Thinking of doing a fender style 12-string build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by gobi_grey, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

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    Considering doing a 12-string build. Probably using Warmoth parts or at least a Warmoth neck. Not sure yet on which body style I want to go with. I'd like to do a tele but the 12-string headstock just looks out of place with a tele body to me. Maybe an offset but I'd rather have the 3 strat style pickup configuration than the typical two split pole pickups. I like the looks of the offset better than the strat body. Any ideas or advice?
     
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  2. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Holic

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    Why not an offset with Strat pickup configuration? If you get the body from Warmoth, that's certainly an option.
     
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  3. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

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    I am leaning towards offset with tele style bridge and 3 pickups.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    I build and play 12 string acoustic guitars. I've never built a 12 string electric but I've done setups and work on a few. Some things to think about....

    - Most 12 strings have wider spacing at the nut to accommodate the extra strings. Most acoustics are in the 1-7/8 inch range, if you go narrower than that it can feel pretty crampec.

    - it is nice to have wider spacing at the bridge. Some 12 string bridges accommodate that - some do not. That might be an issue with choosing pickups

    - one of the problems with wider nut AND bridge spacing is that the neck is wider at the body joint (16th or 18th fret). That is fine if you are building the neck and body, it becomes a problem if you are trying to fit a neck to an existing body or vise versa.

    - at some point in your design you will need to decide on scale length, strings and tunings. People think that 12 strings have twice the tension of a sixer, actually most of them are around 150 percent. Take that into consideration with structural design.

    - scale length can be very important. Shorter scale lessens the tension and can make the guitar easier to play. Longer scales are frequently used with lower tunings, which can be very nice on a 12. I own three different acoustic 12's that are different scales - they are very different guitars

    - you will need to decide which way to order the courses - "normal" with the primaries on the odd positions or "Rickenbacker" with the primaries on the even.

    - twelve strings can be a pain to intonate. Take that into consideration when you choose your bridge.

    - twelve strings can be really head heavy. Take that into consideration when you design your neck joint and head shape. Whether the Rick design is elegant or stupid is a matter of taste - just remember the weight of the tuners and the paths of the strings

    - some twelve strings won't fit standard cases. Custom cases can be expensive and long delivery (ask how I know)

    Not trying to discourage you and certainly Warmoth makes some wonderful bodies and necks. My suggestion before finalizing your design is to get out and play every one you can, take some measurements, go into this with your eyes open.
     
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  5. lammie200

    lammie200 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have assembled a couple 12 string partscasters. The one that I kept has a 25.5" scale length and 1-11/16" nut width to avoid any kind of wider neck that would be necessary. That is close to a Ric nut width and it works for me. 7.25" to 9.5" compound radius. There are not a lot of choices for 12 string bridges and the one that Warmoth offers has individual saddles for each string so it can be intonated properly. I used a Jazzmaster body. Great guitar IMHO.
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I built a walnut CBS style neck with an ash Telemaster body. To me the strap button at the 12th fret makes the balance better than a tele body would provide you at the 16th fret. That's a Gotoh 12 bridge with a cut tele bridge piece in front of it.


    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/telemaster-xii-build.593740/


    telemaster 12.jpg



    I am finishing an epi conversion with a LP jr body this week. The shorter neck is kind of nice. Oddly enough, it is a Fender scale. I haven't strapped in on but I suspect it'll be more neck heavy than the telemaster 12 :). The tailpiece is a 12 but the bridge is a standard Nashville style with unslotted saddles.


    maestro epi.jpg


    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/epiphone-maestro-les-paul-junior-12-string-conversion-build.914387/
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  7. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Holic

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    That'd be cool. You can find 12-string Tele and Strat bridges on ebay that allow for intonating each string individually.
     
  8. Mr_Q

    Mr_Q TDPRI Member

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    Nice. I like that body style.
     
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  9. PC_Hater

    PC_Hater Tele-Meister

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    For years I thought the reason I didn't like 12 string guitars was because I had only tried cheap ones. So I had a go on a couple of Rickenbackers -didn't like them either!

    Last year I bought a Gear4Music 12-string Tele, it was very cheap. It took me 2 days to get the thing playable.
    So, with that in mind I learned that you have to be VERY careful which bridge you choose. It has a chinese copy of the Gotoh 12-string bridge, it is a horrible thing. I have never seen the real Gotoh bridge - hopefully it is made properly in which case it ought to be OK. It will be irritating but from what I have seen that is par for the course!

    The best thing about the Gear4Music 12-string is the 1 7/8" nut width. What a revelation!
    My fingers don't get tangled up in the strings, and to my horror I discovered that I prefer to string it the Rickenbacker way... The chinese bridge is damned near unusable for that - I have it sort of working and have a better quality german bridge ready to go on.

    Make the right choices for you and it'll be a nice guitar.
     
  10. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll add that a Warmoth Neck gives you the Tele or Strat Heel dimensions with ample room for picking ect at the bridge. I got a QS Maple neck with an Ebony board 12 string neck with the Octave first style nut. It's great quality, hopefully when I actually paint the body I can finally put it together.
     
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  11. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    thumb.gif
     
  12. DesmoDog

    DesmoDog Tele-Afflicted

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    Make it look like a snakehead?

    [​IMG]


    I also did a Starcaster by putting a 12 string neck from GFS on it. Not the best picture but you get the idea. Using a Modern Player Starcaster body has some issues since it doesn't use the standard heel dimensions on the body, but by luck the 24" scale length compensated for the heel dimension and I only had to tweak the width of it. I've also seen guys just put a spacer on the heel and use a standard Fender 12 string neck .

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

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    How about wood types? Needs to be strong and probably fairly heavy to prevent head dive. Would the size of the offset body take care of that problem on it's own? Seems like a pretty large amount of wood.
    Poplar is cheap but I might want to do a see through finish and that wouldn't be the best choice in that case. 95% of my other guitars are ash so it'd be fun to use something different. I want to make sure it's strong. Don't want any problems with the neck pocket under all that tension. I would like an easy wood to work with since I'm still a novice at finishing. The two teles I've done so far have turnes out pretty good so I should be fine but wouldn't hurt to play it safe I guess.
    Neck will be maple with ebony most likely. Probably the boatneck profile. I can always sand it back a little before I finish it if it's too chunky.
     
  14. PC_Hater

    PC_Hater Tele-Meister

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    The headstock on the Gear4Music 12-string Tele is more or less Snakehead, looks OK.
    Plan A would be the Rickenbacker Way of doing a 12-string but I think you would have to get a Warmoth neck with a paddle headstock and do it yourself.

    Search the internet and you can find some nicely done 12 string electrics with 6 tuners on the body instead of using 12 tuners on the headstock.
     
  15. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not so sure you need heavy as much as you need balance. Slap some tuners on the neck when you get it and weigh it. This should give you an idea what you'll need weight wise to make a comfortable playing guitar.

    Honestly Poplar/Alder come to mind right away, there can be a fairly decent weight difference from piece to piece with both types of wood, meaning you should be able to get a blank that won't break your back but will balance a neck loaded with hardware nicely.
     
  16. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ok ok,you talked me into it.This is my snakehead 12
    Yes, a Rickenbacker style snakehead,eastern red cedar body and spalted maple top.Finished weight 7lbs 12oz.Curly maple from Pennsylvania,gunstock grade neck and Indian rosewood fretboard

    CD1603.JPG CD1606.JPG CD1630a.JPG CD1639.JPG CD1640.JPG
     
  17. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

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    What radius would you guys go with? I'm used to 7.25 on normal 6-string guitars. I'm guessing flatter is a little better for 12-strings though? Would 9.5 be too much curve?
     
  18. mefgames

    mefgames Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    I built this one last year based on the Fender Electric XII, originally made from 1965 to 1969. Parts are still available to make it look original.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. ModerneGuy

    ModerneGuy Tele-Holic

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    I think you should read the quoted post several times...

    I've just completed (or nearly completed) my first 12 electric build and it really does feel like another level of complexity over a six or a bass. I say nearly because, apart from likely changing the neck pick up pot to 1 Meg and adding a treble bleed circuit, I reckon I'll cut yet another nut for it as I work out the optimal string spacing for me.

    Keep in mind that while the overall width of the nut has a lot to do with how much room you have, I have seen people widen the the spacing and take the strings out nearly to the edge to get a couple of extra mm on Rickenbackers with notoriously skinny nut widths. Makes sense - you are very unlikely to be doing crazy blues bends on a 12.

    Regarding weight and balance - just remember that guitars and basses balance better when the instrument has a longer upper horn, so your offset idea is likely a good one. For my "original" design - aesthetic balance won over real world balance and therefore it is a slight diver. One way I tried to compensate for this was by going with Gotoh tuners with plastic buttons - they're just slightly lighter than the metal ones but when there are twelve of them it adds up. With a wider strap - oh yeah I also need to order strap buttons, it should be fine.

    Final advice is to decide what parts you are going to use and draw everything up before you proceed - particularly if you're going with a Rick style headstock. I did draw mine up (the headstock) but still had a few scares - I'll be reviewing it before making my next one.

    Cheers, good luck with it. I can't stop playing this one.

    ps scale length is 24 and 3/4 (like a Ric) and strung the same way. Currently strung 10-42 and have placed an order for flat wounds which will be interesting.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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    Think about how you will play a 12 string compared to a sixer. Most people don't shred at the 16th fret, most people don't do huge bends. You often pick just a single course, often fairly low on the neck. You might do a lot of chording. Listen to the twelve string players that you want to emulate - do you like the jangle of McGuinn or the growl of a Kottke. You might want to adjust the neck profile to suit.
     
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