I am familiar with the makers of this guitar and highly recommend them. I would replace this instrument in a heartbeat if it was ever lost or destroyed. About the only thing that I would improve is to maybe spend a little more money on a higher quality wood top (maybe, maybe not). In terms of 12 strings, this would be kind of on the low end of the price scale, so there would be some things I could up-scale, but really, in terms of sound and playability this guitar cannot be beat. Check out their website at www.pimentelguitars.com.
Model Year: 2003
Price: $2500.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Pimentel and Sons Guitars
My granddaddy is a 12 string model, with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, with an ebony fingerboard. It currently is a straight acoustic, but I am planning on having the makers put a transducer in. They use Fishman electronics, but I am sure they would install another brand if you so desired. Rick Pimentel worked with me to create a Thunderbird design (similar to one he had already created) but with my own "flair." It has coral, turquoise, abalone and ivory inlays. The rosette features the classic Pimentel design.
Compared to the other 12 string that I have owned, this one plays like a dream. I chose to keep the guitar tuned to D tuning and lighter gauge strings, so Rick worked with the bridge to get the action just right so that there would be no "buzzing", even when played up the neck. I have kind of small hands and fingers, and the beefier neck is kind of a problem, but after I play it a while my hand adjusts okay. The guitar has an incredible amount of sustain (something I like about these guitars) and the tone is just what I asked for.
The guitar is a straight acoustic right now, but I am going to have a Fishman transducer installed. I will play it through a Polytone V mini brute amplifier. I use my 12 string mostly for up-beat, driving kind of songs, but I also like to finger-pick with it. The lowered D tuning makes the guitar sound a little deeper, but I love the bass sound anyway. When I want regular tuning I simply capo up. The guitar works well with a capo - no buzzing on the upper frets.
I have heard that 12 strings never stay in tune, but this baby is rock solid. The only time I have to worry about serious retuning is when I replace the strings. There is some adjustment from time to time, but no more than what I experience with my 6 string steel or my classical model. I have another guitar made by these same makers and it is over 25 years old with no appreciable changes.