12-string acoustic guitar recommendations?

CalicoSkies

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,152
Beaverton, OR, USA
Recently I was thinking I've never owned a 12-string acoustic guitar, so maybe I should guy one. I was curious which 12-string acoustic guitars y'all like, if you have one?
I visited a couple web sites for a couple guitar stores in my area (one a local store, and also Guitar Center). I thought these looked interesting:
Breedlove Discovery S Concert CE 12 ($599)
Ibanez Exotic Wood Series EW2012ASENT ($479.99)
Washburn WCG15SCE12 ($949)
Gretsch C5022CWFE-12 ($699.99)

From what I've read, I have the impression Ibanez are a particularly good value for the money, but I'm not sure how true that is. The Washburn looks interesting though in that it has an ergonomic armrest contour on the front (and that's the most expensive one out of these).
 

BuffaloHound

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 25, 2018
1,240
S
You didn’t mention the brand I start with for a cheaper end acoustic: Takamine.
Their intro level 12 string is $620 with a spruce top and mahogany back and side. Not sure about the tone woods of the guitars you mentioned. But I’m sure you’ll do that research. I’d expect they’re not all solid wood. laminates are a deal breaker for me unless I’m desperate.
I’ve never played a bad Tak, at any price point. Although I just play Martins now.

And make sure you string it with 9s. 10s is a lot of pressure for any quality neck.
 

Bowmap

X
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 23, 2017
11,556
X
I have a couple 12s. But nothing made in this century. The last acoustic I bought was a Harley Benton Custom Line 6. It does punch well above it's price point. There is an HB Custom Line 12 as well.

That being said, I have always had wanted a blonde and gold Ibanez 12. But I would not be hesitant to buy the HB if I didn't already have two twelves. The only one that gets played is my 40 year old.
 

crawdaddy

Most Honored Senior Member
Feb 11, 2010
6,529
Valley o Sun
You are going to get so many suggestions that it'll probably take you a year to sort them out....

But here is my suggestion to get into 12 strings:


To me, you can't beat a Taylor....
 

Nadnitram

Most Honored Senior Member
Out of the four you listed, I'd try the Breedlove first because of the smaller body -- not for comfort reasons, but for tone reasons.

I have owned at least 4, maybe 5. Here are my takeaways:

- 12-string tone is a whole different animal. The sound can get muddled, so I look for one that is sparkly and articulate. The sweetest tone I ever found was on an Ovation MIK, but I couldn't manage the rounded back. I have been chasing that tone ever since.
- 12-string fretboards can be uncomfortably wide. Play a bunch first if you can to see which feels the best.
- Tuning a twelve isn't as difficult as many make it out to be. I tune the standard strings first, then tune the harmonic strings to match. It takes me about 30 seconds longer than tuning a six string.
- 12-string guitars are prone to bridge lift and belly bulge. Even though I buy ALL my guitars used, I don't think I would want to buy someone else's problems with a 12-string. I don't think I will ever again buy a used 12-string.
- I tune down a full step to avoid the problems listed above.
- I want a solid top for tone, but I prefer laminate sides and back for strength and durability.

If I had an unlimited budget, I'd own a Guild F-512. But since I'm c̶h̶e̶a̶p̶ budget conscious, my choice was a Recording King RDS-9-12-TS. I bought it less than a week before the world locked down, and I got out the door for $200.
 

Seamus OReally

Crawling back
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2019
6,100
Santa Rosa, CA
I have a Washburn acoustic in that same price range that gushes air… a big, loud jumbo that plays like an electric. I haven’t played that 12-string, but I like Washburn, based only on my guitar.
 
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CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,860
SoCal
You are going to get so many suggestions that it'll probably take you a year to sort them out....

But here is my suggestion to get into 12 strings:


To me, you can't beat a Taylor....
+1
Bang for the buck, it's hard to beat the imported Taylor line.
 

trapdoor2

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 25, 2017
2,064
South Carolina
Back when I haunted my favorite local music shop (1980s), I gravitated towards the Guilds (they might have been a dealer). I liked the sound and I got several lessons in setting one up...but never bought one.

I've looked at them from time to time...last week. They're still too expensive.
 

Chont

Dr. Stratster
Sep 25, 2012
10,189
In a van down by the river
I got a Guild a while back.

Love it love it love it. Very comfortable to play and huge sound.

 

DJGranite

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 12, 2012
1,320
Maine
I'm not much help unless you are considering used guitars as well as new.
Mine is a 50 year old Guild F112
Guild F112 fr.jpg It sounds amazing to me.
It's a smaller "OM" style body that really projects.
A bit different than the full sized Dreadnaughts it sounds like a 6 string and something like a Mandolin playing together, unique in my experience.
I've gotten positive comments and many questions every time I've played out with it. Especially from other guitarists.
It's old and after 8-10 years I did have the bridge reset.
There is something to be said about aged wood and the sounds that it produces.
Keep an open mind and watch Craigslist and FB Marketplace.
Good Luck
 


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