When 6 strings are just not enough ... now with pics & review

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
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When 6 strings are just not enough ... now with pics & review

Post by sookwinder » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:33 am

Been GASsing for an acoustic 12 string lately ... which for me is really going down the rabbit hole given my aversion to acoustics just three or four years ago.
Looked at few models, quire specific to my tastes and pulled the trigger on one at lunchtime today.
Will take 2 - 3 weeks for it to be shipped down under, but here is a teaser …

any guesses?
(Larry you can't enter to win the prize, sorry mate you have an unfair advantage)

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by Bradley-Jazz » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:47 am

Eko?
Stop me if you think you've heard this one before....

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by mbene085 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:53 am

That looks an awful lot like the headstock of the Gibson ES-335-12, but I don't know any of their acoustics that shared that inlay...

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I'm clearly going with "some sort of Gibson 12-string."

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by sookwinder » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:59 am

mmmm maybe …. :D
On the correct path...

It is amazing what model are out there that are not really known by people other than actual players.
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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by mbene085 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:01 am

I will admit that Gibsons are a huge blind spot for me, I've never owned a single acoustic or electric by them, so I look forward to learning something here.

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by sookwinder » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:20 am

I have bought a 1964 Gibson B-45 (by definition it is a 12 string, there was never a 6 string version of the B-45)
The B-45 is a full sized dreadnaught body, the same as the Hummingbird, Southern jumbo, Country Western.

Gibson had the B-25 12 string , a parlour sized bodied guitar, that was quite common in the 60s as far as 12 stringer.

But the B-45 started out as a 12 string version of the J45 in about 1961, with the rounded shoulder dreadnaught body.
When Gibson started making square shouldered dreadnaughts (hummingbird, Dove, SJ, CW etc) the J45 stayed with the familiar round shouldered design. But the B-45 followed the majority and it too went to the square shouldered dreadnaught shape.

There was an Epiphone version, both round and square shouldered versions called the BARD.

Sometime around 66 / 67 the B-45 and the BARD changed from the bridge as shown below to a bridge and trapeze set up, similar to the B-25. because some guitars exhibited too much bridge rotation due to the higher load levels from the 12 strings.
A guitar that still is OK 50 years on should be ok for another 40 - 50 years
The versions with the bridge like I have bought have a lot more punch and volume to their sound.

This is the sellers photo:
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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:21 am

Yeah, when David first showed me this last night, I took a quick look on my phone and was so primed to think that it was the more common B-25 that my brain registered it as such.

I have never known of the B-45. It looks tremendous, and unlike the B-25, is all solid wood throughout.

That looks like a tremendous guitar and a lot of fun and I can't wait to hear more about it when you get it.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by mbene085 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:35 am

Nothing like an old acoustic, those years of vibrations and wood drying out really do something special.

Congrats, that looks amazing.

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by Danley » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:38 am

I’ve always wanted to make 12 string my ‘main’ acoustic. Really want a Taylor (played many I loved) but for now playing an old ‘60s Yamaha and newer Mitchell.
King Buzzo: I love when people come up to me and say “Your guitar sound was better on Stoner Witch, when you used a Les Paul. “...I used a Fender Mustang reissue on that, dumbass!

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by somanytoys » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:33 am

Wow, that's pretty amazing, congratulations.

It should sound wonderful with the sap hardening over the years, very beautiful and lots of sustain.

Given that assumption, I think you may be looking for some brighter strings for it, more than not. Seems that this will carry all the bottom and creaminess that you'll ever need...

One day I'll find something near the 12 string Takamine that I should have bought 30 years ago but talked myself out of (because I was adulting responsibly...)
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ...

Post by natthu » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:50 am

That is a good looking specimen.

I'm not fond of their electric guitars, but an old Gibbo acoustic is pretty much the king of that domain as far as I'm concerned.

Nice score man ;D

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ... now with pics & review

Post by sookwinder » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:35 am

OK … The 1964 Gibson B-45 arrived 4 or 5 days back, safe and sound after its flight across the Pacific.

Upon opening the well packed shipping carton the case seemed in good condition by sort of well used, but when I opened the case it revealed a delightful instrument. A check all round, no issues to speak of, no damage during the transportation - sometimes heavy drops can cause internal bracing to shift or come adrift, but everything seems as it should. Quick tune up as I needed to get back to work after dashing home to move it from my front patio to the security of the house, and wow what a sound. A wave, nay, a Tsunami of fundamentals and harmonics. Such a thick and special sound that this 12 string acoustic makes.

The guitar itself is in great condition... in fact the excellent photos that the seller had for the REVERB page almost over played the nicks and dings that come with a 55 year old acoustic guitar. It seems also a little more amber coloured on the spruce top , with the back being a quite red stained mahogany. All the tuners work nicely, the binding is perfect and has that nice rounded edges that 60s Gibson and Epiphone acoustics and thinlines have, unlike modern versions that still seem to have a sharp edge. maybe it's the binding material itself, but that old binding is great.

Interesting that the neck heel has never been drilled for a strap button and while it has been played, it is overall in superb condition. A very small amount of bridge rotation due to the high loads of the 12 strings, but then again I have 6 string acoustics that have similar amounts of rotation, so one could even argue, it is as expected for an acoustic of this age. Later versions of this instrument removed the bridge/saddle/pins and just had the bridge/saddle with a trapeze tailpiece, to reduce the loading of the spruce top and bridge. This produced an instrument with less energy. It is quite apparent that this early version of the instrument that I have is very loud. The neck is wide (2") and I do have slight issues with some of my bar chords but in general it is a lot easier to play than I thought it would be.

We have a few threads here at OSG on the topic of finish checking and in some cases finish cracking and falling off. When you look over the B-45 the checking that exists is not apparent at all. You have to align the light (sun) in a particular way to show up the checking. Almost all 1964 Gibsons/Epiphones will have checking and the finish will be very stable and un likely to flake off. (unlike some of the guitars from the latter half of the 60s. There is a photo below showing this crazing / checking that can sometimes be seen. (It appears to be under or inside the finish, rather than all the way to the surface).

There is one fundamental design flaw is the Gibson12 string bridge/saddle set up … the location of the holes for the bridge pins. The additional 6 holes are located equidistant from the two "normal" string holes, rather than being offset (closer to its main associated string) to allow the "pairs of high low strings" to sit neatly over the saddle. As you can see in the photos below, some of the strings have to take a left or right turn to line up as they go over the saddle. Modern 12 strings often have the holes offset to allow alignment as the strings go over the saddle.

But in spite of this slight design flaw there is perfect intonation and I have spent almost all the past few days getting to know this enjoyable instrument. As I mentioned the sound washes over you and you need to remember to play all the strings, as sometimes the lower strings can overwhelm the Bs and High Es if you forget to put the normal energy it, because you are getting the high frequencies from the other high strings of the 4 normal bass strings. But once you learn that this is a strumming instrument all is good.

The action is exceptional good, being consistent along the entire neck. The adjustable saddle set up uses an ebony saddle and I did have thoughts of replacing the ebony saddle with a bone/ceramic adjustable saddle, but after hearing the guitar play I probably won't do this. Another observation is that maybe the frets are a little higher (different gauge) than say a Gibson Southern Jumbo or J45/50 from the same year. Maybe they used slightly higher frets to assist with playing (note the guitar has not been re-fretted at any stage)

I have had remarkable luck over the past 7 years with buying vintage Gibsons/Epiphones (3 years as far as acoustics go), given that I do not get to play them prior to purchase. Every one has been a superb instrument and this B-45 is no exception. I can attribute my "luck" to a number of factors. Investigating / learning about the instrument I have GAS for, doing my homework on what is currently available (including looking at pricing) and lastly dealing with sellers that are good. (their history, their willingness to answer questions, if they will provide additional photos and even just consider shipping outside of the USA). I have to say that the REVERB seller SS VINTAGE (George) was a true gentleman and I can recommend dealing with him. The instrument was better than he described, he shipped almost immediately and the packing of the instrument into the shipping carton was top rate. Could not have asked for anything more.

I have added a couple more of the sellers photos (that are superb) as well as my usual on the patio/ivy shots:

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ... now with pics & review

Post by jthomas » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:40 am

Truly gorgeous. Congrats Sook.

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ... now with pics & review

Post by somanytoys » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:55 am

That is just dope. Absolutely beautiful and great condition. I'm glad the sound is full and rich, I kind of figured that from the guitar itself, but also the time that's passed, the tone from the wood just gets more and more beautiful.

So, does that now help you with your string conundrum, or just make it worse? I'd say buy all 3 and see what sounds best, but stringing a 12 string is twice the pain in the ass as a 6 string, and I'd be irritated if I went through all that and didn't care for the tone of a set. But then again, you may find your Goldilocks strings for that guitar that way. And I doubt any of those would sound bad on that guitar, just not as good as another set.

All the more reason to play more, wear them out and move on...

Edit - can you contact the seller to see what strings are on it now? That may give you a starting point to narrow your trials.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: When 6 strings are just not enough ... now with pics & review

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:39 pm

Now I want one. Damn it.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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