12-string tuned fully in octaves

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Joined: January 19th, 2011, 6:31 am

12-string tuned fully in octaves

Post by AdamDenmark » January 19th, 2011, 6:42 am

I have a 12-string western guitar, and I am stuck trying to find a way to get all 6 string pairs to tune in octave.

The problem is of course the B and the highest/thinnest E string pairs, that in stardard tuning is tuned in unison.

I have tried to replace the "uppermost" of the B strings and "uppermost" of the thinnest E strings with .08 and .07 strings, but they cant stand the tension and break before I get to the desired pitch.

Has anyone found a solution?

Is any of you playing with the 2 thinnest string pairs in octaves?

If no "easy" solution, any work-arounds by using mandolin strings on the highest B and E string? Sitar strings? Strings from some unknown string instrument? Some industrial super-strong wire?

The minimum length is 90 cm.

There must be someone out there who wouldnt be satisfied with only 4 out of 6 being octaved..


Solutions, that will NOT fit my need;
- Tuning all other strings down an octave
- Above + capo on 12'th fret
- Piano strings don't work, they are too thick and not long enough
Last edited by AdamDenmark on January 21st, 2011, 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 12-string tuned fully in octaves

Post by Crow » January 19th, 2011, 8:08 pm

Interesting idea. Physics is not your friend in this venture. Steel can only stretch so thin and tune so high. Even the Line 6 Variax won't do this tuning, as alternate tunings shift its 12-string models to six string (I think -- somebody please correct me if I'm wrong).

Rather than tuning up to the high octave, tuning one string down an octave on the high E and B courses is the best I can come up with. Welcome to the forums, and if you find a way to do it, please post pics and clips. :)
"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa

john palmer
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Joined: February 8th, 2011, 11:23 am

Re: 12-string tuned fully in octaves

Post by john palmer » February 8th, 2011, 11:41 am

If you tune down to a low G, you can have all 6 courses in octaves - the lowest string is an .80, which means that you might have to file a slightly wider channel in the nut. Then you can capo up to wherever you want.

octave4plus.com sells higher strings - A, B, Bb and even C, but the type of guitar might limit how high you can go. If you can use one of those strings as the octave in the first course, then that means you can proportionally raise all the others.

You cannot, however, get all the way up to concert. But remember that the standard tuning for a twelve string is a tone below, and the C is only two tones below.

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