8 Best 12-String Guitars of 2024

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12-string guitars are in a league of their own. Whether electric or acoustic, 12 strings add an extra dimension to your sound with their fuller chords, richer harmonic resonance, and greater frequency.

Being a somewhat niche instrument, though, it might be difficult to know which 12-string guitar is the best one for you. But we’ve got you covered!

Let’s take a look at some of the best 12-string guitars on the market, as well as some insight into what to keep an eye out for when you go guitar shopping.

Our top pick is the Martin D12-28 because it’s a big-voiced Dreadnought with exquisite craftsmanship and excellent note definition.

Quick Summary of the Best 12-String Guitars

  1. Martin HD12-28 (Best Overall)
  2. Takamine P3DC (Best Dreadnought)
  3. Rickenbacker 360/12 (Best Electric 12-String)
  4. Taylor 652ce Builder's Edition (Best For a Big Budget)
  5. Yamaha FG820-12 (Budget Pick)
  6. Gretsch G5422G-12 Electromatic Hollow Body (Most Versatile)
  7. Guild F-1512 Jumbo (Best Under $1000)
  8. D'Angelico Premier Fulton (Best Value)

Best 12-String Guitars

1. Best Overall – Martin HD12-28

Martin HD12-28


  • Body: Solid spruce top with rosewood back and sides
  • Neck: Hardwood
  • Shape: Dreadnought
  • Scale: 24.9"
  • Left-handed Availability: Yes

The Martin HD12-28 Dreadnought is the 12-string version of the legendary D-28 and an excellent addition to any acoustic guitar collection.

The unique and timeless acoustic sound of a solid spruce and rosewood 12-string is undeniable, and it has been the main instrument for many greats in rock and folk history.

The HD12-28 can be used in all styles of music, as it offers the deep bass that has made Martin Dreadnoughts so popular, as well as a high-end presence that rings out even in heavy instrumentation.

Pairs of octave strings and drone notes are positioned for maximum comfort and playability, creating a well-rounded, focused, chiming tone with unparalleled depth and sustain.

It’s a known fact that Martin acoustic guitars spare no expense when it comes to craftsmanship, and the HD12-28 is considered by many guitarists to be the finest-sounding 12-string guitar Martin has ever made.

With a solid Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, traditional zigzag purfling on the back, and select hardwood neck with black ebony 20-fret fingerboard with diamond and square fingerboard inlays, this incredibly beautiful instrument's sound quality will not disappoint.

2. Best Dreadnought – Takamine P3DC

Takamine P3DC


  • Body: Solid cedar top with solid sapele back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Type: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Scale: 25.375"
  • Left-handed Availability: No

Takamine’s Pro Series P3DC cutaway Dreadnought is the top-of-the-line choice for its full-size acoustic sound, style, and performance, with resonant tonewoods, elegant appointments, and state-of-the-art electronics that deliver exquisite and robust acoustic sound experience, onstage and off.

A solid sapele back, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard with wood “dot-in-dot” inlays, gold tuners with amber buttons, and natural satin finish make this great guitar stage-ready right out of the box.

The P3DC’s solid cedar top features X bracing and ivory binding. Its elegant Venetian cutaway offers easy access to the upper registers, and its unique Takamine split-saddle bone bridge provides faultless intonation and excellent acoustic coupling to the top.

Other premium features include a CT4B II preamp system, which beautifully amplifies a natural, clear, and rich acoustic sound. The CT4B also features three-band EQ, a volume control, and a built-in tuner.

3. Best Electric 12-String – Rickenbacker 360/12

Rickenbacker 360/12


  • Body: Maple top with maple back and sides
  • Neck: Maple
  • Type: Semi-acoustic double cutaway electric
  • Scale: 24.75”
  • Left-handed Availability: Yes

This list wouldn’t be complete without an entry from Rickenbacker, and the 360/12 is arguably the best 12-string electric guitar money can buy.

This iconic instrument has set the standard for more than thirty years, and its haunting, melodic chorus has only gotten better over the years. The slimmed and re-contoured neck makes the 360/12 easier to play than ever.

Everything in the 360/12 is made from high-grade maple, except for the fingerboard, which is made from rich, warm-sounding Rosewood. Maple is very stable and dense and produces a dry and bright sound with a very clear, well-defined high end.

One of the upgrades to the 360/12 we love the most is the Rick-O-Sound dual-mono output, which lets you split your signal and send one pickup to one amplifier and the other to another, adding more depth and spread to the sound, effectively creating a "wall of guitar."

Additionally, this guitar features a pair of vintage-inspired Rickenbacker Hi-Gain pickups, which deliver that unparalleled robust sound that has been the signature mark of so many electric guitar tracks throughout the decades.

Its 5-knob layout with a pickup Mix Control pot also gives you a broad range of sounds for optimum sonic experimentation.

4. Best for a Big Budget – Taylor 652CE Builder’s Edition

Taylor 652CE Builder’s Edition


  • Body: Torrefied Sitka spruce top with solid maple back and sides
  • Neck: Maple
  • Type: Grand Concert cutaway
  • Scale: 24.875"
  • Left-handed Availability: No

The Taylor 652ce Builder's Edition is a perfectly balanced instrument that blends the comfort and playability of the best electric guitars and the organic acoustic guitar sound into a visually stunning acoustic-electric instrument.

This is simply one of the best 12-string guitars on the market right now.

The 652ce’s smaller Grand Concert body, 12-fret neck join, tapered waist, and shorter scale length make it easier to play than, say, a Dreadnought shape. This makes it ideal for people who are more used to playing an electric guitar or for guitarists with smaller hands.

Its armrest, rolled edges, beveled cutaway, and Silent Satin finish make it a very comfortable instrument, even for longer sessions.

Its V-Class bracing draws out more volume and sustain while making for a cleaner harmony between notes all the way down the neck, and the reverse-strung setup (with the heavier string on top of each pair) delivers more midrange heft and warmth.

5. Budget Pick – Yamaha FG820-12

Yamaha FG820-12


  • Body: Solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Nato
  • Type: Dreadnought
  • Scale: 25"
  • Left-handed Availability: Yes

As the 12-string version of Yamaha's acclaimed FG820 acoustic guitar, the FG820-12 has more than earned its place on Yamaha’s world best-seller FG Series.

The Yamaha FG820-12 is an incredible guitar that performs way beyond its price tag. This 12-string acoustic guitar has a solid spruce top that not only provides a warm, strong sound but also makes it a really durable instrument. The FG820-12 is just a solid instrument all around!

The FG820-12’s mahogany body makes for a smooth and robust tone that enhances midrange frequencies while maintaining top-end clarity. The sound is gentle and full, ideal for vocal accompaniment.

Something you should keep in mind is that this acoustic guitar doesn’t come with any electrical features, so it might limit the situations where you can use it.

Acoustic guitar players interested in big sound projection and potent acoustic tones will be hard-pressed to find a high-quality instrument at this price that rivals the FG820-12.

6. Most Versatile – Gretsch G5422G-12 Electromatic Hollow Body

Gretsch G5422G-12 Electromatic Hollow Body


  • Body: Laminated maple top with 5-ply maple back and sides
  • Neck: Maple
  • Type: Hollowbody electric
  • Scale: 24.72”
  • Left-handed Availability: No

Crafted with the iconic Gretsch hollow-body sound, style, and playability, this classic ‘60s-inspired, visually-stunning maple body guitar produces that vintage rock ’n’ roll sound that Gretsch is known for in a 12-string format.

The G5422G-12 comes with the classic Gretsch Filter'Tron pickups. These amazing humbuckers capture the incredible output and sustain without any nasty hum and crackle, giving this hollow build a full and articulate voice, a classic chime, and an enhanced presence, clarity, and note definition.

The all-new Classic C-shaped maple neck and double cutaway offer a more comfortable playing feel for improved playability and performance and is topped with a 12”-radius laurel fingerboard.

Other premium features include versatile upgraded controls, including master volume with a treble bleed circuit, master and tone control, individual pickup volume controls, and a three-position tone switch, among others.

7. Best Under $1000 – Guild F-1512 Jumbo

Guild F-1512 Jumbo


  • Body: Solid Sitka spruce top with solid Indian rosewood back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Type: Jumbo
  • Scale: 25.5"
  • Left-handed Availability: No

The F-1512 combines two of Guild’s most iconic specialties: 12-strings and Jumbo guitars. With their large, rounded bodies, jumbo acoustic guitars have been Guild’s forte since 1954. Combining this shape with a 12-string construction results in a full-toned, impressively voiced acoustic instrument.

A genuine rosewood bridge, real bone nut and bridge saddle, and scalloped spruce X-bracing enhance tone and resonance on this solid wood guitar, providing additional resonance and sustain as well as ensuring long-term durability.

The beautiful mother-of-pearl rosette soundhole is the next element that really makes Guild Guitars' expert craftsmanship shine through. The F-1512 will look incredible in any setting, whether onstage or off.

The F-1512'a mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard offers outstanding response and playability, ideal for any kind of guitar-playing technique.

The F-1512’s massive yet balanced sound has no trouble cutting through a mix, either plugged or unplugged and offers beautiful piano-like tones and just the right amount of bass that will allow you to reach new melodies that only a 12-string is capable of achieving.

8. Best Value – D'Angelico Premier Fulton

D'Angelico Premier Fulton


  • Body: Solid Sitka spruce top with laminated mahogany back and sides
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Type: Grand Auditorium
  • Scale: 25.5"
  • Left-handed Availability: No

Offering incredible comfort and a wonderful tone, the D'Angelico Premier Fulton Grand Auditorium is the best 12-string guitar you can get if you’re on a mid-range budget.

With its ergonomic design, solid wood body, and a shockingly comfortable and player-friendly "C"-shape, the Fulton stands apart from the usual cumbersome 12-string.

This slim and smooth neck also features 20 medium-jumbo frets along its torrefied Merbau fingerboard to add to the comfort and ease of forming chords and laying down lead lines. This is made all the better by the deep cutaway that allows easy access to the higher notes.

Designed to translate and amplify each guitar’s natural acoustic tone well, the D’Angelico Preamp and Tuner feature onboard EQ, volume, and an LED tuner. The Fulton also offers crystal-clear, vivid tones across the entire tonal spectrum, from its warm low end to its feathery high end.

Best 12-String Guitars Buyer's Guide

If you’re used to playing a 6-string guitar, switching to a 12-string can seem a little daunting. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when buying a 12-string guitar.


A 12-string guitar is more difficult to play than a 6-string. Since you are always pressing two strings at once, you have to apply a little more pressure to the frets to play the strings. Not only that, but a 12-string with a high action is going to make it even more difficult to play further up the fingerboard.

Check to see how easy it is to press down the strings on the twelfth fret. If it’s too difficult, you’re better off looking for a different guitar.

To accommodate the 12 strings, these guitars’ headstocks are a bit longer, the necks a bit wider, and the fretboards a bit flatter. Get a feel for these elements when picking out your guitar, and look for the most comfortable neck that suits your hand.


The tone and resonance of your instrument come mainly from the type of wood used in the body, especially so for acoustic guitars. Each type of wood has its own unique sound, so you should try a few of them out and let your ears decide which sound you like best.

The top wood is an extremely important choice for acoustic guitars. The most common materials are spruce and cedar, which deliver a good response and a full-bodied sound. The back and sides are usually made with mahogany, rosewood, and maple.

Another factor to consider is the body shape. While choosing a guitar that produces the sound you want is crucial, it is equally important that you’re comfortable while playing.

One of the most common body shapes is the Dreadnought guitar body, which has a wider waist than a classical guitar, offering a bigger acoustic chamber that delivers significant volume and an even tone.

Other popular guitar body shapes include, from smallest to largest, Concert, Grand Concert, Auditorium, Grand Auditorium, and Jumbo.

Keep an eye out for guitars with a cutaway since this feature makes it easier for your hand to reach the top without affecting your tone.


This is applicable only to electric and acoustic-electric guitars.

If you want a guitar for live performances, then some kind of internal amplification system is essential. Many 12-string guitars include pickups built into the bridge, connected to a preamp mounted in the guitar body.

Preamps usually have volume, treble, and bass controls. Some also come with a midrange gain control and frequency range switch.


Tuning a 12-string guitar takes a bit of a learning curve because you have to deal with twice as many strings and how the pitch of each string relates to each other

The most common way to tune the strings is an octave difference between the lowest four strings (E3, E2, A3, A2, D4, D3, G4, G3) with the highest strings (B3, B3, E4, E4) tuned in unison.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are 12-string guitars more difficult to play than 6-string guitars?

As mentioned above, if you’re only used to playing 6-string guitars, then making the change to twelve strings can be challenging. This is mostly due to them having twice the strings.

A 12-string guitar will have 6 guitar string lines, with each one containing 2 strings tightly packed together. Think of it like a 6-string guitar, but each string has its own second string, so when you fret a note, you’re holding down 2 strings instead of 1.

This means you need more finger strength to get the fullness of each guitar string.

Same as with fretting, fingerpicking can be slightly harder compared to a 6-string because you are picking 2 strings instead of 1 at a time.

Another thing you'll need to pay special attention to is when fretting notes, mainly because your fingers are more likely to accidentally mute the other strings.

Having said this, learning to play a 12-string is by no means impossible. With a healthy dose of determination and practice, you’ll be mastering this beautiful instrument in no time!

What is the best 12-string guitar for beginners?

For a complete beginner in the world of 12-string guitars, we recommend one with a shorter scale length, around 24 inches. This causes less string tension, therefore making the strings easier to press down.

A guitar with a smaller body is also a great place to start before building your way up to the massive Dreadnoughts and Jumbos.

Why should I get a 12-string guitar?

No instrument gives you the flavor, fullness, and harmonic richness of a 12-string guitar's tone alone, and no pedals or overdubs can replicate its choral sound.

If you’re a solo player, a 12-string will give your sound a shimmering and resonant quality that will boost your music to new, stunning heights.

Their beautiful resonant tone can emulate two guitars playing at once or replace a weak guitar tone.

12-string guitars are also easily adapted to many music genres, so you’ll never find yourself confined to a handful of playing styles.

Why shouldn’t I get a 12-string guitar?

One of the most common reasons people avoid 12 strings is the added level of difficulty when playing. If you tend to become frustrated when presented with a challenge, then you probably won’t enjoy the process of mastering a 12-string.

Another consideration is that soloing with a 12-string guitar is significantly more challenging than with a 6-string. Again, it’s definitely not impossible, but those 6 extra strings can really get in the way of wilder, more free-flowing solos.

If you find that you don’t really need the wider frequency spectrum that a 12-string offers, then there’s little reason for you to invest in one.


12-string guitars are fantastic instruments to add an extra dimension to your playing. If you want to play some of your favorite classic songs (Hotel California, anyone?), then owning a 12-string is a must.

Beyond replicating much-beloved classics, though, the sheer amount of sonic possibilities is sure to make the 12-string an instant favorite in your arsenal.

Get out there and try one—or ten! With all you’ve learned in this article, you now know the best 12-string guitars on the market and will have no trouble finding the perfect guitar for you!

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