12 string intonation blues.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Toadtele, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

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    Bought a Dano 12 off John Backlund last year. It saw a lot of porch time last summer. Hadn’t picked it up since the holidays.
    It was a bit of a mess. And not just the spilled beer spots. Neck was pulled way forward. So I got that all settled out over a period of about four days with 3 small rod adjustments. New strings. Getting there. But 8 of twelve strings need intonation.
    It’s Sunday morning. I just want to play the damn thing. Oh well. Grab another cup of coffee and back to the bench. I know my lady has a chore list for me today.
    The struggle is real, gentlemen.
     
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I feel your pain. Because of similar painful experiences, I make it a point to never put a 12 string aside for any length of time without loosening the strings.

    If it intonated before with the same gauge strings, it should come back. There is a difference between a neck that is "pulled forward" and a neck that has just acquired a little bow. It may take a while for the neck and top to settle down. You may not be done adjusting the truss rod either. Don't even attempt intonation until the instrument has stabilized. Depending on how it was stored over its time off, it may be a while.
     
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  3. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Paraphrasing two old jokes about banjos:

    “How do you know a 12-string is in tune?
    It doesn’t matter, because it isn’t.”

    “Those who intonate 12-strings...cannot.”
     
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  4. Toadtele

    Toadtele Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks! I’m not at all certain it was intoned to begin with. It is an electric with pretty light gauge strings so it’s probably settled down sufficiently.
     
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  5. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    A cup of coffee ... or a coupla quarts o' beer.
     
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  6. Pcs264

    Pcs264 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    As a 12-string owner & player, I'll offer up:

    "How long does it take to tune a 12-string?
    No one knows; it's never been done.". And,

    "12-string players spend half their time tuning and the other half playing out of tune."

    More seriously, it used to be axiomatic that there were expensive 12-strings that had decent intonation & stability, and then there were all other 12-strings. I've heard that the recent Chinese Guilds might be an exception to that, but I don't have personal experience.
     
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  7. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Good! I would start with a thorough evaluation and setup. Intonation is typically the last step with me.
     
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  8. Fearnot

    Fearnot Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Dano 12 and it's tuned and stable. Get it setup properly and remember the Tom Petty rule for 12-string stability: never, ever change the strings. (I read that somewhere a long time ago.)
     
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  9. micpoc

    micpoc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Don’t the Dano 12s have Gotoh-style bridges? That’s about as adjustable as it’s going to get. My Reverend Airwave has a Gotoh bridge which, while a bit fiddle, basically does a great job. It’s not perfect, of course—neither is any 6-string for that matter—but it is most certainly good enough for anything, other than the most complex chords in the upper regions.
     
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  10. micpoc

    micpoc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Ha! He’s probably right, of course. Mine has had the same set of Thomastik flats on for over a year.
     
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