Your 12-string down and open tune setup knowledge, please

josh brokaw

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Howdy folks,

Recently got myself into a place where all the guitars can be out at once and am diving into some recording. Figuring out exactly how we want to go about setting up my modest array of Guild 12s for maximum tuning/tonal flexibility.

The D4-12 has great action, got gigged in the Keys this winter, it's staying in standard for gigging. One must always be able to strum "Last Dance with Mary Jane."

The '65 F212 has not so great action. Currently it's getting played in an open C tuning with light strings on it. Using it to learn 'John Henry' and other classics of the country blues school and messing with some bottleneck. Wondering if a slightly heavier set of strings would help give it a little more punch for open D and G tunings without unduly stressing the neck of a guitar that's already seen plenty of stress (and sounds great).

My '78 G312 I've pretty much kept in D standard. Bought it with a neck break which had to be reglued last year. Action's definitely not spec now, but not terrible either. It's got wonderful resonance, especially in the mids and bottom end. I'm thinking about putting it in a C# standard a la Kottke for recording both strumming and picking. Same question: string types and gauges that would get the most out of it.

Should I consider having someone compensate the bridges on any of these?

Any current luthier recommendations in or around central PA would be appreciated as well for this sort of work.

Thanks in advance.
 

rmoretti49

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Josh, I don't know that I have anything much to offer, especially regarding a 12 string tuned to open C. I will say that I would not set out to have a compensated saddle built for any guitar unless the intonation pretty much demanded it. Only you can make that determination.
Of my three 12 strings, only one, the Taylor 856 has a compensated saddle (came that way). My two Guild 12 strings have ordinary saddles.
 

Rayk

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You can up the gauge for open C or you can custom match heavy on the lows lighter on the highs or mix and match any way inbetween .

string tensions play part between brands .
Compensating the saddle ? If you Only play cowboy chords or stay around the 1-5 fret area you might not need it but if you play all the way up the neck chording then chances are you might especially if octaves are involved .

Things could be close enough as is and if it’s off a bit just tune in-between and you should get by .

if you change open tunings having a compensated saddle for C or other specific tuningmight not work at all for other tunings . Some players change out saddles for specific tunings .

That hurts my head just thinking about going that route . Lol

anyway the best way to start is to get your guitars set up well for its specific use . Lower the tuning higher the action .
Lower the tuning the more the strings will flub around . Also action that’s to low can reduce the guitars volume.

For me mostly I up high E and B gauge to 13’s I finger pick so I have a lighter attack and I can mange the lows if your strumming then you may need to up everything or like I mentioned make a custom set . String Joy has those options I believe,

over all trial and error, enjoy 😉
 

josh brokaw

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I didn't think about compensating needing to change for changing tunings. I like 13's on the high string on my 6 strings and will check out the String Joy sets, thanks.
 
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