Best 12 String Guitars For Beginners In 2018 – Buyer’s Guide And Reviews


If what you are looking for a quality and versatile 12 string guitar, with a built in pre-amp and tuner, solid spruce top and a stunning reputation, then my top pick is the Fender CD-60SCE-12 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric GuitarThe use of mahogany gives it that rich and warm sound and the solid spruce top gives it an extra resonance. Plus the 'easy to play neck' comes with a rolled fret board edge to make playing a comfortable experience too. 

Our Pick

Fender CD-60SCE-12 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar - 12 String, Natural Bundle with Hard Case, Cable, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth

12 string paradise

Fender CD-60SCE-12 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar.

Sounds great with the solid spruce top and mahogany wood. Pre-amp and tuner makes it pretty versatile too.

Budget Pick

Oscar Schmidt OD312 12-String Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural

The best value for money

Oscar Schmidt OD312 12-String Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

This guitar is consistently sold with low action, making it easy to play, and saving you the hassle of setting it up!

If you want a budget-friendly option then the Oscar guitar is good for a first 12 string. It has a mahogany body and neck, and a rosewood fret board, enabling a warm and mellow sound.

Despite it being considerably cheaper than other 12 string guitar options, it is certainly not lacking in punch.

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best 12 String Guitars For Beginners On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What to look for in a 12 string guitar 

12 string guitars: you've seen and heard them in the hands of artists including Jimmy Page, Noel Gallagher, David Bowie and David Gilmour – to name a few – and have always enjoyed their rich, ringing tone.

However, unlike electric guitars, which have several distinctive designs and sounds to navigate by, 12 strings tend to just be called... 12 strings. 

It is natural to not know what you're looking for, when everything seems to look the same and sound similar.

When buying your first 12 string, it is important to consider the instrument's action, the woods used and whether the top is solid or laminate. 

Mahogany is typically what gives 12 strings their warm sound, combined with a rosewood fretboard. Good quality 12 strings also have a solid spruce top, as opposed to laminate: the cheaper alternative.

A built in pre-amp and electric tuner is always handy, too!

Best 12 String Guitar For Beginners 

1) Oscar Schmidt OD312 12-String Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar (Budget Choice)

Oscar Schmidt OD312 12-String Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural

This budget-friendly, spruce (alas, not solid spruce!) top guitar is a popular choice for a first 12 string. It has a mahogany body and neck, and a rosewood fret board, enabling a warm and mellow sound.

The Oscar Schmidt OD312 has chrome die-cast tuners, for tuning stability, and a built in pre-amp and electric tuner. 

This guitar is also consistently sold with low action, making it easy to play, and saving you the hassle of setting it up!

  • Mahogany / Rosewood
  • Good action immediately after buying 
  • Built in tuner
  • Not solid spruce
  • Doesn't come with a case 
  • Doesn't have a pick guard 

Let's take a look at this guitar...



2) Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG820 12-String Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

This is another popular choice amongst beginner/intermediate guitarists, and it benefits from a solid spruce top! 

Like the Oscar Schmidt, it has a mahogany body - for a warm sound - and a rosewood fret board for a smooth playing experience. It also has chrome die-cast tuners.

Unlike the previous guitar, this one has no built in tuner or pre-amp, but it does include a pick guard, to protect the finish that is available in a multitude of colours!

  • Pick guard included
  • Variety of colours available
  • Good sound at affordable price
  • May need setting up after purchasing
  • No built in tuner
  • No pickup / pre-amp

Let's take a look at this guitar...



3) Fender CD-60SCE-12 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar (Editor's Choice)

Fender CD-60SCE-12 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar - 12 String, Natural Bundle with Hard Case, Cable, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth

This 12 string from the trusty Fender is another popular choice, again using mahogany for that rich and warm sound. 

It has a solid spruce top and also - uniquely - boasts an 'easy to play neck'. Fender have designed a neck with rolled fret board edges, to make playing a comfortable experience.

This guitar also has a built in tuner and pre-amp, making live performances a doddle!

Oh, and, if all of this isn't impressive enough, the Fender CD-60SCE often comes as part of an impressive bundle, including a case, picks, leads and more!

  • Built in tuner and pre-amp
  • Solid spruce top 
  • Easy to play
  • Limited colour options
  • May need setting up
  • Less easy on the wallet than other entry-level 12 strings

Let's take a look at this guitar...



4) Ibanez AEL152ETBS 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Ibanez AEL152ETBS 12-String Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar Transparent Blue Sunburst

This guitar, available in a variety of colours, offers a rich sound and easy playability thanks to its maple body and mahogany and rosewood fret board.

It also comes with a low action, has chrome die-cast tuners and is available in some nice colours, including electric blue!

It has a spruce (again, not solid this time) top and a pleasing tendency to be sold with high quality D'Addario strings.

This guitar also has a built in pre-amp and tuner!

  • Built in pre-amp and tuner
  • Available in a variety of colours 
  • Low action
  • No pick guard
  • Different colours not always available
  • Doesn't have a solid spruce top 

Let's take a look at this guitar...



5) Takamine GD30CE12NAT 12-String Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Takamine GD30CE12NAT 12-String Dreadnought Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Natural Bundle with Hard Case, Cable, Tuner, Strap, Strings, Picks, Austin Bazaar Instructional DVD, and Polishing Cloth

This good looking guitar is made from mahogany, has a rosewood fret board and benefits from a solid spruce top.

It includes a built in pre-amp and electric tuner and also has a pick guard, and chrome die-cast tuners. 

The low action on this guitar makes it fun and easy to play, and the quality of the materials used creates a rich sound.

  • Built in tuner and pre-amp
  • Low action
  • Pick guard
  • May need setting up
  • More expensive than other beginner/intermediate 12 springs
  • Limited colour options

Let's take a look at this guitar...


And the winner is...

The Fender CD-60SCE-12 Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar is our choice for the best 12 string guitar for a beginner. While all of these guitars suggested are excellent options, we feel the Fender suits a beginners needs perfectly despite its quite hefty price tag!

If you have any other suggestions we'd love to hear them!

Happy Jamming!

Image Credits:

Featured image source: frankieleon / CC BY-SA 2.0

Roz is a music teacher and our go-to person for anything music theory! When she’s not teaching or writing for Zing, Roz writes and plays in alternative/ psyche /art rock band The Roz Bruce Infusion.

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