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Best 12 String Guitar Under $1000

Best 12 string guitars

I’ll be sharing my personal preferences for the best 12 string guitars under $1000. If you’re looking to explore beyond the usual 6-string guitars without spending a fortune, you’re in the right place.

These options are perfect for guitar players who want to try something different without breaking the bank for all guitar players.

Before that, do you know about some of the 12-string guitars that have made their mark in history?

Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT (800$)

The Takamine GJ72CE-12NAT has a warm and lush sound that’s perfect for playing a variety of music genres. It produces all the lush, robust sound that players expect from a jumbo 12-string guitar thanks to its solid spruce top and flame maple body, back and sides. The Takamine TK-40D preamp system onboard offers you a built-in tuner, three-band EQ and gain controls, mid-contour switch, notch filter, and EQ bypass switch for maximum versatility and sound quality.

The slim mahogany neck and 12″-radius bound laurel fingerboard provide a great feel and playability. The guitar’s cutaway design makes it easy to access higher frets, and its slim neck makes it comfortable to play for extended periods of time.

Specification

  • Solid spruce top and flame maple back and sides
  • Maple neck with 25.4″ Scale length
  • Rosewood fretboard with 21 frets

Pros

Bright & Clear sound

The Takamine GJ72CE has a bright, clear sound that is perfect for fingerpicking, strumming, and soloing.

Versatile

The GJ72CE can be used for a variety of genres, including folk, rock, country, and bluegrass.

Well-built

The GJ72CE is well-built with high-quality materials, making it a durable guitar that will last for many years.

Cons

Body style

For some, the jumbo body style might feel a bit too large, especially if you’re used to smaller models.

Fender Villager 12-string (600$)

The Fender Villager 12-String features a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The C-shaped neck is made of mahogany and features a walnut fingerboard with 20 frets, making it comfortable and easy to play with. The nut width provides plenty of space for fingerpicking or strumming. 

It also comes equipped with a Fishman preamp and tuner, allowing for easy amplification and tuning on stage or in the studio. The preamp includes bass, treble, and volume controls, as well as a phase switch to help eliminate feedback. In terms of aesthetics, the Fender Villager 12-String has a classic and timeless look, with a natural finish and a pickguard that features the iconic Fender “Viking” logo. The bridge is made of walnut and features a compensated saddle for improved intonation.

Specification

  • Solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides
  • Fishman preamp & Dot inlays
  • Walnut fretboard with 20 frets

Pros

Classic Fender Design

The Fender Villager 12-string carries the iconic Fender aesthetic with its striking headstock and classic body shape. It appeals to those who appreciate Fender’s timeless design.

Solid Construction

This guitar is built with quality in mind, featuring a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. These tonewoods contribute to a balanced and resonant sound, offering excellent projection and clarity.

Onboard Electronics

The Fender Villager 12-string comes equipped with onboard electronics, including a pickup and preamp system. This makes it easy to plug in and amplify your sound for live performances or recording sessions.

Cons

Difficult to keep in tune

12-string guitars can be more difficult to keep in tune than 6-string guitars due to the extra tension on the neck.

Yamaha FG820-12 (400$)

The Yamaha FG820-12 is an exceptional budget-friendly 12-string acoustic guitar that punches above its weight class in terms of sound and builds quality. With a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, this guitar delivers a balanced and warm tone with impressive sustain, making it ideal for especially for fingerpicking.

The scalloped bracing provides improved resonance and projection, while the C-shape neck ensures ease of playability. The FG820-12 also features die-cast tuners and a beautiful gloss finish, giving it a professional look and feel. For players seeking a high-quality 12-string guitar without breaking the bank, this guitar is an excellent choice.

Specification

  • Dreadnought shape with Nato neck
  • Solid Sitka spruce top and Mahogany back and sides
  • Scalloped bracing with a Gloss finish

Pros

Dreadnought Body

The dreadnought body shape of the FG820-12 provides a bold and robust sound with a balanced tonal response. It’s versatile and well-suited for various playing styles and musical genres

Great sound quality

The FG820-12 is known for its rich, full sound, thanks to its solid spruce top and laminated mahogany back and sides. The 12-string configuration also adds to the guitar’s unique and beautiful sound.

Durable construction

Yamaha guitars are known for their durability, and the FG820-12 is no exception. It is well-built and can withstand years of regular use.

Cons

Can be difficult to find in stock

The FG820-12 is a popular guitar, and it can sometimes be difficult to find in stock. This is especially true during peak shopping seasons.

Alvarez AD60-12 (600$)

The Alvarez AD60-12 features a solid A+ Sitka spruce top, which provides a bright and clear tone, while its mahogany body, back, and sides deliver warmth and depth to the bright sound. The guitar also has a slim neck that makes it easy to play and is suitable for players with smaller hands. 

Image by Alvarez

The real bone nut and saddle contribute to the guitar’s overall tone by maintaining a decent action. Also, the guitar has a high-quality LR Baggs Element pickup system that amplifies the guitar’s sound with precision and accuracy, making it an excellent option for live performances. Overall it sounds good without a doubt.

Specification

  • Sitka spruce top with mahogany back & sides
  • LR Baggs Element pickup 
  • Rosewood Bridge and Mother-of-pearl Design Inlays

Pros

Great sound quality

The Alvarez AD60-12 is known for its excellent sound quality, with a rich and full tone that is perfect for a variety of musical genres.

Comfortable to play

The AD60-12 has a comfortable playing neck and a well-balanced body, making it easy to play for extended periods of time.

Affordable

The AD60-12 is a very affordable 12-string guitar, making it a great option for budget-minded musicians.

Cons

Case Sold Individually

While the guitar itself is impressive in terms of features and value, it’s crucial to note that the case or gig bag is not included, which may necessitate an additional purchase for suitable transit protection.

Epiphone DR-212 (300$)

The Epiphone DR-212 offers excellent value-for-money acoustic electric guitar. It’s designed to take the stress of extra strings and not just support the spruce top but provide the proper bracing so what you hear is a balanced, cutting and attention-getting tone. The mahogany back and sides add warmth and depth to the sound, while the slim-taper neck profile permits a comfortable grip. 

The guitar also features a built-in pickup system, which allows you to amplify your sound and play live without needing to use microphones. Overall, the Epiphone DR-212 has great tone and playability, making it one of the best 12 string guitars under $1000 for beginners and intermediate players alike.

Specification

  • Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides
  • 25.5″ Scale length and Scalloped Bracing
  • Rosewood fretboard with 20 frets

Pros

Affordable

The Epiphone DR-212 is one of the most affordable 12-string guitars on the market, making it a great option for beginners and budget-minded musicians.

Good sound quality

Despite its low price, the DR-212 produces a surprisingly good sound, with a rich, full tone that is perfect for a variety of genres, including folk, rock, and country.

Durable construction

The DR-212 is well-built and feels solid in the hands. It is also made with high-quality materials, including a select spruce top and mahogany back and sides.

Cons

Limited features

The DR-212 is a guitar that does not come with any bells and whistles, such as a pickup or electronics.

Breedlove Pursuit Exotic Concert CE 12-String (800$)

The Breedlove Pursuit Exotic Concert CE 12-String boasts a stunning solid myrtle wood top, which delivers rich, warm tones with a sweet sustain that is perfect for strumming or fingerpicking. The concert body shape ensures comfortable playability, and the cutaway design provides easy access to the upper frets. 

Image by Breedlove

Equipped with Fishman electronics, the Pursuit Exotic Concert CE 12-String is ready to take the stage or studio, offering reliable and natural amplification of its beautiful sound. The guitar is a great choice for players looking for an affordable and quality 12-string guitar.

Specification

  • Solid Myrtlewood top with back & sides
  • African Mahogany neck and Ovangkol fretboard
  • Scalloped X-bracing with Fishman Presys I electronics

Pros

Great sound quality

The solid myrtlewood top and Myrtlewood EcoTonewood back and sides produce a full, balanced tone with excellent projection.

Comfortable to play

The slim African mahogany neck and ovangkol fingerboard are well-suited for all playing styles.

Well-built

The Pursuit Exotic Concert CE 12-String is built with high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

Cons

Few Color Options

The guitar only comes in one color, Tiger’s Eye, which might not be enough for people who want more options.

Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar (600$)

The Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar is a 12-string acoustic guitar that boasts impressive tonal and visual characteristics. Its solid cedar top produces a warm and rich sound with excellent resonance, while its wild cherry wood back and sides give it a unique and appealing look. The guitar’s slim neck and smooth fingerboard make it comfortable and easy to play, allowing for nimble and expressive performances.

Image by Seagull

The craftsmanship of this instrument is impeccable, with attention to detail evident in every aspect of its design and construction. Overall, the Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar is an outstanding choice for any player seeking a high-quality and versatile 12-string acoustic guitar.

Specification

  • Solid cedar top Cherry wood back and sides 
  • Rosewood fretboard with 21 frets
  • X-bracing and dot inlays

Pros

Solid Cedar Top

The Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar boasts a solid cedar top, which is known for its warm and rich tonal qualities. Cedar tops produce a well-balanced sound with a strong emphasis on midrange frequencies, making it ideal for fingerstyle and delicate playing.

Quality Craftsmanship

Seagull guitars are renowned for their excellent craftsmanship and attention to detail. The Coastline S12 Cedar is no exception, with a well-constructed body, smooth fretboard, and comfortable playability.

Affordability

This guitar offers a high level of quality at a relatively affordable price point. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a 12-string acoustic guitar with a solid cedar top without breaking the bank.

Cons

Sensitivity to Climate Changes

Like many solid wood guitars, the Seagull Coastline S12 Cedar may be sensitive to extreme changes in humidity and temperature.

Martin D12X1AE (700$)

The Martin D12X1AE is loved for its exceptional sound quality, playability, and durability. The guitar’s solid Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate back and sides create a rich, warm, and balanced sound with great projection and sustain. The 12-fret neck joint allows for easy access to the upper frets and comfortable playability, while the Fishman MX electronics system ensures a reliable and dynamic amplified sound. 

Image by Martin

The guitar’s durable and lightweight construction makes it easy to transport and perfect for live performances or recording sessions. Overall, the Martin D12X1AE is perhaps the first choice for any player who desires a high-quality and versatile 12-string acoustic guitar that delivers both exceptional sound and reliable performance, making it one of the best 12 string guitars under $1000.

Specification

  • Sitka spruce top and high-pressure laminate back and sides
  • Mortise Tenon Neck Joint with 25.4″ scale length
  • Fishman Sonitone electronics with X Bracing

Pros

Excellent sound quality

The D12X1AE is known for its rich, full sound, with excellent projection and clarity.

Comfortable to play

The D12X1AE has a comfortable neck profile and a well-balanced body, making it easy to play for extended periods.

Versatile

The D12X1AE is a versatile guitar that can be used for a variety of musical genres, including folk, bluegrass, country, and rock.

Cons

Limited Finish Options

The guitar comes with a clear top color finish, which might be less customizable for players seeking various aesthetic preferences.

ESP LTD TL-6 12-string Acoustic-electric Guitar (750$)

The ESP LTD TL-6 is designed to meet the demands of both acoustic and electric players, offering a versatile and dynamic musical experience.

The guitar’s solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides combine to create a well-balanced and resonant sound with a warm and rich tonal character. The 12-fret neck joint not only adds to the guitar’s unique visual appeal but also ensures easy access to the upper frets. 

The inclusion of the Fishman Sonicore pickup and TL-3 preamp system guarantees reliable and dynamic amplified sound. Whether you’re performing on stage or recording in the studio, the TL-6’s electronics deliver pristine and articulate tones.

Additionally, the guitar’s construction strikes a balance between durability and portability. It’s built to withstand the rigors of live performances while remaining lightweight enough for easy transportation.

Specification

  • Spruce top and Mahogany back & sides
  • Rosewood fingerboard with 3Pc Mahogany neck
  • Jatoba Bridge 22 frets

Pros

Solid Tonewoods

The ESP LTD TL-6 features a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides, contributing to a well-balanced and resonant sound. This combination produces warm and rich tones, making it suitable for various musical styles.

Versatility

Versatile guitar with a wide range of tones, making it suitable for a variety of genres, including rock, metal, blues, and jazz.

Playability

Comfortable to play, with a sleek neck and well-balanced body.

Cons

May find it difficult to set up

It can be difficult to find the right settings for different genres of music, requiring some experimentation on the part of the player.

Taylor 150e 12-String Dreadnought (1000$)

The Taylor 150e 12-String Dreadnought shape is a true masterpiece that embodies the perfect combination of beauty, comfort, and versatility. Its solid Sitka spruce top delivers a clear and balanced sound, while the layered walnut back and sides provide a rich and warm tone. The neck of the guitar is super smooth and easy to play, allowing for effortless fingerpicking and strumming. 

Image by Taylor

The dreadnought body shape gives it a bold and powerful sound that can fill any room with music. The guitar’s sleek and elegant design is enhanced by the gorgeous natural finish, making it a stunning addition to any collection. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line 12-string guitar that excels in both sound and aesthetics, the Taylor 150e is an excellent choice.

Specification

  • Dreadnought body shape & ES2 electronics
  • Sitka spruce top and layered walnut back and sides
  • Scalloped bracing

Pros

Excellent sound

The Taylor 150e 12-string has a bright, clear sound with a lot of overtones. This makes it a great choice for a variety of genres, from folk to rock to country.

Great playability

The 150e is also very playable, with a comfortable neck and low action. This makes it a good choice for both beginners and experienced players alike.

Good value for money

The 150e is one of the most affordable 12-string guitars on the market, making it a great value for money.

Cons

Non-Cutaway Design

The non-cutaway design may limit access to higher frets, which could be a consideration for players who frequently venture into the upper registers.

How to choose a 12-string Budget-Friendly Guitar?

Choosing a budget-friendly 12-string guitar requires careful consideration to ensure you get the best value for your money. Here are some tips to help you select the right instrument: 

best 12 string guitar

Budget

Determine your budget range before you start shopping. Stick to your budget to avoid overspending and to narrow down your options.

Tonewood

Pay attention to the tonewood used in the guitar’s construction. While solid wood tops are ideal, budget-friendly options may feature laminate tops. Look for tonewoods like spruce or mahogany, which offer good sound quality.

Body Type

Consider the body type that suits your playing style and comfort preferences. Dreadnoughts are versatile, while jumbos provide a bold and resonant sound. Choose accordingly.

Brand Reputation

Stick with reputable brands known for producing quality instruments within your budget. Brands like Yamaha, Epiphone, and Fender offer affordable 12-string guitars with reliable performance.

Playability

Test the guitar’s playability. Check the action (string height) to ensure it’s comfortable for your fingers. A guitar with comfortable action will be easier to play, especially for beginners.

Tuning Stability

Assess the tuning stability of the guitar. 12-string guitars can be more challenging to keep in tune due to the higher string tension. Look for models with good tuning machines and consider using quality strings.

Electronics

If you plan to perform live or record, consider whether you need a guitar with built-in electronics. Budget-friendly guitars may offer basic onboard pickups and preamps.

Check for Defects

Inspect the guitar for any visible defects or damage. Ensure the neck is straight, the frets are well-seated, and there are no cracks or loose components.

Read Reviews

Research online reviews and seek feedback from other players who have experience with the specific model you’re interested in. This can provide insights into the guitar’s performance and durability.

Warranty

Check if the guitar comes with a warranty. A warranty can provide peace of mind in case of any manufacturing defects or issues that may arise after purchase.

Accessories: Consider what accessories are included with the guitar. Some budget-friendly packages may come with a gig bag, tuner, strap, and other essentials, saving you money on additional purchases.

Try Before You Buy: If possible, play the guitar before making a final decision. The feel and sound should resonate with you, as personal preference plays a significant role in choosing a guitar.

In other words

A higher price doesn’t always mean better quality. There are tons of well-made guitars available that that well within reasonable price levels, with perfectly satisfactory sound. You know all the good ones now: It’s your turn to decide which is the best 12 string guitar under $1000 that’s gonna find a place in your arsenal and your music.

FAQ about Best 12 string guitars

Sabih Safwat

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