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MF MD HG Ask Our Gearheads 07-08-14

12 String Acoustic Guitars

Buying Guide: Acoustic Guitars
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In 1963, the Rooftop Singers released an old country blues song titled "Walk Right In." The single spent several weeks atop the Billboard charts, undoubtedly spurred on by the undeniably catchy opening hook that introduced much of the mainstream audience to the 12 string guitar. Since then, the 12 string guitar has embodied a sound so unique it's hard to imagine what some of the world's most iconic music would sound like without it. Free Fallin', Maggie Mae, Hotel California and more all feature the distinctive sound produced by one of the most important instruments in the history of popular music. A 12 string guitar generally features twin sets of strings paired close together on the neck and tuned octaves apart. This essentially creates a chorus effect, a louder and fuller tone, as well as an overall more rich sound that simply can't be produced by its six string counterpart. This very fact made it a popular instrument for early blues musicians, most notably Lead Belly (often dubbed the "King of the 12 string") who appreciated its loud, natural sound without the need for additional amplification. Those not content with standard tunings can enjoy a variety of tuning options on a 12 string guitar. From lush open tuning with near orchestral tones, to the captivating sounds of down-tuning, to the legendary Nashville tuning, with its jangle qualities, the possibilities with a 12 string guitar are nearly limitless. Traditionally played in folk, rock and other forms of popular music, 12 string guitars have always been enjoyed by a wide spectrum of performers. Some of the world's greatest musicians, including Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Robert Smith, Melissa Ethridge, Thom Yorke, John Lennon and more have used the unique sound of the 12 string guitar to create some of the most memorable music of all time.

  1. 12 String Acoustic Guitars (0)

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