Classic 1966 Electric XII.
Admittedly late to the 12 string party (you can’t be at the vanguard of every innovation!), Leo Fender designed his 12 string guitar from the ground up, incorporating the offset look and shape of the flagship Jazzmaster and Jaguar and took some characteristically brilliant design decisions (even if the hockey-stick headstock isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!).
Often manufacturers looking to include a 12 string guitar in their stable chose to simply add 6 more strings without factoring in the intonation challenges that this method presents. Leo’s bridge design incorporated 12 individually moveable saddles that could be intonated seperatly and adjusted (within reason) to make best use of all 12 strings. Add this to a comfortable C Profile neck, low action, string-through constuction and a pair of split coil pickups and you have yourself a guitar that came to define the 12 string sound of the 70’s. Think Stairway, Tommy, Dylan, Petty the list goes on!
The picture of Pete Townshend sat holding a sunburst Electric XII during the Tommy sessions is always the first thing that comes to mind when one of these is around. Classic three tone finish thats aged well and only faded a little, though you can see the difference under the tortoiseshell pickguard. The finish is still glossy and apart form some nice checking and a few minor dinks its fantastic.
The headstock has also changed colour to match and the lacquer on the neck itself has taken on a slightly richer hue. Again, there is very little sign of wear. The fretboard and frets are in great shape too. At some stage the nut has had a couple of extra slots filed and the retainer seems to have been moved slightly North of its previous position for some reason.
The hardware is in good condition showing very little signs of wear. The Fender ‘F style’ tuners work really well.
The tortoiseshell pickguard shows no real signs of shrinkage and is free of any cracking. Electronically everything looks correct and all the solder joint are undisturbed.
The guitar comes with a good quality, non original hardshell case
There is a good reason why this guitar was the go to studio 12 string when it was introduced. The feel of the neck and the action are just a joy and the instrument has such vibrant tone when played acoustically. The tonal scope offered by the split coil pickups is always surprising, making the job of coaxing out a variety of lush sounds a dream.
This is a lovely example of an Sunburst Electric XII. If you’ve been hankering after one or are in the market for something different you can’t go wrong with this one. It plays as good as it looks. Grab it before it gets away.