Best 12 String Guitars in 2020 (The Complete Buying Guide)

Maybe you are looking to buy your electric guitar or maybe you are already an expert who’s looking for the best 12 string guitar. Either way, choosing the right guitar can sometimes be a difficult task, especially if you are a beginner and looking for your first guitar. If you are here, you probably are familiar with the basic guitar types.

Electric guitars, unlike acoustic guitars, give you more functionality and along with proper accessories, can give you a wide variety of effects to choose from. Over the last few decades, they have found a good place with musicians. In this article, we will mostly be discussing both 12 stringed electric and acoustic  guitars, if that is what you are looking from. 

Be it your first guitar or just another addition to your collection, we believe we have all your needs covered and you are very likely to find a good match for your requirements in our list. So check it out!

6 Best 12 String Guitars

Dean Boca 12-String Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar

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If you are looking for a good cost to value ratio, this is the guitar you are looking for. The guitar has a very good price point for both beginners and amateurs. If you are looking for a smooth playing hollow bodied guitar, this is one of the best you can find in the market for the price.

This guitar is highly recommended for beginners who are just testing out if they actually like playing guitar. A lot of people have been found to quit after playing for the first time. If you are still not sure if you want to learn to play guitar for real, this guitar can be a good guitar for you.

In terms of looks, this guitar has an amazing silky finish that looks amazing and gives more expensive guitars a good competition. Performance wise too, the guitar has decent reviews. However, you may have some issues during the initial tuning but after you find a sweet spot, the guitar should play flawlessly. 

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Pros

  • Good cost to value ratio.
  • Great choice for beginners.
  • Stylish design.
  • Great performance.
  • Good pickup.
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Cons

  • Might need some initial fine tuning.
  • Hollow body makes the neck heavier.

Takamine G Series GD30CE-12 Dreadnought Electric Guitar

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

As the name suggests, this is an acoustic electric guitar. What that means is that it will work even with an electric setup as well as a standalone acoustic guitar. Such guitars have their own pros and cons, however. The guitar will have an acoustic vibe even after you connect it to an electric setup which can be unwanted for some cases. This guitar however, works as a perfect option if you want a guitar for stage performances. The guitar works as an amazing acoustic guitar and due to the built in electric setup, it can be directly connected to the mixer and it will give an overall better sound quality. You will also be able to manually control the output from your guitar to an extent with the dials available on the guitar body.

In terms of looks, the guitar is really a treat and has an amazing finish. Users have also reported good feedback with the overall performance. One of the few drawbacks with this guitar however, is that the guitar is somewhat expensive which makes it a bit unsuitable for beginners. But overall the guitar has a pleasing performance and great sound and we highly recommend it if you are looking for decent quality on a budget. 

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Pros

  • Good for stage performances. 
  • Acoustic Electric guitar.
  • Can function without electricity. 
  • Lighter and good sound.
  • Good design.
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Cons

  • Moderately expensive. Not suitable for beginners. 
  • Cannot perform as a proper electric guitar.

Epiphone DR-212 Acoustic 12 String Guitar

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While electric guitars have their own strengths, acoustic guitars have their own charm. This guitar is a completely acoustic guitar and will prove to be a very good companion if you are looking for something to start your music journey with. Beginners are often recommended to use acoustic guitars to start with as they help them polish their kills and understand the nuances of playing a guitar.

This guitar is a very good option for beginners as it is very easy to play and handle. The design is also very amazing with a wood-like effect on the back. The guitar also has some other minute design elements that we leave onto you to explore. The guitar also has a reasonable neck width making it really easy to play those difficult bar chords. You may have to tune the guitar a bit after getting it but after the initial tuning, it should play flawlessly.   

The sound on the guitar is loud and vibrant and definitely a treat for the ears. This makes the guitar a great option for both newcomers and amateurs alike. Be it your first guitar or just an addition to your collection, we believe it will suit both cases equally nicely. 

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Pros

  • Great budget guitar. 
  • Easy to play. 
  • Loud and clear sound. 
  • Great for beginners.
  • Amazing wooden design.
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Cons

  • Not the best sound.
  • Not electric.(if that is what you are looking for)

Gretsch Guitars G5422G-12 12-String Electric Guitar

Gretsch Guitars G5422G-12 Electromatic Hollowbody 12-String Electric Guitar Black

If what you seek is a high performing electric guitar with amazing sound, this is the one you are looking for. The first thing to notice about this guitar is the amazing double cutaway design which gives the guitar an amazing symmetry. Apart from the looks, the guitar also has amazing sound quality. It has a very good pickup and works great with additional accessories. 

However, one one the drawbacks of the guitar is the price point which can be a bit too much for some people. If you are looking for quality however and do not care about the price, then this guitar is undoubtedly a very good option for you.

Due to the price however, we do not recommend this guitar to beginners. The guitar is fit for amateur or professional guitarists who are looking to expand their collection. The guitar has an amazing maple body and a rosewood fretboard and would definitely be a worthy addition to your collection.  

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Pros

  • Great sound. 
  • Perfect for amateurs and professionals. 
  • Maple body, great design.
  • Exceptional in terms of functionality and performance. 
  • Hollow body design.
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Cons

  • Moderately expensive. 
  • Not fit for beginners.  

Danelectro 12SDC 12-String Electric Guitar

Danelectro 12SDC 12-String Electric Guitar Red

If you are a beginner looking for a cheap electric guitar, this is the perfect option for you. The guitar is one of the best in the lower price range and gives you great quality of sound. The guitar also has decent pickups and is very easy to play. However, for the best sound, you may need some additional equipment. 

This guitar is a good option for anyone who does not need a guitar for frequent use instead needs something to play every once in a while. The guitar doesn’t really have the best sound quality but does a decent job for the price point. 

However, one of the upsides of the guitar is that it plays very easily, and thus is a good option for beginners. The guitar is a decent option if you are looking for something sturdy and durable.

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Pros

  • Budget friendly. 
  • Decent sound.
  • Works well with accessories. 
  • Best for beginners.
  • Decent design and build.
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Cons

  • Not the best sound. 
  • Might require some initial adjustments. 

Hagstrom VIDLX12-BLK Viking Deluxe Series Electric Guitar

Hagstrom VIDLX12-BLK Viking Deluxe Series Electric Guitar with Black Gloss Finish With Z-Pick

This guitar is a good option for you if you’re looking for something versatile and with a great design. This guitar is one of the best in the price range and features a set of Hagstrom H-50 humbucking pickups that gives the guitar a wide range of possible effects. 

The guitar has a decent price which makes the guitar a good option for both amateurs and professionals. The only downside with this guitar is that it could be a little complicated to set up and play but other than that, the guitar is a great product overall. 

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Pros

  • Good option for all kinds of guitarists.
  • Good pickups.
  • Versatile performance. 
  • Decent price range.
  •  Great design.
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Cons

  • Somewhat expensive.
  • Mixed user reviews. 

How to choose the best 12 string electric guitar?

Choosing the right 12 spring guitar can be a bit difficult, mostly if you are a beginner. It is true that 12 string guitars are particularly more difficult to handle than regular guitars so special care must be taken while choosing the proper guitar for your purpose. 

If you are confused about the kind of guitar you want to buy, look out for the following points before you make up your  mind. 

Acoustic or Electric?

This question bothers a lot of beginner guitarists. The simple answer is that: you first need to figure out which sounds you like better and then process accordingly. The type of guitar you want will depend on the type of music you wish to lay. For example, if you want to play something like jazz or fingerstyle, acoustic guitars are recommended. For genres like rock or metal, maybe you would like an electric guitar more. There is no hard and fast rule and you can go with either one of them. 

Just make sure you understand the advantages and limitations of your guitar before you buy one. 

Design & Performance. 

It might seem unlikely, but the design of a guitar greatly affects its performance. Guitars with wider fretboards might be harder to play whereas guitars with hollow bodies may have more of an acoustic vibe to them. You will have to spend some time understanding the basics of a guitar and  making a choice accordingly. 

Other features like bridge height, tuning, pickups should also be accounted for before considering a guitar.

Price

Guitars can be expensive. Make sure you get the best deal possible. However, cheapest guitars may not always sound the best. Try to find a decent guitar with your exact requirements that fits your skill set. You can always upgrade later if you want to. For beginners, it is a good idea to invest in economics guitars. If you are unsure which guitar would be the best for you, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from an expert.

12 string guitar vs 6 string guitar

If you are here but you do not exactly understand what a 12 string guitar is, say no more. We got you covered. If you know everything about 12 string guitars however, just proceed to the next section and check out the amazing products we have for you.  

So why would you want to choose a 12 string guitar over a 12 string guitar anyway? Well, more strings mean more range, right? Well, sadly no. 12 string guitars normally give you the same range as 6 string guitars. The trick however, is that 12 string guitars have two strings coupled together. To play a single note, you normally need to play both the strings simultaneously.

The effect this produces gives you a echoing sound resembling a tone suitable for choruses. Note that these different strings most of the time have the same notes but on a different octave. Hence playing both the strings at once gives you  a deeper, broader tone. 

This effect can also be seen in other instruments such as mandolins. But due to the same effect, 12 string guitars also have their certain drawbacks. Due to more number of strings, the fretboard is normally a bit wider than 6 strung guitars, which could be challenging to some people. If you like playing fingerstyle, playing two strings of a 12 string guitar can be challenging.

These drawbacks are not exactly downsides but really just a general overview of the differences between string and 12 string guitars. Some musicians only play 12 string guitars while some musicians play both. 

For beginners however, we recommend that your first guitar be a 6 string guitar which can help you learn the basics faster but hey, there is no hard and fast rule and you can definitely start with a 12 string guitar if you feel like it.

If you have understood the various basic features of a 12 string guitar and are now ready to get yourself one, keep reading because now we are about to look are some of the best options you can choose from right now. 

FAQs

Are 12 string guitars worth it?

12 string guitars have a very specific set of features. They work just normal 6 string guitars but instead of picking one single string, you get to play two strings at a time. This has certain benefits and disadvantages. 
The benefit being that it gives your guitar a open and fulfilling sound as the strings are tuned to play the same notes on different octaves but the downside is that makes the guitar harder to play. However, a lot of people prefer 12 string guitars to 6 string ones and you can definitely invest on one if you think you want to try it out.  

How do I tune a 12-string electric guitar?

Tuning 12 string guitars is not as hard as it seems. Although it is a bit different from regular 6 string guitars. The difference is that instead of 6 single strings, it has 6 pairs.

We have the strings as E A D G B E in normal 6 string guitars. We must first tune the primary strings of the 12 string guitar in the same way, that is the top string in each pair. After that, we tune the E A D and G of the secondary set an octave lower than their corresponding partners whereas, the B and E are tuned exactly the same as their partners.

Are 12 string guitars recommended for beginners?

There is no definite answer to this. Yes it is true that 12 string guitars are comparatively harder to play than 6 string guitars. They have a wider fretboard which may make playing chords a bit harder and the additional strings also make the plucking a bit harder.

But there is no hard and fast rule as to why a beginner cannot start with a 12 string guitar, however, guitars are recommended for better understanding and practicing.

What is the advantage of a 12 string guitar?

We have discussed the advantage of 12 string guitars over 6ring guitars in detail above. In short, 12 string guitars are good at giving off a good chorus sound due to the same note laying on multiple octaves simultaneously.

Final words

In this article we have discussed the different 12 string guitars available on a budget that you can buy. We have listed all sorts of guitars for you to choose from. We have also discussed some tips and tricks to help you choose a good guitar for yourself. We hope you found the article helpful.