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Unleash Your Sound: A Guide to the Best 12-String Guitars

Introduction to 12-String Guitars

12-string guitars are an indispensable tool for any serious guitarist. They possess a unique sound that can fill any room with a captivating and resonant tone that sets them apart from the more commonly used 6-string guitars.

Their intriguing design makes them essential for any musician seeking to add texture and depth to their playing, making them a great addition to any live performance or recording setup. In this article, we will explore the importance of 12-string guitars and discuss a few of the top-reviewed models currently available.

Importance of 12-String Guitars

12-string guitars are an essential tool for musicians looking to add more depth and texture to their sound. By using doubled-up strings, 12-string guitars produce a richer, fuller, and more resonant sound compared to the more common 6-string guitars.

They are irreplaceable when it comes to certain styles of music, such as folk and blues, where they are used to create a melancholic and somber tone. The use of 12-string guitars has been pervasive throughout music history, beginning in the 1940s with artists such as Leadbelly and Pete Seeger.

Since then, the instrument has been featured in countless songs, including classics such as “Hotel California” by the Eagles and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. 12-string guitars are especially stylish in live performances and recording, as they offer a unique sound that can cut through any mix.

Because of the added depth and resonance that they provide, 12-string guitars have been featured prominently in genres such as country, folk, and rock music.

Overview of Reviewed Guitars

In this article, we’ll be looking at two of the most popular 12-string guitars on the market today, the

Fender CD-60SCE-12 and the

Yamaha FG820-12. These models have garnered strong reviews from musicians of all levels and experience, and each has its own unique features.

Fender CD-60SCE-12


Fender CD-60SCE-12 is a great choice for anyone looking for that classic, resonant 12-string guitar sound. The guitar features a spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge.

Its cutaway design provides easy access to higher frets, allowing for full and smooth playability. Plus, the built-in Fishman preamp and tuner give an extra edge to its sound quality, making it perfect for live performances.



Fender CD-60SCE-12’s standout feature is its Fishman CD Preamp system, which allows you to control your volume, tone, and more directly from the guitar. The guitar also features a rolled fingerboard edge, which adds to its playing comfort, making it easy to bend and hold strings.

It also includes a built-in tuner, which is a convenient addition for on-the-go playing.

Sound Quality


Fender CD-60SCE-12 produces a rich and deep sound, accurately capturing the fullness of a 12-string guitar. The Fishman CD Preamp system provides an additional edge to the sound quality, allowing for increased control and tonal clarity.

The guitar is also highly versatile, making it suitable for a variety of genres.

Yamaha FG820-12


Yamaha FG820-12 is another top-performing 12-string guitar. It features a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a nato neck and rosewood fingerboard.

Yamaha has incorporated a new scalloped bracing design, which provides a remarkable projection and balance for its sound.



Yamaha FG820-12’s unique scalloped bracing design provides an incredible tonal balance, making it perfect for performing live. The guitar also has a die-cast chrome tuning machine that provides accurate and smooth tuning.

Its slim neck profile is comfortable to hold and easy to play.

Sound Quality


Yamaha FG820-12 produces a clear and well-rounded sound, with great projection and balance. Its scalloped bracing design provides a well-rounded bass, midrange and treble, making it suitable for many different styles of music.

The slim neck profile also adds to its ease of playability, making it a great option for guitarists of all experience levels.


12-string guitars are an essential tool for any musician looking to add more depth and texture to their music. The

Fender CD-60SCE-12 and

Yamaha FG820-12 are two of the top-reviewed 12-string guitars featured in this article, each with unique features and sound qualities. As you consider which 12-string guitar to buy, keep in mind what kind of music you want to play and whether you will be performing live or recording in a studio environment.

Whatever your needs are, a 12-string guitar is an excellent way to add variety and richness to your music.

Takamine GD30CE-12NAT


Takamine GD30CE-12NAT is a 12-string guitar with a comfortable design that makes it a great option for both live performances and studio recording. The guitar features a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and an ovangkol fingerboard and bridge.

It also includes an onboard Takamine TP-4TD preamp system, which allows for greater tonal control in live settings.


One of the standout features of the

Takamine GD30CE-12NAT is its sleek and simple design. The guitar has a slim profile, making it easy to hold and play.

It also features a cutaway design, which provides easy access to higher frets without sacrificing sound quality. Additionally, the guitar’s preamp system provides quality tonal control and amplification, making it perfect for live sound.

Sound Quality


Takamine GD30CE-12NAT has a well-balanced sound that’s characteristic of the Takamine brand. It produces a warm and resonant tone, which is especially impressive considering the slim design of the guitar.

The guitar’s preamp system also contributes to the high-quality sound, allowing for greater tonal clarity and control.

Yamaha FG820


Yamaha FG820-12 is another 12-string guitar worth considering, another option popular among musicians. The guitar features a solid spruce top, nato back and sides, and a rosewood fingerboard.

Its construction design is specifically designed to enhance its sound quality, making it an attractive option for both beginner and experienced guitarists.



Yamaha FG820-12 has a number of features that make it an impressive 12-string guitar on the market. Notably, the guitar possesses a new scalloped bracing design that enhances the sound quality.

The scalloped bracing design gives the guitar a clear and well-structured tonal balance, making it perfect for live performances and recording sessions. Another noteworthy feature is the guitar’s innovative adjustable truss rod, which enables you to adjust the neck’s bow and action, improving the playability of the instrument as well as its overall sound quality.

The die-cast chrome tuning machines also ensure that the guitar is always in tune, even when playing for long sessions.

Sound Quality


Yamaha FG820-12 has a full-bodied and balanced sound that’s characteristic of the brand’s reputation for high-quality guitar construction. The instrument has a great balance of bass, midrange, and treble notes, thanks to its scalloped bracing design.

The sound is warm and resonant, making it suitable for a variety of genres, ranging from rock to folk music. The guitar’s innovative adjustable truss rod brings a new level of playability to the instrument.

This feature allows guitarists of all levels to adjust the neck bow to match their playing style, ensuring an easy and comfortable playing experience.


When it comes to 12-string guitars, choosing the right instrument that fits your unique needs and playing style is of utmost importance. The

Takamine GD30CE-12NAT and

Yamaha FG820-12 are well-crafted guitars that provide superior sound quality and unique features, making them a fantastic choice for musicians of all levels. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preferences and the desired sound you want to achieve from your guitar.

So, take the time to research and compare different 12-string guitar options on the market to find one that best suits your needs.

Ibanez AEG1812II


Ibanez AEG1812II is a versatile and sleek 12-string guitar that offers great sound and accessibility. The instrument features a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, and a rosewood fretboard and bridge.

It also features the AEQ-SP2 preamp and onboard tuner system, providing increased tonal control and precision when playing live.



Ibanez AEG1812II has a number of features that make it an exceptional 12-string guitar. The guitar’s slim profile and narrow waist make it comfortable and easy to play, even for extended periods.

The cutaway body style provides unobstructed access to the higher frets for more advanced and intricate playing styles. The onboard tuner system is an excellent addition, allowing for precision tuning on the go.

Sound Quality


Ibanez AEG1812II has a bright and well-rounded tone that’s consistent throughout the entire fretboard. The solid spruce top adds to the vibrance and clarity of the sound.

The guitar’s preamp system also improves its sound quality, providing greater tonal clarity and balance, perfect for live performances.

Benefits of 12-String Guitars

12-string guitars offer many benefits to musicians beyond the deeper and more resonant sound. These benefits include adding a layer of complexity to your playing, making the guitar sound more full and layered.

The doubled-up strings also provide the opportunity to play chord melodies and harmonies, making them versatile and perfect for solo playing.

Tuning of 12-String Guitars

Tuning a 12-string guitar can pose a challenge for some players, but it’s essential to ensuring the best possible sound quality. Double-stringed guitars require more precision in their tuning, and they lose their tuning more frequently than 6-string instruments.

The best solution is to tune the guitar regularly and invest in high-quality tuning pegs or utilize an electronic tuner for accuracy.

Considerations for Neck Size and Playability

Because 12-string guitars have more strings, their necks can be wider and more challenging to navigate. Factors to consider when choosing a guitar include the width of the neck and the style and type of fingerboard.

It’s important to consider how comfortable the guitar feels to play and how well suited it is to your playing style before making a purchase.

Need for Special Capos

Capos are essential for many guitarists, and those who play 12-string guitars may need specific capos to fit their instrument. Standard capos may not be suitable for a 12-string guitar due to the additional strings, and a specific 12-string capo will be necessary to achieve the correct level of tension and intonation across all strings.


Overall, 12-string guitars are a great option for musicians seeking to enhance their sound and expand their playing style. The

Ibanez AEG1812II is a fantastic example of a well-crafted 12-string guitar with unique features that make it stand out.

Remember, when choosing your 12-string guitar, consider the style and tone you want to achieve, along with the neck’s width, playability, and tuning needs. With the right instrument, you’ll be able to elevate your musical performance to the next level.

Conclusion and Recommendation

After an in-depth review of the top-reviewed 12-string guitars on the market, we can confidently say that these instruments provide a unique and versatile sound that’s perfect for musicians of all levels. While each guitar has its own distinct features and sound quality, we’ve determined two options that stand out as the best recommendations for specific needs.

Overall Best Value Guitar

For those seeking the best value option, the

Yamaha FG820-12 is an excellent choice. Its solid spruce top, nato back and sides, and innovative scalloped bracing design reflect the quality standards for which Yamaha is known.

The guitar’s well-rounded sound and tonal balance make it suitable for a wide range of playing styles. Its adjustable truss rod and die-cast chrome tuning machines also ensure excellent playability and precise tuning.

With an affordable price tag, the

Yamaha FG820-12 offers exceptional value and quality, making it an ideal choice for guitarists seeking a reliable and versatile instrument.

Budget-Friendly Option

For those on a tight budget, the

Fender CD-60SCE-12 offers excellent value without compromising on quality. Its spruce top and mahogany back and sides provide a bright and resonant sound, and the Fishman CD Preamp system enhances the instruments’ overall sound quality.

The guitar’s slim profile makes it easy and comfortable to hold and play, while the cutaway design allows for more complicated finger placements. The built-in tuner on the guitar is a helpful addition, especially for beginner guitarists still learning to tune accurately.

For musicians who do not want to break the bank when purchasing their first 12-string guitar, the

Fender CD-60SCE-12 is an outstanding budget-friendly option. Ultimately, the right 12-string guitar comes down to personal preference and your specific needs as a musician.

Consider the sound quality, features, and playability of each instrument before making a purchase. With the right instrument in hand, you’ll be able to produce excellent music and elevate your performance to new heights.

12-string guitars are an essential tool for musicians looking to add more depth and texture to their music. They produce a richer, fuller, and more resonant sound compared to 6-string guitars.


Fender CD-60SCE-12,

Yamaha FG820-12, and the

Ibanez AEG1812II are examples of high-quality 12-string guitars with distinct features and sound quality. In selecting a 12-string guitar, musicians should consider benefits, tuning, neck size, and playability.

Additionally, budget-friendly options like the

Fender CD-60SCE-12 and the best value

Yamaha FG820-12 should be considered. In all, 12-string guitars offer musicians a wealth of sonic possibilities beyond the six-string guitar, and by knowing what to look for, you can choose an instrument that suits your needs and elevate your musical performance.

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