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First time build: T-style 12 string

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Slim60, Sep 27, 2019.

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  1. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    Maybe I jumped in the deep end, but was shopping for a new electric guitar and ended up buying a kit instead. It combined Telecaster styling but was a 12 string. The price was right enough so I bought it from an auction site. Never built any guitar, or even done any work on one before so I was flying blind.

    By trial and error ran out of parts so I must be close to done.

    DSCN5203.JPG DSCN5211.JPG DSCN5213.JPG DSCN5214.JPG DSCN5222.JPG
     
  2. Ducerro

    Ducerro Tele-Holic

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    Looks great!
     
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  3. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    Thanks!

    My difficulty with it is the playability - trying to suss out the problem with the bridge. The octave strings tend to slip off the little grooves in the saddles.

    I can't decide if it's the cheapness of the parts that come with the kit, or my not understanding what I'm doing wrong. DSCN5024.JPG

    Aren't the octave strings meant to be pretty much the same height as the main strings?
     
  4. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Nice lookin' snakehead!

    Not sure about the bridge - I cannot see it clearly enough in the picture to make out what should be what.
     
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  5. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 1 of these 12 string kits, albeit a slightly different look.

    I dug my bridge out that's identical to yours. It looks like you have your height adjustment screws on the individual saddle at their lowest possibility of adjustment, correct? I think a complaint of these has been that string alignment for the string thru doesn't provide enough downward force to keep the string where it needs to remain in the notch of the saddle. Looking at mine I can see the string route over the intonation screw & down to the back of the bridge is gonna fight itself when tuned to pitch.

    Without seeing yours in person I wonder if you might need a shim in your neck pocket? With your saddles that low I wonder if there's any pressure at all to keep your string in the notch. I also ran my finger over the saddle. There's barely an indent where that string is supposed to sit. I'm not sure whether this is just cheap manufacture or intended. Prob the cheapness.

    Looking at my saddles head on the strings are slightly off. As far as I know this is how 12 strings are. I've got very limited experience with them though.
     
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  6. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice.
     
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  7. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    Yes, I don't have the greatest camera and everything's so shiny it's hard to focus!
     
  8. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    You're correct - trying to get the strings close to the fretboard I have adjusted the saddles to about the lowest position possible. The screws that adjust the height are almost touching the strings at this point. Even so, the action as I go up the neck toward the body seems to be extremely high.

    I'm concerned about strings being too far from the fretboard over all. I don't have any real instruments for measuring, but on the nut end of the neck there's about a US Quarter's thickness of height between the strings and the frets while on the frets closest to the bridge there's about two Quarters' height. I should be about the same all along the length, right?

    Another way that I have perhaps mal-adjusted the saddle units is that I've tried to get the octave strings to be fairly even with the main strings by tilting the saddles to raise the one without raising the other. With the result that the notches are less able to contain the strings.

    I have just today seen a 12-string T-style kit build where the person suggested the bridges were poorly designed and are 'correctly' strung in a non-intuitive way (I just shot mine straight from the hole on the end of the bridge over the intonation screws to the saddles and the video claims they're supposed to go under somehow to avoid those screw heads).

    Shimming the neck pocket seems like it should address the way I've adjusted the saddles downward, and very likely the issue with string height where the neck joins the body. Who knows? Maybe it will help with my perception about how high the octave strings are relative to the main strings.


    Thanks for your insights - I'll have to do some research on neck shims!
     
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  9. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd consider your action high by my standards. Some height adjustment at the nut & figuring out your neck angle/saddle dilemma are just a couple points.

    Looking at my bridge I cant fathom how the videower can expect one to route that string "under" anything. Under the screw that sets intonation? Under the saddle? What?

    My kit has been sitting dormant, partially because of laziness, & partially that bridge. I'm looking forward to what you might find works best. Itll help me prepare.

    Good job regardless. Only thing I'd do is clean up that pickguard somehow. It looks "importy".;)
     
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  10. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    The pick guard is not as nice as I'd like, so that's another upgrade I can add to the list.

    Examining this bridge I think I see what the guy in the video was talking about:

    DSCN5236.JPG

    Here I have the octave string going straight from the hole at the heel of the bridge over the screw that adjusts the intonation (actually touching it!), then over the saddle and barely clearing the Allen screw that adjusts the height of the saddle. I did it that way because it seems very natural and the only apparent problem is that the screw head touching the string looks like a bad design idea.

    I think the video guy was suggesting rather than go *over* this screw to go *below* it and then pop up *between* the screw and the saddle.

    DSCN5234.JPG

    Which is what perhaps that little hole in front of the Phillip's head screw is for?

    It would solve my issue with the string touching the Phillip's head screw, but would put a severe bend in the string right before it goes over the saddle.

    Either way I go it looks to me like a poor design. Maybe there is a way it's supposed to be I haven't sussed out yet and when it comes to me I'll kick myself for not seeing it right away!
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2019
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  11. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do recall that string route being done. As I remember it posed another issue. String tension wanting to lift the saddle? I dont remember.
     
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  12. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I strung mine with the normal string first, then the octave. Where you have the octave, the saddle is lower. I figured the fatter string would go on the lower saddle. Seems to work for me. Note that this doesn't follow too well for the plain strings, where I sort of tilted the pair to bring the string heights parallel.
    Setting the intonation is a pain so royal, it could have a coronation matched only by its overbite. Thankfully, it only needs doing once.
    twelvecaster-bridge.jpg

    The photo is a bit rubbish, but it shows 'fat then thin' string ordering.

    Consider a business card shim to try and get the heights into a more reasonable adjustment range too.
     
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  13. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was thinking about possibly reversing the octave. It makes sense with different string gauge.
     
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  14. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Looks good, I did a similar kit (is yours RAS?) and looks like the same bridge...

    I found the same weird problem, and ended up using the saddle height screws to tilt the saddles at an angle so the octave strings are nearly the same height as the main strings — like so:

    TELE 12 B-12.jpg

    ...It's a bit goofy but works well enough (maybe it's supposed to be like that??), in fact it's an incredible playing guitar, everyone is amazed, not least me. Don't give up on the playability.


    I had the same issue, and a shim solved it perfectly.

    Also — did you level the frets? Mine needed leveling.
    — and make sure your nut slots are deep enough.
     
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  15. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    I think it might be the brand - that sounds familiar. I didn't buy it directly from a dealer but from some dude on an auction site. And I assembled it some time ago and put it in a closet until recently.

    That's what I was doing - tilting the saddles to an extreme degree. The bigger strings seem to do OK, but the skinny ones slip right off the saddle into the gap between the saddles!

    I feel like I need to get a close look in person at a high end bridge of this type to see how it's supposed to work.

    It was my impression that some guitars put the octaves 'above' the regular string (as I've done here) and some put them 'under' the main string. I think I decided to string it with the octaves 'above' for some reason - perhaps it was simply thinking the regular strings are meant to be the ones that go though the body.

    I'll have to figure out how to calculate the right thickness of shim to accomplish my goal.

    Suppose I raise the saddle height until it's about parallel to the body of the guitar, then measure the string height from the frets - is that basically what is called for?

    But before doing that perhaps I need to think about what's going on at the nut-end of the neck: the action there seems to me a bit more than ideal (I use a lot of folk chords, so this is where most of the playing will take place). I'm guessing if I'm holding down more strings every time I form a chord (being a 12-string instead of 6) the lowest practical action is called for.

    So I imagine the game plan would be to deal with the nut and the bridge first before I can figure out what I need by way of shims for the neck socket.

    I did not really level the frets. AFAICT they seemed okay, but I did not do any sort of measuring to confirm. When I take the thing apart to address these other issues I'll have to look into that.

    There is also the string tree - I had no idea where it's supposed to go, so I placed it where it is based on images from other guitars I found on the interwebs.
     
  16. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    With strings off, you can raise the saddles halfway or so, insert a shim, tighten the neck screws, then put a straight-edge ruler on the fretboard and extend it to the bridge — the angle should be such that the ruler is just about where you want the ends of the saddles to be.

    Most likely a credit-card thickness or less will do it. You can get close with the method above. Others more experienced may have further suggestions.
     
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  17. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    Very cool and great first effort
     
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  18. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    Found an old pic of the kit when it arrived - there is a logo branded into the neck pocket:

    tele kit.jpg
     
  19. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Mine has the same logo in the neck pocket; I got mine from the seller "senior" in Mississippi, who apparently sells under other eBay names as well. I recall the box had the letters "RAS" on it so assumed it was imported by Reid & Sons (RAS).


    This looks like the same kit I got (I won mine in an auction for $75!) —

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=291807452505

    — although that logo is not shown, but it is shown on this 6-string tele kit:

    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338148343&icep_item=311656642505
     
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  20. Slim60

    Slim60 TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    I like the look of the arrangement of the controls on those kits as compared to mine.
     
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