At first, a 12 string guitar can be intimidating for any beginner. However, there’s no significant difference when playing 12 string guitar and a six-string guitar.
Why do we say this?
First, the 12 string uses the same concept as a six-string guitar. Both have the same arrangement of strings. The only difference is that the manufacturer groups each string into two; hence, its name, the 12 string guitar.
So, for the bottom E string, you will have two similar ones lying next to each other; but they will be in two different octaves.
The pattern continues up the strings. But as for the B and the high E strings, the two strings’ are the same ‘octavewise.’
If you are wondering, why you need this guitar, then:
You need to know that you can achieve so much with this guitar. For instance, since two similar strings stacked together have different octaves, the effect created is a chorus or flanging effect when strummed. The sound effect is also melodic, and your solos will sound fuller.
Besides that, musicians around the world use this guitar for different purposes, such as fingerstyle, which suits different genres.
If you are looking forward to purchasing your first 12 string guitar, you will stumble across dozens of them in the market. Choosing one can be difficult. That is why, in this article, we are going to be reviewing the ten best 12 string guitars in the market. So let’s jump right into the guide.
Top 10 Best 12 String Guitars 2020 Reviews
1. Yamaha FG820 Acoustic Guitar – Best Overall 12 String Guitar
If you have been a musician for a while, you already recognize the brand, Yamaha. The work they did while manufacturing the Yamaha FG820 acoustic guitar has gotten the world talking about it.
Guitarists who tend to look for a robust guitar should go for this unit right here. The Yamaha FG820 features a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany on its back and sides, a rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
Another added quality that this guitar has is a scalloped bracing. Its work is to ensure that the guitar produces a natural acoustic sound.
The Yamaha FG820 acoustic guitar is superb in terms of the sound it produces right out of the box. Primarily, the guitar is easy to tune and keeps in tune for a long time.
We also noticed that the guitar’s sound is balanced. However, most people say that this is a high action guitar, but it is not. It is a mid-action. With excellent intonation, you can be sure that your solos and chord progression will sound musical more than ever.
For people who are jumping into the new world 12 string, this guitar is a must-have. It produces quality sound, and you can use it anywhere since it is loud enough. For live performances, you need an external pickup since it does not have a preamp.
2. Oscar Schmidt OD312 Acoustic Electric Guitar – 2nd Runner-Up
The Oscar Schmidt OD312 is a favorite to many guitarists who want to venture into the 12 string world and professionals.
Even though it is not a premium guitar, it comes with excellent qualities in terms of physicality. First, it has a spruce top and a mahogany back and side. The fingerboard is tech wood, which is strong and durable.
On top of that, it has a natural gloss finish, which gives it that classical look. The instrument also comes with a preamp, which features four bands to give you the freedom to balance your sound from the guitar.
We compared the 12 string guitar with a six-string guitar, and the results were overwhelming. Oscar Schmidt O312 delivers a fuller and balanced sound. When it comes to the natural effect, it brings to a song, this guitar is quite useful for your songwriting practice.
You might have problems doing hammer-ons because hitting two strings at a time is not that easy. However, the strings are also easy to adapt on, and the intonation on the guitar is outright incredible.
The other quality thing about this guitar is that you can take it anywhere. It is suitable for home practicing and live performances at well. Because of its qualities, anyone can enjoy this guitar, from beginners to experts.
3. Taylor T5z Acoustic-Electric 12 String Guitar – Best Value For Money
For people who would love to invest big on their first 12 string guitar, then the Taylor T5 has everything you would want in a high-end guitar.
One of the evident qualities that this guitar provides is the vintage appeal on the body. It features a single-cutaway body material, three-band control, a neck, and concealed bridge humbucker pickups, and looks like a semi-hollow body guitar.
The neck is ebony and is about 1.75 inches, which makes it suitable for beginners. Also, the fingerboard comes with 21 jumbo frets. You will not be running into the wrong frets while jamming.
When it comes to sound, the Taylor T5 12 string guitar provides quality. Each note has its unique resonance, and everything is balanced. The guitar is a high action guitar, which means you can hear it from the other end of the room. We also noted that the pickups are super sensitive. They can pick even the lightest of notes without any problems.
And although this guitar is an acoustic-electric, it still provides natural acoustic properties.
Since the 12 string guitar comes with excellent qualities, we would recommend this for professionals who want to experience the joy of using a high end 12 string guitar. You can use it for your performances and practices as well. Be assured that this guitar will fit any environment, regardless.
4. Epiphone DR-212 Acoustic Guitar – Best For Beginners
If you are a beginner with 12 string guitars, you could be wondering which instrument to buy. The Epiphone DR 212 is the right instrument to kick start your 12-string journey.
Compared to other brands around its price range, this guitar provides the player with a robust solid spruce body, mahogany back, sides, and neck. The fingerboard and bridge comprise of rosewood material.
For the headstock, it comes with nickel hardware. One of the most evident qualities is that this guitar provides a shiny gloss, which provides the right kind of appeal on and off the stage.
Other than it being a 12 string guitar for the beginners, the Epiphone DR-212 remains competitive in terms of sound. It is a mid-action guitar, but it is loud enough.
Beginners will have a hard time tuning the strings, but since the instrument is easy to play, you will hack it in due time.
As a player, you will achieve the qualities that a six-string guitar would fail to provide. Therefore, you can use it for jamming at home and on stage. Note, however, you will require an external pickup to amplify the sound for live performance.
5. Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar Guitar – Best Portable Guitar
At first, we thought that this was a six-string acoustic guitar. It is smaller, which is an ideal instrument for people who want a portable instrument.
The guitar provides a cedar top, a maple neck, and wild cherry back and sides. Its fretboard features dot inlays for visibility while playing and light strings, which prevent the player from hurting his or her fingers.
Another observable quality is the tapered headstock. It is small in size, which makes it lightweight, especially for gigging musicians.
For players who love a 12 string guitar that is quite mellow in sound, then the Seagull Coastline S12. The guitar is not too loud and can be suitable for people who would still admire a 12 string guitar that sounds like a six-string.
But note this. The guitar does not lose the flanger or chorus sounds you would like to hear in a 12 string guitar.
Also, keep in mind that it does not have a preamp. Nonetheless, with an external pickup, this guitar will amplify the sound for you.
Although 12 string guitars are quite intimidating, this one will suit any beginner or an elite player. It will inspire you to be a better player, and with the numerous sound qualities and options it provides, this guitar will not disappoint.
We would also recommend the Seagull S12 for gigging musicians. Since it is portable, you can carry it with ease.
6. Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Best High Action Guitar
The Takamine GD30CE 12 string guitar is an instrument with lots of qualities that many guitarists love.
When it comes to construction, you will liken it to its counterpart, Takamine G Series GD30, six-string guitar. It comes with a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, a 12-inch mahogany neck, and a rosewood fingerboard.On the body, you will also find a preamp, which features an inbuilt tuner.
In general, this instrument is elegant, especially with the added natural gloss on its entire surface.
If you are a guitarist that loves high-action guitar, then this is the instrument to purchase. The guitar is loud, and with the installed preamp, you can equalize the tone to fit your current performance requirements.
We also noted that this guitar provides excellent resonance on the sound. Everything, regardless of it being an acoustic electric guitar, sound natural and full.
The Takamine GD30CE is ready to play right out of the box. By the way, the headstock also is tapered, which reduces the carrying load. You will enjoy this guitar and its attributes, whether you are a beginner or an expert.
7. Gretsch G5022 Guitar – Best Vintage Guitar
If you are the kind of player that loves vintage-like guitars, the Gretsch G5022 offers you just that.
Primarily, what you receive is a 12 string guitar with a white finish. It also has golden patches on different sections of the guitar.
The body is solid spruce-with laminate maple back and sides. Its 25-inch neck has a purfling neck material and a width of about 1.88 inches. The rosewood fingerboard features 21 frets. And instead of the usual dot inlays, the guitar provides fret markers on top of the fingerboard.
The other two notable features include a massive headstock and a cone-shaped soundhole. On the preamp, you will find volume, phase, tone controls, and an inbuilt tuner.
Although the Gretsch G50022 comes with a preamp, the natural acoustic sounds produced is balanced and rich. The body consists of an X bracing, which provides uncompromised acoustic guitar sounds.
The other thing that players should note is that this guitar is loud. Its high action will make your sound audible even when you are not using an amplifier. Also, the intonation on the fretboard is excellent, and there are no dead frets.
Regardless of its vintage vibe, this 12 string guitar is usable in any situation. The preamp allows you to use it on stage and off stage.
Note that even though this guitar comes with a massive headstock, the guitar remains lightweight; meaning, you can carry it anywhere. Furthermore, you can use it while standing on stage for hours since it comes with two strap buttons on the body.
8. Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Best 12 String Guitar For Small Fingers
Nothing is as frustrating as when you overstretch your fingers to reach out for specific notes and chords. This struggle is mostly for people with little hands. The Takamine GJ72E-12NAT deals with this problem to provide comfort for players of different hand sizes.
In our opinion, the guitar was manufactured with the professional in mind. The 12 string guitar is appealing for both off and on-stage performances.
Primarily, it comes with a solid spruce top – and mahogany back and sides. The neck is also mahogany, and it is slim; that is why it is perfect for people with tiny fingers.
Also, the body comes with a three-band EQ preamp, which features gain, mid, and precision filters to keep your sound balanced right off the guitar. It also has an inbuilt tuner, which is the norm with the most modern electric-acoustic guitar.
After listening to this guitar play, we noticed that the natural acoustic sounds remain uncompromised. The sound it produces is something a professional would desire to hear from any 12 string acoustic guitar.
On the other hand, this guitar provides more of the low and mid-range frequencies. That is where you will need the preamp to help you tweak the highs so that they can be more pronounced when playing.
The Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT will stand out at any stage. Anybody can use it regardless of the your size fingers. Other than that, this is an excellent instrument for any genre. Whether you like picking, fingerstyle, or strumming, this guitar will suit your needs appropriately.
9. Ovation Mod TX Collection 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Best Elegant Guitar
Gigging musicians want to look good on the stage. Therefore, in the efforts to making sure that their instruments are noticeable, buying an elegant guitar is their priority.
Guitarists looking for a guitar with a beautiful finish, the Ovation Mod TX is a guitar worth the investment. It features a spruce top with an elite multi-port soundhole, unlike most acoustic guitars. Also, the OP pro preamp rests on the top of the body.
The body is small and comes with a deep contour cutaway to keep the instrument at rest while jamming to your favorite tunes. Other notable features include a rosewood fingerboard without any fret markers and a thin maple neck.
The Ovation Mod TX 12 string guitar is part of the Mod TX series. If you are familiar with them, you already have an idea of how they bring out structured sound.
Primarily, even though the preamp plays a role in the sound output, the guitar does not cease to produce natural acoustic sound. The body has scalloped bracing, which ensures that the sound remains pure and uncompromised.
When it comes to the string, we noticed that they are light and easy to strum. They also produced a balanced sound. Every frequency, from the lows, mids, to the highs, is audible.
Other than being elegant, we also noticed that this instrument is comfortable. That means that you will not feel any weight on you whether you are carrying it on the next gig; or when you use it for a long performance.
The guitar is suitable for any professional who wants to enjoy the power of a stylish 12 string guitar.
10. Vangoa 12 Strings Acoustic Electric Guitar – Best Cheap Guitar
For musicians looking for a budget-friendly 12 string guitar, the Vangoa presents a best cheap guitar among many experts and beginners as well.
The dreadnought guitar offers a spruce wood body, mahogany back, sides, and neck. It also features a hardtail bridge to maintain the tension on the 12 strings.
Also, the full-size guitar comes with a pickup, which consists of four EQ controls. Other notable attributes include diecast tuners and an adjustable truss rod for increasing the height of the strings.
When you buy this guitar, you will save money since it comes with a gig bag, strap, tuner, three guitar picks, a capo, and a 3.5mm cable.
The guitar produces a natural acoustic sound for players who do not want to use the inbuilt amplifier. It remains balanced and accurate right outside the box. You do not need to upgrade anything.
You can use the preamp to amplify and boost weak signals that may not be audible when you connect the guitar to an amp.
Although beginners will go out looking for a 12 string guitar, this may suit anyone, even professionals. You can use it for jamming, practicing, and for live performances. Besides that, since the guitar comes with extra accessories to get started, you save money with the entire bundle.
More About Guitars:
Best 12 String Guitars Buying Guide:
The 12-string guitar has been in use for years. Musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Beatles, and Jimmy Page, used these types of guitars for the performances. And when you hear elite musicians use them, then they are worth a shot.
But what is the difference between a 12-string guitar and a six-string guitar? You may ask.
Apparently, there’s no difference. It operates similar to a six-string and gives a fuller sound when playing. On the other hand, the only distinction is the extra number of strings the 12-string has.
So, what kind of 12-string guitar should you buy? Every musician needs to pay attention to the following factors that we’ll highlight in this article.
What’s your budget?
You should start your buying process by first considering how much you are willing to spend (or invest) on your first guitar.
Price determines so many factors like what kind of guitar you will get, the type of sound quality that it will provide, and the extras you’ll get with this guitar.
My point here is not to consider buying high-end guitars because they’ll obviously sound better.
In the music world, there’s always something for everyone; hence, as you review different brands and models, make sure to diversify your search.
Also, as you think about the price, think of how you can save money. Some models provide 12-string guitars that have accessories, such as gig bags, straps, or tuners.
How do you plan to use it?
As you buy the guitar, you need to know how you plan to use it. Do you plan to take it for a performance, or are you buying it for practice purposes only?
Whatever your use, you should buy a versatile guitar. A good 12-string guitar should produce the kind of sound needed for various styles, whether it is fingerstyle, blues, or soloing.
Besides, if you are a performing artist, it’s better to go for a guitar with built-in electronics. It gives the musician the freedom to tweak the sound before the signal gets to the mixer.
Each manufacturer has their distinct way of modeling their guitars. And so, for the appeal, you should note how the manufacturer builds the 12-string guitar.
Check out the material on the body, the finish, the neck profile, the tuning heads, the fretboard, and the string gauge. All these have parts that contribute to the resilience of the guitar and the sound quality. The guitar should also have a superb finish, especially on the neck, to provide comfortability while playing.
And note; 12 string guitars don’t have to be big. You can find smaller versions that are easy to play and handle. Look for one with a smaller body, a shorter neck scale, a smaller headstock, and a thin neck profile.
Test the sound
Every musician wants his or her guitar to sound in a particular way. But there are also some common ground amongst all musicians. In that case, the guitar should have a superb sound. It should not have dead frets, any form of buzzing, it should stay in tune for long, and the intonation across the fretboard should be consistent.
You’ll have to test the guitar yourself to see if it fits your needs. On top of that, check the positioning of the pickups and their effectiveness. They should resonate with the acoustic sounds of the guitar if you need them for performances.
If you are not so familiar with these guitars, you can ask a professional to test it for you so that you can note the difference. You can also find different reviews to observe how it adapts to different styles in terms of sound.
Last BUT Not Least…
There you have it, friends. Consider these factors when choosing your first 12-string guitar. And to be sure of what you buy, try to review as many brands as you can. Each guitar you find will adapt to a specific musical need. So take your time as you decide on the best model for your needs.
Choosing a 12 string guitar can be difficult, especially since there are many great models out there. That is why it is vital to make sure that you consider your priorities first. If you do so, you will be able to enjoy your guitar more, regardless of the price.
By the way, the main benefit of buying a 12 string guitar is that you can remove the extra strings and convert it into a six-string guitar. Therefore, buying one is an investment since it has room to upgrade it if you need to do so.
From the above list, the Yamaha FG820 Acoustic Guitar is our top best 12 string guitar because it adapts so well in different environments. Even though it does not have a preamp on it, it offers balanced and natural acoustic sound, which is an essential attribute for any good guitar with 12 strings.