Best 12 String Guitars, Electric and Acoustic

Dave Mostert
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For Beginners and Intermediate Guitar Players.

As a guitar player myself, I know how frustrating it can be to find a decently priced acoustic guitar that’s good enough to play.

Depending on where you live, finding good quality electric guitars is often no easier, either.

I’ve personally purchased guitars on both sides of the ocean. One of the most overwhelming experiences was buying my first acoustic guitar. Hours and hours of online research later, I was still no closer to picking a guitar that was right for me.

That’s why I put this article together, so you don’t have to waste time hunting for a guitar.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • What kind of guitar are you looking for?
  • What’s your budget?
  • How much should you be spending?

So without further ado, here are the best 12 string guitars, electric and acoustic, to buy this year.

NameCategoryProduct
Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic GuitarBest OverallYamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar BlackBudget PickTakamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Black

1. Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Our rating: 9 / 10

Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

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Pros:

  • Comfortable and affordable price point
  • Solid spruce top
  • Rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • Cutaway body design
  • Perfect entry-level 12-string for beginners and intermediate players
  • Great for strumming or fingerpicking

Cons:

  • Some construction discrepancies may occur
  • Colors might not be exact as the ones in the picture

What makes this 12-string guitar one of the best acoustic guitars in the market is that it’s affordable, but only weighs 6 pounds. Its spruce top combined with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge give it a much better tonal response and sound than comparable guitars in its price range. In fact, it’s one of the best acoustic guitars you can find for this price.

In terms of pricing, the Yamaha FG820 is a no-brainer. It’s affordable, lightweight, and offers excellent features that even professional guitar players would envy. There are violins and violas made of spruce, but there’s nothing quite the same as a guitar made of spruce. The sound is simply richer.

For a beginner or intermediate player, the Yamaha FG820 provides excellent value for money.

2. Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Black

Our rating: 8 / 10

Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Black

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Pros:

  • Solid build
  • Great buy for the price
  • Nice tone
  • Great for fingerpicking
  • Sounds great amplified
  • APT Electronics Preamp
  • Fishman Presys+ Preamp with Built In Tuner

Cons:

  • Neck not for fast playing
  • Fingerboard lacks dot inlays
  • Charcoal burst finish not quite identical to picture above

Although this guitar is new to the market, it is already a great seller. Its playability is designed to make it easier for veteran guitarists, and those who have never previously played a 12-string instrument to find success with it.

It is a crafted from a Spruce top and Sapele back & sides. The neck is made from Sapele, and the fingerboard & bridge are both made of Rosewood. That will add a darker sound to the guitar, in comparison with Cedar which is more of a Chromatic sound. Also, there is a rope style rosette around the soundhole, which is something unique that you don’t see on many guitars.

It has a slim, fast neck, which gives it an easy feel. The Abalone inlay dots are a nice touch, adding to the visual appeal, while also giving you something to focus on as your playing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do 12 string guitars sound better?

The 12 string vs six string debate has raged on for decades. And, it often turns awry with those unwilling to consider that their precious six string might be slightly dethroned by adding another six to the mix!

But, let's be honest. Do these guitars really sound better? The answer isn't as black and white as you might think. As a matter of fact, there are times when a six string on its own sounds better than an unamplified 12 string being played in the same room.

The truth is that it all depends on the guitar.

There are plenty of 12 string acoustic guitars that positively sing. But, none of these acoustics are able to achieve beautiful resonances because of their small body sizes. These are instruments that sound rich because of their full size, not their strings.

Is a twelve string guitar harder to play?

The most common question asked by new 12-string guitar owners is whether 12 strings are harder to play than 6 strings.

While the guitar may be harder to hold and finger than a standard 6-string, the good news is that the strings themselves are typically thinner and more flexible.

For the vast majority of guitar players, the guitar is simply a matter of getting used to its lengthened body and neck. Once you are used to your twelve string, it will probably feel easier and more comfortable to you than a standard 6-string.

Don't get us wrong though, it definitely takes some time to feel comfortable and get used to holding and playing an extended-length instrument. That being said, if you really don't want to struggle with an extended-length guitar, don't take our word for it; check out the following poll of our users.

Are 12 string guitars worth it?

For potential owners of 12-string guitars, the desire for this type of guitar is usually well worth purchasing a 12-string.

While it is true that these instruments can provide owners with plenty of unique sounds to work with, these instruments are also far from a one-size-fits-all tool. If you don’t know what you are looking for, don’t buy in a hurry.

There are several factors that distinguish one 12-string guitar from the next, including number of strings, tuning, string material, and string flexibility.

To begin with, take a look at the strings themselves. If you are a fan of thick gauged strings, you likely don’t want to buy a guitar with a thinner string set. Gauge is important here because it generally translates to string tension.

What is the best acoustic guitar for an intermediate player?

Donʼt be duped by the low price; the Alvarez RD73 is a budget guitar that doesnʼt put a price on tone.

This dreadnought-style is one of the best guitar values around, with stellar tone and a build that stands up to more expensive models.

The single-cutaway body style ensures a comfortable resting spot for your forearm, which is made from rosewood.

The satin finish also adds a striking visual appeal, and creates a smooth feel.

Another bonus of this guitar is its onboard tuners which offer a reliable tuning experience. Any frustrations with tuning your guitar are a relic from the past. Once you start to play regularly, you will learn the ins and outs of tuning, and you might not need the tuners at all.

But hey, why not have your cake, eat it too, and enjoy the ease without sacrificing sound?

Conclusion

Well, it has happened. I’ve been bitten by the 12 string bug. In the following article, we’ll look at some of the best 12 string guitars in two categories. First will be a group of guitars that are all perfect for beginners. Second will be a group of guitars that are more suited for intermediate and professional players. These three guitars are all axes who’s manufacturer puts out solid instruments.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic GuitarBest OverallYamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar
Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar BlackBudget PickTakamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar Black