The 12 string guitar is criminally overlooked, but could be the perfect 2nd instrument to add to your collection…
Though the ‘one guitar man or woman’ does exist, as most players will admit, however many guitars you have, it always seems like there is room for one more.
What that ‘next guitar’ will be, however, is a different question. Usually, it will be dictated by your chosen musical style, and the direction you want to take your music. It might be that you need a particular sound for the band you’re playing in. Or, it might be dictated by sheer, irrational gear lust (we’ve all been there…)
However, one of the best additions you can make to a guitar collection, pretty much regardless of what style you’re playing in is a 12 string guitar. Amazingly, 12-string are often overlooked, too.
Open, airy chords and ‘jangle’, without any special effects…
If you’ve never played a 12 string before, allow me to explain the differences. On a 12, the strings are paired, with each of the lower pitched 4 strings paired to a thinner string that is tuned an octave higher. The upper (higher pitched) 2 strings are paired with another identical string.
Despite having twice as many strings as a standard guitar, the paired strings are spaced closely enough for it to be played in the same manner as a six string equivalent; each pair is fretted with a single finger.
The effect is to add a huge, spacious ‘jangle’, providing a sort of natural ‘chorus’ effect. When strumming, chords are huge, with brighter upper frequencies, and a sort of ‘swirling’ modulation at the upper end that you just don’t get on a six string.
This sound is perfect filling space in strummed acoustic parts, with a richer tone, and the additional top end usually audible above everything else, without being harsh or intrusive.
Electric twelve strings provide much the same, but with a ‘jangle’ that is difficult to replicate in any other way. Think of The Beatles ‘ A Hard Days Night’ album, and its guitar sound, and you’ll almost certainly be thinking of George’s Rickenbacker 12-string.
These days, 12 string guitars are not necessarily a huge expense, either, making them all the more appealing as a second instrument.
One of our favourite models is the Epiphone DR-220 12-string dreadnought. This, impeccably made guitar sounds great, and plays beautifully, but is priced at just £129. Tempted? I know I am… 😉
You can find a range of 12-string electric guitars in our online store here, and a range of 12 string acoustic guitars here.
Alternatively, call our stores or customer service team (01925 582420) for more information or availability.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.