Ah, the 12-string acoustic guitar.
There’s nothing like sitting down with a 12-stringed beauty and letting some big, open chords ring out.
A staple for guitarists like Jimmy Page, John Denver, and Lead Belly (SRV and Hendrix were known to strum a 12-er too), these grandiose instruments help to fill out the sound for solo performers and rhythm players alike.
The 12-string acoustic guitar is not as forgiving as it’s 6-string counterpart. Players must fret two strings at once, requiring some practice and perhaps an extra layer of calluses, and the neck is wider than on a standard guitar to compensate for 12 strings. But if you can tame the beast, there’s nothing quite like the rich, jangly tone of a 12-string.
Here we’ve compiled a handful of some of the best 12-string acoustics on the market. Ok there are 11 here, not 10, but who's counting?!
No matter what price point you’re working with, you’re sure to find a winner on this list.
Epiphone’s DR-212 is a true 12-string guitar, designed to deliver a deep, full and beautiful sound.
The DR-212 features a Select Spruce top, a rich and complex tonewood that begins to breathe and improve with age the more it’s played. So play the DR-212 everywhere! Featuring a solid Mahogany body and a Rosewood bridge that’s properly sized and braced for the extra tension of 12 strings tuned to standard tuning.
The classic black vintage style pickguard is easy to spot on stage or across the room and features the iconic "Epiphone" E.
The DR-212’s Mahogany neck is glued-in at the 14th fret and features a 25.5" scale, a SlimTaper™ profile, and a smooth Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays. The iconic Epiphone Sloped Dovewing headstock completes the look along with twelve premium tuners. The DR-212 is available in natural finish.
The guitar is the only classic 12-string dreadnought that comes with a Limited Lifetime Guarantee and Gibson 24/7/365 customer service along with the experience of a century of guitar making.
Find out more about the Epiphone DR-212 here at epiphone.com
Recording King Dirty 30's 12-string
Here’s a cool 12-string that’s an amazing bargain!
Recording King's Dirty 30's 12-string dreadnought combines the classic jangle-y chorus of a 12-string with style right out of a 1930's mail-order catalog, perfect for players who want to add a cool, easy-to-play 12-string to their collection.
The foundation of classic 12-string tone comes from the solid spruce top. A bone nut and saddle help the strings resonate freely and insure tuning stability. The 25.4” scale is comfortable and familiar to most acoustic players. Like all Dirty 30's guitars, the 12-string has an authentic vintage-style matte sunburst finish.
Whether you're a songwriter who wants to add texture to your writing, or a rhythm player looking for something cool that plays like an old friend, get vibrant 12-string tone from the Recording King Dirty 30's 12-string. Recording King's Dirty 30's Series gives players authentic vintage style with the reliability of modern design.
Find out more about the Recording King Dirty 30's 12-string at recordingking.com
Washburn Heritage 10 WD10SCE12
The WD10SCE12 is a dreadnought cutaway 12-string with Fishman electronics that features a solid Sitka Spruce top that sounds better as it ages and one of the most popular, desirable and toneful back and side woods – mahogany.
The smooth playing satin finished mahogany neck sports a rosewood fingerboard and a rosewood capped headstock with 12 Washburn branded diecast tuners.
The Fishman Isys+/301T tuner/preamp helps you tune quickly and provides accurate translation of your acoustic tone for plugged in performance. It features volume, bass and treble controls as well as a phase switch that eliminates phasing issues when combining a mic with your plugged-in signal.
This jangly sounding 12-er is perfect for adding a new texture to your performance or recording or filling out your sound in solo, duo and trio situations.
Find out more about the Washburn WD10SCE12 at washburn.com
Dean Exotica ULTRA Quilt Ash AE 12
Here’s a beautiful 12-string with a gorgeous top.
It’s the Dean Exotica Ultra Quilt Ash and it yields a rich tonal response and a beautiful look thanks to the quilt Ash top and Mahogany body.
A high-quality B-Band A3TY preamp with built-in tuner gives performing guitarists outstanding tone when plugged into a PA or amp.
This guitar is very affordable for a 12-string with a lovely rosette and white mother of pearl Exotica inlays.
Sells for $469
Find out more about the Dean Exotica ULTRA at deanguitars.com
Seagull Excursion Walnut 12 SG
Here’s a great instrument at a very reasonable price.
The Seagull Excursion Walnut 12 SG features a select solid spruce top and walnut back & sides made of a 3-layer lamination of real hardwood.
Other features include a silver leaf maple integrated set-neck with rosewood fingerboard and bridge, double-function truss rod, a burn stamped rosette, semi-gloss Custom Polished finish and Tusq™ nut and fully compensated saddle by Graphtech.
Optional Fishman Isys+ electronics with built-in tuner and TRIC case are also available. Made in Canada.
Starting Price: $530.00 suggested List / $399.00 MAP
Find out more about the Seagull Excursion Walnut 12 SG at seagullguitars.com
The all-mahogany body of the Guild D-125-12 dreadnought boasts unique presence, balance and versatility, with clear, tight basses and warm, airy trebles.
Its slim mahogany neck imparts smooth playability and silky feel; premium appointments include mother-of-pearl rosette and inlays, and rosewood fingerboard, bridge and headcap.
Find out more about the Guild D-125-12 at guildguitars.com
Breedlove Stage 12-String
Designed for performance, the Breedlove Stage 12-string is a stage-ready acoustic-electric with a distinct voice built on the original Breedlove concert body shape with all solid tonewoods.
This versatile 12-string acoustic-electric concert guitar is ready to be plugged in and played live.
The LR Baggs TCV pickup lets you control your sound and translate the nuances of your playing to your audience, and it also features the Breedlove Bridge Truss, which relieves stress on the guitar’s top from the extra tension of 12-strings, and yields extra sustain and balance.
Find out more about the Breedlove Stage 12-string at breedlovemusic.com
Perfectly suited to the wide tonal range of a 12-string, the LL16-12 features solid Engelmann spruce and solid rosewood back and sides for excellent projection and a superbly balanced, powerful sound.
The solid Engelmann spruce tops are treated with A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement), an original wood reforming technology developed by Yamaha that produces a tonal richness that can only be found in vintage models that have been played for many years. A. R. E. treatment provides outstanding tonal balance and eliminates the harsh edge common with younger guitars. .
Redesigned bracing, introducing a lower bracing height and shape, improves the vibration of the top board and tonal transference throughout the guitar, creating a balanced low end and crisp top end characteristics. Several other playability enhancements include a refined, thinner neck profile, lower string action and wider string spacing. A new five-ply neck design adds stability and additional tone enhancement.
In a first for the L Series, these models come with an unobtrusive passive under-saddle Studio Response Technology (S. R. T.) pickup for live applications that does not affect the unplugged sound or detract from the gorgeous finishes of these guitars.
Find out more about the Yamaha LL16-12 at usa.yamaha.com
Fender Villager Pro 12-String Bolt-On
Few things are as distinctively cool as the Fender Villager's "hockey stick" headstock. Now, with the modern Villager Pro 12-String Bolt-On, this guitar becomes something much more than just a quirky nod to the 1960s.
Created at the Fender Acoustic Custom Shop, it offers a combination of features and design elements usually only seen on much more expensive professional-level guitars.
Its distinctively shimmering tone comes from a solid AAA Sitka spruce top with forward-shifted “X” bracing, and its resonant mahogany back and sides. Along with premier onboard electronics and authentic retro design details, it’s a guitar that embodies the best of the past and the future. Includes deluxe hard-shell case, deluxe Fender leather strap and certificate of authenticity.
Find out more about the Fender Villager Pro 12-String Bolt-On at fender.com
Taylor’s latest design refinements add extra overall girth to its maple/spruce 12-string sound, while also highlighting maple’s articulation, enabling all the octave courses to be heard.
A maple-specific back bracing profile adds warmth, and a special seasoning process for the spruce top called torrefaction produces an aged tonal character with greater acoustic resonance and responsiveness.
Protein glues for the bracing and bridge boost the tonal transfer between key wood components, while an ultra-thin gloss finish minimizes dampening.
A hand-rubbed “Brown Sugar” stain on the back and sides gives maple’s striking figure a beautiful violin-hued appearance without adding extra thickness to the finish.
Featured appointments include grained ivoroid Wings fretboard inlays, an inlaid ebony backstrap, ebony binding with ivoroid purfling, an ebony/ivoroid rosette, and a striped ebony pickguard, along with Taylor’s Expression System® 2 acoustic electronics. The guitar features a Venetian cutaway and comes with a deluxe hardshell case.
Find out more about the Taylor 656ce at taylorguitars.com
The classic Martin D12-28 twelve string acoustic sounds enormous with twice as many strings as its D-28 counterpart. We’re talking big!
The robust tone of East Indian rosewood back and sides coupled with a Sitka spruce top is highly projective and extremely well balanced for solo or band use.
The black ebony fingerboard and belly bridge, along with black pickguard, adds an aesthetic balance to the lightly colored spruce top, which is driven hard by 5/16” X bracing and Martin SP Phosphor Bronze Lifespan strings.
The D12-28 features a fast and comfortable low profile neck with satin finish and a nut width of 1 7/8” for easy chording and playability.
A rosewood headplate with gold Martin script logo and chrome tuners adds the final touches to this gorgeous sounding full gloss Martin 12-string.
Find out more about the Martin D12-28 at martinguitar.com