We look at 13 of the best 12 string guitars, from cheap to professional level options
We take a look at 13 of the best 12 string guitars money can buy. From the best cheap 12 string guitars to professional level options that the discerning 12 string guitar fans would be proud to add to their collection.
Should I buy a 12 string guitar?
When you're shopping for a new guitar, especially one with 6 more strings than you're probably used to, you'll want the best options available to you. This is likely not your first guitar, but something you want to add to your collection, use in the studio or record at home with to get a massive, chorus filled sound.
A 12 string acoustic guitar or a 12 string electric guitar opens up a world of sound that 6 strings simply cannot reach. They're incredible guitars all-round. If you want a fuller, richer sound to add to your acoustic recordings or live performances, then a 12 string acoustic guitar is an essential addition to your collection.
So what are some of the best 12 string guitars I hear you ask? In this blog, we'll look at predominantly the best 12 string acoustic guitars, with one essential and very famous guitar widely known as the best 12 string electric guitar of all time.
Best 12 String Guitars
In summary, we feel these are some of the best 12 string guitars available:
- Ibanez PF1512ECE PF Electro Acoustic 12 String
- Alvarez AD60-12 Dreadnought 12-String
- Yamaha FG820-12 Acoustic 12 String
- Ibanez Artcore Semi-Hollow AS73 12-String Guitar Mint Blue
- Alvarez AJ80CE-12 Jumbo Electro Acoustic 12 String
- Alvarez AD6012CESHB 12-String Electro-Acoustic Guitar
- Faith FKSE12 Naked Saturn 12-String Electro-Acoustic Guitar
- Martin D12X1AE 12-String Electro Acoustic Guitar
- Taylor 150e 12-String Electro-Acoustic
- Faith FS12HG Saturn 12-String Acoustic Guitar
- Taylor 254ce-FO DLX LTD Electro-Acoustic Guitar
- Taylor Builders Edition 652ce WHB 12-String Electro Acoustic
- Rickenbacker 330 12-String Semi Acoustic Guitar
1. Ibanez PF1512ECE PF Electro Acoustic 12 String
The Ibanez PF1512ECE PF Electro Acoustic 12 String proves that you don't have to spend a fortune to get hold of a great quality 12 string acoustic guitar. This is the best cheap 12 string acoustic guitar on our list that doesn't suck. At just over £200, it won't break the bank, but the tone will surely break some hearts.
The combination of Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany back & sides provides a well rounded, articulate tone with a rich warmth. This sounds incredible when played acoustically, but the Ibanez under-saddle pickup and AEQ-2T preamp handles the electric side of things, offering up a tone that accurately represents the tonal qualities of your tonewoods when played through an amplifier.
The Ibanez Advantage bridge pins for easy string installation take all the fuss out of changing strings.
A great beginner 12 string acoustic guitar, or one to add to the collection.
2. Alvarez AD60-12 Dreadnought 12-String
The team at Alvarez have absolutely nailed it when it comes to producing world-class guitars at affordable prices and the Alvarez AD60-12 Dreadnought 12-String Natural Gloss is a great example.
At just £249 you get a hand-built 12 string acoustic guitar with a Solid A+ Sitka Spruce top, and Mahogany Back and Sides. This combination of superb quality Sitka spruce and Mahogany ensures your sound is well rounded and articulate. The FTS2 bracing system provides a far more pronounced sound than guitarists might be used to - your single line runs and fingerpicking solos will stand out.
The best 12 string guitars project bright and loud but have added warmth for and this guitar is no exception. You have a full-bodied, shimmery sound with a warmth that your chorus lines will love.
3. Yamaha FG820-12 Acoustic 12 String
Again, you want a 12 string guitar that really projects what you're playing whilst remaining articulate. Fortunately, the team at Yamaha know how to create exquisite guitars and have created the beautiful Yamaha FG820-12 Acoustic 12 String.
We think this is one of the best 12 string guitars as it features some seriously cool appointments to bring out the best in your sound.
You have new scalloped bracing which provides more volume and articulation as well as a bigger low-end projection. The use of the Solid Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides and Nato neck all contribute to a beautifully well-rounded sound.
Another great feature is the 0.25mm finish which ensures each note resonates longer.
This 12 string acoustic guitar provides maximum sustain and projection - you'll really notice the difference.
4. Alvarez AJ80CE-12 Jumbo Electro Acoustic 12 String
If you love the style and power of a jumbo acoustic, the Alvarez AJ80CE-12 Jumbo Electro Acoustic 12 String is a fantastic option.
This absolute powerhouse of tone is fitted with an LR Baggs StagePro EQ and Element Pickup which works beautifully with the jumbo shape and premium tonewoods.
The Solid A+ Sitka Spruce top wood in combination with the Maple back and sides offers a brighter, sweeter sound than our previous guitars in this list. This means your chords and guitar lines will boast a bright, clear tone that is only accentuated by the 12 strings at your disposal. This makes it a perfect guitar for singer-songwriters and fingerpickers.
The inclusion of an FST2 Forward Shifted X-Bracing system also helps project your sound further - you'll cut right through the mix.
It's also one of the best 12 string guitars under £500, clocking in at a budget-friendly £399.
5. Ibanez Artcore Semi-Hollow AS73 12-String Guitar Mint Blue
Next up we have the first electric 12 string guitar in our list. The Ibanez Artcore Semi-Hollow AS73 12-String Guitar pictured here in Mint Blue is easily one of the best electric 12 string guitars thanks to the budget-friendly price tag and amazing playability.
You have a set of Classic Elite Pickups to really bring out the best in your playing. Choose from lush, crystal clear clean tones on the neck pickup or throw some distortion at your guitar and engage the bridge pickup for a fat, full-bodied sound. Or try engaging both at the same time via the 3-way selector switch.
The Linden tonewood provides a warmer character than say the likes of Sitka spruce, whilst the centre block ensures you have plenty of sustain without too much nasty feedback creeping in when you're playing through an amp.
A Nyatoah neck with 12” radius bound Laurel fretboard is comfortable to play.
6. Alvarez AD6012CESHB 12-String Electro-Acoustic Guitar
The Alvarez AD6012CESHB 12-String Electro-Acoustic Guitar is an incredible performers guitar and easily one of the best 12 string guitars for those who are serious about their live sound.
The striking Shadowburst finish is a sight to behold and looks even better in person. However, it's what's under the hood that sets this guitar apart.
The combination of LR Baggs Stage Pro preamp, LR Baggs Element pickup and forward shifted bracing system ensures your guitar sings out loud and clear. The pickup and preamp system maintain all the lush qualities of the Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany back and sides, whilst the FST2 bracing system provides a projected clear tone when played acoustically or through an amplifier.
7. Faith FKSE12 Naked Saturn 12-String Electro-Acoustic Guitar
The Faith FKSE12 Naked Saturn 12-String Electro-Acoustic Guitar is a songwriter's guitar, ready for the stage when you are.
We think it's one of the best 12 string guitars today as the incredible craftsmanship of this guitar encourages a positive playing experience and will surely help you create your best work.
This square-shouldered dreadnought takes on a more classic appeal with a Solid Engelmann Spruce top and Solid Indonesian mahogany back and sides, providing a vintage, nuanced tone that blues and country players will appreciate.
The use of Quarter-Sawn Spruce Patrick James Eggle X-Bracing ensures your guitar sings out loud and proud. The Fishman Presys1 preamp and Sonicore undersaddle pickup maintains the warmth of your guitar when played through an amplifier.
A built-in tuner, low battery indicator, phase switch and contour switch along with a convenient volume knob are all extremely useful features for those who perform live.
8. Martin D12X1AE 12-String Electro Acoustic Guitar
Well, a best 12 string guitars list is only complete when you include a Martin guitar!
The Martin D12X1AE 12-String Electro Acoustic Guitar offers players of all levels the chance to enjoy Martin's trademark attention to detail and expert craftsmanship. It's by no means cheap, but at just over £700, it's not entirely out of reach.
We think it's one of the best 12 string guitars as it features a Solid Sitka spruce top with Mahogany-grained high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides. The use of HPL shows Martin's commitment to sustainability - which we love!
The low-profile neck Martin uses for the D12 and Standard Series is really comfortable to play, which is very important when you're playing a 12 string guitar. It can be quite tiring playing 12 strings!
The use of Fishman Sonitone elctronics ensure all the subtle nuances of your playing are accurately represented when you're playing through an amplifier.
An affordable Martin guitar that plays and sounds just like one of their higher tier guitars. Whether it's a main guitar or something to accompany your recordings, you'll find this 12 string acoustic a joy to play.
9. Taylor 150e 12-String Electro-Acoustic
There's something strange about playing a Taylor guitar - they sound like no other guitar out there and have a projection that you just can't beat. For this reason, we'd gladly add the Taylor 150e 12-String Electro-Acoustic to our list of best 12 string guitars.
The Taylor 150e 12-String Electro-Acoustic delivers a beautiful, full-bodied tone and low-end response thanks to the use of Sitka Spruce and Walnut tonewoods.
The soundboard (top) of the guitar provides all the snap and articulation you need thanks to the Sitka Spruce construction, whilst the layered Walnut brings out the low-end presence.
The behind the saddle Expression System 2 ensures every aspect of your playing is captured correctly and the tonal properties of the wood are represented when you're playing through an amplifier.
Check out our video demo below:
10. Faith FS12HG Saturn 12-String Acoustic Guitar
The Faith FS12HG Saturn 12-String Acoustic Guitar is a solid, no-nonsense guitar that makes our best 12 string guitars list with ease.
The high gloss finish on this series really accentuates the natural look of the Spruce top. The high gloss/Spruce combo adds the snap and articulation that lets your single notes stand out in the mix.
However, the Rosewood back and sides offer a richness, warmth and low-end boom really add character to your chords and big strumming patterns.
Check out our video demo below:
11. Taylor 254ce-FO DLX LTD Electro-Acoustic Guitar
Next up we have the limited edition Taylor 254ce-FO DLX LTD Electro-Acoustic Guitar.
This is one of the best 12 string acoustic guitars as it is designed for travelling musicians and those who like the feel of a smaller sized acoustic. The Grand Auditorium size is bigger than a Grand Concert but smaller than a dreadnought, making it easy to carry around with its included Deluxe Taylor Hardshell case.
This shape is unusual for 12 string guitars, but really adds to the performance aspect - it's easier to play!
A Sitka spruce top and figured Ovangkol back and sides not only give the guitar a rich, well-rounded sound but a striking look - no two guitars look the same.
The Expression System 2 electronics ensure all the character of your guitar is intact when you're playing through an amplifier.
12. Taylor Builders Edition 652ce WHB 12-String Electro Acoustic
The Taylor Builders Edition 652ce WHB 12-String Electro Acoustic is the pinnacle of Taylor luthiery. This is one of the best 12 string acoustic guitars you could hope to play, hand-built by the team at Taylor guitars and designed to encourage the most enjoyable playing experience possible.
Yes, it's quite expensive, but it's a guitar that will only sound better with each passing year.
The interesting features of this 12 string acoustic guitar like the Torrefied Sitka Spruce top with a Maple back and sides, and a Wild Honeyburst finish will catch the eye. But this combination of tonewoods used cleverly in conjunction with the V-Class bracing system provides unmatched sustain, volume and intonation.
A smaller Grand-Concert body shape is great for finger pickers whilst reversed string pairings ass more warmth and body to the guitar's voice - something that really stands out.
13. Rickenbacker 330 12-String Semi Acoustic Guitar
This is one of the best 12 string electric guitars you could hope to play. Hands down. The Rickenbacker 330 12-String Semi Acoustic Guitar is absolutely essential if you want that chimey Byrds style psychedelic sound. We think everyone should play one of these at least one time in their life - there's nothing quite like it.
The Rickenbacker 330 12-String Semi-Acoustic Guitar features a set of high output single-coil pickups that can be used in conjunction or separately.
In addition to the classic Volume and Tone knobs, you have a Blend control which acts as a tone blender between the two pickups and act as a volume equaliser for the bass pickup. This brings the bass pickup up to the volume of the treble, so there's no volume loss when you engage the bass pickup.
The Walnut body provides a rich and vibrant tone whilst the Maple fingerboard is comfortable to play. This is one of the best 12 string guitars of all time.