For the Record:
Miscellaneous 12-String Bass Facts

There are many cool, creative and bizarre things happening in the 12-string bass world.
Here are a few examples:

First International 12-String Bass Conference

Kevin Macza and Mark "Surf Rat" Rowe involved in intense 12-string bass negotiations

The first-ever international 12-string bass conference was held in 2009 in my living room in Nampa, Idaho. Delegates included Kevin Macza from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and me. Shown here, Kevin is playing my Waterstone TP-1 and I'm playing his Hamer B12L. As the stylistic differences were pronounced, it was cool jamming with another 12ver player and picking up some new techniques and tricks. How often does one get to even meet another 12-string bassist in person, let alone one from another country?

Kevin tries his luck with the fretless 12

Discussions encompassed a variety of topics such as detente, global macro-economic policy, geology, 12-string bass experiences and "close encounters" with famous players, road stories, women, mental illnesses and our favorites beers. Not necessarily in that order.

While no treaties were signed, a unanimous agreement was reached that 12-string basses are tons of fun and should be more fully explored on both sides of the border. Negotiations continue.....

First 12-String Bass Baby Shower

Ron Johnson from Rockford, Illinois sent his 12-string bass to Tennessee to get refinished in plaid. Since it took a full nine months for the refinishing work to be done, Ron's co-workers of the PR / Marketing staff at the Rockford Health System / Rockford Memorial Hospital threw him a baby shower in honor of the new addition to his musical family, complete with cake, ice cream and plaid bow ties.

Ron (holding the cake) is surrounded by well wishers Michael, Brian, Chuck, Dixie, Evonne, Wester, Cindy, Laura and Kim; photo by Tom. Insider sources told us that after the sugar buzz from the ice cream and cake kicked in, a frantic game of office basketball ensued with the Shirts narrowly defeating the Skins 21-18.

Ron with his new baby.

12-String Bass Birthday Cakes

Ron Johnson celebrated his latest birthday with this nearly scale-sized bass cake made by the staff at Spurgeon's Bay Bar & Grill in Dixon, Illinois. All the knobs, bridge and pickups were made of chocolate.

Tony Senatore celebrated his birthday with a Rothstein Andromeda 12-string bass cake. Tony told us that the cake was delicious, nutritious and full of positive energy!

Scott Pollock's birthday cake with a replica of his Hamer B12S

12-String Bass Action Figure

This unique Tom Petersson action figure measures just under 9" tall and is the only such figure ever made that includes a 12-string bass.

About 1980, artist Robert Karr was commissioned by Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen to create a diorama of the band, including their entire stage set-up. Working from extensive notes, hastily drawn crude diagrams, concert photos and details provided by Nielsen, Karr set to work. After several months he had finished the diorama which included CT's entire wall of amplifiers, authentic looking guitars and stage clothes, and a chain smoking Bun E. Carlos complete with cigarette butts strewn around the drum riser.

There were several different figures of Nielsen created, each with a different guitar. The figure of Tom Petersson holds his Hamer B12A 12-string bass, which is correctly reproduced even down to the positioning of the tone controls and switches, as well as the binding on the body of the instrument.

After it was completed the diorama was shipped off to Nielsen, with whom it still resides today.

12-String Bass Scale Model

Hans Grimm from The Netherlands received a really cool birthday present - a scale model of his Waterstone 12-string bass! The model was made by hand from scratch out of polystyrene.

Hans writes, "It is accurate to the smallest detail. The 12 little strings are made from melted and drawn polystyrene. Even the pickup switch is in the correct 'up' position that I use."

This model was created by Johan van der Neut, an artist / drummer who started making models as a hobby and has recently started his own model making business. Johan has created a wide variety of models and dioramas. "Johan put a lot of hours into this. It's a birthday present which I will treasure always," writes Hans.

The slogan "Real men use 12 strings" was taken from a t-shirt Hans wears.

Be sure to check out Johan's website:



Strangest Use of a 12-String Bass?

Bob Nimmo sent us this story about the recent happenings in Rockford, Illinois involving a Waterstone 12-string bass and a sock monkey. Tom Petersson donated one of his personal basses to the project.

A little history: Rockford was the home of the Nelson Knitting Company, incorporated in 1880 by John Nelson, the inventor of the sock knitting machine. Around the end of the 19th century, mothers began using the socks to create sock monkeys and other animals as toys for their children. In 1920, Nelson Knitting Mills began to include the directions for making sock monkeys with every pair of socks they sold.

According to Bob, a few years ago the tourism folks in Rockford resurrected the idea of the sock monkey. Now a small army of these sock statues, some up to 7 feet tall, show up at a variety of happenings in the Rockford area, and are even flown to special events across the country.

Tom Petersson's sister / artist, Jane Petersson Hooker, created the sock monkey in honor of both John Nelson and her brother.

Guitarist Rick Nielsen with the Cheap Trick sock monkey statue after he and the artist, Jane Petersson Hooker, unveiled it in Rockford, Illinois.

On display in Rockford

The sock monkey travels throughout the Rockford area visiting schools and events.

First 12-String Bass Tattoo

This 12-string bass tattoo belongs to Stevie Conlon of Chicago, Illinois. To our knowledge it is the first tattoo patterned after a 12-string bass and is complete with all 12 tuners and the Hamer logo.

Positioned on the upper biceps of the right arm, Stevie got this tattoo in late 2002.

Rock on, Stevie!


World's Youngest 12-String Bassist?

Just when you think you've made it, some new kid comes along.

Meet Little Zach Nasty from Key West, Florida. According to his dad, Craig Eubank, Zachary is three years old and loves guitars. "We spend our evenings playing songs and he likes trying on guitars. The other night he insisted on putting on the Hamer and I had to take a pic. He doesn't really play yet but he knows all the moves."

Craig also reports that Zach's favorite words are "Stratocaster" and "Led Zeppelin". Cool!

Pampers and cowboy boots, what a great look. Wish I'd thought of it....


Parody 12-String Bass Album Cover

With our Fantasy 12's and Unofficial History pages, you know how much we enjoy a good parody around here. We received this "modified" cover to the Cheap Trick "Rockford" album which shows Tom Petersson playing his Chandler Royale 12-string bass instead of a Waterstone 12.

Issued cover

Parody cover

The person who sent this in remarked, "I know Tom has his own signature line of 12-string basses now but there's no way a $1000 Korean bass is as good as a $3500 USA-made Chandler."

12-String Bass Poetry

When we run our contests and giveaways, people can enter by submitting something that is relevant to the 12-string bass. Entries can include photos, reviews, mp3's and many other things. We encourage people to be creative by accepting original song lyrics and poetry too. Here are two 12-string bass haikus that were submitted during a recent contest:

Massive grooves I crave,
With shimmering overtones-
I need twelve string bass.

Ozone in the air?
12-string bass from Waterstone,

Building fine guitars.

Written by
Stephen McBride - Auckland, New Zealand

Written by
Ken Ritchie - Atlanta, Georgia


How about a 12-string bass limerick, courtesy of Ken Ritchie:

The Pirate's Booty be Not in the Waters

There once was a pirate called "Surf",
Determined to stake out his turf.
He put up dot net,
With nary a fret,
His 12ver's as blue as a Smurf!


Ken also sent us these song lyrics, with the comment, "Sing this to the tune of '99 Bottles of Beer' and your next restringing may go a little easier."  Hmmm, either that or you'll have a psychotic episode....

The 12ver Stringing Song

Twelve new strings to mount on this beast, twelve new strings to tune.

You tie one on and wind it up tight. Eleven more strings left to do.

Eleven new strings to mount on this beast, eleven new strings to tune.

You tie one on and wind it up tight. Ten more strings left to do.

You get the idea.....