Dansm's Acoustic Page

Tuning a 12-String
Tuning a 12-string seems difficult at first glance though it is a relatively simple operation. If you understand how to tune a 6-string then you can tune a 12-string. The diagram below represents the 12 strings on your guitar, and shows the pitches of each individual string. The directions below that describe one way to tune the guitar.

  1. First, tune the thicker strings in each pair (strings 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11) to standard tuning: EADGBe. This is discussed on my tuning page.

  2. Tune strings 2,4 in unison with their partner:

  3. Tune strings 6,8,10,11 an octave above their partner:

  4. Note that when you are done, string 12 should be one octave lower than string 1 or 2. "e" on string 12 does NOT equal "e" on string 1 or 2.

I hope this helps everyone with a 12-string tune their guitars. Good luck, have fun, and keep playing!
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1998 Daniel E. Smith. Last updated 9-7-98.