The Essential Guide to Finding the Best 12 String Guitar + Reviews
Guitar playing can help you discover your creativity and sonic personality and, thus, using the best 12 string guitar is essential if you intend to advance in this field. However, the market does not run short when it comes to such items, which might render the shopping process time-consuming. To simplify it for you, we have taken a closer look at the features offered by some of the most popular products in this line and concluded that the first model to consider is the Fender CD-60SCE-12 Acoustic-Electric 12 String Guitar. Built with quality materials, including solid mahogany and spruce, this guitar is designed to help you contour your personality with quality crisp sounds and do so for a long time. The single-cutaway body and design ensure enhanced playability and easy upper fret access. This particular model comes with various accessories so that you can start playing right away. If you are unable to find this product, another model worthy of consideration is the Oscar Schmidt OD312CEB-A-U 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar.
Our Top Choice
If you like to engage in various playing styles and musical genres, this acoustic-electric guitar might be of interest as it was built to ensure versatility. The unit comes with a spruce top and mahogany back and sides to ensure such results. What’s more, the guitar is available in a bundle, so you will get anything you need to get started right away.
The finish on the neck might not be as durable as expected and might come off after a while.
Featuring a cutaway design and a comfortable neck profile, this unit ensures playability, and it will help you express your creativity beautifully. It is packed with a variety of accessories for immediate use.
Built with quality materials, including spruce and mahogany, this instrument is worth adding to your list of options, given its tonal capacities. The cutaway body will make it easier for you to play, whereas the Barcus Berry EQ4T Preamp is added for those moments when you want to spice up your performance with amplified sounds.
This acoustic-electric guitar is designed for right-handed users; therefore, not all players can employ it.
Thanks to the quality tonewoods and hardware used, this unit should cover your needs for a long time. The high-gloss finish and color choice will make sure your performance will be paired with nice visuals.
Also To Consider
Given the cutaway body and neck profile of this unit, you might want to consider it even if you have little experience in this field, as these features will pair your playing sessions with comfort. Plus, the rolled fingerboard edges will add to all that. The ovangkol and spruce used will get you warm tones, while the tuner will help you keep the guitar in tune.
The finish might not keep up with extended use, and it might come off at some point.
This guitar model was built with performance and comfort in mind and thus comes with a stylish cutaway design as well as quality tonewoods. The built-in tuner and hardshell case are also a nice addition.
10 Best 12 String Guitars (Updated Reviews) in 2020
Whether you’re a beginner or already a seasoned musician, using the best 12 string guitars is of paramount importance if professional results are desired. Since there are so many products in this line, we have compiled below a list of 12 string guitar reviews so that you can make a more informed decision when purchasing such an instrument.
- 1. Fender CD-60SCE-12 Acoustic-Electric 12 String Guitar
- 2. Oscar Schmidt OD312CEB-A-U 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- 3. Fender CD-140SCE 12-String Acoustic Guitar Natural
- 4. Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
- 5. Oscar Schmidt OD312 Natural 12-String Dreadnought Guitar
- 6. Ibanez AEG1812II AEG 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Sunburst
- 7. Takamine GJ72CE-12 G Jumbo Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- 8. Alvarez Artist Series AD60-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic Guitar
- 9. Luna Gypsy Dreadnought 12-String Mahogany Acoustic Guitar
- 10. Oscar Schmidt OD312CEWH-A 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Fender CD-60SCE-12 Acoustic-Electric 12 String Guitar
The materials used for this guitar and the way it is built and designed determine the quality of the sounds produced and the instrument’s durability; that’s why Fender chose quality materials and put a lot of care into making this 12 string acoustic-electric guitar.
To help you get crisp sounds and increased volume, the manufacturer used solid spruce for the top of the guitar and solid mahogany for its sides and back. These tonewoods ensure impressive dynamic range and render the unit suitable for a variety of acoustic playing styles.
Moreover, the item features a single-cutaway body so that you can benefit from easy upper fret access and a neck profile that adds to the playability delivered by this unit. The built-in tuner will help you keep the instrument in tune, and the various accessories included in the pack will enable you to start playing immediately upon the pack’s arrival.
This 12 string acoustic-electric guitar is ideal for a variety of playing styles and applications thanks to the materials used and the way it was built.
The guitar features a solid spruce top and solid mahogany sides and back, tonewoods that ensure a noteworthy dynamic range, increased volume, and crisp sounds.
Given the single-cutaway body and the neck profile, playability is another benefit offered by this model, while the sounds it produces make it ideal for any acoustic playing style.
Thanks to the built-in tuner, you’ll be able to tune the guitar whenever needed; plus, the instrument comes with a Fishman Classic Design pickup/preamp.
The hard case included in the pack will help you store and transport the unit safely and comfortably, while the rest of the accessories will enable you to start playing right away.
The finish on the neck might come off after a while, and the wood on the bridge might not be that durable; however, this may happen in rare cases.Buy from Amazon.com for ($399.99)
2. Oscar Schmidt OD312CEB-A-U 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Designed with quality materials and suitable for musicians of different skill levels, this 12 string guitar from Oscar Schmidt is packed with features that render it worthy of attention. The dreadnought instrument features a cutaway that ensures access to the upper frets, and the action makes this unit an appropriate option even for players with little experience as it delivers enhanced playability.
In order to sound the way it does, the guitar features mahogany back, sides, and neck, as well as a select spruce top. These tonewoods are so popular thanks to the way they help an instrument sound.
What’s more, the guitar is equipped with the Barcus Berry EQ4T Preamp, die-cast tuners, and chrome hardware. The high-gloss finish and black design will also add a stylish touch to your gigs. The instrument comes in two other colors as well, including a natural version and a tobacco sunburst model.
Whether this is your first 12 string guitar, or you’ve already tried this model before, you might want to take a closer look at this unit if quality sounds and playability are the ones you’re after.
Since the way an instrument is designed and the materials used are the ones that shape its sonic capacities, this model features quality tonewoods and hardware.
The acoustic-electric guitar features select spruce for its top and mahogany for its back, sides, and neck, as well as chrome hardware and die-cast tuners.
The cutaway design adds to the playability ensured, while the Barcus Berry EQ4T Preamp featured will enable you to bring out those beautiful sounds through any amp or PA.
The unit also boasts a stylish high-gloss finish and is available in three color choices so that you can find the one you like with ease.
This model is designed for right-handed players; therefore, keep this aspect in mind before ordering.Buy from Amazon.com for ($222.71)
3. Fender CD-140SCE 12-String Acoustic Guitar Natural
Packed with quality materials and features, this acoustic guitar from Fender is suitable for beginner and intermediate players interested in an easy-to-play unit that is capable of producing quality sounds. The cutaway design and the neck profile will make it easy for those of you with little experience to engage in long practice sessions without losing comfort.
These features will provide you with easy access to the upper frets, while the rolled fingerboard edges will further add to your comfort. To ensure sounds that will please those listening to you, the unit features a spruce top and ovangkol back and sides. These tonewoods are appreciated for their dynamic range and tonal qualities and warmth.
Thanks to the Fishman pickup/preamp system featured and the onboard controls, you will be able to amplify the acoustic instrument while still enjoying its rich and pure tones. Keeping the guitar in tune won’t be difficult as the item also sports a built-in tuner.
Thanks to the cutaway design, neck profile, and rolled fingerboard edges, this guitar is easy to play and comfortable, even if you don’t have too much experience.
The solid spruce top and ovangkol back and sides will help you explore the realm of guitars through warm and rich tones; they also provide you with impressive dynamic range and durability.
The built-in tuner and Fishman pickup/preamp system will help you keep your instrument in tune and take your sonic adventure one step further by enabling you to amplify the instrument.
To enhance clarity and sustain, and ensure tonal consistency, the item comes with Graph Tech nuts and bridge saddle.
The hardshell case included in the pack ensures comfortable and safe storage and transportation.
The finish might not be that durable and get easily scratched even if you don’t engage in frequent playing sessions.Buy from Amazon.com for ($439.99)
4. Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
Built with playability and tone quality in mind, this model from Yamaha is a 12-string acoustic guitar worth adding to your list of options if you want an instrument that performs nicely without costing a fortune. The units in this series are built with a new scalloped bracing pattern that enhances the top board’s durability and adds to the natural sounds produced by this unit.
The tonewoods used for the construction of a guitar hold great importance when it comes to the sounds delivered by the instrument. This model features mahogany back and sides, solid Sitka spruce top, and rosewood bridge and fingerboard.
The dreadnought guitar comes with die-cast tuners and an adjustable truss rod. This particular model boasts a natural color that will complement your performance from a visual point of view. The unit is available in a variety of colors, though.
If you’re interested in spicing up your gigs with loud and strong sounds in the low to mid-ranges, this guitar is an option you might want to try.
The new scalloped bracing pattern used for the construction of this model renders the top board more durable and contributes to the natural sounds produced by this unit.
The tonewoods used include mahogany for the instrument’s back and sides, rosewood for the bridge and fingerboard, and select Sitka spruce for the top.
Thanks to this choice of materials, you won’t just get to express your creativity with pleasant sounds, but you can do so for a long time.
The truss rod is adjustable, and the instrument is packed with die-cast tuners; this model comes in a natural color, yet there are other colors you can choose from.
If you intend to use this unit for frequent applications, you might find the strings provided to be less durable.Buy from Amazon.com for ($359.99)
5. Oscar Schmidt OD312 Natural 12-String Dreadnought Guitar
Everything that goes into a musical instrument affects the sonic performance and durability delivered in a way or another, and this model was built to serve your needs admirably and do so for a long time. That’s why the manufacturer chose quality materials for this model and put a lot of care into the building process.
The OD312 features some of the most appreciated tonewoods, including mahogany for the back and sides and spruce for the top. This choice of materials packs the instrument with noteworthy tonal capacities that render the unit suitable for a variety of musical genres and playing styles.
The design ensures ease of playing, which means that this instrument is an inspired option even for those of you with little experience. The item also comes with chrome die-cast tuners, as well as an adjustable truss rod. The high gloss finish and natural color will add a nice visual touch to your playing sessions.
This dreadnought guitar was built to help you explore the sonic capacities of this type of instrument and do so for a long time.
To ensure durability and keep up with many practice sessions and gigs, the product is handcrafted with quality materials.
Due to the mahogany back and sides and select spruce top, you should be able to produce beautiful tones that will suit various musical genres and playing styles.
The instrument is equipped with chrome die-cast tuners as well as a truss rod that is fully adjustable.
You should be able to play this guitar even if you have little experience as the way the product was designed ensures playability.
Make sure you get as much information as possible regarding the size of this model, especially if you’re a beginner, as some novices might still find it a bit uncomfortable to play, at least at first.Buy from Amazon.com for ($177.75)
6. Ibanez AEG1812II AEG 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Sunburst
Part of the AEG series, this acoustic-electric guitar is a ready-stage model, which makes it suitable for those of you who have gained experience in this field and need a new instrument for a live performance. Given the 25” scale length and the thinner body, the AEG1812II is an option even beginners might want to consider as it ensures playability and a nice feel.
There is more of an electric feel when it comes to this item, and the overall design adds speed to the advantages mentioned above. The tonewoods used for its construction pair the performance ensured by this model with noteworthy tonal qualities.
The guitar thus features a rosewood fretboard, a spruce top, and mahogany back and sides that work together to produce a lively response even when you’re not using amplification. For amplified sounds, the unit is equipped with a Fishman Sonicore pickup and an AEQ-SP2 preamp.
Sporting a thinner body, this acoustic-electric guitar is an option both beginners and advanced players might want to consider as it is stage-ready as well as comfortable to play.
The unit’s dimensions and design ensure ease of playing and provide the user with a nice feel, which renders this model suitable even for those who are just getting started in this field.
Thanks to the spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, and mahogany back and sides, the instrument delivers a lively response even when amplification is not used.
Given that the guitar also comes with a Fishman Sonicore pickup and an AEQ-SP2 preamp, you can easily switch to amplified sounds for stage performances.
The onboard tuner will help you keep the instrument in tune, whereas the high-gloss finish and Abalone rosette add a nice visual touch to your playing sessions.
Depending on your skill level and preferences, you might find that the strings provided with the guitar could use a replacement.Buy from Amazon.com for ($299.99)
7. Takamine GJ72CE-12 G Jumbo Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The first thing most of us notice when it comes to this model is the stylish cutaway design, but once you get your hands on it and start playing, it doesn’t take much to realize that this item is, first of all, a musical instrument designed to perform.
To help you shape your creativity with beautiful tones, this acoustic-electric unit features flame maple back and sides, a 12″-radius bound rosewood fingerboard, and a solid spruce top. All this results in lush and robust sounds, while the jumbo style body and item’s design provide musicians with playability and a nice feel.
The electronics featured are also worth mentioning, and they include the Takamine TK-40D preamp system, as well as a built-in tuner to keep the instrument in tune. The guitar is further packed with various controls for enhanced versatility. The die-cast tuners, gloss finish, and abalone rosette contribute to the nice visuals offered.
Featuring quality materials and a jumbo style body, this guitar is worth considering whether you’re into acoustic playing or you like to fill your performance with amplified sounds.
The tonewoods used for its construction work together to create robust sounds, and they include spruce, maple, and rosewood.
The neck profile and 12″-radius bound rosewood fingerboard will make it comfortable even for beginners to play and provide users with a nice feel.
The TK-40D preamp system and various controls featured take versatility one step further, while the built-in tuner will help you get the guitar in tune easily.
The gloss finish, sunburst color, die-cast tuners, and abalone rosette add to the stylish design of this unit.
Some musicians might find the sounds produced by this guitar to be a bit too bright, yet that is a matter of preference after all.Buy from Amazon.com for ($699.99)
8. Alvarez Artist Series AD60-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic Guitar
Once you get a closer look at this model from Alvarez, you realize why it has gathered positive feedback and appreciation since the unit is built with carefully hand-selected tonewoods and materials and designed with performance in mind. The guitar features mahogany back, sides, and neck, a rosewood fingerboard, and a solid Sitka spruce top.
One of the things that make this model ensure such performance is the advanced bracing system that features a forward shifted X brace design, which further allows for the use of a larger soundboard and thus improved performance.
The Sitka spruce is hand-selected and thus contributes to the strength and consistent quality ensured. The warm and powerful sounds produced render this model suitable for a variety of musical genres, while the natural gloss finish will complement your performance from a visual point of view. The guitar comes with D’Addario EXP strings and premium die-cast tuners.
Part of the Artist Series, the AD60-12 is a dreadnought acoustic guitar built with carefully selected materials that ensure long-lasting performance.
The unit thus features mahogany for its back, sides, and neck, solid Sitka spruce for its top, and rosewood for the fingerboard.
Just like the other models in this series, this one was built to ensure a great response, balance, and lively projection.
The item boasts the FST2 bracing system that features a forward shifted X brace design that allows for a larger soundboard and contributes directly to the performance delivered.
The sounds produced by this unit are powerful and open, which means that you can employ this acoustic guitar for various musical genres.
Given the way this product was designed and the quality of the components and materials used, it might fall a bit on the expensive side, especially if you’re a budget-conscious buyer.Buy from Amazon.com for ($359.99)
9. Luna Gypsy Dreadnought 12-String Mahogany Acoustic Guitar
If your preferences call for warm tones, this dreadnought acoustic guitar shouldn’t be left unchecked before you make your final decision as it was built to ensure tonal warmth while adding stylish visuals to your performance. What’s more, when compared with other items in this category, this is also a more affordable model.
Despite its price point, the unit is built with quality materials and thus features mahogany for its body, top, and neck. The tonewood and the way this product was designed will provide you with a powerful tonal punch, while the neck profile will make the playing experience more comfortable.
The visuals offered by this unit cannot be overlooked as the natural satin finish is paired with a beautiful rosette and moon phase fret markers. The unit also comes with sealed die-cast tuners and, considering its sonic capacities and design, is suitable for musicians of different skill levels and ages.
This full-size dreadnought guitar is built with materials that should help you express your creativity with warm sounds and keep up with many playing sessions.
The main tonewood used for this model is mahogany, which has been employed for the body, neck, and top; this type of tonewood is popular thanks to its tonal properties and durability.
Given the neck profile, this acoustic guitar ensures ease of playing and makes the entire experience more comfortable and reaching challenging chords and notes easier.
The unit won’t just help you engage in performances filled with tonal warmth but will also add nice visuals to your playing sessions thanks to the natural finish and the beautiful rosette.
This instrument is acoustic and is not sold with a case or other accessories; however, its price point is not high, so you can buy such items separately without adding too much to the final price.Buy from Amazon.com for ($522.99)
10. Oscar Schmidt OD312CEWH-A 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar
In case you’ve just started in this field, and you’re thus looking for a 12-string guitar that is easy and comfortable to play, this model from Oscar Schmidt might be cut out for you. The dreadnought instrument comes with a cutaway that ensures easy access to the upper frets.
Since this is a musical instrument, the materials used for its construction were carefully chosen, and the unit thus features a select spruce top and mahogany back and sides. These tonewoods are popular thanks to the way they contribute to the sounds produced by the guitar and the durability delivered.
The unit is equipped with die-cast tuners and a MET-A07 preamp/tuner so that you can enjoy its beautiful sounds even through an amplifier or PA. The truss rod is fully adjustable, and the instrument is available in a high-gloss finish. This is a white model, yet the guitar is also available in transparent blue sunburst and transparent green.
If you’re interested in a 12-string guitar that performs admirably from a sonic point of view and also cuts a fine visual figure, this unit might be right up your alley.
The stylish design stands out, and the care the manufacturer put into this instrument can be seen in the details and quality of this guitar; plus, the item is coupled with a lifetime warranty.
The unit comes with mahogany back and sides as well as a select spruce top, a choice of tonewoods that contributes to the tonal qualities of this guitar.
The dreadnought guitar features a cutaway that makes it easy for you to access the upper frets, a feature that renders this model suitable even for beginners.
The MET-A07 preamp/tuner will enable you to spice up your performance with amplified sounds, while the tuner will make sure you get the instrument in tune whenever needed.
The bridge might not be that durable and might lift up; however, such cases are rare, and the manufacturer does offer a lifetime warranty.Buy from Amazon.com for ($224.99)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
Adding a 12 string acoustic guitar to your musical gear is an inspired thing to do if you want to take your guitar sessions one step further and add tonal depth and fullness. There’s something like a chorus effect that such guitars deliver and cannot be achieved with other types of guitars.
However, getting a 12 string acoustic electric guitar that will cover your needs admirably might not be that simple. There are a few factors you should take into account whether you’re on the lookout for an expensive or a cheap 12 string guitar. Find more about them below.
Body shape and neck
The size and shape of a guitar influence the sound produced and the playability ensured. That’s why one of the first things you need to consider regards these two aspects and, if you can’t try out the model you’ve set your eyes on, it is best to at least watch a video to find out more about the way the size and shape affect the sound.
You will find a variety of 12-string guitar models as far as size and shape are concerned, and it is always an inspired thing to go to a music store and play the instrument a bit to see how it sounds and feels. If you can’t reach such a store, a 12 string guitar review and some videos might also help.
The neck of the model you want to get holds great importance as well since this guitar type comes with two times more strings. This means that there will be more stress on this part of the instrument. The neck should be specifically designed to handle more stress and such guitars usually come with double truss rods.
The type of wood used to build a guitar also holds great importance since it affects the way such an instrument performs and sounds. Cheap 12 string guitars usually come with low-quality materials, which affects the type of acoustics you get as well as the durability ensured.
If you’re interested more in volume and tone, a guitar built with solid wood is more suitable. Such models are not always the most affordable 12 string guitars, though. The most common tonewoods used for guitars include mahogany, spruce, rosewood, and maple. They are used for different guitar parts, and they nuance the tones produced by the instrument.
For example, mahogany is a dense wood and is appreciated for adding warmth to the sounds ensured by the guitar, whereas rosewood delivers rich overtones. Again, it is best to try out a musical instrument before buying.
Accessories and electronics
Although you can always change the strings of a guitar if you’re not happy with the ones included, you should still keep an eye on this aspect. Getting a 12 string electric guitar or an acoustic one with quality strings from the very start will help you save.
Check out the action of the model you want to purchase. The distance of the strings from the instrument’s fretboard should be lower than the one of standard 6-string guitars. If it is too high, you might find it difficult to play, while if it is too low, you might end up with a buzz.
To make the 12 string guitar tuning easier, look for a model with a built-in tuner. Also, in case you’re interested in an electric-acoustic model, make sure that it comes with the needed electronics and that they work as desired.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are 12 string guitars good for?
As a general answer, we would say that they are good for those musical applications that require fuller and richer tones. Given the fact that these guitars come with 12 strings, there is something like a chorus effect about the sounds they produce, and this particularity is what makes them popular among players of different genres.
Since this type of guitar provides musicians with an extra edge and a greater range of overtones, an acoustic electric 12 string guitar offers tonal qualities that you can hardly get with other models in this category of musical instruments. Initially, this type of guitar was used for folk and blues, yet it later started to be employed for pop and rock music as well.
There are many famous 12 string guitar songs that have become popular in part due to the guitars used and their tonal depth and warmth. Such instruments are commonly employed for accompaniment and played with a flatpick, but several musicians have used it as a solo instrument as well.
Q: Is a 12 string guitar harder to play?
If you’re completely new to guitar playing, picking up a 12-string guitar as your learning instrument might not be free of difficult moments. However, there are musicians who started on such a guitar type and came to master it. Still, to make things easier before you learn how to play a 12 string guitar, it is best to learn how to play a 6-string unit.
That’s because guitars in the two categories come with differences as far as their design is concerned. One of the major differences is the neck width. To accommodate all 12 strings, the neck is wider, which makes it a bit more difficult to fret. Plus, pressing the strings requires greater effort.
However, today’s market offers affordable 12 string guitar models that have a slim neck precisely to make it a bit easier to play. If you still want to try this guitar type, you might also take a closer look at other design aspects that can improve playability and comfort, such as a cutaway design.
Q: How to tune a 12 string guitar?
Once you make the transition to such a guitar, you will also have to learn how to string a 12 string guitar and how to clean and, of course, tune it. The strings on this guitar type are divided into six pairs of two strings, and the usual tuning is the standard E-A-D-G-B-E.
Tuning a 12 string guitar comes with some differences, though. Since you get pairs of strings, you will have to tune the thicker string of the pair to the same octave as on a 6-string guitar. The lower four strings (E, A, D, G) should be tuned normally, whereas the doubled-string underneath these strings should be tuned one octave higher.
Keep in mind that the thinner string should be used for the higher octave and the thicker string for the lower note. The top E and B strings, as well as their counterparts, should be tuned in unison.