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Pickups for 12-string acoustics 20 Replies

Started by Stephen Leigh. Last reply by Robert Williamson Jun 9.

Recording the 12-string 8 Replies

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Increasing course spacing 17 Replies

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Comment by FloridaGull on November 24, 2011 at 12:17pm

Found something on my local Craigslist - a Yamaha 12-string...

image 0

$160!  Here's the link:

From the ad:

"MSRP: $519.99 and street price new is $330 so it is less than half price..."


Comment by Edward Sparks on November 21, 2011 at 11:30am

Interesting article...


Guitar stolen in 2005 turns up on eBay

Someone stole the six-stringed love of Eric Malmberg's life in 2005. But then it turned up on eBay.

You never forget a great love, and Eric Malmberg never forgot his. He spent about six years tracking down his Fender Telecaster after the guitar was stolen from a practice room.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

One of the last times he saw his guitar, Eric Malmberg was telling a friend this was the one. "This is the guitar I will play for the rest of my life,"' he said.

Two days later, it was gone.

It was June 5, 2005. Someone had slipped into a band rehearsal space at 2921 2nd St. N., a warehouse where bands and musicians hang out, and walked off with Malmberg's guitar, a top-of-the-line American Deluxe Telecaster made by the Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

The Fender guitar is a classic in American rock bands, and Malmberg's guitar is emblematic of the type, with a yellow body that fades to deep orange and then black, what's known as a "sunburst" pattern. Malmberg made one change: he replaced the original off-white pickguard, a plastic shield that rests beneath the guitar strings, with a black one.

"I bought it at Willie's American Guitars in St. Paul. I was looking for that particular type," Malmberg recalled. "I played it for a good couple of hours in the store before I decided to buy it."

He played the Fender as the lead guitar for the rock band Attention, which has toured internationally and released several albums, including last year's "Through the Wire."

Then it was stolen and Malmberg, now 33, settled into the routines of a determined man. He made fliers and put them up in music shops. He searched online. When he was on eBay looking for something to buy, he'd take a minute and enter "American Deluxe Telecaster," just to see what would come up.

And then, finally, something did.

On Nov. 5, he spotted his guitar on eBay. It had the sunburst pattern, the black pickguard and, most importantly, the serial number matched.

"It just makes me sound like Rainman, but I could remember the serial number," he said. "It's like 10 digits. I had searched for it so many times it had stuck in my brain."

The seller said he lived in Minneapolis.

Using Facebook, Malmberg asked if anyone knew a Minneapolis police officer. Soon he was talking to Minneapolis officer Jessie Garcia, who knew some of the staff at KQRS-FM, where Malmberg works a weekend DJ gig as "Dead Eric."

If Malmberg hadn't known the serial number, Garcia said, chances are he wouldn't have been able to retrieve his guitar, worth an estimated $2,000. It would have been his word against the guitar's eBay seller.

Using his personal eBay handle, Garcia contacted the seller and offered him nearly the full asking price for the guitar if the seller would meet him at a downtown bank last Wednesday.

He did, and surrendered the guitar, which was returned to Malmberg within an hour.

No charges will be filed against the seller, who said he bought it from a guitar shop in Blaine several years ago. That shop has since gone out of business. "He, in a sense, was a victim himself," Garcia said.

Malmberg says the guitar has two new nicks, but otherwise is the same classic instrument he remembered.

He said he's already played it for hours.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

Comment by Edward Sparks on November 8, 2011 at 6:28am

Hey Jud,

Yes, I like that new Martin system with the flat knobs on the side.  Both my Guilds have the original AGP1 preamps with the two knobs sticking out of the upper bass bout...sure wish these "flat knob" or soundhole V/T units were available then!  But it's too late now!  But, they do work I don't complain!  Edward 

Comment by Antonio Cotichini on November 7, 2011 at 2:36pm

A couple of interesting (to me) posts.

A friend of mine had a 12string Ovation, but it was (I can't remember the model) 12 frets out of the body, not cutaway, and open headstock (classical style). The curious thing was that it played nice, also unplugged.

Now, about the Pete Seeger's Bruce Taylor guitar.. When I sow it (on Fretboard Journal or Acoustic Guitar), a few years ago, I stole the idea to move the contact point on the bridge of one of the bass string on my 12 Yamaha. Taylor moved back the bigger string saddle (which is better) but I hadn't space to do it, so I moved forward the smaller one. Don't ask me how I find the correct intonation... I studied, I tried ... and it worked.

Comment by FloridaGull on November 7, 2011 at 1:56pm

Here's an interesting guitar - a 12-string Ovation USA Balladeer!

And a link to it at Wolfe Guitars:


Comment by Edward Sparks on November 7, 2011 at 1:39pm

Now, this is interesting!  From the "Let's Talk Guild" site...although you may have to me a member, here is the link:


Some of us have had some discussions about what might be the "Holy Grail" of 12 string guitars. The general agreement is that the Guild F-612 would be it, but for some it might be the pre-Harmony Stella as played by Lead Belly and Willie McTell. For me, the 12 string Holy Grail has always been the Pete Seeger model 12 string.

This signed drawing was given to me by one of the best friends I ever had in this life, the late Dr Anthony A. Verstraete of Penn State. When we met as students in the '60s we soon discovered that we both had caught the 12 string bug at Pete Seeger concerts at a time when 12 strings were not being manufactured or widely distributed in the US. Tony actually wrote to Seeger for advice on finding a 12 string and Pete sent back contact info for G. Stanley Francis, the luthier in the UK who built Pete's guitar. Tony wrote to Francis and got back the drawing and a letter explaining options and pricing. So a few years later when I was scarfing up every recording, newspaper or magazine article, catalog, and photo relating to 12 string guitar, Tony gave me the drawing. He always said he would give me the letter as soon as he found it, but he never did.


A very distinctive guitar indeed. I have always loved the triangular sound hole. The original had six oversize bridgepins, each one holding a pair of strings. More recent versions have 12 pins and a pyramid bridge. These things have a 28" fret scale and are rarely played without a capo somewhere on the neck, just like the Pete Seeger long neck banjo. I suspect the zero fret reduces some of the tuning problems that come with capoing a 12er. Recent Seeger 12ers have been made by Bruce Taylor of Weston CT, less than 10 miles from where I grew up. They have been featured on the cover of "Acoustic Guitar" and the "Pete Seeger at 89" CD. Pete and his grandson can be seen playing a matched pair in the "Power of Song" DVD. Extremely cool!

Maybe for a "Holy Grail" I should have someone make me an 18" monster version of this guitar.

' Strang

Comment by Jud Hair on November 7, 2011 at 11:18am
Edward ... My Martin DCPA4 came with a Fishman.  Although it is built in and has knobs on the side of the bout, they are flat and very unobtrusive. 
Comment by Edward Sparks on November 7, 2011 at 10:17am

Hey Adriaan,

I have a 1980 Martin D-28-12 string that is getting a neck reset as I type this!

I can't wait to get it back and am planning to have my current favorite pickup/preamp system installed in it, the Fishman Matrix Infinity. I have this system in my two Gibson acoustic 6 string guitars and I just love it!  What makes it different? It has a tiny volume and tone control that sticks to the underside of the top inside the soundhole, so they are handy all the time without a knob sticking out of your guitar side...but what is really cool is that the tone control doesn't just raise or lower bass or treble, like very other tone control in history, it actually boosts or cuts the midrange!  The midrange is the range of frequencies that make an acoustic sound electric and muddies things up! I t also has a red light on the preamp (located at the tailblock inside the guitar) that lights up when the battery is low and needs to be replaced! I will use a light gauge 12 string set and keep this Martin 12 tuned a whole step low to relieve pressure on the top, which is what the previous owner did not do and the reason it is in getting a neck reset! I like, and need, the lower tuning for some songs I love to do but are pitched too high for my vocal range!  My main 12 string is a 1980 Guild F212XL with extra light gauge strings that I keep tuned to concert pitch (it has two truss rods in the neck which allow the tuning to be concert pitch with extra light strings). It has an older Fishman system.  I love it's sound too, but the newer Matrix Infinity is much better. Here is a link to the Fishman site, the Matrix Infinity page:

The unit is about $150 street price and I take it to a shop that charged me only $50 to install it!  

Whatever you decide in the end, please let us know what you did and how it works! Thanks, Edward 

My 12's:


Comment by Antonio Cotichini on November 7, 2011 at 8:36am

Hi Adriaan, I think you're in the right place. A lot of people here will give you skilleed advices about the amplification of your 12 string.

My two cents: After having tryed out a few undersaddle piezos, I splitted on under the soundboard K&K Sound System Pure Western. A little bit more prone to feedbak (Larsen effect) but much more natural woody sound.

Good luck

Comment by Adriaan N Roggeveen on November 6, 2011 at 8:09pm
Still looking into groups. I have a Martin D12-20 that I purchased in or around 1970/1 when I came back from SE Asia, again. At the moment she is having her neck reset and some other restoration done after teh long road we have traveled. I do have a quick question and I hope that it won't raise too many eyebrows. Will anyone or does anyone have an "accoustic pickup installed" in your 12-string and what are your comments? I have always used a mic...or not...mostly not for lots of reasons over the years. I ahve been unable to play much over the last few years due to physical challenges which I hope are now resolved; hence the restoration probably due to inactivity...Yes, I did reduce the tension when I put her into storage and paid attention to the humidity etc. Like my hands it was just something I put off too long and now have to try and retrieve what I can. My 6-strings and banjos are back, so now it is time for another step. I picked up the 12-string back in the 1960's and had a Harmony for a long time until I traded it in for the Martin.Anyway, here I am and I would really like to hear some of you play as there is no one around here, I believe, who has even ever heard one. Thanks.

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