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Twelve String Telecaster


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Hi,

I'm about to start on my first guitar building project. I plan to make a guitar that is identical to my Telecaster, but with twelve strings. I thought it would be an easy project as the body of a Telecaster couldn't get much simpler if they tried...

However, I am very, very worried about the neck of the guitar. I initially planned on just copying the neck of my Tele, but I don't know if that will allow enough room for all twelve strings. I've searched every forum I could, and this is all I came up with on twelve string necks, out of 3 or 4 sites:

width at nut is 1-3/4"

at the body is 2-1/4"

fingerboard is 3/16th"

the neck total thickness is a hair shy of 3/4"

I know that I can buy preslotted 12 sting nuts at www.graphtech.com and I plan on buying a 12 string bridge of StewMac, but I'm worried about what I need to make the width/thickness/string spacing/scale width of the neck to deal with the extra tension and strings.

Can anyone help?? I thought this would be any easy first project, but apparently no one likes twelve strings :D

Thanks,

Andy

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I know a fair bit about guitars. I've been playing for 7 years, but I've never built one. I ordered the book "Make Your Own Electric Guitar," but I won't receive it for about 5 days and I'm chomping at the bit to get my planning done here... I've read just about everything I could find on constructing necks, fretting, slotting nuts, and all that, but 99% of it all concerns 6 stings.

Slotting a 12 string nut is something I'd like to avoid for my first project, I do believe.

I do know that the scale length won't change though. I said that for dramatic effect :D

Andy

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at the body is 2-1/4"

That's the size of my MIJ strat.

(Edit: oops, I measured with a rule, but with a caliper it's 42 mm, sorry for the confusion!)

But with a twelve string, don't you have to worry about the neck being strong enough to handle all that extra tension?

Sounds like a very cool project though...double-twang!

Edited by idch
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go into ur local music shop and have a look at the 12-string acoustics, and compair the srtring spacing with that of a normal 6, u will find there is about 1-2mm between the srting and its octave so basically add between 6 and 12 mm deppending on ur string spacing

IMHO i wouldnt do a tele as a 12, cos u loose that beautiful headstock, but each to their own i suppose

Edited by where's the beef???
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I recently built a 12 string "Strat" - Stratocaster shaped body, with a Carvin neck. I used the StewMac 12 string bridge & a nut cut for 12 strings on a "normal" 6 string neck. The string spacing is a bit tight (up by the nut). Many 12 strings have a bit wider neck to accomodate the extra strings - but not all. Rick 12 strings tend to have skinny necks - some people like them this way.

I have no trouble playing it - actually prefer the tighter spacing. I finished this about 3 months ago - no problems with the neck at all due to the extra strings.

Go for it!

Rich

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My latest baby is a RED 12 sring Tele with a Warmoth side-adjust neck, Gotoh fully intonable bridge, SD hot rail at bridge and SD STR-1 at the neck. A WHOLE bunch of electrical gimmicks and Gold hardware. Total nightmare to get all the parts but it be good. Originally I wanted to reverse the main and chorus strings like a Rick but the bridge wouldn't have anything to do with it. The nut was not really much of a problem. Warmoth sent me nut blanks with the neck so I could try both string orientations. I cut the low E slot a little deep but that's fixed. I just made a template off another 12-string that had the same nut width and transferred it to the new nut. Right now, it is my most-admired creation, what with the gold on red and custom pickup covers. Neck has been stable for about 5 months, now.

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Thanks for all the tips! Generally, the consensus seems to be just go for it, correct?

The only problem now seems to be the nut. Since I basically live in the boonies, I can't go to a music store to compare nuts (Wow, that sounds weird..). Should I just buy one off of Graphtech? If so, I just buy one the same width as the neck of my Tele, right?

Doctor, does your guitar have a headstock resembling a Tele's at all? I'm trying to work out a pattern that will fit all the tuners and at least slightly resemble a Tele. Speaking of which, any suggestions for tuning machings with a little footprint?

Thanks again,

Andy

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Well, my neck is a Warmoth Pro with a double expanding trussrod and that cool side adjuster. It is .86 thick at the nut and .93 at the heel so it sounds a bit beefier that a stock Tele. The headstock is a Pro headstock which is pretty plain and cramped. I used Gotoh SG38s for machines but I think angled Pings would be even smaller. I just don't like to feel the gears grind in Pings. If you keep your action low and the neck as flat as you can, your neck should be able to handle a set of EXL strings at standard tuning, IMHO. If I must, I can measure the nut slot spacing for you but you will be getting MY preferences, not yours. My problems were all with getting the gold pickup covers and such made to work with a 12-string stand-alone bridge.

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Most 12 string headstocks are 6x6. Fender 12 string headstocks tend to look like an extension of the neck.. a kind of a plank with a little rounded curve on the end.

I have see a 12 inline headstock design.. i think it was on an 80s guitar and had to be one of the most rediculous things I had ever seen. It looked like some sort of weapon. I think it was a kramer or something. Some hair-band guitarist's doubleneck. I'm sure back then i thought it looked kinda cool :D Most of us hate to admit what we thought was cool in the 80s. lol.

I'd check usa custom and warmoth and look at 12 string headstock designs. Each have one. USA's looks more like the fender 12 string pegheads I have seen. There just isn't THAT much you can do to change a 12 string peghead. Form truly does follow function on that one.

oh.. and i might add. I think a 12 string tele would sound awesome. As for the neck stiffness, You could specify quartersawn hard rock maple for a little extra rigitity (people debate this).. or what's probably better is just to go with normal flatsawn and do a couple carbon fiber stiffiner rods down the neck.

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With the right electronics, Tele 12s DO sound awesome! The headstock on a Warmoth Pro IS just an extension (non-angled) of the neck with a rounded end. I can't really see anybody doing a 12-in line if they have ANY sense of the asthetics. A string retainer is a necessary evil on the Pro neck, as it is a 6 + 6 with no headstock angle.

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I can't really see anybody doing a 12-in line if they have ANY sense of the asthetics.

Yeah. What the hell were they thinking? :D

That's IT!!! It was a carvin.. Man that looks painful. like some kind of medieval torture device..

Right after i posted i remembered some heinous looking carvin designs and figured that's probably what I saw. Don't get me wrong, I love carvin.. but that thing was just inexcusable.

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Dear GOD in heaven, what a nightmare!! That is worse than I could ever expect, even from Carvin! I wonder if they have random drug testing at Carvin cause I think one slipped through! Looks like a gold-plated millipede is crawling down the neck! I bet some metal dude would love it, though. Like they say in Texas, "It don't take all kinds to make up the world, we just gots all kinds". AND, they ain't a thang wrong with METAL. They just got different tastes than me. One of us is blessed with an open mind and the other one is me.

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As a double-neck geek, I'll admit that I touched myself more than once looking at Carvin catalogs back in the day.

Here are some full guitar shots for you folks:

-Black one: http://www.carvinmuseum.com/decade/images/88-dn612.html (with a Kahler- YIKES!)

-White one: http://www.carvinmuseum.com/decade/images/91-dn612.html

Back on topic....

I think a 12-inline Tele headstock *might* look cool, but it'd be tough to pull off. 6+6 is probably the way to go. Maybe just a slighlty oversized headstock, but retain the basic shape.

Doc mentioned the string trees, but what about using a retainer bar instead? That'd cover all of the strings in one shot. Also, they're (sort of) height adjustable. Just a thought.

In regards to small footprint tuners, what about the LSR 'gearless' ones that were around for a while? I think someone said they are still available, but I don't remember where.

Idea: 6 regular tuners, and 6 LSR tuners.

Top: All Normal

Bottom: All LSR.

...or...

-Top: Normal, LSR, Normal, LSR, Normal, LSR.

-Bottom: Normal, LSR, Normal, LSR, Normal, LSR.

Could look kinda cool, but I'm not sure about the spacing that's necessary.

Ok...I'll stop thinkin' aloud. :D

Good luck with the project! Don't forget to post some pics when it's done.

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As a double-neck geek, I'll admit that I touched myself more than once looking at Carvin catalogs back in the day.

Here are some full guitar shots for you folks:

-Black one:  http://www.carvinmuseum.com/decade/images/88-dn612.html (with a Kahler- YIKES!)

-White one:  http://www.carvinmuseum.com/decade/images/91-dn612.html

That's awesome.. bringing back the memories.. ahh yes.. Doug Marx of Metal Method.. I swear he and beaver felton have been in magazine ads since the beginning of time. I can't believe they are still at it. Anyway.. that double neck was quite an ambitious headstock.. Perfect for it's market. Just unnatural from a traditionalist point of view.

I'm fascinated by Rickenbacker's method.. It's a normal size peghead with 3+3 kluson.. Then 3+3 kluson again mounted to the side of the headstock with the posts entering 2 channels ala classical guitar peghead. Pretty nifty. Do a google image search for "rickenbacker 12" and you can see what I mean. You can get 2 sets of gotoh klusen's cheap and maintain that vintage vibe too.

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Yeah, I meant a retainer bar. String tees for a 12-string? How many and where? It could make that Carvin look even worse, if that is at all possible! Wait a minute! I did say string retainer!!! What are you trying to accuse me, falsely, of? If you think finding stuff from the 80's is something to be ashamed of, how about being envious of a 1966 Silvertone 120 with TWO, count em, TWO 12" speakers and 35 watts!! New! In the catalog section! One of my rich friends parents bought him one and we thought "when we grow up" we were going to buy every one of our kids one from Sears, whether they wanted it or not! Still, cool amps.

Edited by thedoctor
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Back on topic....

I think a 12-inline Tele headstock *might* look cool, but it'd be tough to pull off.  6+6 is probably the way to go.  Maybe just a slighlty oversized headstock, but retain the basic shape.

How about a John 5 style headstock but 6 on a side?

That;s what the USA Custom 12 neck looks like. I thinkn fenders 12 models look like that too.

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Back on topic....

I think a 12-inline Tele headstock *might* look cool, but it'd be tough to pull off.  6+6 is probably the way to go.  Maybe just a slighlty oversized headstock, but retain the basic shape.

How about a John 5 style headstock but 6 on a side?

That;s what the USA Custom 12 neck looks like. I thinkn fenders 12 models look like that too.

Yeah, there you go.

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Yeah, that is almost what the Warmoth Pro headstocks look like and the string angle to the nut is pretty good. Nothing like the obtuse angles that Carvin head has! Talk about nut friction! Still, I know there is someone out there saying, " what's wrong with that design?". And, you know, if they like it, nothing.

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Thanks for all the help, again!

I wasn't nessecarily going for a 12-a-side exect Tele model, but I would like to retain somewhat of the Tele headstock. How straight do the strings have to go towards the nut? How about if I use string Tees/retainer bars? Are retainer bars anything other than a big string Tee?

I saw a series of a Strat converted to 12-strings, and the guy just threw a bunch of tuners on willy-nilly. One string actually came off the tuner, bent around another tuner, and headed for the nut. I'm guessing that's not a desirable trait.

The Fender 12-string head and the US 12 string look like my best bets, so far. Haha, maybe a headstock like that with an inlay that outlines an original Tele headstock?

------------------

So apparently neck strength isn't the issue I thought it would be. I plan on using a solid piece of quarter-sawn maple for the neck--Free, as one of the benefits of having a father who owns a lumbermill... I'm also going to thicken the neck a hair, and go with the nut off of Graphtech with the width closest to the original.

Next question for this project--

Normal Tele necks are solid maple. There is a darker strip of wood in the back which (apparently) covers the routing path for the truss rod. However, the strip doesn't go the whole way up. Is the neck partially routed for the truss rod, and then drilled the rest of the way? I can't find any seam!

Thanks!

Andy

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