Eric Clapton’s Twelve String Guitar on YouTube.
Hi, welcome to an episode of “Thinking Inside the Box” on Noah’s Ark. In the video, we’re gonna talk about how to recreate the sounds of a 12-string electric guitar out of a regular 6-string electric guitar sound.
12-string guitars were very popular in the 60s and 70s and ended up on a lot of psychedelic rock records by bands like the Small Faces and the Beatles and guitarists like Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
As you can hear, the 12-string guitar has this distinctive brightness or chime to the top end and produces a sort of chorus-type effect almost like a Honky Tonk piano. So how does a 12-string emit this special kind of sound?
Well the way a 12-string is conceived is almost like a mandolin where each string in a regular 6-string configuration is doubled to form sets of pairs that are either tuned an octave apart or in unison depending on the pitch. The bottom four strings are tuned in octaves with the doubled string an octave above and the top two strings are tuned in unison just like a mandolin.
Similarly to the Honky Tonk piano sound where the sets of strings closely tuned together start to produce a chorus effect, the 12-string manifests the same phenomenon where sets of strings can never be perfectly in tune and start to modulate.
To find out more about Eric Clapton’s twelve string guitar sound, you can watch the video above or on YouTube here.