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The review examples offer four distinct variations on the 12-string electric theme and each should appeal to equally differing players.
The Hutchins Memphis is unique, being the only bigbodied archtop acoustic version currently available. Size and styling ensure it isn’t the obvious option for normal 12-string duties, but it could find favour with an adventurous jazzer. It’s a lot of guitar for the money, but build quality and performance are let down by one or two design deficiencies.
Sounds seem somewhat subdued by normal 12-string standards, although they suit the instrument’s image and application.
Back in the sixties the Burns Double Six was one of the best 12-stringers and this reissue retains that reputation, combining classic retro character with improved components. The wide neck might initially be a bit daunting, but it’s actually more fingerfriendly than most. The sizeable body could deter some, but this classy guitar sounds as big as it looks and demonstrates the performance benefits of a purpose-built design.
In contrast, the Strat XII adopts a play safe approach, relying on Fender’s most famous six-string for familiar looks and feel, while Japanese manufacture means build quality is well up to scratch. The standard Stratocaster pickup and control count ensures that sounds are much as expected. These prove quite effective for 12-string work, but more thought on the circuitry side would’ve made this model even better at its job.
Duesenberg’s Double Cat may be Rickenbacker-influenced, but it packs plenty of individual character thanks to more brand-specific hardware than any rival. The tuner layout may not be to everyone’s taste, likewise the abundant Art Deco design features, but build quality is undoubtedly impressive.
An ideally proportioned neck ensures this semi is one of the best playing 12-strings around and it’s similarly no slouch sound-wise. These attributes don’t come cheap, but this feline is still far cheaper than its obvious inspiration.
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