Modern Guitar Innovations – 1900 – The 12-String Guitar


By John and Alan Lomax Collection [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsAnother innovation relating to increased volume was the 12-string guitar. The use of double courses of strings to increase volume is quite old. Because Renaissance guitars and mandolins had used this concept it is perhaps is wrong to say it is truly an innovation. But the development of the modern 12-string guitar seems to me significant because of its role in early blues.

Wikipedia and other sources suggest two possible influences for the modern 12-string. One is it evolved from Mexican 11-stringed instruments. The other is that Italian luthiers evolved it from their knowledge of mandolins. What we know is that by the beginning of the 20th Century there were inexpensive 12 string guitars available and that Huddie Ledbetter purchased a Stella 12 string guitar in 1912.

In addition to Leadbelly, Blind Willie McTell and Barbecue Bob were early bluesman who took advantage of the extra volume of the 12-string guitar.

Leadbelly with 12 string guitar

Related Posts

After 9 years I changed the strings on my guitars
views since 2016-11-26 = 138
... whether the strings needed changing or not! What? How is that possible? Am I crazy? Seriously, I just changed the strings on 3 of my guitars. ...
Will I keep my new Yamaha NCX900FM Classical Guita...
views since 2016-11-26 = 201
Last year I tried to purchase a classical guitar — twice. I returned the guitar both times. I've just tried again and this time I think I've found a c...
What’s the difference between a classical and a fl...
views since 2016-11-26 = 310
I’ve twice been in guitar stores in recent weeks where a staff member working in the guitar department asked me to explain the difference between a cl...
Goodbye to my Ami Parlor Guitar
views since 2016-11-26 = 106
Goodbye to my Ami Parlor Guitar About 10 years ago I stopped at a Daddy’s Junky Music store in Boston and discovered the Ami parlor guitar by Arts &a...

Leave a Reply