The 12-String Guitar ~ The Heavy-Hitter of Acoustic Blues Instruments

Today, the 12-string guitar is often associated more with folk music and simple open-chord strumming than with intricate lead guitar, ragtime, or traditional blues.  But some of the most influential blues musicians of all time forged timeless classics wielding their 12-strings.  In the following video, I’ll demonstrate many of the classic Blues styles and techniques that have proven the 12-string to be the heavy-hitter of acoustic stringed instruments.

LIVE STREAM LESSON: Blues Pickin’ & Sliding on the 12-String Guitar 

Early Blues greats like Leadbelly and Blind Willie McTell played the 12-string guitar almost exclusively.  These artists took advantage of the full-bodied tone and assertive dynamic presence of the 12-String, to accompany their powerful and expressive singing voices.  Back in the early days of audio recording, it was difficult for microphones to pick up the intricate details of a 6-string acoustic, especially when it was competing with a full-volume Blues singer belting out a vocal melody.  The 12-string’s acoustic volume is almost double that of a 6-string, providing a much fatter bed for the vocals to lay over, in the mix. 

Blind Willie McTell “Travelin’ Blues”

Leadbelly “I’m Alone Because I Love You”

Even Blues artists that are known for their 6-string electric guitar playing have been know to cut some of their most distinct tracks on solo acoustic 12-string.  Two great examples of this are Jimi Hendrix’s “Hear My Train A Coming” and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Life By The Drop.”  The intricate and sensitive single-note lead lines in these two tracks are fattened up by the doubled strings of the 12-string guitar.

Jimi Hendrix “Hear My Train A Coming”

Stevie Ray Vaughan MTV Unplugged

Stevie Ray Vaughan “Life By The Drop”

 

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~Justin Johnson
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Posted on August 28, 2016, in cigar box guitar, hill country blues, homemade, how to, instruction, justin johnson, lesson, lessons, music, practive, riffs, robert johnson, roots, slide guitar, theory, tune, tuning, tutorial, video and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nothing sounds better than a good 12 string , it’s hard to sound good on 6 strings after playing on a 12 . Ruined many practices starting on 12 then switching to 6 . I allways try to start on 6 first , then end on 12 . Love the videos & tips . GET DOWN WITH SOUND .

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