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There seems to be two schools of thought on the 12-string:

1. Those who string them heavy and tune them low
2. Those who use really light strings and tune to concert pitch

I am of the first catagory. I detail my string set up on my blog so I won't rehash it here.

What's your pleasure?

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Replies to This Discussion

On my Guild 12 string I use Martin extra light strings and tune it to pitch...I have no buzzing problem at all.
On my Martin D-12-28 I use Martin light guage strings and tune it a whole step down.
On my Sparks electric 12 string I use a custom guage of strings listed for me by Paul Rdd Smith who partially built the guitar for me and speced the specific guage.

I have used Martin Marquis lights for years, and tuned to concert pitch on my Guild F212XL. Just recently tried a set of Elixir lights and I really like them, also tuned to concert pitch.

Thanks for checking in, Teja.

I have that video saved as a favorite on my YouTube page. I agree, sometimes when I listen to Ralph Towner or Michel Gentils (to name a couple), I wonder if I should re-think my approach. Then when I actually try it, it doesn't sound right. I guess it is what you are used to.

I really shouldn't do this, because Al Petteway might see it, but here is my latest. Sligo Creek on a 12-string, DADGAD tuned down to B:

Nice video...nicer sound! Several years ago I saw ralph Towner live in Maryland as part of the International Guitar Group and he was very one point he put a piece of regualr white paper woven in and out of the strings of his classical to simulate a fuzz box sound...held my attention!
Thanks, Edward
If you get a chance to visit my website, please feel free to sign the Guestbook!
Teja, John,

Both videos are great. Great playing and great sounding guitars.

If I were to try tuning higher with lighter strings, it would all be out the window the first time I heard Michael.

John Wilson said:
If I were to try tuning higher with lighter strings, it would all be out the window the first time I heard Michael.

Wow he is incredible! And it looks like he is playing a Guild F212XL like mine! Thanks for sharing that, Edward
Boy, Michael Gulezian is really great!! Kind of reminds me of some of Phil Keaggy's work.

And that is a Guild F212XLNT he is playing. Go to "" for more info.
The tuning on this one is kind of cool:
d/D g/G d/D f#/F# G/A D/E

This is lowered 3-4 half steps so that the D is a B or Bb - assuming that the audio is not off a bit, he seems to be right in between.
I belong to the heavy stringing low tuning category. Have my Yamaha FG 412-12 tuned down a major third (C to C) and use these strings:

.014 to -059.
I agree. I use Elixir Lights on my Taylor 355 and use standard concert tuning. Sounds great.... too bad Taylor only made a couple of hundred of them before Bob Taylor expressed his ongoing creativity by eliminating this relatively affordable treasure!
I must confess that I have never even tried heavier strings on my own, though I've friends who have and I believe they would all agree with your #s 1 and 2.
While it's not a Jumbo, the GA3-12 is actually pretty close to what my old 355 went for when I bought it. These days, I would gravitate to something slightly smaller anyway. I preferred the black binding on the 355 to the current white binding on the GA3-12.

Sometimes I wish I had kept that 355, but it went to a good home and I still have access to it.


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