Best 12-String Acoustic Guitars | The Results are Epic.

12-string guitars are not as mass-produced as regular guitars, but there are plenty of good options . Featured here are our best 12 string acoustic guitar selection, with great sounding chorusing and jangle.

Best Overall
Martin HD12 28 12 String

Martin HD12-28

Martin's premium construction, distinctive sound, and sustain in a 12-string acoustic.

Best Modern 12-String
Taylor 352ce 12 String

Taylor 352CE

Comfortable and easy to play , with built-in electronics and Taylor's penchant for tone.

Best Jumbo Body
Yamaha LL16 12 string

Yamaha LL16-12

Yamaha's excellent Acoustic Resonance Enhancement build in a 12 string guitar.

Best Value
Epiphone Hummingbird 12 string

Hummingbird 12

A 12-string from Epiphone, inspired by Gibson's Hummingbird, but more affordable.

Best Budget Jumbo
Guild F 2512e 12 string

Guild F-2512E

This 12-string guitar has a nice blend of vintage allure, modern features, and quality construction.

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The chorusing, pure folk jangle effect produced by 12-string acoustic guitars is more balanced than that of electrics, resulting in smooth and rich rhythms and melodies.

Below, you’ll find our top picks for 12-string acoustic guitars. We’ve included premium 12-string acoustic guitars that feature top-notch materials, exquisite craftsmanship, and exceptional sound quality. They are ideal for professionals and discerning players.

We have also included budget friendly options. These guitars offers good quality and playability at a more accessible price, ideal for beginners or budget-conscious guitarists.

Sweetwater

Best 12 String Acoustic Guitar - Premium Models

Martin HD12-28

Best 12-String Acoustic Guitar (Overall)

Martin HD12 28 12 String

Martin HD12-28 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Martin HD12-28 is a 12-string Acoustic Guitar renowned for its distinctive sound and sustain. Its premium construction makes it an excellent choice for expanding your sonic palette.

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CF Martin & Co.’s exceptional craftsmanship is in full display with the The Martin HD12-28 12-string Acoustic Guitar.

This guitar has a beautiful spruce top with an aging toner color and a striking herringbone inlay.

The back and sides are crafted from East Indian rosewood. This type of wood is well-known for its articulate sound and sustain. 

Its combination of octave strings and drone notes produces a full-bodied tone with lots of sustain. So, whether you’re recording in the studio or performing live, this guitar will add gorgeous depth and richness to your song.

The neck is attached with a dovetail joint for stability. It also features a wide, high-performance taper curve for comfortable playing.

The HD12-28 is available in both right- and left-handed configurations, which is good news for left-handed guitarists. This versatility makes this instrument more accessible to a broader spectrum of musicians.

This acoustic guitar does not have onboard electronics. So, if you want to amplify it, you’ll need a pickup or a mic.

The HD12-28 comes with a molded hardshell case for protection, which is nice if you perform on the road.

Overall, the Martin HD12-28 is a dependable guitar with a rich, balanced tone worth considering. It’s an excellent pick if you want a guitar with great build quality similar to those that inspired iconic players.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Dreadnought
Top: Sitka Spruce
Back and Sides: East Indian Rosewood
Finish: Gloss
Bridge: Ebony
Neck: Ebony
Neck Profile: Performing Artist
Fingerboard: Ebony
Fingerboard Radius: 16″
Frets: 20
Scale Length: 24.9″
Nut Width: 1.812”

Taylor 352CE

Best 12-String Acoustic Guitar – Modern Desgin

Taylor 352ce 12 String

Taylor 352CE 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Taylor 352CE 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar is designed for comfort and palability. Its quality construction makes it an excellent choice if you’re looking for clarity, versatility, and precision in your playing. It is a perfect guitar for studio-quality recordings or live performances.

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The Taylor 352CE 12-String Acoustic-Electric Guitar is designed to provide you with a comfortable playing experience. This guitar has a wide dynamic range and a strong midrange presence, thanks to its robust sapele body and a solid Sitka spruce top.

With a V-Class bracing system, Taylor 352CE’s loudness and sustain are improved. This also resulted in a consistent intonation throughout the neck.

Its smaller Grand Concert body and satin-finished neck make playing more comfortable even while sitting down. Paired with a short scale length and a Venetian cutaway, this guitar is ideal for fast fingerstyle playing.

The 352CE is equipped with Taylor’s Expression System® 2 electronics, making it suitable for studio recording and live performance. Its built-in pickup mechanism captures the guitar’s acoustic tone and converts it to amplified sound without coloring.

Despite its modern electronics, this guitar retains a clean look emphasizing craftsmanship and performance. 

Furthermore, it includes a luxury hardshell bag to protect your instrument during transport or storage. This is always a plus if you’re a touring musician or studio artist.

The Taylor 352CE is a well-built instrument that combines great craftsmanship and modern design. From quality tonewoods to a revolutionary bracing system and dependable electronics, it is a great guitar if you are looking for high-quality sound and playability.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Grand Concert
Top: Sitka Spruce
Finish: Gloss Top / Satin Back & Sides
Back and Sides: Sapele
Bridge: Ebony
Neck: Mahogany
Neck Profile: Slim
Fingerboard: Ebony
Fingerboard Radius: 15″
Frets: 18
Scale Length: 24-7/8″
Nut Width: 1 7/8″

Yamaha LL16-12

Best 12-String Acoustic Guitar (Jumbo Body)

Yamaha LL16 12 string

Yamaha LL16-12 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Yamaha LL16-12 12-String Acoustic Guitar is a good showcase of Yamaha’s A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement), which uses temperature, humidity, and pressure to manipulate wood to sound and feel like old wood with good acoustic properties. It is a 12-string guitar that feels and sounds more premium than it’s actual price.

 
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The Yamaha LL16-12 12-string guitar is built with solid Englemann spruce for its top and solid rosewood for its back and sides. This design produces a strong, well-balanced acoustic sound. It has an excellent projection ideal for a 12-string’s distinct tonal spectrum.

Its unique jumbo body form provides a robust volume and wide dynamic range, making it a popular choice for a guitar with a transparent and resonant tone.

Yamaha’s A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) technology further improves the construction of the LL16-12. This technology enhances the wood’s qualities to attain an acoustically ideal condition comparable to vintage instruments.

The L series’ distinctive bright tone with low-end responsiveness is maintained in the LL16-12 by a non-scalloped bracing pattern.

Yamaha LL16-12 has a classic neck profile and a 5-ply laminated mahogany neck and ebony fretboard. This offers stability, strength, and smooth performance throughout the neck, a quality that meets most modern playing requirements.

You could also plug this guitar in for a louder sound. It has a passive system and Yamaha’s SRT Zero Impact Pickup. This pickup authentically reproduces the powerful sound of the L Series while reducing its impact on the instrument’s tone and appearance.

All in all, the LL16-12 is a dependable instrument. It provides comfort, stage-ready performance, and a timeless look inspired by Yamaha’s decades of guitar-making.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Jumbo
Top: Solid Engelmann Spruce A.R.E. treated
Finish: Urethane Gloss
Back and Sides: Solid Rosewood
Bridge: Ebony
Neck: 5-Ply Rosewood Mahogany
Fingerboard: Ebony
Neck Profile: Traditional
Fingerboard Radius: 15.74″
Frets: 20
Scale Length: 25″
Nut Width: 1.81″

Best 12 String Acoustic Guitars - Affordable

Epiphone Hummingbird 12 String

Best Value 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Epiphone Hummingbird 12 string

Epiphone Hummingbird 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Epiphone Hummingbird 12-string acoustic-electric guitar sports a vintage design inspired by Gibson’s Hummingbird. Only this one has 12-strings and is much more affordable. It even comes with built-in electronics for stage use.

 

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This guitar is inspired by the classic Gibson Hummingbird. Its solid spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides contribute to its clear, bright tone and balanced sonic spectrum.

It retains the distinctive Hummingbird pickguard that lends a charming vintage touch to its design. It’s meticulously crafted, with a dovetail neck joint, bone nut and saddle, and quarter-sawn spruce bracing for resonance and stability. It also includes a Fishman Presys VT pickup system for conveniently amplifying your gigs or recordings.

Despite its bulky square shoulder-dreadnought body, this guitar has a comfortable, rounded “C” neck. This neck contour, in conjunction with a laurel fingerboard, allows for nice playability.

To add to its timeless aesthetic, it has a worn vintage gloss finish. At the same time, its mother-of-pearl split parallelogram inlays offer a touch of sophistication. It’s got a Grover Mini Rotomatic tuning machine and ivory bridge pins that you can rely on for consistent tuning stability.

However, this guitar does not come with a hardshell or an EpiLite case. It’s also worth noting that its pickup requires a 9-volt battery.

If you’re a fan of the Gibson Hummingbird, check out this 12-string acoustic-electric guitar.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable, reliable acoustic-electric guitar with a vintage vibe, the Epiphone Hummingbird is for you. 

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Square Shoulder Dreadnought
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce 6-ply
Finish: Aged Gloss
Back and Sides: Solid Mahogany (4-ply back)
Neck: Laurel
Bridge: Laurel
Fingerboard: Laurel
Neck Profile: Rounded “C”
Fingerboard Radius: 12″
Frets: 20
Scale Length: 24.724″
Nut Width: 1.875″

Guild F-2512E

Best Jumbo 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Guild F 2512e 12 string

Guild F-2512E 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The F-2512E 12-String Acoustic Guitar showcases Guild’s workmanship in delivering a quality acoustic guitar. It is a nice blend of vintage allure, modern features, and quality construction. It comes with built-in electronics that allow for good amplified tone control.

 

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Guild has been known for producing high-quality instruments since 1953, and the F-2512E stands up to its reputation. Its traditional jumbo body form produces a rich, deep tone typical of 12-string guitars. The solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides create a well-balanced tone with good projection and resonance.

One of the F-2512E’s standout features is its AP-1 pickup system. It allows you to plug in for amplified performances. 

Its integrated volume and tone settings let you fine-tune your sound. You can set the tone to fit any venue or musical style.

Aside from its sound and electronics, the Guild F-2512E boasts beautiful aesthetics and craftsmanship. It has a vintage-inspired design with characteristics like a tortoiseshell. It has a pickguard, a mother-of-pearl rosette, and a natural gloss finish emphasizing the wood grain.

The F-2512E’s slender mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard offer smooth playability, making exploring all 12 strings easier.

The Guild F-2512E is a good choice for a 12-string guitar that combines vintage charm, modern sound/tone shaping features, and quality construction.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: F Jumbo
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Finish: Satin Polyurethane
Back and Sides: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany
Bridge: Pau Ferro
Fingerboard: Pau Ferro
Neck Profile: C Shape
Fingerboard Radius: 14″
Frets: 20
Scale Length: 25.5″
Nut Width: 1 7/8″

Fender Villager V3 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Unique Fender Headstock Design

Fender Village V3

Fender Villager V3 12-String Acoustic Guitar

Guitarsite Expert Opinion

The Fender Villager V3 12-String Acoustic Guitar epitomizes the spirit of adventure. Its balanced tone, easy playability, and vintage-inspired design reflect it. This makes it an excellent partner if you want an expressive guitar with a unique look.

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The Fender Villager V3, inspired by Fender’s renowned electric guitar designs, adds to the list of guitars inspired by previous models. This 12-string guitar epitomizes the West Coast spirit of exploration and inventiveness.

The Fender Villager has an X-braced solid spruce top, sapele back, and sides. Its body profile has a non-cutaway Newporter auditorium that provides a balanced tone.

Then, its thin “C”-shaped nato neck with graphite reinforcing rods provides comfort and stability. Vintage-style tuning machinery and the GraphTech NuBone nut and saddle contribute to consistent performance.

The solid wood top of this guitar delivers ideal resonance and dynamic range. While the Fishman Flex preamp system offers a natural, boosted tone with simple settings.

This guitar has an unusual “hockey stick” headstock. This design honors Fender’s acoustic history while adding a distinguishing touch to its appearance. 

A nice addition is that it comes with a deluxe gig bag. This provides easy storage, protection, and transportation, ideal for on-the-go musicians.

So, if you want a dependable and eye-catching 12-string instrument, the Villager V3 is worth looking into.

Pros:

Cons:

Specifications:
Body Shape: Newporter
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Finish: Gloss Poly (Body) and Satin Urethane (Neck)
Back and Sides: Sapele
Neck: Nato
Bridge: Slim “C”
Fingerboard: Walnut
Neck Profile: Slim C
Fingerboard Radius: 12″
Frets: 20
Scale Length: 24.72″
Nut Width: 1.77″

Things to Consider in Choosing the Best 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Sound Quality

Consider the tone woods utilized in construction. Each wood type influences the guitar’s tonal characteristics, so consider your desired sound attributes. For example, mahogany has a warmer, mid-focused tone; rosewood will sound brighter with a deep bass response, while maple neck will give that sweet sound to your guitar.

In addition to affecting sound quality, your playing technique is what will give you your own unique sound.  When you’re still developing your 12-string tone and style, I recommend studying 12-string guitarists like Tom Petty, Leo Kottke, Roger Mcguinn, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and more.

Playability

It’s common knowledge in today’s guitar world that 12 string guitars require more effort to play. Each fretting finger is pressing on 2 strings, and the same can be said with your picking hand. This makes string bends virtually impossible, unless you have the technique and finger muscle like SRV. Barre chords can also be difficult, but with practice, it won’t be much of an issue.

The neck contour and fingerboard radius should provide a comfortable playing experience. A slimmer neck profile and flatter fingerboard radius make it easier to navigate the fretboard, particularly on a 12-string guitar. It also needs to have a decent amount of string spacing since more strings will occupy the fretboard. Playability is also an important factor when looking into the best 12-string electric guitars

Build Quality

Look for guitars with a robust build and excellent craftsmanship. Features such as dovetail neck joints, bracing, as well as reinforced truss rod and necks,  improve a guitar’s stability, sustain, and overall longevity. 

Stability is very important given the extra tension that 12 strings apply on an acoustic guitar.  A solid build also helps your guitar sound good.

Electronics

If you intend to perform live or record, consider 12-string guitars with built-in pickup systems. Look for pickup systems that faithfully reproduce a guitar’s natural acoustic sound. It should also have easy-to-use controls.

Budget

12 string acoustic guitars are usually more expensive than electric guitars. This is because of the wood and work that go into making one. 

So, when choosing a 12-string acoustic guitar, determine your budget and evaluate guitars in that price range. 

While luxury guitars may have better sound and functionality, you can get by with budget alternatives, which you can acquire at a more reasonable price. With budget 12-string guitars,  you get more in return, price wise. But don’t expect them to be as great sounding and feeling as their more expensive siblings.

Aesthetics

Finally, you want an instrument that looks good. Assess the guitar’s visual appeal, which includes the finish, inlays, and hardware. Choose a guitar that sounds excellent, looks good, and allows you to express yourself fully.

Conclusion:

The best 12-string acoustic guitar is great for creating soundscapes reminiscent of the old days. While modern technology attempts to recreate the sound of a 12-string guitar with effects, nothing beats the authentic ones. Modern pickups can be integrated into this traditional instrument and alter its tone. But the core chorus-like sound of a 12-string acoustic guitar will still be its most defining feature.

Alexander Briones

Lead Author

Jerome Arcon

Contributor: Research and Supplemental Writing

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