Emerald Guitars - Acoustic 12-String Bass

The first fully acoustic 12-string bass on the planet!

To our knowledge this is the first truly acoustic 12-string bass guitar ever built. After a year of work it was completed in 2011 by Emerald Guitars from County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. While Hamer’s B12A model is advertised as an “acoustic look” bass, the B12A is a solid body bass that only has the appearance of an acoustic. Other 12’s like the Waterstones have sound holes and basses such as the Whitehouse 12’s have chambered bodies, but only this Emerald has a completely hollow body.

Acoustic 12-string basses are problematic to build due to the amount of string tension that is inherent in a bass. A 12-string guitar neck can handle the tension because of its much shorter scale length, which is typically 25½” or less. Tension increases by the square of the length of the neck so even though this bass neck is only one third longer than a guitar, the cumulative string tension is many times higher. Trying to build an acoustic 12 with a wood body would result in the top being ripped off the body long before the bass ever got close to being in tune.

Emerald Guitars used carbon fiber throughout the instrument; the body, neck and tailpiece are all 100% carbon fiber, which is 60 times the strength of oak. Carbon fiber has the structural strength of steel but is very light weight, plus it has good sound qualities.

The bass is 32” medium scale. The neck has two truss rods but these are only used for the initial setup. The sound hole is located on the upper bout, allowing for much louder perceived volume while playing.

Thumb rest is included. The top glossy surface is an automotive clear coat.

The bass is strung Inverted with the fundamental strings on top. To change strings, three sets of D’Addario phosphor bronze acoustic strings have to be combined - a set of EPBB170 bass strings for the fundamentals and two sets of EXP12’s. Gotoh tuners were used for the fundamental tuners, with Grover’s being used for the octaves.

The logo for Emerald Guitars rides on the end of the headstock. I’m not exactly sure what creature this is…

B-Band A3T electronics, made in Finland. Bass, middle, treble, presence and volume controls, with tuner.

The tailpiece was made from five layers of carbon fiber. There is no additional support or bracing underneath.

The Emerald acoustic 12 on the morning after rocking out in Las Vegas, Nevada for my first time. On the way home I traveled the Extraterrestrial Highway near Area 51, seeing only 23 cars on the entire 100-mile stretch. Along the way I stopped at the spot closest to Area 51 and played a few songs for our ‘visitors from out of town’.