Acoustic Guitar, Nov. 1977
It’s difficult to imagine what popular music would sound like without the 12-string guitar. Some of the most pervasive music of the last 60 years owes its power to the distinctive sound that Pete Seeger described as “the clanging of the bells.” Songs like “Goodnight, Irene,” Rock Island Line,” “Walk Right In,” Stairway to Heaven,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Hotel California” show what an important color the 12-string is in the sonic palette of 20th-century guitarists. Musicians as varied in style as Melissa Etheridge, Pete Seeger Leo Kottke, Leadbelly, Roger McGuinn, George Harrison, and Willie McTell have all made the 12-string an integral part of their music. In this article I’ll trace the development of the modern 12-string up through the players and makers who are guiding the instrument through the...
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