Author Topic: Twin Six's Road Case  (Read 3286 times)

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Offline Twin Six

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Twin Six's Road Case
« on: October 28, 2020, 12:04:14 pm »
Welcome to Twin Six's Road Case.

I restarted learning guitar back in June, when I restrung the 12-string I've had since 1994 and started practicing riffs & songs on ultimate-guitar.com, which is how I discovered Justin's lessons. Now, for the first time, I'm learning guitar in a systematic, disciplined way. I practice guitar several hours per day in two or three sittings.

Here's a photo of my guitars. The 12-string I call the Twin Six after the '32 Packard Dietrich Twin Six Convertible Victoria owned by my grandfather from the mid-'60s to the late-'70s. It was the only one of its kind, having rear-mounted spares instead of side-mounts. A few years ago, it showed up at Pebble Beach, where it won Best Open Packard. My brother was there, and was beside himself to see it in person again after over 30 years of not knowing its whereabouts. But I digress.

The 6-string was an Ebay find bought with the consent & encouragement of Mrs. Twin Six. It arrived on her birthday, which felt slightly awkward for me but tickled her. As of this writing, I've had it less than a week. It does not yet have a name.

Both are Sitka Spruce with Rosewood back & sides.

Alvarez Yairi Dreadnoughts by Jonathan Barrett Adams, on Flickr
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2020, 12:10:39 pm »
Love reading the stories in these Road Case, Twin Six, yours no exception.

Guitars look great and I am a fan of rosewood ... accordingly my 6 string is named Rose.

Wish you well here in the Community and hope we hear, and even see, you playing soon.

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2020, 02:37:48 pm »
Thanks, David.

Rose is a great name for a Rosewood guitar, but I can't copy it. My feeling is that it will earn its name from playing. Also, I consider the 12-string female and the 6-string male based on the stereotype of the relative complications of gender.

As for hearing or seeing me playing, my little digital camera has video capability, so some experimentation is in order.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2020, 12:38:38 pm »
Now, some background about my experience with musical instruments might be a good point of departure.

My mother played piano, so there was always a piano in the house. From my earliest memories it was a baby grand. It was at this piano I started learning French horn at age 10, which is when I learned where middle C was on the piano. My French horn days ended when I moved to a new school district and the horn they had was unsuitable.

In my early teens, I started learning piano out of a desire to emulate my prog-rock heroes Keith Emerson & Rick Wakeman. I kept at it and got fairly proficient. After graduating high school, I managed to buy a Hohner Clavinet, Crumar organ, & Micro-Moog synth. After a couple of years romance with these, I sold them to a musician friend.

Fast-forward to the latter part of my mid-20 in the late '80s, when I first encountered the sitar. So enamored was I with this instrument that a month later I was in Varanasi, India taking lessons and having a sitar made for me by Nitai Chandranath, the top maker there, who subsequently made me several more instruments.

I stuck with the sitar, practicing for a minimum of 3 hours per day and regularly for 6-8 hours. After a couple of years, I found a good teacher who broke me of bad habits. This was Amit Roy, the disciple of the late Nikhil Banerjee, one of the greatest sitarists of his generation. At length, I traveled to Calcutta to have my teacher's brothers make me a sitar, which is how I came to have my Hiren Roy & Sons concert grand, which represents the pinnacle.

Unlike piano or guitar & similar western instruments, there are no chords on sitar, but rather melody played over a drone. The entire instrument is tuned to one key, which is generally C#. Many people wanted to accompany me with guitar, but were baffled when I asked them to play in C#. ( A jazz guitarist was the only guitarist who could successfully jam with me.)

The inherent limitation of sitar to Indian music led me to learn guitar. I started with a Yamaha classical guitar with nylon strings, learning from an excellent & comprehensive book on guitar. I found it easy & intuitive, and progressed quickly. I then purchased my first steel-string guitar, and Alvarez 6-string, and then soon after, the Alvarez Yairi 12-string I still have.

My focus changed, and I didn't play any of my instruments from the late '90s until this year. In retrospect, I regret this, but now that I'm back to the guitar in this newfangled internet age, I find that the practice habits I acquired learning sitar stand me in good stead for learning guitar. I have a high tolerance for long, tedious hours playing scales & exercises and finger pain. And so it is that I've progressed beyond what I'd achieved on the guitar decades ago, largely thanks to Justin's excellent lessons.

Well, that was long-winded!
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Online glpguitar

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2020, 12:47:22 pm »
Well, there's one thing I am sure of. Your life is a big musical adventure! Thanks for sharing this, it was a very interesting read! Looking forward to hear some of your playing and try to decide if there are any horn or sitar influences in your style!

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2020, 03:21:24 pm »
Twin Six ... "long-winded" ... not at all, you want to see some of mine when I take a deep breath  :o

What a wonderful story.

Sounds like there's a much fuller story as to how you encountered sitar, could travel to India, and all the experiences there. All those hours of practice ... my goodness.  Probably spend more hours in a couple of months than I spend in a year.  Would love to see and hear you playing some sitar.

Quite interesting as well as to how so much passion and dedication one can have, and then life happens, taking you down a different path.

How is that 6 string sounding a couple of days on?



Offline markd85

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2020, 04:09:58 pm »
Hi Twin Six
Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing that. I have an Alvarez AD70. No expert here, but I think these guitars are very underrated. Would love to hear you play over in the AVOYP section sometime. Thanks.
Mark

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2020, 05:23:41 pm »
Well, there's one thing I am sure of. Your life is a big musical adventure! Thanks for sharing this, it was a very interesting read! Looking forward to hear some of your playing and try to decide if there are any horn or sitar influences in your style!

My life certainly became a musical adventure once I discovered the sitar. In my first foray into guitar back in the mid-'90s, I figured out all of the Indian music scales and made diagrams of them. Those are tucked away in one of my guitar books (currently in storage pending my building of bookcases). Otherwise, the the music I aspire to play on guitar has neither horn nor sitar influences.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2020, 05:32:52 pm »
Twin Six ... "long-winded" ... not at all, you want to see some of mine when I take a deep breath  :o

What a wonderful story.

Sounds like there's a much fuller story as to how you encountered sitar, could travel to India, and all the experiences there. All those hours of practice ... my goodness.  Probably spend more hours in a couple of months than I spend in a year.  Would love to see and hear you playing some sitar.

Quite interesting as well as to how so much passion and dedication one can have, and then life happens, taking you down a different path.

How is that 6 string sounding a couple of days on?

I was living & working in Kyoto, Japan when I discovered the sitar. A friend who lived in a wonderful traditional Japanese house hosted a music party one Friday night back in '89. Somebody brought along his sitar and let me have a go. I got hooked, and learned how easy it was to go to India and get one of my own, which is what I did. The night of that party, a typhoon blew through and stranded all of us at the house for the weekend, so I got a good dose of sitar. The rest, as they say, is history.

The 6-string sounds amazing! It could have gone either way with an Ebay find, but it went the right way.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2020, 05:40:54 pm »
Hi Twin Six
Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing that. I have an Alvarez AD70. No expert here, but I think these guitars are very underrated. Would love to hear you play over in the AVOYP section sometime. Thanks.
Mark

Glad you find it interesting. Yes, indeed, Alvarez are one of the great values of the guitar world. They sound far better than their price point would suggest.

It will take me a bit of research to figure out how to record myself, but I'll do it sooner or later
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline batwoman

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2020, 03:25:51 am »
Welcome to the forum Twin Six.  :)

What an interesting tale you tell, totally fascinating, thankyou for taking us on the journey. Such a rich musical history you have. I can imagine the songs and compositions you may write. Oh joy.

So glad you landed here and very much looking forward to hearing and see you play.
Walcott Custom OM Acoustic , G&L Tribute Fallout Electric, Crafter T035 OM Acoustic, Ashton Bass.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2020, 04:04:10 am »
I was living & working in Kyoto, Japan when I discovered the sitar. A friend who lived in a wonderful traditional Japanese house hosted a music party one Friday night back in '89. Somebody brought along his sitar and let me have a go. I got hooked, and learned how easy it was to go to India and get one of my own, which is what I did. The night of that party, a typhoon blew through and stranded all of us at the house for the weekend, so I got a good dose of sitar. The rest, as they say, is history.

The 6-string sounds amazing! It could have gone either way with an Ebay find, but it went the right way.

Thanks for the extra details, Twin Six, another strand.

Glad to hear the single six turned out well.

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2020, 11:12:26 pm »
Welcome to the forum Twin Six.  :)

What an interesting tale you tell, totally fascinating, thankyou for taking us on the journey. Such a rich musical history you have. I can imagine the songs and compositions you may write. Oh joy.

So glad you landed here and very much looking forward to hearing and see you play.

Thank you for the welcome, Batwoman. Your Road Case is one that inspired me. You've had quite a journey too!
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2020, 11:28:16 pm »
Thanks for the extra details, Twin Six, another strand.

Glad to hear the single six turned out well.

Indeed, the single six has turned out well.

Recently, I noticed that the Twin Six's bridge was lifting -- a typical 12-string problem -- so I took it into my local shop today. As it happens, it's being sent to their most local technician, who works for Bourgeois Guitars, giving me complete confidence that it will come back sounding better than ever.

Fortunately, I am not guitarless during the interim.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2020, 11:50:59 pm »
Of New Bridge Pins & Strings

Recently, I ordered new bridge pins from Stewmac. bone with abalone inlay for the Twin Six, and ebony with mother-of-pearl inlay for the single six. It took some filing & sanding to narrow the diameter of the bone pins down enough to fit. I won't know if there's any difference in tone till it comes back from repair. The strings on the single six (Martin Marquis 12-54s) still have a lot of life left in them, so I won't be replacing the plastic pins with the ebony for at least another several weeks.

I also put in an order for strings from Strings By Mail: Martin Flexible Core 10-47 Extra Light 12-string & 12-54 Tommy Emanuel's Choice Light 6-string, DR Rare Phosphor Bronze 10-47 for 12-string & 12-54 for 6-string, and DR Sunbeams 12-54 for 6-string. As I experiment with these different strings over the coming months, I'll make notes of my impressions of these various strings.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2020, 05:49:26 am »
Look forward to hearing how those pin changes work out and your impressions of the strings.

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2020, 03:39:18 pm »
On the subject of strings, the strings I've been using on the Twin Six are Martin SP 80/20 Extra Light 12-String 10-47s. The tone is bright & balanced with a warm, resonant bass, and they last a long time. I'm happy with them, though I feel that perhaps they're a bit stiff.

I find the Martin Marquis strings (also 80/20) on the single six sound & feel like the SPs. The only difference with Marquis is that the string at the ball-end is wrapped in silk, which is gentler to the bridge & pins, apparently.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2020, 03:55:49 pm »
A topic that is beyond me.  At this stage I just put on the Elixir strings available in the shop I go to...and a new strings is probably long over-due.

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2020, 08:59:48 pm »
I also knew nothing about strings and bought what the shop had to offer, which is how I established some sort of benchmark for comparison. Also, I've been reading up on the subject on the Acoustic Guitar Forum (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/index.php), so I've got some idea of which strings I want to try.

If you're happy with Elixirs, keep using them or use them as your point of departure if you're ready to experiment.

I've also bought a variety of picks (Mrs. Twin Six, a Brit, prefers "plectrum" to "pick"), and am discovering how different plectra affect the tone of the guitar. The Twin Six requires a more flexible plectrum to pick both strings of each course, while the single six responds better to a stiffer plectrum.

Finding what works best is quite a learning curve with innumerable variables.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2020, 04:57:02 am »
Thanks for the reference, Twin-Six. Living down in South Africa the variety of strings in the shop and purchasable through local online channels seems limited.  Maybe I need to do some further investigation, perhaps there are other outlets yet discovered.

As for plectra/picks ... I recently switched up to a slightly stiffer pick and I think the tone is better and helps with picking individual strings which I am now trying to get to grips with.

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2020, 03:33:39 pm »
David,

You could try ordering from Strings By Mail, though the shipping costs might be a tail-wagging-the-dog proposition. Here are their shipping policies: https://www.stringsbymail.com/shipping.html

As I increase in speed, I find that a stiffer plectrum enables better control & precision. As for picking individual notes, I start every practice session with this exercise from Justin's "classic" beginner's course: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/picking-individual-strings-bc-166

I use the metronome (started at 60 bpm, then 80, now 100) and I never look at my picking hand.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2020, 04:30:04 am »
Today, because I wanted to install the new ebony bridge pins, I took the Martin Marquis 80/20 strings off the single six and re-strung it with 12-54 DR Sunbeams. Now the guitar positively sings.

I've read various accounts of how replacing plastic bridge pins with bone or ebony improved the tone & sustain, as well as claims that bone bridge pins will brighten the sound while ebony will darken it. All of this I take with a large grain of salt. I haven't noticed that the bridge pins alone have any significant effect on the sound. The ebony certainly looks better, and I feel considerable satisfaction at having ebony instead of plastic, but compared with the improvement in sound from new strings, any contribution by the bridge pins seems nearly negligible.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2020, 05:47:22 am »
Sounds good, Twin Six.

Offline Twin Six

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2020, 03:35:23 pm »
As for plectra/picks ... I recently switched up to a slightly stiffer pick and I think the tone is better and helps with picking individual strings which I am now trying to get to grips with.

Having acquired several picks, I find that I favor more flexible picks for the Twin Six and stiffer picks for the six. I started out favoring the Tortex 0.50mm & Jim Dunlop 0.60 nylon, but now find I much prefer the Jim Dunlop thin celluloid because I get more clarity & definition of notes, whereas the Tortex just seems slightly louder without so much clarity now.

Hearing the differences in tone between different picks is one of those fascinating aspects of learning guitar. A month ago, I probably wouldn't have noticed much difference.
1986 Alvarez Yairi DY-76 (twelve-string) "The Twin Six"
1989 Alvarez Yairi DY-39 (six-string)
1993 Hiren Roy & Sons sitar
Fender Squier Bullet Telecaster
Vox Valvetronic VT20X

Offline DavidP

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Re: Twin Six's Road Case
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2020, 04:32:32 am »
Ain't that the the truth and beauty of the adventure that is becoming a guitar player and musician...something new to discover, learn, and enjoy around every next corner.

 

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