I've played the guitar for over 40 years—I'm now 59 and I started when I was 11 or so. I've played professionally, been in many bands, played every sort of guitar imaginable and even been a bass player for several of those years.
Now, however, I've been on 12-string for going on two years. Why 12-string? Because I've always loved the sound, and besides—I know I'll never be a guitar hero, so why not try to explore the realm of unique sounds? Everyone plays the 6-string—hardly anyone I've heard plays the 12-string, except as an afterthought to a six.
I had had a 12-string years ago but when I started up again this time around two years ago I found it incredibly difficult to just press down the strings!
After two years, however, I'm fairly used to it and can press the down well enough; my problem this time comes down to high action/heavy gauge strings.
The guitar people who are dealing with my two 12-strings have done their best to accommodate my request for the lowest possible action/lightest possible gauge strings, but past a point it's obvious that there is going to be buzzing, tuning problems and so on with BOTH these requests.
So the latest incarnation that they sent back after restringing and re-setting up is a 12-string with .011-gauge strings and, to me, incredibly high action, even though the tech told me proudly he had "lowered the action to the lowest" he'd ever accomplished on a 12-string.
But now I find it almost impossible to play the chords I was playing before . . . the strings are just too high and the force required to push them down is just too great!
My question here is, will I ever get to the point that I will be able to play this guitar, or am I just banging my head against a brick wall? How do I get around the high action? It feels (although it isn't!) that the strings are a centimetre from the fretboard (they're more like 3 mm).
Now, I remember when I could barely play this guitar with the lightest strings (.009s) and lowest action possible (it led to much buzzing and other problems) but I despair at ever being able to play it now.
Don Felder of the Eagles once said of the 12-string—that he used to write Hotel California—that it made his fingers bleed and you needed the "hands of a gorilla" to play it, but I can't believe this is true.
CAN I ever get to the point where I can play this thing? I do NOT want to play it like a 6-string. I realize that soloing on a 12-string is a ridiculous idea. I want to use it more as almost a harp.
What should I practice to increase hand strength, and especially accuracy at just being able to press the two strings of each course down properly?
I can't find anything on YouTube for 12-strings specifically and what I do find usually treats the 12-string as just a different kind of 6-string.
Many thanks for any advice provided!