Harry's thoughts on playing 12-string guitars
I have specialized in playing the 12-string guitar in Lead Belly's way. I have been doing this since I studied Pete Seeger's book and heard the recordings of Lead Belly. Although I love the sound of the 12-string guitar tuned to pitch, I prefer to tune it lower and use heavy guage strings. For the type of sound that I want, a lateral braced light weight guitar is best.
12-String guitar builders/dealers and 12-String Guitar pics
Marc Silber Marc is a musician and music teacher in Berkeley, California. He deals in fine instruments on an appointment basis. I bought my favorite guitar from Marc,an Oscar Schmidt Sovereign model, made probably around 1920. The guitar I used for may years for small stage work through a PA system is a Marc Silber prototype. Marc had this guitar built to his specifications in 1993 by Mexican builders. Like the Sovereign it has a pin bridge and spruce top and is a very light weight, lateral braced guitar. Unlike the Sovereign which has mahogany back and sides, and an adjustable truss rod, the prototype has cypress back and sides with no neck reinforcement. Marc has played and studied guitar and guitar making since the late 1960s, and learned under John Lundberg. click here for photos
Neil Harpe Neil is a dealer of fine old Oscar Schmidt guitars and other lateral braced guitars. He is in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Here are some pics of guitars that are or have been in his stock. click here for photos
Dell 'Arte Alain Cola is famous for producing the "Django Reinhardt" guitar. The superb copies of the guitar that the jazz great Django Reihardt played are terrific instruments and wonderfully made. In 2001, Dell'Arte has begun producing replicas of Lead Belly's Stella 12. This guitar looks and plays like Lead Belly's instrument. Dell'Arte's guitars are sold throughout the country by music stores and guitar dealers. click here for photos
Ralph Bown Ralph, based in York, England builds copies of Oscar Schmidt style 12-strings. His workmanship and attention to detail are first rate. Ralph is a long time Lead Belly fan. click here for photos