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Stereo Twelve String


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howdy do?

I'm about half way through with my solid body 12 string, and I've been rethinking the wiring scheme I had originally planned for it. I'm making this as a 12 string twin of my first 6 string build, so no matter what else I choose it's going to have a 3 pup (nashville tele) setup, a 5-way blade, and three pots to work with. In considering the sound I wanted out of this build, I realized that I wouldn't need all of the series and OoP options I had with the original design, which would leave me with some extra switch positions to fool around with.

So, now I'm considering adding a stereo output that would run a tele neck pup to one amp, and the tele bridge to another.

My questions are if this would be possible to do using one position of a 4P5T superswitch, and, if it is possible, will this really make my guitar sound considerably "bigger"?

I would usually answer this myself through research, but I don't have access to a 12 string rick, or any other guitar with stereo outputs. I have played my own guitars through a splitter I made, but since it sent the same signal to both amps it really didn't do much for me. It just didn't sound "big." It was cool and all...just not what the rickenbacker owners describe coming out of their gear.

That being said, I also have to be skeptical of what I read on their owners group forums, as those guys tend to eat up just about anything offered by the company. A typical review may read as follows:

"Got my new Rickenbacker Stink-o-Turd guitar case oderizer today, and man am I stoked! I got mine in the vintage pea soup color scheme, and I must say that it is perfectly formed: not too hard/not too runny. It works exactly like a turd should, stinking up the entire case in just minutes. And with that iconic "R" stamped on it, eveyone will know that I only use officially licensed Rick accessories. Trust me guys, this is one quality piece of shite. Don't think that you can make something like this yourself. Rickenbacker hand selects these turds to perfectly match your guitar. This is well worth the money. Can't believe I only paid $120 for this must have accessory."

Perhaps that's harsh, but I think some of you know where I'm coming from.

So, who has played a stereo 12er, and how great is it actually?



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Well, first of all, it's not like Rickenbacker is the only company that offers guitars with stereo capability. Gibson and others have done it for years.

And there is no one particular way to use one. During the mid-60s B.B.King plugged his into both channels of a twin reverb. Gave him a neat out of phase sound.

Two different sounds coming out of two different amps is simply going to sound different. Put a slight delay on one it will sound like two different players. Spread the amps apart and the sound will get more spacious.

This is a physical sound thing - not an "I love rickenbacker" thing. And seriously, rickenbackers in stereo or otherwise is probably not going to sound good to someone that wants perfect intonation on all strings - most of the rickenbacker sound is based on the pairs not being perfectly intonated.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I enjoy the stereo output on my Ric, but its a 6 string. I was inspired to get another amp for it after seeing Joe Perry use his Ric with both outputs on 2 amps, created a very interesting effect. Also works well if you have 2 inputs on a single amp, can't say it is out of phase for me though.

Also, not all Ric 12's have 6 saddle bridges, the 6 saddle bridge is more for vintage authenticity then anything else. If anything, it probably detracts from the overall Ric sound. I have an old 660/12 with no stereo output and it has a 12 saddle bridge, I can't imagine what a pain it would be to intonate a 12 string with a bridge with only 6 saddles, if possible.

Perhaps looking at the Rickenbacker schematics for such a guitar will help you with the wiring. It also depends highly on how you want the pickups to behave on each output.


Edited by Nego
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