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ConjuntoFan

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 #1 

Hello everyone! I am going to show my ignorance concerning bajo sextos and guitars, but I am curious and have a question to ask. Since the bajo sexto and 12-string acousitc guitar are so similar, is it possible to tune the two bottom strings on a 12-string acoustic guitar to C & F and be able to use it as a bajo sexto? From the little I know, the only difference that I am aware of is the notes of the bottom two strings, B & E vs C & F.   


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jaimesbajos

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 #2 
Hello Conjunto Fan, I am going to try to answer your question about the bajo and guitar, after having had a short discussion with my Dad and being schooled on the exact tunings and structural issues that are involved. The bajo sexto is basically an extension of the twelve string guitar. Where the twelve string stops the bajo continues.

twelve string guitar: E B G D A E bajo: F C G D A E ; both are pairs of strings

It is like moving down the piano in the same key but lower note, if i am understanding my Dad right. The notes are the same the key is lower. If you just tune the B and E to C and F you would get a very high keyed bajo that would not sound correct. The method, my Dad explained, to make the switch was: Take all the strings off, discard the E , B and one of the fourth strings which will be replaced with an octave, re-string with G D A E ( only one of the E strings, because one will be replaced with an octave, get a set of Ernie Ball or GHS standard guitar strings, you will need to use these brands and type because you will need the ball end to use with the bridge pins ( you can buy single strings for this ). Get the fifth and the sixth which are .078 and .092 the octave for the the fifth is .036 and the octave for the sixth is .046, and you will need the octave for the fourth which is .030. Remember to get standard ball end strings because standard bajo sexto strings will have the loop end and not the ball end.

So the gauges are as follows: F two strings @ .024, C two strings @ .036, G two strings @ .046, D one string @ .062 and the octave for D is one string @ .030, A one string @ .078 and the octave for A is one string @ .036, and then E one string @ .092 and the octave for E is one string @ .046 These gauges were taken from a pack of ghs bajo sexto strings.

After installing all the correct strings in the right place you will tune to F and if I did not miss any thing and under stood my Dad correctly you will have turned a twelve string guitar into a bajo sexto.

Now having done that, there will be some stress issues to tend with. The bajo sexto tuning and string gauges cause added stress on the normal guitar body that it was not designed to withstand. After you do this to a normal twelve string guitar you can play it and it will sound close but you will need to de-tune it after it is played or the instrument will buckle. We have seen instruments over the years that this has been done to and the bridge is pulled forward caving in the top in front of the bridge and ballooning the top behind the bridge. Also the neck is pulled forward, lifting the strings away from the finger board.

I believe, these issues were why the bajo was developed. The first instruments used were twelve string guitars, like the stella, this seams to be correct, if all the information about the bajo's history is good, that is available on the net. Hope this makes sense.
ConjuntoFan

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 #3 

Hi Jaime! I really appreciate the very detailed explanation! I can see now why the bajo exists. I already have a bajo, so I won't go through modifying a 12-string guitar to use as a bajo. I was just curious if there was a reason it couldn't be done. By the way, you may have not realized that I am Tony Avitua, who went with you, your Dad, and Pete to Woodland that one time we practiced at the one restaurant undergoing remodeling! I hope I have the right Jaime...jeje! Thanks for your time!


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 #4 
Hey Tony, Waasss SSaappinning!?!? I didn't realize who i was talking to, but I remember now. I had fun jamming that day, still trying to learn my Dads stuff. We don't have a lot of time to play but we are working on it. If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask we will be glad to answer them, or will point you to the direction of who might know the answer. Jaime

Hey if i can get a jam session going one of these days, would you care to join in?
ConjuntoFan

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 #5 
Jaime, thanks for the time and information. I also had a great time at Woodland that day. Although I must admit, I had some butterflies at first. Most definitely! It would be fun to do it again!

Some day, I would like to own one of your Dad's bajo! GILBERT'S BAJO IS BEAUTIFUL!

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Gilbert

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 #6 

I have been talking to Pete about getting together every Sunday at my house to have a jam session.  I hope to put this together soon so that all of our friends can have an opportunity to play regardless of what level they are in.  The key is to jam so that you can get use to playing with bajo sexto.

 

 


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ConjuntoFan

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Buenos dias Gilbert! Cool, that sounds like it would be a lot of fun and good experience for us. Hmmmm, I feel the butterflies already! Jeje! Thanks for all you do!
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 #8 

Jaime,

You are correct.  The 12 string guitar for the conversion would have to be very sturdy like the Stellas, which Leadbelly helped to make popular.

The strings he used were:

B, Double Octave 14/64

F#, Octave 19/45

D, Octave 16/36

A, Unison 25/25

E, Unison 18/18

B, Unison 14/14

 

By the way.  My jumbo sure looks nice!!!! 

jaimesbajos

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 #9 
Hello Jose, Look for more photos of your jumbo at my home page I will be updating it soon with new pix of your Jumbo bajo, also the bridge has a slot for a saddle like you asked when we started, I will send photo's soon. The saddle will be thick enough to set the intonation, we can set that or leave that for you to play around with as you mentioned in an e-mail, I will contact you about that soon I am getting more time for this again. Do you know if the stella has ever been converted to a bajo in the old days. Have you ever come across a converted stella I should ask? It's funny you mentioned the stella instrument, I've been thinking of building a bajo with that bracing pattern to see what it would sound like. I was thinking the stella pattern would need to be modified a bit to be strong enough to be strung up as a bajo. I don't believe much would have to be added but, because the braces are set side to side one or two might need to be added length wise to keep the ''bridge'' from rolling forward. What do you think?

Jaime

johnathan

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 #10 

so on my Rossetti bajo the "D" strings look the same, they don't look like they're octaves. so can i take the "D" string off on my guitar and put it on my bajo? would it be the same?


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 #11 
Quote:
Hello everyone! I am going to show my ignorance concerning bajo sextos and guitars, but I am curious and have a question to ask. Since the bajo sexto and 12-string acousitc guitar are so similar, is it possible to tune the two bottom strings on a 12-string acoustic guitar to C & F and be able to use it as a bajo sexto? From the little I know, the only difference that I am aware of is the notes of the bottom two strings, B & E vs C & F.   


Will you please share some video demonstration of what you are trying to teach us? I am really very confused.

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