Seagull M12 Gloss

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
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The Seagull SM12 guitar.

Nov 28, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Comfortable to play for hours on end, excellent intonation, darned inexpensive for the quality.

Cons:Appearance is a bit uninspired; could probably be constructed a little more sturdily.

I bought my first Seagull 12-string on impulse. I have a small project studio, and was in my local music store looking for a pair of monitors, when their supply truck arrived and a beautiful blonde Seagull S12 came in. It had been repossesed for nonpayment, and was very new-looking with a matte finish and a lovely grain pattern on the back. I picked it up to check the feel and intonation, and was immediately impressed.

I've played a lot of 12-strings (electric and acoustic alike) most of which had serious problems. The necks were either too clunky, with too much space between the strings, or too thin, making the strings too close together. This neck had a very solid, comfortable feel. It's certainly wider than any six-string neck, but not awkwardly so. The action was plenty close for my tastes, making it a breeze to play.

But what really impressed me was the intonation. My first test for any guitar's intonation is to play this open A chord: 0 0 7 9 10 0 If there's a problem, you're likely to hear the E on the g string beating against the open high E. This guitar rang true as a bell. They only wanted $300 for it, so I snatched it up and took it home.

Within a few years, I had quit the electric band I'd been with, and started doing an acoustic duo with a female vocalist. I got a cheap pickup for the Seagull, and was amazed to find out how versatile the instrument was. We were doing everything from old jazz standards to classic 60's to PJ Harvey & Ani DiFranco. No matter what I played on that guitar, it sounded good. All guitars are a pain in the tuckus to tune live, but the Seagull was able to hold it's tune through some serious thrashings as well or better than any other guitar would have.

Sadly, that New Year's Eve, a drunk danced into my S12 while I was on break, knocking it off it's stand and cracking the headstock almost off. I was pretty upset, as my style had come to depend upon the sound of the acoustic 12-string, and I feared I'd not find another one as good as the one I'd lost. I went back to the same store, and they had an SM12 hanging on the wall. To my astonishment, it felt every bit as good, played just as nicely, and (most importantly) had the same great intonation.

That's when I bought my first SM12, for about $500. It has a gloss finish, with a light face and mahogany sides. In my opinion, it's not as pretty as that matte blonde, but considering it met all my other criteria, I'm not complaining.

About a year and a half after that, I opened my case one night to find a nasty six-inch crack through the face of the guitar. Figuring it was a goner, I went back to the same store again. This time, I was pleased but no longer astonished to find another SM12 that was just as good as the others. As it turned out, the crack was reparable, and I still use that SM12 for my gigs, four nights/week. I keep the newest one for my livingroom/emergency guitar. When/if the cracked one ever dies, I'll just go out and get another - they're that good. I've been using 'em exclusively for 5 years now, and have no complaints. I've also bought three of them and still not paid as much as I'd expect to pay for one pro-level 12-string. You simply cannot beat the quality for this price.


Recommend this product? Yes


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