Tips for 12 string guitars

Hi There,

Does anyone have tips in general for playing a 12 string? This red Takamine here is the one I am talking about. I have always loved the angelic sound of 12 strings so I finally bought one a few months back when I bought the Fender electric. I soon found out there are a lot of differences. You have to tune it a lot for one thing and arpeggios are obviously different. I want to give her some use and practice, but would appreciate some tips on fundamentals. Thanks


I have both a 12 sting and mandolin and play them both the same way I play my 6 string acoustics. The mandolin is more picking than strumming. You could try tuning down 1/2 a step or even a full step and capo first or 2nd fret to bring it back up to pitch until you get used to the extra tension.
Jumping from an electric to a 12 string will take some time but you will get used to it. As for tuning a lot you’ll get good at it and tweak more than tune.

Obviously, finger placement will be a bit different in order to not mute strings accidentally. On the other hand, muting both strings of a course requires a bit more effort at first.

I hardly ever play single note melodies on my 12 string so I can’t comment on that - I find upstrokes difficult in general given that the thicker strings are “below” the thin ones.

Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same as 6 string guitars.

  1. Make sure that it’s correctly set up.
  2. Drop it a full tone to start with and Capo Fret2.
  3. When you’re comfortable with it tune it up a semi tone and Capo Fret1.
  4. When you’re comfortable tune it to normal tuning no capo, play away!
    Hopefully that will get you going!

Thanks for the tips guys.

4 posts were split to a new topic: Strange change tips for winding on new strings