Converting a 12 string to a 6 string? Possible?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by skit_skittson, Sep 15, 2002.

  1. I just bought a beat up old 12 string guitar for $30 at a yard sale. It sounded great when I played it but I don't really like the 12 string. There are some minor repairs that need to be made to the guitar like the nut and saddle and there are a few little cracks but I can fix those. What I want to know is if it is possible to change the bridge to a 6 string bridge and maybe cut off the excess headstock and make the guitar into a 6 string. What would need to be done for me to do this and any tips would be helpful. I'll be buying supplies from Thanks for any help.
  2. The reasoning behind wanting to convert is that the neck and body of the acoustic are in very nice condition and has excellent playability.
  3. Before you do anything, just remove the octave strings and see how it plays. If you like it, then start the mods.

    My suggestion is to remove the old bridge and replace it with a 6 string bridge. Do the same with the nut. Restring it and see how it plays before you start chopping off the excess headstock.

    I'd think changing from a 12 to a 6 would be easier than changing a 6 to a 12.

    I think it would be a fairly easy procedure. Sounds like a good project.
  4. I played it with only the six strings on it and I love it. That's why I want to convert it. I just need to know how to take off the 12 string bridge and put on a 6 string bridge. The nut I can probably figure out. After everything else is completed, I was going to think about taking off the excess headstock. Also, how do you fix minor cracks? Wood filler?
  5. gyancey


    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I wouldn't expect a stellar sound, since 12 strings are braced heavier (and maybe even have a thicker top?) to support the extra tension. If you really want to go crazy pop the back off and do some brace work.
  6. The twelve string has a thicker neck and a thicker body. I'm hoping that it will give it a good sound. I played it with just the six strings on it and it sounded great. I don't know how the bridge conversion and tuning peg conversion is going to effect that. I'm going to add an acoustic pickup to the guitar and maybe even an old humbucker. I'll figure that out when I get there though.
  7. Check out
    For instance, here are some acoustic bridges

    and here are some tools that can help you with the removal and reinstallation of the bridge.

    Good luck with your project, and keep us updated.
  8. Will the placement of the new bridge change from the old one? I want to have proper intonation. Also will the first 6 (3 on a side) tuning pegs have proper intonation? I want to use them and cut off the remaining headstock. Is this possible? Also, I will be adding an acoustic pickup for sure but would an electric humbucker work on an acoustic too? I was thinking of maybe adding both. So I will be able to get some different sounds. Thanks.
  9. I successfully removed the bridge last night. A little bit of spruce came with it and I noticed a slight swell in the top of the body. It not anything major and all the braces inside are still intact. I'm going to order my new supplies soon and then I'll have to apply the bridge. Any tips on doing this would be great. Also, what would I use to seal up some cracks in the guitar? There are minor cracks where the body and the neck join together and I want to seal the cracks so they don't grow anymore. Thanks for any help.