Conversion to 12 string

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by notonthehorse, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. I am looking to convert an old G&L four string to a 12 string. I have resigned myself to the fact that I need to find a new neck and bridge.

    Does anyone know where I might find these things, preferably on the cheap?

    Has anyone done anything like this before? Does anyone have any tips / suggestions / cautions?

    Thanks for the help.
  2. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    And probably reroute the neck pocket, and new pickup(s) for the wider string spacing...
    You're way better off getting something designed to be a 12 from the start in my opinion. You'll probably end up only keeping the body and the pots.

    *edit*: Out of curiosity, where are you going to get a 12 string neck? can't say I've ever seen one for sale.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Might as well start anew with an old Fender body (different neck pocket than G&L I believe) and buy a new Warmoth neck and Schaller 12 string bridge from Warmoth. Easiest method of conversion I know about.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    after you click on the link,to the left of the page click on the tech page and there you will find just what your looking for.
  5. Looking for someone who makes a 12 string neck. Warmoth does not seem to.

    I know I need to route out the neck pocket; not so intimidated about that.

    What about tuner sets?

    Is it all that necessary to get new pick ups?
  6. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    Just buy a Dean 12 string. Save yourself alot of hassle, time and money.
  7. klocwerk


    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    The ones I've seen use 4 bass tuners and 8 guitar tuners.

    As for new pickups, if the string spacing changes so that the strings are no longer over the poles on your pickups, you'll definitely want to change them.

    May I suggest the Luthiers forum on here instead of the basses forum?
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    That's what I thought - you're better off starting with a 5-string, not a 4-.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Sounds like good advice.
  10. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    If you'll take an 8 instead of a 12, Warmoth sells parts.
  11. darkblack99

    darkblack99 Supporting Member

    As an owner of a Hamer 12...I would say that the best advice so far in this thread is to buy a budget model 12-string that is ready-made (for example: Dean, Galveston or Carlo Robelli), rather than attempt to retrofit parts that are not designed for the wider frequency range and string tensions involved, at minimum.

    If the G & L is the desired body model...A 8-string neck and bridge would be the way to go, with an electronics upgrade.
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I agree. The Dean can be had pretty cheaply, if you find a used one. I have a Hamer import 12, and paid $299 for it NEW at a GC blowout.
  13. Rock City

    Rock City

    Apr 8, 2001
    The Warmoth 8 string neck will work fine. You'll need to have them drill it for 12 tuners, or get it blank and drill it yourself. The Schaller 8 string bridge they sell is perfect. You only need 8 saddles, because the 2 octave strings will intonate the same because they're unison. Your pickups may be fine, as long as their field is wide enough to cover the total spacing.
    The one issue will be the G&L neck pocket. It's deeper into the body and narrower than a Fender, similar to a Musicman. The cleanest way to address this is to make a maple(or similar hardwood) block that fits the pocket perfectly. Glue the block into the pocket and re-route for the Fender-style neck. You can then make a new pickguard that covers the extra pocket area that you filled.
    I've built a couple of 12's using the Warmoth neck and had good results.
    Note that because of Warmoth's(poor) choice of steel bars in the neck, it will be a neck diver unless your body is pretty heavy.
  14. Thank you for all the responses. I wanted to avoid some of the lower priced companies, just because I wasn't a big fan of the four and five strings they made that I have played(can't find any 12 strings in KC).

    Has anyone gigged professionally / toured with any of the lower priced 12 strings? Are they reliable? Are there any that sound great? I am concerned because I will be using it to drive a small experimental ensemble - probably vocalist, violin, and percussion, so it will really be out front.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    I gig fairly regularly with my Hamer CH12. The bass is solid as a rock. Once I got the neck set up the way I wanted it, I have not had to adjust it.

    The stock pickups and preamp sound pretty decent, although I am planning on putting EMGs in it eventually.

    But the electronics are quiet. No buzz or hum.
  16. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    I haven't gigged with my Dean 12, but others have used them. Weird Al's bass player used one live the last time I saw him for the parody version on Eminem's "Lose Yourself," sounded pretty cool.