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Old 05-25-2000, 08:50 AM   #1
Bill
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Any guitar players out there? I've owned a couple of Gibson B45 12's over the years (none now)...great sounding instruments that were beasts to play! First was a B45-12-N (natural finish top) from 1964 -- like Gord's in the early days. The second was a cherry sunburst like his later guitars. Incredible sound on both, but the wider than normal neck made them very tough on tendons of the left hand and arm. Many builders offer easy to play 12 strings now, but none (not even the high dollar ones) sound as good.

Interestingly, they are not highly prized in the vintage guitar market...$350 - $1000 depending on condition. Hard to find also, because vintage dealers don't like them usually. They usually take quite a bit of fret and neck work to keep them playable, and the bellys (top near the bridge) tend to pull up worse than most guitars. Troubles aside, it is quite magical to hear that famous tone when you play one for the first time...I've played 8 or 10 in stores over the years and they all sounded great...maybe someday I'll convince myself that tendonitis isn't so bad and find another one.

Wierd coincedence: both of my favorite artists play, or have played this guitar...Gord of course, but it was also Leo Kottke's main guitar for the early part of his career. His fingerpicking of the instrument is neat, and you do hear the familiar ring of it as with a Lightfoot tune. Kottke uses many open tunings, and I have adapted some Lightfoot tunes to open tuning -- makes for a much fuller sound when playing solo. I've also seen pictures of Jim Croce and Johnny Cash with them.
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Old 05-25-2000, 12:59 PM   #2
k-leb
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quote:Originally posted by Bill:
Any guitar players out there? I've owned a couple of Gibson B45 12's over the years (none now)...great sounding instruments that were beasts to play! First was a B45-12-N (natural finish top) from 1964 -- like Gord's in the early days. The second was a cherry sunburst like his later guitars. Incredible sound on both, but the wider than normal neck made them very tough on tendons of the left hand and arm. Many builders offer easy to play 12 strings now, but none (not even the high dollar ones) sound as good.

Interestingly, they are not highly prized in the vintage guitar market...$350 - $1000 depending on condition. Hard to find also, because vintage dealers don't like them usually. They usually take quite a bit of fret and neck work to keep them playable, and the bellys (top near the bridge) tend to pull up worse than most guitars. Troubles aside, it is quite magical to hear that famous tone when you play one for the first time...I've played 8 or 10 in stores over the years and they all sounded great...maybe someday I'll convince myself that tendonitis isn't so bad and find another one.

Wierd coincedence: both of my favorite artists play, or have played this guitar...Gord of course, but it was also Leo Kottke's main guitar for the early part of his career. His fingerpicking of the instrument is neat, and you do hear the familiar ring of it as with a Lightfoot tune. Kottke uses many open tunings, and I have adapted some Lightfoot tunes to open tuning -- makes for a much fuller sound when playing solo. I've also seen pictures of Jim Croce and Johnny Cash with them.


I Bill.Pleased to meet you.A critical aspect in the construction of the guitar`s
neck is the mass. A shaved down neck will have less inertia and therefore it will
affect the sustain, the higher harmonics of the guitar and eventualy the intonation.
Here are a few ways to circomvent that problem(that I kwow of):
There is a product on the market that adds mass to the neck (I think it is called the `Guitar Bell`).It`s a plate of brass that you install at the end of the
neck.It is easy to install and they don`t cost very much.
You can also find a good luthier (one that listens good) and have him build a
leaded neck for you.You can have the original neck shaved down too but...you
never know.And experienced luthier will know what kind of wood, or combination
of woods to use to duplicate the sound you are looking for.And a neck is less
expansive than buying a whole guitar.
I wish you luck in your qwest for the perfect sound.
By the way do you know a good mid priced score editor for windows?What features should it possess?See I`m into music,not programing.
Anyone is welcome to reply although I think this is not a GL related subject.


Drink yer glasses girls and boys it`s time to hit the Sky...

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Old 05-25-2000, 03:03 PM   #3
Bill
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Thanks for the info. I've done quite a bit of research on acoustic guitars -- I produced the documentary "The American Acoustic Guitar", and have built a couple of guitars. Met a lot of great luthiers.

As for Gord's Gibson...Florian probably has press articles with info on it. I have a few also...Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Frets Magazine...He's been through several; in part I'm sure because of the nature of the beast and repairs needed. I've seen photos of him with the natural top 12 string, a sunburst with the backwards bridge (cover of Frets issue), and a sunburst with bridge pins (Sundown cover).

Also, and I'd love feedback here, I've heard two stories of stolen equipment...one from a U-haul at a hotel/eatery in Michigan, and another time at the Dallas airport.

He's played several 6 strings over the years...Martin D18, Martin D 28; custom guitars...saw a picture once that looked like a Martin D19, Martin D35, and once a picture of a twleve string other than his Gibson (partially shown in photo), perhaps an on-the-road sub after theft.

On the Martin note: Martin has a limited series program where they issue commenmorative models for artists. They've done Eric Clapton, Steven Stills, Woody Guthrie, Jim Croce, and Jimmy Buffet to name a few. For Lightfoot fans it might be worth checking Martin's website and asking about designing a Lightfoot issue.
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Old 05-26-2000, 12:37 AM   #4
loveandmaplesyrup
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Hi, again, Bill,
You're absolutely right. Gord DID have two of his Gibson 12-strings stolen, both of them identical to the one he plays now. He got so paranoid about it that back in the days when he used to fly to his gigs on commercial airlines, he actually bought a ticket for a seat on the plane just for the guitar. Up until the last year or so, he used to always open with a song he needed the 12-string for and would actually walk out on stage with it rather than have it set up for him as his others are. By the same token, he would be sure and end with a 12-string piece, so he could leave the stage with it. I notice he STILL finishes with a song that calls for the 12-string.

Also, another little anecdote is that many years ago, he was sitting on the arm of a sofa at a party and lost his balance and fell off while playing that guitar. The end result was that he smashed the back of it in. He did have it repaired and used it for awhile after that.

He has since replaced it with an identical one. But I thought you might enjoy the story.

One other thing that might interest you. A few years ago in Reno, he had two of them on stage. He joked and said they were "twins", but that he had them tuned differently. LOL -- I am not a guitar expert by any means, so maybe you know what he was talking about.

Just a little contribution. I'm definitely out of my league here.

Stay loose, eh?

LAMS

------------------
"Love and maple syrup
go together like the
sticky winds of winter
when they meet....
If you go into the forest
Gaze up through the trees
The sky is white.
You can understand
What makes the forest
Greet the man
Like a mother's only
child ..."
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Old 05-26-2000, 02:54 PM   #5
rainydayperson
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Gord needed one guitar tuned differently for CRT as he tunes the bottom E string down to D for this song. Otherwise it's normal tuning-as far as I know!

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Hi derry day in the month of May
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Old 05-27-2000, 02:35 AM   #6
Rob Wells
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Guys,

Gord's got some funny tricks he uses for his 12 strings. He has the two, one tuned for a D tuning, as mentioned. But neither are tuned to a full E. Both are tuned down to an E flat to take the pressure off the necks and he capos up for the proper key. This helps prevent Belly Bowing which means you wind up adjusting down the bridge. On one of the 12's that was stolen he did something I did as well, bolted down the bridge with two bolts. He plays light gauge strings, but guages up the low E and A for better low end and the high G for better brillance. Another thing he does is he tunes the second B and the second high E a quarter semi-tone sharp. This is a trick he learned from the late Bob Gibson. He uses a Yamaha flat pick that is no longer available, which means he probably bought enough to last him the rest of his playing career.

12 strind fret boards are wider than normal to accomodate the amount of strings. If you're having a problem playing a 12 as opposed to a six, chances are the action may be too high, at either the nut or the bridge or both. I use a Terrada, which is B45 reproduction from Japan. Terrada only made 400 of them back in mid seventies. If you come across one grab it at any cost. I use medium guage strings (and had the neck back bowed to accomodate the pressure (275 pounds), but then I like my twelve to sound like Holy Thunder. I got that one from Bob Gibson, as well. I also use the same massive Fender triangle flat picks (thin) that Gibson used.

I have a 30 year old Yamaha FG180 as opposed to a Martin because I like the sound better. I run D'Addario heavy guage strings on it. Martin quit selling their heavy guage sets because the bridges kept coming lose on their guitars. I only use the six string for fingerpicking. I also use Dunlop thumbpicks and cultivate my nails.

Gordon uses Schubbs capos, but I prefer Kyser. Both are great.

Hope this helps.

Rob

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