12 fret guitars

DavidReesDavidRees Frets: 88
I have noticed over the years that a number of acoustic players automatically capo at the second fret - now this may be to accommodate the range of their voice for the song in question, it may be about tuning down with thicker string to get a more 'relaxed' feel in standard tuning but is it also possibly about getting something of the feel of a guitar where the neck joins the body at the 12th fret, particularly when sitting down to play - just thinking out loud really ...
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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1469

    People do this for either of the first two reasons you mention. Not sure it achieves your third proposition, a big part of the feel of a 12 fret is due to the corresponding bridge position.

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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 304
    DavidRees said:
     but is it also possibly about getting something of the feel of a guitar where the neck joins the body at the 12th fret, particularly when sitting down to play - just thinking out loud really ...
    Dave, theres a whole lotta confusion re 12 fretters - from how I read u'r suggestion u'r suggesting that the neck shaft / fingerboard being 1 to 1 1/2 inches  - hmm, what 'bout players like me who regularly play 'up the neck' or even pick up a banjo or mandolin or cittern etc. with different neck / fretting proportions.
    But then I play Low whistle and Uilleann pipes which would be impossible for 12 fret capo's - capos are out.
    just some balance.


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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 4061
    The main benefit of a 12 fret is the bridge positioning.  It's closer to the middle of the soundboard, and that really seems to help the tone.  The best sounding acoustic I ever played was a 12 fret Santa Cruz.  Thankfully, the neck dimensions on it don't give me massive pangs of regret that it was outside my budget.
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 304
    ha ha, it's like QI - unmentionable word - phrase.
    'Lower bout'.
    This was the most (externally) obvious - bridge is further down the s/b.
    When you look into it from a structural / design point of view u'll find that the bridge to X brace (system) and dimensions on 'older' guitars - 30's to '60's is actually the cause of the 'better tone.
    look here -

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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 383
    Many people prefer the slightly 'deader' and more even sound of a capoed guitar, especially for recording. It means there is less of a contrast sonically between the open strings and fretted strings.
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  • DavidReesDavidRees Frets: 88
    thanks for the comments people - I've never actually played a 12 fretter so I suppose I should to see what it's like. I posted my question because I've noticed a different kind of playing position/comfort thing going on whilst cradling my small bodied acoustic with the capo on the second fret ...
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 4061
    AliGorie said:
    ha ha, it's like QI - unmentionable word - phrase.
    'Lower bout'.
    This was the most (externally) obvious - bridge is further down the s/b.
    When you look into it from a structural / design point of view u'll find that the bridge to X brace (system) and dimensions on 'older' guitars - 30's to '60's is actually the cause of the 'better tone.
    look here -

    Haven't looked into the acoustics section for a while, so resurrecting a slightly older discussion, but it's not purely the bracing.

    I don't know if it's in the current line up, but when I was looking at good acoustics several years ago, I played the slot headstock 12 fret Martin HD28VS, and also the 14 fret HD28V.  They both have the vintage style bracing, but they do sound different.  I had a 12 fret Furch Dreadnought for a while as well.  That had a different tone to the 14 fret version.  To me, if you are looking at dreadnoughts, the 12 fret sounds a bit more open, and doesn't have the big (overwhelming??) bottom end that a 14 fret guitar has.

    The latest Martin D18s and D28s have gone back to what they call "forward-shifted" bracing - basically pre-war spec.  As far as I know, they changed the bracing (on dreadnoughts at least) in the mid 1940s.  I'd agree that the tone is better with the "forward-shifted" bracing.  To me that makes a bigger difference than scalloping it.  An HD28V (forward-shifted and scalloped) sounds a lot better than the older HD28 which was scalloped but post war positioning.  I'm not sure what the spec is on the latest HD28.

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  • DavidReesDavidRees Frets: 88
    thanks @crunchman ...
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 725
    crunchman said:
    The latest Martin D18s and D28s have gone back to what they call "forward-shifted" bracing - basically pre-war spec.  As far as I know, they changed the bracing (on dreadnoughts at least) in the mid 1940s.  I'd agree that the tone is better with the "forward-shifted" bracing.  To me that makes a bigger difference than scalloping it.  An HD28V (forward-shifted and scalloped) sounds a lot better than the older HD28 which was scalloped but post war positioning.  I'm not sure what the spec is on the latest HD28.
    Forward shifted, scalloped for 2018 "Reimagined" HD 28.
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 4061
    Lewy said:
    crunchman said:
    The latest Martin D18s and D28s have gone back to what they call "forward-shifted" bracing - basically pre-war spec.  As far as I know, they changed the bracing (on dreadnoughts at least) in the mid 1940s.  I'd agree that the tone is better with the "forward-shifted" bracing.  To me that makes a bigger difference than scalloping it.  An HD28V (forward-shifted and scalloped) sounds a lot better than the older HD28 which was scalloped but post war positioning.  I'm not sure what the spec is on the latest HD28.
    Forward shifted, scalloped for 2018 "Reimagined" HD 28.

    They changed the D18 a few years ago (2012?).  Not sure if it was scalloped, but forward shifted at least. 
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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 502
    I’ve occasionally used capos to move a stretchy bout of fingering from “I physically can’t do this” domain to the realm of “I can just barely manage it”...
    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 5396
    I have a Takemine CP3 New Yorker which is 12th fret joined. I use a capo because I'm shit. 

    Hope that helps

    My Trading Feedback    |    You Bring The Band

    Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 304
    Lewy said:
    crunchman said:
    The latest Martin D18s and D28s have gone back to what they call "forward-shifted" bracing - basically pre-war spec.  As far as I know, they changed the bracing (on dreadnoughts at least) in the mid 1940s.  I'd agree that the tone is better with the "forward-shifted" bracing.  To me that makes a bigger difference than scalloping it.  An HD28V (forward-shifted and scalloped) sounds a lot better than the older HD28 which was scalloped but post war positioning.  I'm not sure what the spec is on the latest HD28.
    Forward shifted, scalloped for 2018 "Reimagined" HD 28.

    yeah, being a novice builder I simply refer to the 'original' models bracing - the source.
    Including bracing profile + positioning + materials used, timber / glue etc.
    Thats what created the desirable sound.
    Martins (deliberate) marketing shenanigans are designed to move units - cause they've run outa product ideas decades ago.

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