Other Guitars

Let’s talk about 12 strings


I have never played a 12 string guitar. I can't remember even holding one. I just learned "Life By The Drop" by S.R.V. He plays it on a 12 string.

What I would like to know is if there are any 12 string guitars that are affordable, sound good and play great. I'm not even sure what I mean by affordable as I have no idea of the cost. By summer I'll be looking for a good acoustic.

I'm a bit confused.


Wayulp, Rickenbackers are marvelous, albeit pricey. If you go looking for a used Rick, you prob’ly wanna go for a 660 or 1993Plus due to their wider necks.

That said, I also have a Gretsch 5422/12 that plays and sounds great! If you want bang for the buck in a serviceable instrument, I can recommend a Danelectro Hodad 12. (It can be a bit fiddly as far as initial setup goes but once it’s there, you’re stylin’. I got mine used for $225.)


Taylor makes a hybrid 12 based on the T5 making it about the size of an LP or just a little bigger.

1-11/16th neck, wider than a Ric (well, wider than MY Ric). 21 frets, and just schizophrenic enough to double as couch acoustic and electric 12, but the price, though considerably less than a new Ric, isn't really bargain basement so it may be more than you'd like to spend.

My personal fave 12 string electric not-named-Rickenbacker is a Fender Coronado XII (sorry, but it's true), however, they're scarce and good'ns tend to be pricey.

Acoustics- I'd be looking for an early 70's Framus, mid-80's Takamine, or similar. Last Framus I played was in pretty decent nick given its age.


I think you’re talking about an acoustic 12, which is what this sounds like...


I like my WF Rancher.


How does it play? How does it feel?

I have some good power tools that I rarely use and I'm thinking about putting them on the bay so I can get a twelve.


Yamaki made some surprisingly nice solid wood instruments. keep an eye out for an overly sunken/humped top but otherwise they can be good and had comparatively cheap.

12 strings are cool! I started out playing a cheap 12 string, often in open tunings ala JImmy Page and uhhh Daniel Ash of Bauhaus.

Play them all the time and the ends of your fingers will be perfectly flat! Hilarious!


Oh and for electric, The Eastwood Gretsch knockoffs are quite good. I have one and use it in the studio etc. I just played on of the Gretsch 5422 12s in the music store and it was no better and at least twice the price if not more (if you buy used) I bought my Eastwood for $350


Gonna sell some tools and call Rocky.


John-It takes some getting used to after playing a Ric electric, but it has the best action of any acoustic 12 I've tried. Sometimes the wider neck is a challenge, but I don't have the longest fingers. Soundwise, most folks think Gretsch acoustics are best when plugged in, but I think the solid maple topped rancher holds its own acoustically.

Sometimes the wider neck is a challenge,

What do you mean by that? Wider in comparison to six string guitars, or is the Rancher neck noticeably wider in comparison to other 12 string guitars?


The only one I ever owned was an old Lyle electric, great guitar if you like 12 strings, I found out I didn't. When I thinned the herd it left! I recommend you play several before you buy!


Where I live there are no opportunities to play. I'm gonna raise the funds and then call Rocky.

I'll start a new thread with tools for sale before they hit ebay. My first will be this Rally electric impact wrench.

Don't know what it's worth so make an offer.


Ovation 12 strings have nice necks, as do some of the older Alvarez 12 strings guitars.


I've sadly found that unless the user has a concave waist to fit in with the convex back, holding an Ovation properly can be problematic, and sitting just plain awkward.

Unless of course, you have been blessed with the aforementioned mid-section.


Leo Kottke plays Guild and Taylor 6 and 12 string acoustics. I had an Ovation years ago that was a great sounding, easy to play acoustic. For an electric, the Fender isn't bad, nor is the Dano. Burns had one out years ago as well.


I recently had a chance to spend some time with an Alvarez AJ80CE-12 acoustic 12-string and was amazed at just how good it was. At least the equal of my Alvarez-Yahiri Masterbuilt 12-string at one fifth the price. It's a jumbo, but if the size isn't an issue for you, you might want to consider it as an option.


I have several electric and acoustic 12s.

There are plentiful used Yamaha 12 strings that are affordable that play and sound great, but try before you buy.

Time and tension can be a dangerous mix where these 12 string guitars are concerned.


I have a Gretsch Electromatic 5422-12 that I have had for a few years.

I also have a Larrivee LV-03-12 that I have had even longer.

Both are great guitars and I recommend them.


Larrive makes a good 12-string. But it'll be pricey. I have one I got for free when I worked there.

It was the first guitar I ever buffed and I launched it off the wheel and across the shop..... They expect this sort of thing, but then I audaciously asked Jean if I could have it. I glued up the giant crack in the side, mended the small crunched corner of the top goofily, snuck it into the assembly room for a pickup and leftover hardware and voila free 12 string acoustic.

The assembly room guy said it's the best sounding one he'd had go through!!

Though I'm sure the Gretsch rancher is cool, if you're getting an acoustic I would get a more conventional spruce top guitar for better sonic enjoyment. Just my 2 cents.


When I was looking for an electro-acoustic 12-string I wanted a black Gretsch Rancher Falcon. Unfortunately the 12-string seemed to be only available in white, which looked a bit 'blingy' for a shy, retiring old guy like me. In the end I went the 'plain Jane' route with a Martin D12X1AE and I've never regretted it. It might be at the budget end of Martin's range but it's good to play (for a 12-string) and sounds fine whether unplugged or amplified.


Following on from the above post, I thought I'd try an electric 12. No way was I going into Rickenbacker territory pricewise for a guitar I knew would only see occasional use, so I bought a Revelation -- a sort of Jazzmaster and under £300 in the UK. The chickenhead knob is a tone filter a bit like a Gibson Varitone.


Oops, pic fell off.

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