• A few reasons. This is all highly personal but... 1) I think they are a pig to play. Much like other "double strung" instruments I find left hand control is far more difficult. 2) Restringing is a complete nightmare. Especially during a performance. I can restring a bass in about 5 minutes (old strings off, new string on and tuned up), a guitar in about 6 minutes a twelve string take me forever. 3) Tuning has to be spot on and in a live situation they drift out very easily (stage lighting etc) Just a few reasons but I know of people that swear by them. They do give a lovely sound but I am never sure if it is worth the hassle. But I am a bass player primarily so...
  • It's hard to tune and restring, which during a live performance can become more of a problem then it's worth. Certain forms of music do not warrant or need that sound. But they do sound awesome for certain music forms.
  • i'd say a it's mostly just a logistical thing in taht tuning and re-stringing are a nightmare.... also, it's impossible to finger pick on a 12 string (ok, not impossible, but i can't figure it out, but i can't finger pick on my 6 string to save my life either). I know a few people who use 12 strings Melissa Ethridge does and Matt Nathanson does almost exclusively (i LOOOOVE HIM) I love playing my 12 string (i have a 6, a 12 and 2 electrics) it sounds sooo pretty and so full.
  • have one thing to say-roger mcguinn-------smile and enjoy the day
  • I don't have a good answer for why but the 12 string sounds so full. When I was in college in the late 60's, John Denver would play in a coffee shop at our college with a 12 string. This was before he was famous. He sang some wonderful folk songs and played very well. It was a shame he went national and then played just the generally mediocre songs he wrote.
  • Go check out Leo Kottke - one of America's finest exponents of the 12-string. Be inspired.
  • you have 2 times as many strings to keep in tune..if ya mess up the tuning on just one set yer screwed...ya really got to have a quality guitar if ya gonna play one live...
  • Jon Mclaughlin plays one and that's good enough for me.
  • whats a 12 STING? hahahahah:P very good my ears the 12 string sounds like a hymm of angels...I feel more musicans should play th 12 string...I`ve only played guitar for about 6 years now and I played the 12 string like twice and I had no problem playing it...we should make a band of 12 strings togther and rock the world!
  • as everyone said, it is hard to tune, but its worth it. i have one, and i play it all the time. its a beautiful instrument
  • Lots of great answers here already. Tuning can be an issue with 12-string guitar. You need a good quality guitar to begin with, and you need a good ear. I learned to tune by ear and found that to always be more accurate than using a tuner. Re-stringing was never an issue - why would you want to restring your guitar right before or during a gig? The only string I ever broke during a set was the high G - you just replace it on the next break. I played 12-string exclusively in my first band. Probably the first 7 years I played guitar it was 99% on the 12-string. It's such a full sound, and it's especially wonderful for accompanying a solo vocal because it is so full. It is harder to play, and I am out of practice right now I'm ashamed to say, but when I was playing for hours every day it was no more difficult than playing a 6-string. I would finger pick on it, play all the way up the neck... when I was in high school I played Classical Gas on my 12-string. I wouldn't be able to now, just because I haven't been playing. In later bands I found I liked to save the 12-string only for certain songs, so that it really was special when I pulled it out. I honestly don't know why anyone would discourage you from playing 12-string. As others have already written, check out Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, and if you like the more folky stuff, the John Denver album "Aerie" is the one that really make me fall in love with the 12-string guitar. There is some beautiful stuff on there. Now I feel inspired to get mine out and play it more!! Thanks!
  • I don't know why so many people said it is hard to tune when 12 strings are tuned much the same as a 6 string guitar E A D G B E low to high except the 4 lowest pairs of strings are tuned an octave apart. If you can't do it by ear they make electric tuners. I would say less and less people use them now days because even when you play acoustic it is miced and effects such as chorus and delay and octavisers and other things can be apllied to any six string to create the brightness that a 12 string was originally designed to produce.
  • Jimmy Page, Richie Sambora..they play 12 strings sometimes. I think the 12 string sounds great. Maybe some of these "professionals" just can't play a 12 string....
  • I think it's just practicality and that it's perhaps seen as a specialist instrument. I love the sound and have had a couple of goes on one and even managed to fingerpick fluently. I'm quite envious and hope to buy one. If it's good enough for Leadbelly and David Gilmour.....
  • Its difficult to get in some places.Not many people can really play the 12 string.Most professionals use 6 string and they can't spontaneously change to 12 string without enough training.
  • I think it mostly has to do with playing lead. If you are satisfied with playing rhythm, then a 12-string, even finger-picked, is a wonderful sounding instrument. If you want to play lead, though, it's a bit harder to press both strings in the set down, and pick at the single pair of strings. To each his own.
  • 12-string guitars do have a beautiful sound, and I enjoy hearing them played. I've owned several in the past and have used them on stage and on recordings. They are hard on the hand as it takes more hand pressure to press 12 strings down than it does for six. My hand usually starts to hurt when I play the 12-string. Also, they are harder to fingerpick, and flat picking is usually limited to strumming as some of the runs and passages that require a good pick control abd dexterity are harder on the 12-atring. Also, they take longer to tune up. By the time I hve tuned the strings from one end to the other, the end I strated with has usually gone out of tune already. I think this is because of the massive amount of tension on the neck, and the strings "pull" each other out of tune. One more thing, fitting 12 strings across the fingerboard without making the neck super wide doesn't allow for much space between strings, so it is harder to "aim" the pick and the fingers and hit the correct string because they are all so close together. I still like to use a 12-string on recordings. The sound sonically fills in a "gap" and when blended in lightly with the 6-string acoustic, it gives a nice, full acoustic guitar tone.
  • I think another thing is, there's not a lot of current songs that feature 12 string guitar. Acosutic an electric 12 strings are mainstays of classic rock from the Beatles to the Byrds to Simon and Garfunkel to Pink Floyd to the Eagles to Tom Petty to REM. I can't think of any newer bands that use the 12 string. As far as leads, I wouldn't neccesarily do anything like string bending on a 12 string, but I was always pleased with how my emulations of McGuinn's Byrds riffs, licks and solos sounded. Arrpegiated chords ala REM's Peter Buck sound cool on 12 string too.

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