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12-String Guitar

A meeting place to discuss playing styles, favorite players, set-ups, and anything else about this wonderful instrument.

Members: 275
Latest Activity: 17 minutes ago

Discussion Forum

Concert pitch or lower? 10 Replies

Started by Stephen Leigh. Last reply by Robert 2 hours ago.

Any try or use Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze .010-.047 yet? If so, opinions? 4 Replies

Started by Martin van Dooremalen. Last reply by FloridaGull on Thursday.

Your FIRST 12 string guitar hero or heroine ... what's your story? 16 Replies

Started by Alan Sturgess. Last reply by Jim Yates Mar 20.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Edward Sparks on August 1, 2011 at 10:19am

Good advice John...AND your guitar doesn't get chapped lips! ;-)

I think that some of the lubricants for guitar nuts is basically the same as chapstick anyway, and the chapstick would be cheaper!  Thanks, Edward

Comment by John Gundrum on August 1, 2011 at 9:34am
One other 'cheap' lubricant that is well suited for electric guitars is Chapstick (lip balm).  Basically any point the string touches something else should be lubricated.  Graphite is excellent for the nut slots but not as good for points at the bridge or on the string trees holding down string on the headstock.  Lip balm is a good choice to use at metal to metal points.
Comment by Robert on July 30, 2011 at 8:15am
Thanks for the input about graphite.  Replacing the nut/saddle with bone (I believe they're resin)) on my Martin isn't an option just now, but I'll take a pencil to them next time I change strings.  And to my Gretsch, which has a Bigsby
Comment by Edward Sparks on July 30, 2011 at 5:58am
Great advice John...I have been doing it for simple, yet so effective.  Edward
Comment by John Gundrum on July 29, 2011 at 8:09pm

I don't think graphite isn't used so much to avoid string breakage but to help keep strings in tune.  Graphite is a lubricate (ask any locksmith) and with guitars - especially electrics with tremolo bars - it helps prevent the strings from getting caught up in the nut.

BTW, the best way to add graphite to a nut is to write in the slots of the nut with a pencil.  Pencil lead is actually graphite which will help keep you in tune.  Do this especially if you hear string creak when tuning (the 3rd/G string is usually the biggest offender).  Loosen the string enough to pull it out of the nut slot and then pencil in some graphite.

Comment by Christopher Cozad on July 29, 2011 at 2:36pm

Hey Edward,

Well, it was worth the wait! She was away for a long time, but I am so very pleased with the work. It is the best of both experiences, sitting down with a brand-new guitar and playing a well-loved and well-broken-in guitar. I believe in recycling, especially when it comes to older guitars! lol

Comment by Edward Sparks on July 29, 2011 at 2:24pm
I am with Christopher on that one...bone is the way to go! I use Martin extra lights on my 1980 Guild JF212XL and I keep them tuned to concert feels right and sounds right to me and I don't have to have the capo on the 2nd fret all the time. I have a Martin D-28-12 in the shop right now getting a neck reset and new set of frets and I can't wait to get it back! However, I will keep it tuned down a whole step for songs I need it that low for. The previous owner used lights and kept it tuned up to pitch and really blew it. My Guild has two truss rods in the neck and so with extra lights I have no worries. Edward
Comment by Christopher Cozad on July 29, 2011 at 1:49pm
I have never used graphite for any of my guitars, instead always opting for bone. I think my Guilds originally shipped with micarta (resin) and I had issues with breaking strings. I found string breakage to be a non-issue with bone nuts and saddles. I have also had guitars outfitted with Tusq nuts and saddles and they always performed well. If not using bone, I would probably opt for Tusq over graphite for the tone considerations, not to mention I think Tusq is something like 500% "slipperier" than graphite. Check it out.
Comment by Robert on July 29, 2011 at 1:41pm
A follow-up question: what about graphite for the nut and saddle?  I have a friend who always replaces these on his electrics, supposedly because it prevents string breakage. (I have very little trouble with breaking strings, so I haven't done it on any of my instruments so far.)
Comment by Christopher Cozad on July 29, 2011 at 1:36pm

Hello, Robert,


I use light gauge phosphor bronze (it is the tone I prefer the most, though I blow through them rather quickly). I have not been very brand loyal in recent years, and rotate between the major brands all with about the same performance. Coated strings last longer, but begin life "duller", so I tend to avoid them when I am performing or (or just feeling really picky about the sound).


I prefer brass strings (80/20) on my 6 string rosewood jumbo as it really "brightens" the tone, but I am beginning to believe that is due to how flat the guitar's sound has become over the years. It is in need of a neck reset just as it's 12 string mate received. But the real distinguishing item in my recent revelation has to do with the thickness of the bridge.


After resetting the neck, the bridge was completely replaced on my 12 string, and the mass of that new, thick ebony beast really drives and vibrates the top resulting in unparalleled tone (I never remember this guitar sounding this good). The bridge on my 6 sting has been shaved down over the years to a mere sliver, with the saddle buried deep in it in order to keep the action playable. As a result, there is very little vibration of the top when a string is plucked. The difference between the two guitars is remarkably noticeable. Once it gets a new bridge I am fairly certain I will retire those brass strings on the 6 string.


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