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I picked up as parts a Hofner 12 string acoustic circa 1966. Seems to be inspired by a J50 or B45-12. It has a massive tune o matic style bridge assembly weighing 3 oz that I feel should be eliminated. Options could be just replace the tune o matic with a rosewood and bone saddle instert while retaining the claw string ball retainer or replace all with a standard pin bridge or an an end loading bridge. Maybe go to a bridge with a trapeze like some earlier 12 strings. There is a proper bridge plate within the X brace though not sure if there is enough there for pins. Wondering what the thoughts are about the difference in tone, stress, etc. It is roughly 12 frets to body, x braced and has a truss rod. No signs of any body or neck distortion. Thanks

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Throw all the metal in the bin! I would make a standard pin bridge with a bone saddle.

I totally agree with Roger, except on throwing the metal in the bin... Put it in the drawer, sooner or later you'll find the way to use it for something! Maybe a little larger bridge and bridge plate would give more bond strength and the tone will idefinitely increase. Good job.

Actually, I would have saved the metal as I always do that. In 20 years I have never reused any of it.

Thanks. The complication is that there is a brace running across right under the row of 3 screw holes and that is where the lower row of the 12 string bridge pins would typically be drilled... or it may be very close...

Could look for a bridge with a wider distance between the saddle and bridgepins...or consider a top-loading bridge, or hybrid 6 top/6 pinned....or just maybe use the original string comb retainer, trimmed down without the bottom plate...gets ugly

I would remove the brace if possible and use a pin bridge, if not I would use an end loading bridge.

Since it's a 12 string guitar, a tailpiece at the end of the top and a wooden floating bridge is a working alternative. The sound will be more brutal and lacking bass but as the twelve string sound is mainly a lot of trebles it will be alright :-)

Hi Frank, my approach, for what it's worth, is as follows. Have you seen the guitar strung up? I always string up a guitar to assess any movement in the top or neck, before deciding on repairs. I have found that many 12 stringers of that vintage suffer under years of stress and Mother Nature. 

I would consider making a larger bridge with the pin holes set further back to miss that brace. Or as suggested a plnless bridge.

I, personally would steer a way from a tailpiece setup as in my experience one does not get enough breakangle of the strings to the tailpiece. Also spacing the strings may mean grooving the saddle, which may further decrease the breakangle as may the extra downward force on the top.

ln the long run a making a pinless  bridge may be the best option. That's what it has at the moment, only less than perfect.

Taff

Thanks for the comments. Regarding the structure, the guitar was acquired with no tuners, and unstrung the guitar has a slight backbow presently...and for what its worth the few Hofner 12 strings I have seen on youtube or ebay seem to have low action, so optomistic on that.

I am leaning towards trying to acquire an Ovation style 12 string end loaded bridge. If you folks, as well as FF say the tonal difference is nominal, then thats the best solution as long as I can get it affixed properly. Fabrication is not in my ability so will have to acquire something. Thanks

Hi again Frank,  I used to play this very same model Hofner 12 String back in the late 1960s, I thought that it sounded pretty good for a guitar of that quality. It was one of two guitars I had at that time. 

Have you considered using the original bridge, you might be pleasantly surprised. Looks like what you have here is an early version of Stewmacs Power Pins and Power Plate. They claim it improves tone when added to a guitar bridge.

Taff

If there is not enough room for two rows of pin holes you can set up a 12-string with only 6 holes - 2 strings per hole. 

You cut two slots in the hole to keep the strings separated.

Click here to see a large version

In my opinion this solution needs a thicker saddle to balance the intonation issue between the different courses of strings. Anyway...  12 string guitars are always an issue, but I really love them!

Thanks for the ideas. Making a rosewood insert with saddle for the original bridge as shown in the pix was one idea. A single row of holes would fit on that bridge, although the 3 original holes that were drilled for the aluminum plate may be a problem affecting the bridgeplate strength.

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