If you have heard songs like James Butler’s Ocean and David Bowie’s Space Oddity, then you have experienced the beauty of a 12-string acoustic guitar. Some of the world’s most excellent music have been churned out by this very underrated beauty. Playing a song from a 12-string acoustic guitar gives it so much life, the song will occasionally sound more polished and detailed something that only the player can sometimes understand.
Whether you’re looking to switch from a 6 string to a 12 string or you are a beginner seeking to learn the craft, or you are an experienced expert familiar with the instrument, below are some of our recommended 12 string acoustic guitars to get you started on your journey.
1. Yamaha FG820-12-String Acoustic Guitar
To start our list off is my personal favorite the Yamaha FG820. This is one very classic instrument as it is part of the Yamaha FG series that began in 1966. Today the FG820 is one of the most wanted 12 string guitars of all time. Producing a well-balanced mellow but warm tone that will warm your heart, this guitar’s playability is second to none.
Our favorite thing about the guitar is that even though it was first created 53 years ago, Yamaha has ensured that it stays updated including features such as the scalloped bracing that continue to make it as nifty as the newer guitar options in the market. Our second favorite thing has to be the cost of the guitar, even though it is a classic and is extremely sought after, the Yamaha FG 820 will not break/ dent your bank balance.
- The sound of the guitar is well-balanced thanks to the scalloped bracing design that Yamaha included in this model.
- It is an inexpensive guitar, retailing for about $350 thus giving you a great deal
- You can quickly and comfortably slide up and down the neck of the guitar without any hindrance.
- If you’re a beginner, you can quickly isolate the notes on this guitar, and it is easy to finger pick.
- You may have to replace the strings now and then as they break easily and are not easy on your fingers.
2. Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT 12-String Acoustic Guitar
If there is a guitar that will have you feeling like John Butler or even Bob Dylan, it has to be the Takamine GJ72CE. Rosewood fingerboard, slim mahogany neck, maple back and sides this guitar combines different woods to create a beautiful guitar with robust sound. It certainly ticks the right boxes of things to look out for when choosing a guitar and this is the tone and playability. The GJ72CE is so sensitive that you do not need a guitar pick to make good music. A gentle strum of your bare fingers and you have a beautiful melodious harmony.
Equipped with its preamp system the Takamine TK040D, the quality of sound will not disappoint considering this baby has an inbuilt tuner that helps to relieve the tension of most 12 string guitars. Some of its key features that could not go unmentioned include its abalone rosette, a classic glossy finish, and its synthetic bone nut and split bridge saddle.
- An inbuilt tuner that compares an existing reference pitch within the tuner and the string sounds.
- The construction of this guitar is something that any guitar lover will appreciate as it is of extremely high quality.
- The maple sides have to be the cherry on the pie because, without it, the GJ72CE could not achieve great tones.
- For a 12-string acoustic, the GJ72CE is quite large, but that is the only qualm we could find
3. Epiphone DR-212 Dreadnought 12-String Guitar
By looking at the Epiphone DR-212, you can easily tell that it took some serious craftsmanship to create and put this guitar together. It comes as no surprise since the Epiphone brand is known for executing well-built instruments. Unlike your typical dreadnought guitars, the DR-212 has been designed to handle the tension of 12 string guitars and together with the right balance, cutting, and attention you get sound that can only be described as “eargasmic.” You are in for a good time mainly if the blues, rock, folk and country music are your genres of choice. The DR-212 features a rosewood fretboard and a mahogany neck and body.
- You do not have to worry about your guitar going out of tune quickly thanks to the rosewood as well as that little extra force between the bridge and nut.
- It has a well-constructed spruce top that allows for breathability.
- The bridge is not necessarily the best as other guitars have far much better ones.
- You may need to tune your guitar now and then which can be quite annoying.
4. Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar Q1 guitar
Whether you are picking or strumming, the seagull coastline produces excellent sound and is pretty loud. A product of Seagull and award-winning musical instrument brand, the coastline is a guitar of top tier quality construction that features built-in Godin QI electronics, and pressure tested solid cedar top and a beautiful semi-gloss finish.
This is the perfect 12 string for achieving those low to mid-range tones that can only be described as rich and full. The Godin EP quantum system offers excellent responsiveness from the guitar while the neck provides the much-needed extra stability that is demanded by 12 string acoustics.
- The craftsmanship of this guitar is astounding, and Seagull has been able to maintain this and offer attractive finishes with their guitars.
- The seagull coastline is very easy to play and makes for a fun-filled jamming session.
- When used over a duration of time, you will start to notice a buzzing sound which can be distracting particularly if you have a keen ear.
- Similarly, the Godin QI starts to feel strange after a while especially if you have had the chance to experience other 12 string guitar models.
5. Ovation Elite T 2058TX 12-string acoustic electric guitar
A people’s favorite the Ovation Elite T 2058TX is an attractive guitar featuring a deep contour bowl composite body and a beautiful black top that facilitates the production of full sound that reverberates freely. According to the maker of this guitar, it has been designed to afford its user with the ultimate comfort as they play. The guitars build consists of a hard rock maple neck, rosewood fretboard, walnut bridge, and a Deluxe AA Solid Spruce Top.
- Its solid spruce top has made it one of the most potent sonic 12 string guitars available in the market.
- It is quite user-friendly and makes for an excellent instrument for both experts and beginners. Even hard to please guitarist will be fawning over these 12 strings.
- While we appreciate the aesthetics that the holes on this guitar bring, they affect the projection of the tone. Coupled with the deep bowls, you could find yourself walking right into a disaster if you are not cautious.
6. Martin D12X1AE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Balanced and warm tones are what you should expect from the Martin D12X1AE dreadnought. Our review wouldn’t be complete if we did not include this bad boy. Featuring mahogany grained HPL back, sides plus neck and a solid Sitka spruce top guitarist like the Martin for its full sound capabilities as well as its playability. With 25.5 body inches, the guitar is relatively easy to play and fits quite comfortably onto the guitarist’s body.
- For $700 we reckon that you receive value for your money with this guitar.
- The quality of sound is amazing.
- The Martin D12X1AE has a laminated finish which makes the guitar heavy.
7. Taylor 362CE Grand Concert 12 string
This is one expensive guitar but with good reason. It is not your typical big bodied 12 string guitar. Taylor opted to go a different route with this 24-7/8-inch small body guitar is extremely user-friendly, and its size makes it comfortable for any guitarist to play. The 362CE features a deluxe Taylor hardshell case, a mahogany top and Tasmanian blackwood back and sides.
- It is small and therefore very user-friendly. If you enjoy playing the guitar while sitting down, then you will appreciate its size and design which make it lap friendly.
- It is expensive given its simplicity.
Aside from the obvious 12 strings, the wider fretboard and neck, as well as a larger headstock, are some of the physical features that differentiate the 12 string acoustic guitars from your other guitars.
It also produces a more viable and useable sound that the 6-string guitar. It is these very features that make the 12-string guitar a thing of beauty and why musicians such a Jimi Hendrix patiently and passionately learned how to play it.
If you choose to play the 12-string acoustic guitar, you should keep in mind that it is not easy to learn and therefore requires a lot of dedication even for experienced players. It will be brutal but fret not (pun intended) you do eventually get the hang of it.