I've bought an Ibanez 12 string acoustic brand new online.

Do I tune the 12 string guitar like all the 6 string guitars I have.

  • Did it not come already strung? – Tim Apr 17 '16 at 11:46
  • 1
    @Tim they're quite often detuned (much lower than playing tension) for delivery, especially if there's air transit involved. Extreme changes in atmospheric pressure and temperature can cause the strings to tighten, potentially warping the neck, or strings to break and maybe taking some of the veneer with it. Not what you want with a new guitar. – AJFaraday Apr 18 '16 at 4:05

Twelve string guitars have basic tuning the same as a 6 string (EADGBE) but the pairs are arranged a little differently:

For the thickest 4 pairs (EADG) the thinner string of each pair should be an octave higher than the thicker string

For the thinnest two pairs (BE) each string of the pair should be tuned in unison.

There is a handy tuner online at get-tuned.com - and they describe the tuning as:

  • eE aA dD gG BB EE

where lowercase is an octave higher than its counterpart.

  • 1
    Perfect explanation. Clear and concise! – Rockin Cowboy Apr 17 '16 at 17:57
  • Just to add, in practical terms, when tuning each pair, either by hear or with an electronic tuner, be careful, when tuning one string of the pair, not letting the other string vibrate. It may vibrate by simpathy, even if not mechanically poked, and make the tuning more difficult. An easy way to avoid this is using a pick, strike the string that's being tuned immediately resting the pick on the other string, thus stopping any vibration from this second string. – José David Apr 22 '16 at 9:39
  • Actually, I use the resonation to make it easier to tune in unison – Doktor Mayhem Apr 22 '16 at 12:26

I agree The 12 string Must be tuned 2 notes lower, i have proved the strain on my 12 strings when toned to concert E. The sound is also improved as is the action. using heavy strings and tuning down also does not help the guitar as the tension is too high resulting in eventual neck bend and high action as well as bridge lift. on gibson B 45 s with tailpiece and floating bridge it can cause the top of the guitar to warp inwards.its worth tuning down and transposing.

  • This is just incorrect Jonathan. If you have a 12 string designed for D then sure, tune it in D, but the majority are designed for standard tuning – Doktor Mayhem Jan 13 '20 at 12:55

12 string tuning should be D G C F A D or you'll eventually split the top and also make the instrument difficult to play. Try it. Relieve the tension, save your guitar from over tuning. Make it sound better. Don't reply until you try

  • 3
    You will not "split the top" if you use standard tuning. – Tom Serb Apr 28 '19 at 20:48

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