What Strings Do You Use? (12 String)

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by LeSainte, Nov 22, 2021.

  1. LeSainte

    LeSainte Electromatic

    55
    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    I play 12 strings alot. I typically play a half-step down, sometimes standard, sometimes alternate tunings such as Drop B or [ (Bb Eb) Ab Db Gb Bb Eb].

    I have a Gretsch Rancher 12 String A/E which gets Light Elixir Nanoweb Phosphour Bronze full time. This is my main guitar. I also have a Mitchell something or other that I threw a piezo in... That usually gets light Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20s. I just got a pack of Martin Retro lights for my Mitchell this morning though, and I am loving them thus far.


    What do you guys use on your 12 strings? What tunings do you use?
     
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  2. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    62
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Standard tuning but I can't for the life of me remember what strings I use ..... :p But I'll get back to ya
     
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  3. Highroller

    Highroller Country Gent

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Only one acoustic 12-string in my stable, but I play it a lot. It gets D'Addario Phosphor Bronzes, light gauge.

    Standard tuning, but I've been playing a lot of various alternate tunings lately on the 6-stringers. It's only a matter of time before that carries over to the 12. I do have some concern about the additional stress "up-tuned" strings could put on the bridge. Might have to start tuning down overall so I can safely tune certain strings back up.

    All part of the journey ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
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  4. LeSainte

    LeSainte Electromatic

    55
    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    I have found that octave strings often can't be tuned up very much. I've never managed to get a twelve string in an open tuning without an octave string breaking.

    Best of luck. Have fun experimenting. Maybe try a full step down then you have a full step worth of wiggle room to tune the strings up.
     
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  5. mrfixitmi

    mrfixitmi Country Gent

    Mar 20, 2010
    Michigan
    We have been using Elixir Nanoweb strings for the past few years. We love the sound, they don't break easily. The concern was always the high G, it is the thinnest one in the set, and is always the one to break first. I know this is just me being bullheaded, and it never seemed to be balance with one new string, and the others old. Restringing a 12 string seems to take too much of my time, so if I can spread it out to 10-12 months, it seems to be a good balance. When you buy them in bulk, the cost hit is not as bad.
     
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  6. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I have been using Martin M 200 silk & steel strings on my 12 string since the 70s. Martin recently quit making them. I'm on my last set and don't know what I'm gonna do when these are worn out. I always liked the way Justin Hayward's 12 string sounded on recordings and the silk and steel got me very close to that sound. They have lower output than bronze but the recorded sound is really balanced. They are also easier on the fingers with less fret noise.
    I tune my 12 string guitars to standard pitch.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
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  7. Cdb1961

    Cdb1961 Gretschie

    135
    May 5, 2018
    Orange Park, Fl
    I have been using Cleartone light sets 10-47 but D'Addario EXP’s are also been used for many years too.

    I keep my oldest one tuned down a half step to keep the tension off the neck, the other is kept in DADGAD tuning
     
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  8. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    I have these in my string bin. Hard to find on the shelf at the store, so I usually mail order a few sets at a time. These are for my acoustic and my electric 12s, the high G in both sets is an 8.

    FEA4B117-C508-46AF-86D8-D7735574A96C.jpeg

    I mostly use standard tuning or dropped D.


    I tried going down to C or C# I don’t recall, all strings relative tuning for a baritone kind of sound to match the key Paul Stookey played this: sort of a dress rehearsal here



    for those strange tunings that go higher pitch, can you go everything lower then capo up?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
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  9. TV the Wired Turtle

    TV the Wired Turtle Gretschified

    Jul 25, 2009
    Sandy Eggo
    doesnt matter.. if I tell you, you wont use them. yaa
    [​IMG]
     
  10. wildeman

    wildeman I Bleed Orange

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    LaBella still makes silk&steel 12 sets.
     
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  11. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Thanks - I'll have to check them out.
     
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  12. LeSainte

    LeSainte Electromatic

    55
    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    I definitely have a problem with the High G breaking with other strings. I've never had my Elixirs break. They just got changed when the strings go dead or look grubby. Definitely worth the investment. I've probably strung my 12 strings a good twenty or so times before I finally decided to invest the $2.50 in a string winder.
     
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  13. LeSainte

    LeSainte Electromatic

    55
    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    The capo idea is definitely worth trying @Highroller . That's what I'd do if you want to play alternate tunings with the strings tuned sharp. Something like: [D A D F# C D] Capo 2 for open E (Or leave how it is for an Open D.) I know people really like Open G, but I prefer Open E on my six strings, and usually capo it up to other tunings.
     
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  14. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    John Pearse
     
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  15. LeSainte

    LeSainte Electromatic

    55
    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    I know Ernie Ball does silk and steels for 12 string, if that's your thing. I don't really care for them, but I like some attack and decay from my strings. They're good for mellow tones.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
  16. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    Yeah like The Moody Blues. I also like some attack and decay and for that I use Martin Bronze strings but seldom do I need that kind of sound on my 12 string. I tend to play softer things when I pickup my acoustic 12 string. Thanks for the heads up on the Ernie Ball silk and steel. I'll have to give them a try.
     
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  17. LeSainte

    LeSainte Electromatic

    55
    Oct 4, 2021
    New York
    I want to give a shout-out to the Martin Retro strings I put on my Mitchell.

    These sound absolutely gorgeous and have only gotten better with age. After the week or so I've had them I think they've hit their sweet spot.

    When I first got them they really sparkled, which was what I was looking for. Now they seem to have really smoothed out and are super rich and smooth from the lows to the highs, with their exaggeration somewhere in the upper-mids. But it's not overpowering, it's a very tasteful boost.

    These are without a doubt my new permanent strings for this guitar.
     
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  18. Bob Perrone

    Bob Perrone Gretschie

    312
    Mar 7, 2017
    allentown, pa
    for my Gretsch electric 12 I use D'Adarrio 10's for electric 12 strings
    for my acoustic 12's (I have 3) I usually use 10's from D'Adarrio (phosphor bronze) and also La Bella silk and steel 10's
     
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