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This article was originally published in issue #61
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Once you get past the sheer misery that is tuning a 12 string, you’ll be pleased to know the Rimini 12 holds it’s tuning very well, with great intonation on both low and high strings right across the fretboard.
Cooler-than-cool retro styling
Rich and robust 12 string tones
Quirky design choices won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Some guitars aim to do it all; workhorse axes that cover all the tonal bases that any gig might require. Others are specialists; highly evolved ergonomic shred machines designed for the ultimate in effortless playability. Then there are guitars like the Italia Rimini 12 String. Here's Nick Jennison to tell us more.
Italia guitars are designed to inspire. Pure functionality takes a back seat to the kind of retro good looks that set guitar players’ hearts a-flutter. They demand to be picked up and played, and their quirks lead the player in directions that they’d otherwise never think to explore. At least, that was my experience when playing the Rimini 12.
The semi-hollow design is somewhat reminiscent of Rickenbacker’s 300 series guitars, but with Italia’s art deco-inspired styling cues and a headstock that’s somewhere between a 60s Silver-tone and a classical guitar. There are two Wilkinson mini humbuckers, but no pickup selector; rather, each pickup has its own volume control with a master tone control, all mounted on a very ‘50s plastic control plate. It’s an unusual choice, but it looks really cool and forces the player out of the usual tonal choices of “bridge pickup on full; neck pickup on full; both pickups on full’.
Speaking of tone, the overall quality of this guitar is rich and airy, but without being excessively bright or jangly. The chambered alder and ash construction no doubt contributes to this, as does the warmth and balance the mini humbuckers provide. This means the guitar holds up well under heavy distortion and fuzz - an area where many electric 12 strings come unstuck. It works wonderfully as a riff machine, and 12-string configuration provides a dimension and texture that beats out any octave pedal.
Once you get past the sheer misery that is tuning a 12 string, you’ll be pleased to know the Rimini 12 holds it’s tuning very well, with great intonation on both low and high strings right across the fretboard. The 6 tuners on the treble side might prove to be a pain when it comes time to change strings, but it’s a tradeoff worth making for the unique look of the headstock.
The Italia Rimini 12 String is a great looking and very inspiring instrument. 12 strings won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re considering one (or you’re just looking for something to take your playing in a different direction) this guitar is just the ticket.
Chambered Amercian Alder body w/Ash Back
Hardrock Maple Neck
12 String Trapeze Tailpiece
Wilkinson WMH Mini Humbuckers