Advice needed: 12 String Acoustic Choices

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I have a real craving for a 12 string but having only ever played an awful EKO from the 60's-70's, my experience is limited. I've got some great six strings but really don't want to spend a fortune on a 12 string that may be a flight of fancy, or may get used infrequently. 

I think (think) I've got it down to one of the following: 

Yamaha APX700
Art and Lutherie Legacy 12 Bourbon Burst
Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar
Guild F2512e

Has anyone got one of the above or alternatively played on any of them before? I don't know much about A&L, or Seagull but believe they're all sort of the Godin group. They're all very different types of guitar and while I like my Dreadnoughts I think a smaller body may be a bit easier to adapt to a 12 string: I may be wrong though. 

Thanks for your help. 
Martins, Fenders and Gibsons/ Fender Amps/ A few Basses
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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 8301
    I’ve had a dreadnaught 12 string in the past and currently have a low end APX. The smaller body Yammy is definitely easier to play (for me) but it sounds more thin and boxy and doesn’t have than real boom and projection you get from a nice dread. Somebody posted a videoclip of them playing a Yamaha dread fairly recently and it sounded perfect to me. I’ll see if I can find it. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 55379
    I have a real craving for a 12 string but having only ever played an awful EKO from the 60's-70's, my experience is limited. I've got some great six strings but really don't want to spend a fortune on a 12 string that may be a flight of fancy, or may get used infrequently. 

    I think (think) I've got it down to one of the following: 

    Yamaha APX700
    Art and Lutherie Legacy 12 Bourbon Burst
    Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar
    Guild F2512e

    Has anyone got one of the above or alternatively played on any of them before? I don't know much about A&L, or Seagull but believe they're all sort of the Godin group. They're all very different types of guitar and while I like my Dreadnoughts I think a smaller body may be a bit easier to adapt to a 12 string: I may be wrong though.
    From that list, the Guild. It's the best-built of those and will sound the best, especially when it's matured a bit.

    The Yamaha will sound decent plugged in but tinny and small unplugged.

    The Art & Lutherie and the Seagull will probably sound the best initially but they have a problem with build quality in the longer term - they're too lightly built (which is why they sound good) and seem to suffer a lot from pulled-up tops and other problems, especially on the 12-strings. They also have the highest rate of headstock breaks I've seen other than Gibsons, which is again a worse problem on a 12-string due to the length of the head.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 5457
    Whatever you choose make sure the nut is cut properly - the octave G string can be a sod for breaking. Consider down tuning to Eb or D
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 370
    Yes, A&L and Seagull are Godin brands. Most (but not all) of their products are laminate back and sides with a solid top, and everything they make they make in Canada. The Guild is made in China and in that price range the Yamaha will be too. 

    12-strings are traditionally made in dreadnought and jumbo sizes, for the reasons Bogeyman mentions. I like small bodies as a rule, but my current 12 is a dred. I don't think it would have enough oomph in the bass to balance the high octave strings in a smaller body.

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  • JayceeJaycee Frets: 143
    Jalapeno said:
    Whatever you choose make sure the nut is cut properly - the octave G string can be a sod for breaking. Consider down tuning to Eb or D

    I can vouch for that...... =) I generally tune a tone down now.
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  • simonhpiemansimonhpieman Frets: 461
    Give me a shout if you feel like moving the Eko on - I need one for one song a set, at most four times a year. Sounds perfect.
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  • Thanks to everyone for their advice and pointers. It looks like a Guild is the front runner, although a friend of mine is lending me his Fender Villager 12 string which he swears by. 

    I'm a Fender fan of longstanding but have never owned or even played one of their acoustics, so it will be a first for me. I never thought they were particularly renowned for their acoustic guitars so I'll wait with bated breath. They do seem to have some excellent reviews though. 


    Martins, Fenders and Gibsons/ Fender Amps/ A few Basses
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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 614
    Have a look at the Paul Brett/Vintage stuff. I don’t know if it’s any good but Paul B is a big 12 string guy so if he had any influence over them then they will be decent 

    A few guys over on MM forum have them and speak pretty highly of them 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 55379

    I'm a Fender fan of longstanding but have never owned or even played one of their acoustics, so it will be a first for me. I never thought they were particularly renowned for their acoustic guitars so I'll wait with bated breath. They do seem to have some excellent reviews though.
    They are far better than the almost universal internet snobbery about them would lead you to think.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 22378
    Taylor 150e? A used one of those would be definitely worth a look.
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  • icu81b4icu81b4 Frets: 92
    Taylor Leo Kottke model is an excellent guitar. 
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  • icu81b4icu81b4 Frets: 92
    icu81b4 said:
    Taylor Leo Kottke model is an excellent guitar. 
    Sound Affect in Ormskirk has a 2nd hand one for sale. 
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  • TrevinDevonTrevinDevon Frets: 22
    Andy79 said:
    Have a look at the Paul Brett/Vintage stuff. I don’t know if it’s any good but Paul B is a big 12 string guy so if he had any influence over them then they will be decent 

    A few guys over on MM forum have them and speak pretty highly of them 

    There's one come up for sale over there today.
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  • Andy79 said:
    Have a look at the Paul Brett/Vintage stuff. I don’t know if it’s any good but Paul B is a big 12 string guy so if he had any influence over them then they will be decent 

    A few guys over on MM forum have them and speak pretty highly of them 

    There's one come up for sale over there today.

    Thanks both. Please excuse my ignorance but what's the MM forum?
    Martins, Fenders and Gibsons/ Fender Amps/ A few Basses
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 370
    I daresay that would be the Michael Messer forum, OHM. Search that phrase and it will pop straight up.
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  • markvmarkv Frets: 235
    I have a Taylor 150e and it sounds excellent, but it's developed some intonation issues that need sorting. I don't know if this is a common issue or not.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 55379
    markv said:
    I have a Taylor 150e and it sounds excellent, but it's developed some intonation issues that need sorting. I don't know if this is a common issue or not.
    Is it playing sharp?

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • markvmarkv Frets: 235
    ICBM said:
    markv said:
    I have a Taylor 150e and it sounds excellent, but it's developed some intonation issues that need sorting. I don't know if this is a common issue or not.
    Is it playing sharp?
    Yes, even as low as the 3rd fret which is a bit annoying. I don't think it will be solved by a gentle tweak of truss rod, but that was going to be my first thing to try.
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  • TrevinDevonTrevinDevon Frets: 22
    Andy79 said:
    Have a look at the Paul Brett/Vintage stuff. I don’t know if it’s any good but Paul B is a big 12 string guy so if he had any influence over them then they will be decent 

    A few guys over on MM forum have them and speak pretty highly of them 

    There's one come up for sale over there today.

    Thanks both. Please excuse my ignorance but what's the MM forum?

    https://michaelmesser.proboards.com/thread/12639/vintage-statesboro-12-string-guitar
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 370
    markv said:
    ICBM said:
    markv said:
    I have a Taylor 150e and it sounds excellent, but it's developed some intonation issues that need sorting. I don't know if this is a common issue or not.
    Is it playing sharp?
    Yes, even as low as the 3rd fret which is a bit annoying. I don't think it will be solved by a gentle tweak of truss rod, but that was going to be my first thing to try.
    Put a capo on the first fret and retune as necessary. Does it still play sharp?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 55379
    Tannin said:

    Put a capo on the first fret and retune as necessary. Does it still play sharp?
    If that doesn't show it up a nut problem and the relief is OK, it's possible that the neck joint has shifted or the body compressed slightly under the string tension. This used to be fairly common with older cheap 12-strings, although I wouldn't expect it with a Taylor.

    Incidentally this is one of the great advantages of the "awful" Ekos - they're not, in fact - because the neck is bolt-on you can always fix problems like that. Unless the top has warped they can always be set up well.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • TanninTannin Frets: 370
    Second that: Ekos were great. I had an Eston (rebadged Eko, 1970-ish) for many years, lord only knows how much abuse it copped, and it just took it all without complaint. Not much volume, but a sweet tone, and it stayed in tune well, which is not something a lot of cheap 12-strings do. 
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  • markvmarkv Frets: 235
    Thanks @ICBM and @Tannin - didn't mean to derail the thread! I'll check it with the capo later.
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  • oldhorsemurphyoldhorsemurphy Frets: 213
    edited April 1

    Well, I took delivery of the Fender Villager and I must say, I'm really impressed. It's quite a narrow fingerboard (for me, anyway) but it plays really well and actually sounds pretty good amplified too. It's certainly an improvement on the EKO I played a number of years ago, although to be fair it had been abused and was rather humped, had old strings on it and an action about half an inch high so it's not really an open-book comparison and I certainly wouldn't have been adept enough to try and resolve some of the issues it had or even understand them for that matter.

    I've got this one on loan for a while, so can really immerse myself in 12 String playing before taking the plunge on a guitar. I am really enjoying playing it and (if there is such a thing) find myself to be a more natural and intuitive 12 string player than I feel on 6 strings- strange.

    Thanks to everyone for their advice and guidance.



    Martins, Fenders and Gibsons/ Fender Amps/ A few Basses
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  • icu81b4icu81b4 Frets: 92
    Have you listened to Leo Kottke on a 12 string? I think he has at least 6 fingers on each hand.
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