

- .012 - .051

- .013 - .055

You order them straight from the factory. https://newtonestrings.com/shop/heritage-series-acoustic-12-string/

Martin Flexible Core are also available in .010 - .054 gauge 12-string sets that might be interesting too. I have a set but haven't tried them yet - I really like D'Addario Nickel Bronze on my F-412.
John Pearse makes 13s that you tune down to C# to get the Kottke sound. I have 12s on by GAD-G212 tuned to D.
 

Nuuska

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Howdy

I seem to have been using 14 gauge since 70:s on both my 12:s - naturally one full step down - no problem. And they let me tune down from that, too - and then the guitar is really big-sounding - like dropped-D or all the open tunings where you loosen some strings.
 

Rayk

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How old or new is the guitar ?

You could always step the gauge up move to 11's see what happens or change brand .

What did the guitar come with originally ?

Also your ears could be tricking you in a way if your used to hearing other guitars that are more mellow by nature .

Can you record the guitar I'd like hear what you hear if possible , I'm geeky that way . Lol
 

adorshki

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How old or new is the guitar ?

You could always step the gauge up move to 11's see what happens or change brand.

What did the guitar come with originally ?
Since he said "new" I was pretty sure it was a safe bet he meant truly "new" or at least still less than 20 years old even if new to him.
All Guild 12's (even the imports) since at least '96 came with the .010's he mentioned, same as D'A EJ-38's that gave me the tension the top was designed for (post #4).
Except NH and Oxnard shipped with coateds which for some reason show a very slightly lower set tension than the uncoateds, but less than5 lbs overall (on a 12-er set) IIRC.
If you don't know what strings are on the guitar, change them out to something like these.
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Martin/MA500T-Lifespan-20-12-String-Phosphor-Bronze-Extra-Light-Authentic-Acoustic-Guitar-Strings.gc

Your strings may be 80/20 Bronze.
If you go to Phosphor Bronze you will get a richer and fuller sound.
IF the strings are the original factory strings they're already pb, either EJ-38 or else EXP-38 for New Hartford and Oxnard, so the only way to get mellower is the Silk'n'steel which also offer lower tension.
In any case both of those Martin 12-string sets are over 260lbs total set tension, for reference:
https://www.martinguitar.com/1833-shop/authentic-acoustic-lifespan-2.0/c-24/p-1303
 

Grassdog

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If you don't know what strings are on the guitar, change them out to something like these.
https://www.guitarcenter.com/Martin/MA500T-Lifespan-20-12-String-Phosphor-Bronze-Extra-Light-Authentic-Acoustic-Guitar-Strings.gc

Your strings may be 80/20 Bronze.
If you go to Phosphor Bronze you will get a richer and fuller sound.
I had always used the D'Addario EJ38's exclusively on my 12 strings but I just put a set of these Martin coated 10's (phosphor bronze) on a '78 F-212XL which just had a neck reset. At standard pitch and a 1/2 step down they sound DIVINE.
 

adorshki

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Your strings may be 80/20 Bronze.
This was stuck in my head, so checked EZstrummer's posts and realized he must be asking about his F2512e.
So went to Guild website and lo and behold, Guild website says they are 80/20 coateds on the F2512, D'Addario EXP-36's not EXP 38's:
https://guildguitars.com/g/westerly-f-2512e-maple/
First time I ever saw 'em use 80/20 for current production or a different composition on an import vs domestic model, so apologize for earlier statement that was based on insufficient research although correct for domestic models.
If you go to Phosphor Bronze you will get a richer and fuller sound.
Yes.
But I'd still pay attention to total set tension so as not to overstress the top and neck, also be aware that if a top is too tight it actually can't vibrate as freely as a top that's only at design tension.
Too heavy of a gauge at standard pitch can actually choke a top instead of making it louder or mellower.
There's a range, it's not a specific point, but just be aware of the principle.
I note the EXP36's are actually only 242 lbs total set tension:
http://www.daddario.com/DADProductFamily.Page?ActiveID=3768&familyid=8
EXP 38's are 245 so think they'd be safe.
 

dreadnut

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The best of both worlds: Silk & Bronze from D'Addario, Martin, or GHS, and others probably make them as well. S&B mediums should work just fine.

With my f-512 it was more about playability than tension. I believe the 12's are built to withstand higher tension, but the heavier strings made it harder for me to play.
 

txbumper57

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The Phosphor Bronze will make a HUGE difference over the 80/20's in toning down the Brashness and Brightness of the overall tone. The coated ones (EXP38's) will be a bit more mellow than the Non coated versions (EJ38's).

Best of luck and remember, What is right for one person may not be right for the next. It is a journey to find the right strings for you and your guitar so if your first choice doesn't work don't get discouraged.

TX
 

adorshki

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The best of both worlds: Silk & Bronze from D'Addario, Martin, or GHS, and others probably make them as well. S&B mediums should work just fine.
Went down that rabbit hole when researching the choice for my F65ce.
Only GHS offers it in 12-string sets, (D'A doesn't even offer it at all) and GHS actually shows the silk'n'steels at the warmest end of the spectrum ie, warmer than Silk'n'bronze even, besides the fact that their 11-49 set is the only one offered although it would probably work well with a set tension of only 214 lbs.
And I can tell you the steel used for the unwounds in Silk'n'steels is mellower too.
They're a softer alloy than what they use in PB sets so not as bright on those strings, either.

With my f-512 it was more about playability than tension. I believe the 12's are built to withstand higher tension, but the heavier strings made it harder for me to play.
Well sure 12's got top bracing designed to deal with higher tensions, I assume they probably figured out some tweaks to help at the neck joint too, but going up a full 28% in total tension just by going up a gauge can't be good for the long-term health of any guitar built to today's lightness/resonance goals.
:friendly_wink:
 
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Brucebubs

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Went down that rabbit hole when researching the choice for my F65ce.
Only GHS offers it in 12-string sets, (D'A doesn't even offer it at all) and GHS actually shows the silk'n'steels at the warmest end of the spectrum ie, warmer than Silk'n'bronze even, besides the fact that their 11-49 set is the only one offered although it would probably work well with a set tension of only 214 lbs.
And I can tell you the steel used for the unwounds in Silk'n'steels is mellower too.
They're a softer alloy than what they use in PB sets so not as bright on those strings, either.


Well sure 12's got top bracing designed to deal with higher tensions, I assume they probably figured out some tweaks to help at the neck joint too, but going up a full 28% in total tension just buy going up a gauge can't be good for the long-term health of any guitar built to today's lightness/resonance goals.
:friendly_wink:
Actually GHS show Silk & Bronze as warmer than Silk & Steel.



You are correct, GHS are the only suppliers of Silk & Bronze 12-string sets.

 
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