5 of the best 12 string guitars you really need to play

These are the 12-string guitars you’re looking for… best 12 string guitars

The 12 string guitar, such an awesome instrument that has appeared on everything from folk records to heavy metal albums. If you’re a Fairport Convention fan, Springsteen aficionado or Led Zeppelin fanatic the 12 string guitar will undoubtedly appeal to you, but even if you’re not a fan of any of those bands (I’m silently judging you) as a guitarist you have to appreciate the full, rich sounds emanating from a great 12 string acoustic or electric.

Pros and cons of a 12-string guitar

As far as the pros and cons of 12-string guitars go, there aren’t a lot of downsides to a 12-string aside from adjusting to the extra pressure that needs to be applied on the strings. Hand cramps can sometimes occur but the benefits of a 12 string’s sound when played far outweigh a little discomfort. They’re described as by some as the grand piano of guitars owing to the fact the sheer amount of volume you can get out of one. The addition of an extra six strings, some as an octave higher provides a fullness of sound that you really can’t beat. Playing solos on a 12 string guitar can sometimes prove a little tricky, especially when you’re trying to do huge dive bomb bends, but with a little bit of practice you’ll get there. One string solos, guitar lines and hooks really sound great though. The best thing to do is try one out – they’re great to have in your arsenal and an awesome addition to any song.

But where should you start? “Which 12 string guitar is right for me?” I hear you say. Fear not! Today we’re going to look at 5 of the best 12 string guitars to get you started on your journey into a fuller, richer sound.

Farida D16N12 Dreadnought 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Farida D16N12 Dreadnought 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Another great addition from the widely respected brand, the Farida D16N12 Dreadnought 12 String Acoustic Guitar is the perfect starting point for those in the market for a mid-level 12 string acoustic that won’t let them down and is perfect for professional or home use. A solid Englemann spruce top is accompanied by laminated rosewood back and sides whilst the three piece full scale mahogany neck ensures playing is a breeze. Providing plenty of volume due to the classic dreadnought shape, you’ll find this guitar slowly becoming your favourite very quickly. Top grade woods and plenty of volume – what more could you want?

Gretsch G5422DC-12 Electromatic 12 String Electric Guitar

Gretsch G5422DC-12 Electromatic 12 String Electric Guitar

Gretsch have been providing musicians with superior quality guitars for decades, and their 12 strings definitely do not let the brand down. The G5422DC-12 is an absolutely beautiful string to Gretsch’s bow. The 5-ply maple chambered body provides huge resonance pushing those 12 string sounds further whilst the rosewood fingerboard and maple neck combination makes it a joy to play. Two “Black Top” Filter’Tron pickups make sure this guitar is a versatile and powerful addition to your rig – perfect for all types of music. Whether you’re playing rhythm or lead, the Gretsch G5422DC-12 has got you covered.

Redwood D120-12 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Redwood D120-12 12-String Acoustic Guitar

For those on a budget, the Redwood D120-12 12 String acoustic is a perfect option. For a very modest price tag, this guitar really packs a punch and is ideal for those who want their first 12 string acoustic or something to record with and add something extra to their tracks. A dreadnought shape ensures a vibrant and resonant sound whilst the spruce top provides a clear and bright tone. The mahogany back and sides add emphasis to the projection too. As far as “budget” acoustic guitars go, the Redwood D120-12 12-String Acoustic Guitar is a great option if you just want to dabble in the sounds of the 12 string.

Epiphone DR-212 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Epiphone DR-212 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Another great addition to the world of 12 string guitars comes in the form of the Epiphone DR-212 Acoustic. Epiphone guitars are by far one of the best examples of brands who couple expert craftsmanship and superior build quality without adding a hefty price tag. Yes the DR-212 2 string is one of the more lower cost options, but it’s in no way a lower quality guitar. Like a fine wine, this guitar will get better with age as the mahogany wood body starts to react to your style and the mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard which make up the 25.5” scale length of the guitar offer superior playability and comfort. The classic dreadnought shape makes sure each note is rich and resonant and the proper bracing construction means this guitar will probably outlive you. All in all, it’s a great guitar to cut your teeth on the live circuit, record at home or just have lying around for when you want to bust out a Jimmy page style acoustic jam.

Taylor 150E 12-String Electro Acoustic Guitar

Taylor 150E 12-String Electro Acoustic Guitar

For those who want a gigging guitar that can withstand the pressures of touring, the Taylor 150E 12-string Electro Acoustic should be at the top of your wish list. The body of the affordable guitar from the world renowned brand has been crafted from sapele laminate, which not only brings out the lower registers of the acoustic but also responds extremely well to changes in temperature, especially useful if you’re travelling with the guitar on a plane, to gigs or throwing it in the back of a van cross country. The Sitka spruce top ensures a rich resonant tone and the bracing makes sure the guitar is fit to last a lifetime or 5. When it comes to gigging the Taylor 12-string the all magnetic Taylor Expression System comes in handy. With just three easy to use controls, volume, treble and bass to sculpt your sound, your ideal tonality can be dialled in quickly without taking away from the natural beauty inherent in the guitar’s sound. If you want a higher end 12-string guitar ideal for touring and creating music with on the go or in the studio, this is your best bet.

View the full range of 12-string guitars at the Dawsons website.

Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns. After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery. Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.

Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns. After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery. Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.