12 string guitar emulation?

Has anybody tries to emulate a 12 string guitar effect?

(from wikipedia: "Typically, the strings of the lower four courses are tuned in octaves, with those of the upper two courses tuned in unison. ")

I can’t be bothered buying a lefty 12 string but I would like to experiment with its concept.

The core questions are:

  • the top 4 strings: what effect to apply to emulate the double stirngs? a doubler (straightworward :D)
  • how to “isolate” the bottom 2 strings and double up with and octaver?

On an experimental guitar, I have a Submarine Pro pickup: a pickup that has 2 outputs and where you can decide for each string to which output it sends: 1, 2 or both. This would of course would be the best way to isolate the 2 bottom strings… but then I need to use a different guitar and I can’t use the second input to process my vocals through my Dwarf

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The only option I see would be to get submarine pro pickup which lets to isolate every string, so You could send 4 strings to the right In and two into left input and then add desired plugins.


Lukasz, as much as I appreciate your reply; I already said in the last paragraph of my opening post, that I HAVE a Submarine pro pickup but that I’m checking how well it would work without one.

of course, the “isolation” of the bottom strings could be a certain frequency range. (I know, I know, same notes starting from the 5th fet on higher strings etc) but it doesn’t need to be that strict.

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Oh, I am really sorry, I must have not read all your post, my mistake.


There is a digital pedal that does this: Mosaic - DigiTech
So I guess it is sort of doable with polyphonic pitch shifting and maybe a frequency splitter (crossover). But detection off single strings is not…

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ok allow me te rephrase;

It is possible to do on my Mod Dwarf? :smiley:
As said, discrete string seperation isn’t possible because, you know, physics but suppose we do this:

Frequency split (split is done on the frequency of the notes around 8 or 9th fret on the A string)
→ high end: apply doubler or create parallel chain with very small (random) detune?
→ low end: parallel chain with with octaver

makes sense, or would you try something else?


One idea that I am planing to try is to split frequencies - it will not make classic 12 string sound but probably make cool sounds if the bass and trebles would be put through different intervals. KMA makes that kind of splitter but it should be easily achieved with MOD plugins.


we’ve typed in this same moment :wink:

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I had mosaic for very some time - at some settings it sounded acceptable but still lots of glitches and changed the guitar tone very dramatically.

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I only mentioned the digitec effect to showcase that it is possible. My answer was about how to implement it with a mod pedalboard. Sorry when I was not clear about this.


Well if other DSP pedals (Eventide H90 has an algo for that) are able to do it, I don’t see why the Dwarf could not :thinking:


@LievenDV quickly thinking here, I would say that on the MOD the best approach would be to apply some filters to isolate as much as possible the top from the bottom strings.
Yet, as a guitar is a resonance instrument (even electric guitars resonate on their wood), I have serious doubts that this method would ever be perfect, but maybe you get something that you are happy with.
This is the only solution that I can imagine now without using a pickup that capturers signal of a particular string (like the submarine)


Well, soudns like I have a little experiment on my hands thids weekend.

I never expect perfection, I expect “usable on stage” and “usable for recording”.

The 12 string sound is and “experience” that we should be able to capture by doing some iterations and trial & errors. Nobody will be bothered listening to what exact notes where doubled down or unison when you are telling a story through a song so perfection was never on the menu anyway.

Besides; I never go for exact copies anyway. Not for songs or anything. We still have Xerox machines to do that :smiley:

I’ll share my finding here when I come to a first result


Working on my pc with a sample file I found online.

I find it hard to create a unison string pait so I went for a slight detune to fake/cheat it.
The Frequency split is just based on what I hear and what sounds balanced. 300hz ish should be “ballpark” of where it need to be

Any major remarks or comments?


Looks good! I think it’s always interesting to see how others solve these types of challenges. In my head I imagined doing it like this:

Input ——————— (no effects) ——————————>
       \______ +12 ___ LPF ________/
         \____ detune ___ HPF ___/

But yours looks like it would work just as well!


I blend channel 3 and 4 as they are “unaltered” sounds but from 2 different frequency ranges.

Yours is probably easier :smiley:


The first went pretty good actually

As foreseen by @danmh, I might throw in a low pass filter to keep out some squeeky high pitched artifacts produced by the octave up.


Hi, I just went through the whole discussion here, and it makes me wonder:
Before trying to set up complex filtering stuff within the Dwarf or Duo, what would a guitar with Nashville tuning coupled with an octave down pitch shifter sound like?
Wouldn’t it be a cool approach to emulating the 12 strings sound and feel?
Of course you’d need a good polyphonic pitch shifter that can track complex chords, so I’m thinking Ehx rather than Dwarf, but still…

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More than the guitar being a resonnance instrument, I think the main problem here is that a single string does not produce just one frequency but a load of overtones. Simple pass-band filtering will probably not be able to separate that, as hight filters will pick up lower strings harmonics.