When it comes to adding a new depth to your playing, the best 12-string guitars are unrivaled for any guitar player. Yes, they’re niche instruments, but whether you favor acoustic or electric guitars, the doubling quality of a 12-string guitar provides your chords a choral sound that pedals and overdubs can’t quite match. The 12-string guitar has a broader frequency range, with the bottom four strings doubled an octave higher and the top two strings doubled, creating textures and overtones as well as a top-end that glistens in a mix. It can also give your solo performance an ethereal quality.
The best 12-string guitars can sound medieval or pure folk jangle depending on the chord progression and fingering. Their ascent to pop-cultural fame occurred in the 1960s, at a time when The Beatles’ influence was influencing the Laurel Canyon culture. Of course, after the publication of The Beach Boys’ immortal Pet Sounds, that influence returned to Merseyside.
Taylor 254ce-DLX 12-String Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural
The Taylor 254ce Grand Auditorium body shape is a cross between a dreadnought and a Grand Concert, and it’s said to be more comfortable than both. Naturally, this is a matter of personal preference. This form produces a richer sound with slightly more volume than a dreadnought. The Grand Auditorium body of the Taylor 254ce acoustic-electric guitar is built of layered Indian rosewood and Sitka spruce, and it strikes Taylor’s characteristic combination of body, resonance, and top-end sparkle. The most common guitar top wood in the present period is Sitka Spruce. It has the perfect balance of rigidity and flexibility, resulting in a wide dynamic range and sharp articulation. Taylor’s ES2 is a ground-breaking pickup design that represents the pinnacle of Taylor’s acoustic guitar amplification innovation.
Taylor’s revolutionary behind-the-saddle pickup, which contains three individually calibrated pickup sensors, is at the heart of the Expression System 2. Because the pickup isn’t located beneath the saddle, the bottom of the saddle makes full contact with the bridge, allowing all of the complexity of the guitar’s tone to be heard clearly whether playing acoustically or with amplification. The Taylor Expression System 2 is powered by a 9-volt battery and features easy-to-use volume, active bass, and treble controls. A master volume control and two tone controls allow you to fine-tune your sound and output from the stage, while a separate phase switch prevents feedback.
Taylor does not make 12-strings on a shoestring budget. At a price that many can afford, Taylor’s 200 Series has all the fundamentals of a great guitar: exquisite playability, a full and articulate sound, flawless intonation up the neck, and Taylor’s top-of-the-line, professional-grade electronics. This is the best 12-string guitar under $2000.
Rickenbacker 330 12 String
The 330 has a semi-hollow body design. The Rickenbacker’s body is made of maple and features a chambered upper bout with a gorgeous carved ‘F-hole’ for a superb acoustic quality. The all-maple set-in neck features a rosewood fretboard, 24 vintage-style frets, and a remarkably secure twin truss rod construction. The small contour, 10″ radius, and 24.75″ scale length make the neck extremely comfortable for long barre chord sessions or more intricate chordal attempts. Two Rickenbacker high output pickups, each with its own tone and volume pot, represent the electrics. The neck, bridge, and mix pickup combinations are controlled by a three-way selector switch.
A fifth tone pot completes the picture by adjusting the volume of the neck pickup in relation to a pre-selected bridge pickup lead volume level. It can also be used to adjust the bass and treble levels. One of the most common issues with all 12-string guitars is fitting the tuning pegs in. Every octave string’s tuner has been slanted by 90 degrees to give easy access while retaining the headstock a manageable size. It’s a fantastic design that works well. Our sample’s tuning required some time to perfect once it was out of the case, but once it was, the instrument stayed in tune beautifully thanks to the choice of high-quality Schaller tuners. A six-way adjustable bridge with saddles for each string and the iconic ‘R’ tail-piece for easy re-stringing completes the design.
The volume and tone settings for each pickup may be used to create a wide range of tones, and after the fifth control is added, you can start dialing in an own tone. This is a very versatile 12-string instrument that rewards tonal experimentation. This is the best 12-string guitar under $1000.
Ibanez Performance Series PF1512 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic Guitar Natural
- 12-string model
- Dreadnought body
- Spruce top
The Ibanez PF1512ECE PF Electro Acoustic 12 String demonstrates that a high-quality 12-string acoustic guitar does not have to be expensive. This is the best non-sucking affordable 12 string acoustic guitar on our list. The price isn’t outrageous, but the tone is sure to hurt some hearts.
The Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany back and sides combine to provide a well-rounded, expressive tone with a rich warmth. It has a dreadnought body that isn’t cutaway. The top is bound with conventional binding and the entire body is polished in high shine. This model comes in only one color scheme: natural. A solid rosewood belly-contoured bridge is included with this non-cutaway flat-top guitar. The back and sides are crafted of mahogany, and the neck is topped with a rosewood fingerboard with the typical set of 20 frets.
Chrome-plated die-cast tuners on the headstock When played acoustically, this sounds fantastic, but the Ibanez under-saddle pickup and AEQ-2T preamp take care of the electric side, providing a tone that authentically captures the tonal attributes of your tonewoods when connected to an amplifier. The Ibanez Advantage bridge pins for quick string installation make changing strings a breeze. A excellent 12 string acoustic guitar for beginners or to add to your collection.
Martin’s decision to choose a dreadnought body for this construction should come as no surprise. They are, after all, the ones who invented the acoustic guitar style in the first place. Martin D12X1AE, on the other hand, has a few surprises up his sleeve. The top is made of solid Sitka spruce, and the sides and back are rosewood HPL. HPL is a type of laminate. Hardware is one of the most crucial considerations when it comes to 12 string guitars. The Martin D12X1AE has a Richlite bridge with a pair of high-quality plastic pins and a tried-and-true Tusq saddle.
Richlite, Tusq, and the other synthetic alternatives are just as excellent as, if not better than, wood and bone in some circumstances. Tuning machines are conventional Martin diecast devices with a long history of reliability. Martin’s choice of electronics is one of the more pleasant shocks. They went to Fishman for help and employed the Sonitone package. It goes without saying that it is a perfect match for the acoustic qualities.
The Fishman Sonitone system is a fantastic system that is normally only found on more expensive versions. You’re looking at a rock-solid live-performance build that can survive the wear and tear of regular gigging. The Martin D12X1AE has a typical dreadnought sound, but with a lot more range and overtones. Despite its unconventional character, the Martin D12X1AE fulfills and exceeds expectations. If you’re on a tight budget and need a reliable workhorse, this Martin checks all the requirements and then some. This is the best 12-string guitar.
Epiphone DR-212 Acoustic 12 String Guitar, Natural
The Epiphone DR-212 is an excellent choice for fans of blues, folk, and country music, however the sound style is not limited to those genres. The guitar’s powerful sound is the consequence of stable bracing that allows for a smooth and robust tone.
The Epiphone DR-212 is a classic 12-string acoustic guitar with a huge and robust acoustic tone that costs less than $500. The 12-string is built in the same way as its 6-string sibling, with a smooth spruce top, lush mahogany back, and rosewood fretboard. The body is shaped like a dreadnought, which adds to the classical atmosphere. Many guitar makers simply add six additional strings to a six-string guitar, resulting in a weak sound. The Epiphone DR-212 is an exception to this rule.
The Epiphone DR-212’s most appealing feature is its lifetime warranty, which is unheard of among 12-string guitars currently on the market. While there are some terms and limitations to this warranty agreement that you should understand before purchasing, the lifetime warranty does allow for some trial and error, giving you more purchasing flexibility. Despite the lack of a cutaway on the body, the Epiphone DR-212 has 22 frets, which is more than most 12-string guitars. This gives musicians a wider spectrum of notes with which to experiment.
It’s a great-looking acoustic guitar for blues, folk, and jazz, and it’s suitable for anyone who likes a rustic design. If you decide to invest in a 12 string, Epiphone has made a very excellent and economical instrument that will last you a long time. This is the best 12-string guitar for beginners.
Yamaha FG820 12-String Acoustic Guitar
- Solid Sitka Spruce Top
- Mahogany Back & Sides
- Rosewood Fingerboard
The Yamaha FG820-12 is a 12-string solid guitar in the dreadnought style that will suit the majority of acoustic guitar players who want to experiment with the diverse sounds produced by 12-strings.
The body is a distinguishing cream hue that is ideal for beginners or as a backup for more experienced players. This is due to the reasonable pricing and ease of usage. This rustic, classically styled 12-string acoustic guitar has a rosewood fretboard and an adjustable truss rod and can produce a powerful sound. The scalloped bracing, which ensures low-frequency sound, allows for sound projection. This is one of the reasons why the Yamaha FG820-12 is one of the most popular 12-string guitars on the market. This Yamaha acoustic guitar does not have any electrical features, unlike similar-looking guitars in the same price range. This may limit individuals who want to experiment with the wide range of sounds a 12-string guitar can produce.
For those who are particularly concerned with the acoustic sound, Yamaha has made every effort to ensure that the FG820-acoustic 12’s sound is as powerful as possible. The rosewood fretboard has 20 frets, which is slightly fewer than comparable acoustic 12-string guitars on the market but shouldn’t significantly impede note selection throughout the creative process. The fretboard’s greatest benefit is its smoothness and usefulness.
This is why the Yamaha FG820-12 is so enticing to novices who may lack the finger power to deal with less-than-smooth fretboards. Yamaha has hit a home run with this instrument. This guitar is incredibly appealing due to its quality, appearance, and pricing. Overall, I believe this is the best inexpensive 12-string guitar available right now. This is the best 12-string guitar under $500.
Martin D12-28 12-String Dreadnought Guitar
- D 14-fret body style
- Solid Sitka spruce top
- Solid East Indian rosewood back and sides
Martin’s D-28 is a renowned guitar, and the good news is that the D12-28, a 12-string version with essentially the same specs as the original, is now available. The playability of this guitar is flawless right away, as you’d expect. The action is low-key and unobtrusive. The richness and depth of the lovely tone can only inspire.
The D12-28 features a Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood sides in a dreadnought body. On a mahogany neck, a black ebony fingerboard with conventional dot inlays sits. Standard ivoroid binding, a black plastic pickguard, and many rosettes adorn the top panel. On this twelve-stringer, there are no electronics installed. Ebony is used for the bridge, which has a bone saddle. This model’s neck is made of hardwood and has a low profile contour at the back. It has a 20-fret ebony fingerboard on top.
The sound is slightly more centered on the top end, yet strumming reveals the exquisite purity of the chords played, making this 12 string acoustic guitars ideal for unplugged use. This guitar will appeal to anyone who enjoys playing acoustic guitar. This guitar has no frills; it is simply a robust instrument made with caring craftsmanship and the highest quality materials. Overall, I believe this is the best 12-string acoustic guitar available today.
Fender CD-140SCE 12-String Acoustic Guitar
- Single-cutaway 12-string dreadnought body style
- Solid spruce top with scalloped "X"-bracing
- Ovangkol back and sides
Fender has succeeded to develop a cheap instrument with good quality once again with this instrument. It’s a joy to play the Fender CD-140SCE-12. Despite its single cutaway design, the guitar produces a lot of tone and projects nicely.The Fender CD-140SCE-12 is a dreadnought-style acoustic guitar with a single cutaway that allows players to reach all of the frets with ease.
The neck is especially comfortable, having rolled fingerboard edges that prevent finger problems that are typical among guitarists. This is crucial since moving from 6 to 12 strings puts extra strain on the fingers because they must push down more strings. The back and sides of the guitar are made of rosewood, which is filled with a deep brown on the outside and a sunset orange on the inside, creating a particularly sleek and attractive guitar color. The improved Fishman Presys electronics on the Fender CD-140SCE-12 allow players to experiment with electric sound.
However, in comparison to other guitars on the market, these electric characteristics are more rudimentary, leaving the Fender CD-140SCE-12’s finest sound to come in acoustic form. The body’s X-bracing structure ensures that the Fender CD-140SCE-12 produces a rich, strong acoustic tone. The range of sound options are somewhat limited when transferred to electronic form for those wishing to maximize sound versatility from 12 strings.
The guitar has an easy-to-play neck that caters to a range of playing styles, indicating that Fender put novices at the forefront of their product design. This Fender 12 string is another high-quality instrument. It’s as robust and inexpensive as they get.
Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT Jumbo Cutaway 12-String Acoustic
- Solid spruce top and flame maple back and sides
- Produces all the lush, robust sound that players expect from a jumbo 12-string guitar
- Slim mahogany neck and 12"-radius bound rosewood fingerboard provide great feel and playability
This guitar was designed specifically for live playing. The sound is excellent and rich, and when combined with the sleek design, you get a fantastic combination. The Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT is a nice looking 12-string guitar with many visual aspects of a traditional acoustic guitar while yet appearing more modern and slick. It is finished with an attractive gold touch.
The Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT’s most prominent modern characteristics are its extensive electrical functions. The guitar features a built-in tuner, EQ bypass switch, notch filter, mid-contour switch, and three-band EQ and volume controls, in addition to an amplification input. The Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT offers a wide range of sound options thanks to its extensive selection of electronics. This guitar is ideal for individuals who want to try out the 12-string sound. Given the complexity of the electronic options, you need have a basic understanding of guitar electronics to get the most out of this guitar. Other notable characteristics include a cutaway at the 12th fret that offers players easier access to the frets furthest away from the head, as well as a rosewood headcap that adds to the guitar’s rich classical aesthetic.
The instrument may not be ideal for individuals who are new to 12-string guitars, but it is a compelling option for experimental musicians who value sound quality, adaptability, and a low-key classical aesthetic. The Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT offers high-quality sound, robust construction, and modern improved electronics to give 12-string guitarists a wide range of options.
Fender CD-60SCE Right Handed 12 String Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Dreadnaught
- Dreadnought cutaway body style
- Fishman low-profile pickup/preamp
- Solid spruce top with scalloped "X"-bracing
The deep and strong sound of the Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought acoustic-electric 12-string guitar comes from the Fender CD-60SCE Dreadnought acoustic-electric 12-string guitar. The Fender CD-60SCE’s environmental sustainability is one of its key advantages. Fender utilized sustainable wood for the body, assuring that players may enjoy the guitar’s sound while still being environmentally conscientious.
The back is made of exquisite mahogany, while the top is made of spruce. The non-cutaway body gives the guitar the appearance of a classical acoustic guitar, which may appeal to classical guitar players interested in experimenting with 12-string sounds. This appearance, combined with the low pricing, is ideal for aspiring guitarists who prefer a more humble, classical aspect over a ‘flashy’ design. The CD-60SCE Dreadnought 12-string is tonally comparable to more expensive choices on the market because to its sturdy construction. The CD-60SCE Dreadnought is diverse in its sound possibilities, ranging from a light small room acoustic sense to a rich powerful sound that can be amplified to cover a large room, thanks to Fishmone Sontione electronics embedded into the design. Furthermore, the low-profile of the neck allows players to play for long hours without experiencing the aching concerns that come with higher-profile necks. The CD-60SCE Dreadnought is ideal for people who desire to practice on a 12-string guitar for long periods of time.
The CD-60SCE Dreadnought’s soft classical tones are best suited for those acclimating to the 12-string guitar, since it may limit those seeking more complex sound possibilities. A lovely 12-string acoustic guitar with a wide range of tones for the price.
Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar QI Guitar
- Made in North America
- Select Pressure Tested Top
- Double Action Truss Rod
The S12 QI is built to last and has excellent craftsmanship throughout. When it comes to mid-priced 12-string guitars, it doesn’t get much better than this in terms of value. The S12 QI has a lot of definition and girth. It’s a powerful guitar with amazing secondary string overtones that fill the spectrum.
To begin with, Seagull handcrafts the majority of its guitars, which are well within their price range. Their pressure-tested solid cedar tops, as well as solid back and sides, are among my favorites. We have a wild cherry shell in the instance of S12 QI. This unique tonewood choice is carried over to the neck as well. In terms of body shape, the S12 QI is a typical dreadnought.
However, tonewood isn’t the only thing that stands out. When you start looking at the hardware, you’ll see a lot of it. The bridge is a huge rosewood construction with a Tusq adjusted saddle. Tusq is also used to make the nut. We have a set of conventional diecast tuning machines that are in good working order on the tuning machine side of things. Even if you work harder on certain strings, key retention is excellent. Similarly, tuning precision and gearing accuracy are well within this price range’s specifications. Because this is an acoustic-electric combination, the guitar comes equipped with a preamp. Godin QI is the system in question. While it may not have the same heft as a Fishman or comparable, it does include a three-band EQ, which is fantastic in and of itself. Seagull Coastline S12 QI is extremely durable. When the system is turned on, Godin’s QI system takes over and sends the core sound to the speakers.
It’s a handcrafted instrument with a lot of high-quality parts, materials, and workmanship. This is the guitar to acquire if you’re looking for a good functioning musician’s guitar on a budget. To say the least, the fact that you’re dealing with a handcrafted instrument suggests that performance will be above average.
Fender Villager 12-String, Black V3
- Fender-exclusive Newporter body shape
- Painted solid spruce top; painted mahogany back and sides
- Fishman pickup/preamp system
Since 1965, the Fender Villager 12-String V3 has been around, and it still looks great. Take a look at the headstock of that hockey stick. Isn’t that something? Fender designed the Newporter body shape, yet it portrays itself as a cutaway neo-dreadnought, with all the volume and presence that implies.
At this price, it’s nice to see some substantial Sitka on top of the Fender Villager 12-String V3 – even if we can’t see it beneath the Jetty Black finish, it helps the Villager’s sound add detail and trebly chorus.
The Fishman electronics are also good, with a three-band EQ to help you find your position in the mix and an onboard tuner because this is a 12-string guitar and a good tuner is required. The slender C profile neck, on the other hand, is quite inviting, and the Viking walnut bridge is a great staging post for strumming those large open chords.