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

Updated 13/12/16

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. So today we’re looking at some of the best 12 string guitars money can buy.

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.

Yamaha FG820-12 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG820-12 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Another great addition from the widely respected brand, the Yamaha FG820-12 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 spruce top is accompanied by rich mahogany back and sides whilst the very comfortable Nato neck ensures playing is a breeze. Although it provides plenty of volume due to the classic dreadnought shape, you’ll find this guitar slowly becoming your favourite very quickly thanks to thenewly developed scalloped body bracing that offers enhanced acoustic response, meaning it stands up to those guitars that are higher up the budget scale, easily. Top grade woods and plenty of volume – what more could you want?

Gretsch 2016 G5422TG-12 12-String Electromatic Hollowbody Guitar

Gretsch 2016 G5422TG-12 12-String Electromatic Hollowbody Guitar

Gretsch have been providing musicians with superior quality guitars for decades, and their 12 strings definitely do not let the brand down. The G5422TG-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 G5422TG-12 has got you covered.

Ibanez AS7312 Artcore 12 String

Ibanez AS7312 Artcore 12 String

For those looking to step up their 12 string guitar game, the Ibanez AS7312 Artcore 12 String is a perfect option. For a very modest price tag, this guitar really packs a punch and is ideal for those who want a reliable, powerful and above all beautifully sounding 12 string to record with and play live. The Artcore semi-hollowbody shape ensures a vibrant and resonant sound thanks to the chambered design, whilst the all maple construction offers a clear and bright tone throughout. The set-in mahogany neck offers superior joint strength and feels sturdy in your hand, meaning you’ll feel comfortable gigging and touring with it for decades. The Classic Elite humbuckers offer a wide range of tones perfect for Jazz, rock and everything in between whilst the 3 way selector switch and gig ready hardware allow you to sculpt your tone to your needs. The Ibanez AS7312 Artcore 12 String is a great addition to your guitar arsenal.

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.