1960s Hoyer 12-String/10-String Bajo Quinto-ish Electrified Guitar-Thing


I mean -- what do you even call this thing? It's the transformation of one of the worst-sounding acoustic 12-string guitars I've ever had through the shop (it's a German-made Hoyer from the '60s) into a 10-string instrument, tuned in fourths, and meant to be played in a style similar to how you'd use a bajo quinto -- but it's not a bajo quinto in its current tuning and stringing. I have it tuned EADGC low to high in unison, so its "voice" sounds more like the GCF strings (where more melody is played now and then) of the bajo quinto and bajo sexto sets.

Because it drops down to the low E of guitar in unison, though, rather than octaves -- you get the sense that this could be a "fourths-tuned mandocello" as well. It's a weirdo. I mean, it's not quite as weird as a mandolone, but it's getting there. Why not just make it a "unison" 12-string guitar? I don't know -- maybe I just want to make life weirder?

Suffice to say, I figured this would be a good, pick-able, baritone/bass-style instrument in this configuration -- and it is! I'm a fan of tejano and mariachi sounds (someday I will get into the how of that but the short story is that, as a kid, my first-love album was La Pistola y El Corazon by Los Lobos). If you play this with a floppy pick into a guitar amp as-is you can get some good bajo quinto or mandocello vibes going pretty quickly depending on how you play it.

If you hit it with a low-octave pedal (it's in the video) you can immediately get a pretty authentic bajo sexto sound on the lower courses. It's satisfying in the extreme that way because it's like playing the real thing without having the "real thing" tuning stability of massive bass low E strings on a guitar-length scale. Hit it with some dirt and it's fun to play little bass-style lead and fill lines that can sound savage if you want them to.

So, yep -- a fun recycling project. I'd taken this in trade and it arrived here in a bit of a state -- the headstock was reglued after a break at some point, the frets were all unseated and wonky, it had no side dots, the bridge had been shaved-down a ton, it had a complete set of '70s cheapy Japanese tuners installed, and it had a lousy sound. Conversion to "hollowbody electric" means it now has a good fighting chance of being a cool, useful piece of gear.

Repairs included: a fret level/dress and fret seating, side dots install, Alnico mini-humbucker "goldfoil" install, fresh wiring harness, vintage tailpiece install/conversion of setup, modified original nut and saddle, cleaning, and setup work.


Body wood: ply-spruce top, ply-mahogany back and sides

Bridge: rosewood (previously shaved, I filled the pinholes though)

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany/multi-ply

Pickups: 1x mini-humbucker (bright)


Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 46w x2, 36w x2, 26w x2, 20w x2, 13 x2

Neck shape: medium C/D

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium


Scale length: 24 3/4"

Nut width: 1 7/8"

Body width: 14 3/4"

Body depth: 4 1/8"

Weight: 5 lbs 10 oz


Condition notes: well -- the finish has tons of cracks in it all over the place and it's been modified a lot. Please read the description fully. The bridge was shaved in the past, the tuners are swapped, I added a tailpiece, and the headstock has an old repair from a break in the past. It's been holding-pat for ages, though, as I've been told -- so it's no worry.


It comes with: no case, sorry.





















Comments