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Differences in 12 strings? And a kerfing question.
Author
Post
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 273
I'm waiting on wood right now to get building on my next kit which would be technically 1 step away from scratch build. I'd be carving my neck and what not, so I had been considering doing a 12 string IF I don't have to change up to much for the bracing and what not, considering my OM plans don't include anything about 12 strings.

I was just curious to know what the actually building differences are between the 12 strings and the 6 string acoustics.

And for the kerfing question. I had been thinking about the reverse rounded kerfing, and the wood I have coming has standard triangle kerfing. Are there any reasons why not to use standard triangle kerfing, and put it on backwards so the solid side faces out to make it more rigid? I'll most likely purchase separate reverse rounded kerfing for this Walnut guitar I want to build, but I'll use the standard on something else, and can't think of why I wouldn't be able to put the triangle kerfing on backwards than usual. I may be missing something though, who knows.

Dan

Jan 13, 10 | 11:45 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
The angles will be wrong if you put regular kerfing on backwards. And you would still see the kerfs because they are taller on traditional kerfing vs. RR kerfing.
The RR kerf has a smaller shoulder area where the kerfs can be seen. Capish? (Thats Italian for "comprende?" lol)

Jan 14, 10 | 4:52 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Oh yeah...I would assume a 12 string has heavier bracing just because of the increased string tension. When I eventually let my son destroy my Takamine 12 string, I will confirm that.
I normally wouldnt let anyone destroy one of my guitars, but the Tak needs a neck reset and that will probably cost more than the guitar. Although I have had it for 20 some years....ahhhh...the memories.

Jan 14, 10 | 4:54 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Tony, I have built two 12 strings and own one other one (a D12-28). Before I built mine I did a lot of research on different 12's and used this information to come up with my designs. Here are some things to take into consideration.

First and formost is how you plan to string it, tune it and play it. Are you going to tune to concert (and if so, what strings do you plan to use) or do you like down tuning? Do you mainly strum and flatpick, or do you play fingerstyle? Do you play up the neck? What 12's have you played and what do you like/dislike about them?

Depending on your string choices and tuning, it is not uncommon for the tension on the top to be 230 - 250 pounds (a normal steel string is 160-180), and some folks abuse their 12's with even more. A good place to start hiere is the UMGF FAQ string tension chart - 12 strings are covered at the bottom.

It is amazing to me that in view of 50% more tension, many 12's are built just like a sixer - my D12-28 has exactly the same unscalloped 5/16 braces as a D28 and the same top thickness. Taylor goes 0.010 thicker on top plate (which I did on mine) and uses three 5/16 tone bars. The wonderful LKSM has even fatter braces which are deeply scalloped, but this git is designed for Leo's C# tuning with some pretty heavy strings.

Short scale 12 strings are a little easier to play because of the slightly reduced tension, but they don't down tune as well. If you are going to tune to concert you might consider 24.9, if you plan to tune to D like lots of us do, maybe 25.4 or even longer (I'll come back to this in a minute). Other things to consider about the neck includes its width (most 12's are 1-7/8 at the nut and 2-5/16 or so at the saddle). Think about the tuners you will use before laying out the peg head - there aren't too many quality small ones.

The bridge layout sets the spacing of the individual strings in each course - you can do a little bit with ramping to change that but you will want to lay that out carefully. Martins (with the exception of the new Grand J) have the octaves closest to the saddle, this seems to emphasize them (a little more jangle), Guild and Taylors place the primaries closest to the saddle (as does the Grand). Minor point but at some point you need to decide.

Twelves are really hard to intonate (you've got little tiny strings right next to big phat ones) but it can be done. Consider a wider than normal saddle blank to give yourself enough bone to compensate each string. If you only play cowboy chords this souldn't be a problem but if you play up the neck it will be. It takes me about six hours each to build a nut and saddle for a 12.

Body size makes a huge diference. One of the things that I disliked the most about my Martin was that it is a dread - a big, boomy, totally unbalanced dread. As a finger picker I was looking for something more balanced across the strings, I play up the neck and lots of slide and I really don't care for the jingle jangle of many 12's, so I settled on a deep OM body. Seems to have worked. Most of the really good production 12's (Taylor and Guild) are jumbos - if I was making an all around 12 banger that is what I would choose.

Wood is a little diferent than on a sixer. You get all these incredible overtones on a 12 and a complex wood like rosewood just seems like too much. Leo Kottke and many others feel that mahogany is by far the best tone wood - I agree but becaues I love the beauty of rose that is what I used.

There are lots of other consideration - I'll add just one more. I was brought up on the old blues of Huddy Ledbetter and Willie McTell and I simply love the big sound of the old ladder braced Stella 12's. My last project was to try to emulate that so after a lot of research I built a smallish bodied (000) very long scale (26.2) adi over mahogany ladder braced 12. It is currently strung pretty heavily and tuned to C, and it is an absolute monster (both its sound and to play). Here are a couple of shots of my home made ones (the D12-28 mostly sits in the closet since I built these)



http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/forum/threads.php?id=961_0_6_0_C

http://www.kitguitarsforum.com/forum/threads.php?id=4114_0_9_0_C

and if you really want a laugh, there are a couple of clips of both of them here. Pardon the really crappy playing LOL

http://www.thekrashsite.com/annex/freeman.htm

Jan 14, 10 | 6:43 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Btw - when you look at those you are seeing a 14 fret 25.4 scale on the left and a 12 fret 26.2 on the right. The OM and 000 bodies are about the same size (the 000 has a bigger upper bout). Dramatic differences in bridge location and fret spacing. Tailpiece and slothead changes lots of things LOL

I'll add that someone just posted on MIMF that they had built a double X braced top and decided it was too overbuilt for a sixer so they made a 12 out of it and it turned out well. One more thing to consider.

Jan 14, 10 | 6:49 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
The Sloane and David Russell Young construction publications --- a few bucks each on Amazon show very clearly the build variations 6 to 12.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 14, 10 | 7:19 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
[i]The Sloane and David Russell Young construction publications --- a few bucks each on Amazon show very clearly the build variations 6 to 12.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978[/]

Ken, can you summarize what Sloane and Russell say the differences are? And what would you furnish in a 12 string kit?



Jan 14, 10 | 11:13 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Freeman, those are some nice guitars. I eventually want to build a 12 string. I might go with a smaller body than a dread.

Jan 14, 10 | 12:59 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
What I'm planning on building is a Walnut OM next. And it's basically a scratch build, with exception of bent sides and slotted fretboard.

I was contemplating making it a 12 string, but I may save the 12 string project for cheap sapele, especially since I've read mahogany is suppose to complement 12 strings better than rosewood.

This build I may just stick with 6 strings, but 12 string has been a consideration for a while, I just need to do alot more reading on what I need to do differently.

Thanks for input,
Dan

Jan 14, 10 | 1:01 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Freeman,

We don't offer a 12 string kit, I am working on 8 and 9 string designs, but that's on the back burner.

Sloane's mods are very simple -- the 6 string has a top thickness just over .10, the 12 string top is .125 --- the 6 string has fabric side reinforcemnts like the old Martins, the 12 string has 1/4x1/8 solid wood and most significant the 12 string bridge plate is about twice the size of the 6 string's.

Young's top bracing is much different, he even has a ladder brace running just in front of the X brace intersection, no finger braces, the lower bass/tone bar intersects the X and run from the tail to the rim, and the sound hole reinforcements intersect the X legs and run up to the ladder brace --- different to say the least.

I have not built either guy's 12 string models but several of each of their six string guitars ---- the flat pick guys love them and say they sound vintage, what ever that means??

Not sure it's allowed -- Bill can I post a scan?

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978


Jan 14, 10 | 1:27 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Thanks, Ken. The thicker top fits what I would expect (altho Martin does not make theirs any thicker) and you would certainly need a bigger bridgeplate to cover the larger pin hole area. I've started using wood side braces after a split in the little parlor, but I think that makes sense on any guitar (my old D18 had a "key crack" that had to be reinforced). I'll have to go back and check, but I think I used 0.110 for my standard top thickness, 0.120 on the OM12 and either 0.130 or 0.150 on the Stella clone (it was whatever the measurements on Leadbellys were).

The other one sounds totally interesting, and if it doesn't violate any copyrights I would love to see it (I see scans posted all the time, but you never know about the legality). If not I might just bite the bullet and add the book to my library.

And Tony, thank you too. I play 12's about as much (and as poorly) as I do sixers and I am not at all crazy about dreads. If all you want to do is strum, fine, but for anything else I would certainly consider a jumbo, or even smaller. Taylor and Guild's best 12's are all jumbos - seriously consider that if and when you build one. Maybe by then Ken will offer a nice hog 12 string kit with proper braces and a well designed neck.

And Dan, get ready for a great adventure carving your neck. The one on the Stella-clone was my first - three piece with a scarf joined headstock - learned a few tricks about how to keep it symetrical. It is a bit beyond the "kit" concept but I'd be happy to share some pictures. Oh, a good excuse to buy a spoke shave too.


Jan 14, 10 | 1:47 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
About posting scans of copyrighted works ... Depends on what the copyright notice in the book says. If it says no reproductions ... then the answer is no. That's usually what it says ...

Jan 14, 10 | 2:08 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Dan,
I did a neck on my last dred build. Stacked heel with a scarf joint headstock, out of mahogany. I have to tell you that it was fun, and not as hard as I first thought it might be, but I had to think through alot of things before I did them.
It was a mortise and tenon joint, and I precut the mortise in the neck block, and cut out the tenon with my table saw and a hand saw. The table saw was very handy to cut both the cheek relief and the neck to body angle at the same time. I also did not "carve" the neck. I cut as much away as I could using my band saw, and then I filed and sanded to the final size and shape. I found chiseling a bit daunting. The mahogany can splinter very easily if one does not cut in the right direction. I just found it less nerve racking, and more comfortable to do it that way. Perhaps my chisels weren't sharp enough. I couldn't even make the spoke shave work right...?????
Anyway, I think you will enjoy it, just take your time, and again, think each step through as you go.
I have a very nice set of Claro Walnut just waiting to be made into an OM, which should be my #5. I have the Kinkade book, and plan on using his plans. If you don't have it, it is well worth having and alot of fun to read and look at the pictures. He does a pretty good job of explaining things too.

Dan, bending is really not that difficult if you want to jump in and give it a try, and it too gives alot of satisfaction. Get yourself a 12" length of 2 1/2" to 3" pipe and a propane torch. Or you can build yourself an electric bending pipe like I did, for about $20.

Kevin


Jan 14, 10 | 2:20 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
Thanks for input guys,

I'm looking forward to making my own neck, I'm honestly not worried about the process at all as long as I can get the joint cut/routed out find, then rest of it I will be comfortable with.

Kevin, it's not that I'm afraid the bend my sides, I got a "kit" from a guy on ebay named Kevin Murry that he's making it up for me right now, and they come with bent sides joined top/back and some other things, but mostly scratch. My own neck/rosette/bracing ect... Just 1 step from 100% scratch, which is nice because he does some things I still don't have tools for.

I'll stick with a 6 string for this Walnut OM, and I will potentially try a 12 string on my next, hopefully a J200 style sapele with 12 string. Can't wait to get my wood to start guitar 4, although 2 & 3 aren't done, can't do the finish until spring.

Dan

Jan 14, 10 | 7:09 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
"The angles will be wrong if you put regular kerfing on backwards. And you would still see the kerfs because they are taller on traditional kerfing vs. RR kerfing.
The RR kerf has a smaller shoulder area where the kerfs can be seen. Capish? (Thats Italian for "comprende?" lol)"

The kerfing was just one of those things that for some reason your brain doesn't want to work and can't picture it with out physically seeing it. Although I have no idea what you meant right there Tony, but I finally pictured the kerfing in my head and came to the conclusion that the reason it won't work is because it's tapered triangle and not parallel with the other side, if you were to flip it around, and put the kerfed side against the wall of the guitar, your kerfing strip would not follow the rim of the guitar, but it would be angled because your tilting your kerfing into the side, so that's why it would not work. Too alot longer than it should have to picture that, but I guess that's what I get for thinking about guitar building when I'm tired.

With the reverse rounded, the sides are parallel to each other so it stays true and can follow the rim line that way, and the rounded part is just for a smooth look.

I think one more build I'm going to start trying solid wooden strips, because I like the look of those much more than kerfing anyhow.

Dan

Jan 14, 10 | 8:49 pm
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
DanB,I am not surprised you did not understand what I was talking about! When I re-read my post, I realized I was not very clear. However, you did come to the same conclusion about why you can not simply put it in backwards. So I wont try to clarify my post! Suffice it to say that when you wrote "its a tapered triangle and not parallel with the other side" you pretty much wrote what I was getting at. Only in more gooder English. LOL
This confusion could have been easily avoided if you were in my head at the time I was thinking about this. I had a very clear picture in there at the time that would have shown you what I meant!

Jan 15, 10 | 6:18 am
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
Haha, Tony, and I had the exact opposite. I was trying my best to get a clearer picture but my brain didn't feel like working everytime I thought about it. Must have been too tired anytime I thought it up.

Dan

Jan 15, 10 | 7:22 am
Tony_in_NYC

Total Topics: 29
Total Posts: 448
Freeman, those are nice guitars.

DanB, sometimes I can not, for the life of me, figure out something in my head. Then the second I STOP thinking about it, the solution pops in there. Its funny how that happens.

Jan 15, 10 | 7:32 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
DanB (and others) - I had this bookmarked from my build and just "rediscovered" it the other day. Click on the "12 string" image to see what Taylor says about their bracing. There are a lot of folks out there who happen to believe that Taylor and Guild build the best 12 modern 12's - this could be one of the secrets

http://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/features/bracing/types.aspx

Jan 19, 10 | 11:40 am



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