The Breedlove 12-String

The Breedlove AC-250 / SM-12 Guitar

The Breedlove AC-250 / SM-12 Guitar - Photo courtesy http://www.breedloveguitars.com/instruments/guitars/atlas/ac250_sm12/index.php
The Breedlove AC-250 / SM-12 Guitar - Photo courtesy http://www.breedloveguitars.com/instruments/guitars/atlas/ac250_sm12/index.php

Finally a 12-string I can Play!

Been collecting and playing guitars, both acoustic and electric for over 30 years. Here is one of my favorite guitar stories, how I finally located a playable acoustic 12-string guitar.

I have spent the last 20 years or so, searching dusty guitar shops, pawnshops, Guitar Center and other places. My goal was to find a 12-string guitar, with a decent neck radius, and low enough action so that the guitar could be played effortlessly.

While my hands are not small, high string action promotes fatigue while playing, and prevents the artistic emotion from being conveyed. Especially if your hand cramps up from excessive pressure being applied to the neck just to accurately fret the strings for a clear sound to be heard.

And now I present to you,the Breedlove Model AC-250 / SM-12, 12-string acoustic/electric guitar, Serial number: 05104038.

I was browsing the wall at the Guitar Center near my home one day, (in the USA), and saw this guy walking around with a 12-string guitar, wailing away like he knew what he was doing. I followed him around for about 45 minutes, until he spoke to the saleperson, hung up the guitar on the wall and left the store.

I asked the salesperson about the guitar, he said that it was one of the best necks he had ever seen on a 12-string acoustic guitar. 12-string acoustic guitars have a special requirement. The internal bracing, the configuration of lengths of wood glued to the inside of the body of the guitar, providing structural rigidity, along with appropriate acoustic properties is critical to the guitar's reliability, tuning and tone when played.

I picked up this guitar, and my hand had never felt this comfortable holding a 12-string before. When I played it, it was an incredible feeling of joy, as the string action was perfect. The tone was immense, and I noticed that it had an electronic Fishman system integrated into the design. Featuring a concealed, bridge-mounted pickup, the controls are conveniently mounted on a panel on the top bout of the guitar, within easy reach while playing.

It did not take me long to discover that this was the guitar I had been seeking for many years. I asked the salesman the price, and it came up on his computer as over $1,000.00. My heart sank, I could not afford this guitar that I now knew I had to buy!

But then he said, it's the last one of this model year, (2007) in the store, and the manager just lowered the price to $500.00! Now I could afford that much, so I bought the guitar, and have been playing it nearly every day since then.

The Fishman pickup system is embedded into the bridge, capturing every string perfectly! The sound is balanced, has authority, and records completely pure and clean into my PC. I use a Boss Drum Composer interface, with an SPDIF, digital audio output connector, which connects directly to my computer through a SPDIF-input, on the Sound Blaster Live Platinum sound card. The recordings sound terrific!

You will be able to hear a short clip of this guitar soon on the PodBean website where my guitar clip recordings / podcast recordings are hosted: http://nachase.podbean.com.

I have really been enjoying this guitar, and will let Kim Breedlove know about this Guitar HubPage, and how very much I am enjoying this guitar. Breedlove has satisfied a a 20 year long mission to find the ideal 12-string guitar for my needs.

You can visit the AC-250/SM-12 guitar www.breedloveguitars.com webpage here:

http://www.breedloveguitars.com/instruments/guitars/atlas/ac250_sm12/index.php

Respectfully, Nicholas

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Comments 6 comments

nachase profile image

nachase 8 years ago from SF Bay Area California Author

Please leave me a comment! Respectfully, Nicholas


Chela 8 years ago

Nick, you're crazy, we got to jam sometime, my trumpet will definitely take a liking to your acoustic/electric guitar, twelve strings, no offense but ya don't have enough fingers, so i=excuse my being ignorant like an owl, but how do ya do it? With two toes and ten fingers?Hi Nick you're crazy. We should jam sometime. My trumpet will take a definite liking to your acoustic/electric guitar, but forgive my ignorance but how do ya play that, two toes and ten fingers, I told you I'm guitar illiterate, what do I know, I'm a trumpeter, playing piano a little, and used to play the baritone/euphonium horn and trombone while in southern California, and I sing tenor, there is just no way no how jose, you multi-talented guy! Can not wait to hear ya tear it up with your twelve-stringer, so let it rip!


nachase profile image

nachase 8 years ago from SF Bay Area California Author

Chela,

You are most certainly not an owl, or even owl-like, as we have met at several events, and if you were an owl there would have been some distinguishing features that owls posses, that you would have had some difficulty hiding...

Actually to your toes and fingers playing the guitar question, it's a very easy answer. The 12-string 'pairs' are spaced so closely adjacent to each other, across the fretboard, that one finger can easily press each pair of strings down simultaneously, nearly as easily as a single string, if the design is there to permit it. The 12-string guitars designer's were so very clever to have solved this problem, so that a 12-string guitar can provide that signature tone, sounding like two very powerful 6-string guitars in unison, but not quite in unison.

The effect of the two strings being 'plucked' or strummed, means that the finger or plectrum (pick) strikes each string at a slightly different time. The sound swells to a peak level on each string, and then drops off as each strings vibration decays. It is this rich mingling of sonorities and the slightly differing frequencies and phasing that gives the 12-string it's unique voice.

I plan on recording the Breedlove 12-string tonight, so look for some new clips with the Breedlove name on my podbean.com site by tomorrow. I'll do one clip with no effects, one with a bit of chorus or reverb, and one clip with a trio of drums, bass, and keyboard, to see how well it displays it's voice in different settings. I appreciated your question, as to one who has not played the instrument, it might have seemed like a physical impossibility.

For me the challenge is like what Johann Sebastian Bach once stated when asked about playing the keyboard. "There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself".

I am still trying to master these two challenges every time i pick up one of my guitars. I have full access to all of the notes, but my fingers need to hit them in such a way for the guitar to "play itself". Respectfully, Nicholas


Chela Robles 8 years ago

Yeah, I understand, however, how can it play itself? My trumpet, I have to blow, do you mean emotionally, because evidently it cannot play physically by itself, unless you develop a remote controlled instrument, actually, have ya ever played Guitar Heroe, that oughta be loads of fun! How's it acoustic/electric, the clips kept buffering but it turned out great, was it electric and acoustic or is that not possible to play both modes at the same time? Can you tell how guitar illiterate I am? So teach me, professor Eric Clapton, (Nicholas Chase)


nachase profile image

nachase 8 years ago from SF Bay Area California Author

Ok,

Johann Sebastian Bach may have been joking about that, but actually isn't music a combination of mechanical expertise, ie "making the right notes at the right time", but also a heart emotion is tied in with how the notes sound, in what size room, the tempo of the music and the other instruments in an ensemble contributing a rich melange of sonorities, harmonies and beauty that is somewhat unmeasurable.

To your question about playing itself, no we trigger the notes, the acoustic properties of this guitar are enhanced by an electronic pickup (transducer) mounted inside the bridge of the guitar, where one end of each string is clamped down tight to the wooden bridge. An ideal location to collect the frequencies and tone from the guitar body as well as the strings themselves.

A balanced sound of each component, bridge and strings is then mixed together, with a few other controls for brightness, presence, bass and treble controls, and some batteries inside to power the whole deal. Then the output from this electronics package is delivered over a standard guitar cable into a digital converter / drum machine that I own. The drum machine has a digital output cable that go into my computer's soundcard, the SP/DIF digital input.

My soundcard has software that records whatever is plugged into the SP/DIF input, and I save the file as .wav format file. Then I convert it to an .MP3 for iTunes compatibility that podbean needs to store and stream my clips to a gratful public...?

Certainly the words soul and emotion are used by most musicians in interviews, but there is that intangible, somehow unexpressable feeling that the listener experiences that cannot be described in mere words.

Twelve little notes in a scale, but a seemingly unending variety of music has been produced using twelve little notes! Amazing!

Respectfully, Nicholas


nachase profile image

nachase 8 years ago from SF Bay Area California Author

Ok,

Johann Sebastian Bach may have been joking about that, but actually isn't music a combination of mechanical expertise, ie "making the right notes at the right time", but also a heart emotion is tied in with how the notes sound, in what size room, the tempo of the music and the other instruments in an ensemble contributing a rich melange of sonorities, harmonies and beauty that is somewhat unmeasurable.

To your question about playing itself, no we trigger the notes, the acoustic properties of this guitar are enhanced by an electronic pickup (transducer) mounted inside the bridge of the guitar, where one end of each string is clamped down tight to the wooden bridge. An ideal location to collect the frequencies and tone from the guitar body as well as the strings themselves.

A balanced sound of each component, bridge and strings is then mixed together, with a few other controls for brightness, presence, bass and treble controls, and some batteries inside to power the whole deal. Then the output from this electronics package is delivered over a standard guitar cable into a digital converter / drum machine that I own. The drum machine has a digital output cable that go into my computer's soundcard, the SP/DIF digital input.

My soundcard has software that records whatever is plugged into the SP/DIF input, and I save the file as .wav format file. Then I convert it to an .MP3 for iTunes compatibility that podbean needs to store and stream my clips to a gratful public...?

Certainly the words soul and emotion are used by most musicians in interviews, but there is that intangible, somehow unexpressable feeling that the listener experiences that cannot be described in mere words.

Twelve little notes in a scale, but a seemingly unending variety of music has been produced using twelve little notes! Amazing!

Respectfully, Nicholas

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