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Recommend A Good, Inexpensive 12 String

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by hekawi, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. hekawi

    hekawi Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2003
    greenville, sc
    Got a hankering for the big sound of an acoustic 12 string.
    never owned one before. how about some suggestions .... as in best bang for the buck on a very limited budget.

  2. tuuur

    tuuur Friend of Leo's

    Nov 12, 2006
    the Netherlands
    I got an old Yamaha FG420/12 second hand, for about $100. Works fine, nice full bassy sound. There are a few Yamaha 12 strings on ebay from $90-$200.

  3. philbool

    philbool TDPRI Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    England, UK
    If you can get one get a Vintage V400-12

  4. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Admin Post
    Cheap can be dangerous with an acoustic 12-string! Lotta structural tension from those strings. As far as new, I'd feel fairly safe with a Seagull S-12 (under $600 at MF) like this one:


    One of the nicest 12-string acoustics that I've ever played at any price was a Larrivee a few years ago. It was around $1200, if I recall correctly. Sweet! Guilds rock, too.

    My brother has an old Italian-made EKO copy of a Gibson that's surprisingly playable AND toneful. One quirk: the string spacing is normal at the nut, but at the bridge all of the strings are equally distant from each other. As in not doubled like up at the nut. Still, it plays great. Go figure! (He's been threatening to sell it, let me know if you want me to get a price from him).

    Cheers, Tim

  5. hekawi

    hekawi Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2003
    greenville, sc

  6. weiner71

    weiner71 Tele-Meister

    Mar 13, 2007
    twelve strings have a lot of tension so having a solid top is very important and i don't know if that agile 12 string has a solid top. I have an alvarez AD60-12 which has a solid top. I got it and a case for $250 on ebay. I added a fishman pickup to it as well and it sounds really good. too bad i don't play it anymore

  7. mikespe

    mikespe Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 27, 2007
    Western New York
    +1 on the Seagull but they have a cheaper version that I believe just came out in the $400 range. It has a solid cedar top and is so smooth to play. I felt like I was playing a six string it was that smooth.


  8. mikespe

    mikespe Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 27, 2007
    Western New York
    Agile's are excellent guitars but I don't have this one (I have an LP copy. However, based on my minimal experience the round-backs sound fantastic plugged in but unplugged they lack the fullness of a regular 12 string.

  9. FirstBassman

    FirstBassman Friend of Leo's

    Mar 18, 2008
    Great, go for it!
    A 12-string guitar is the most beautiful sounding instrument (IMHO) in the world.

    This is just my opinion based on some knowledge but - the "acoustic 12-string tension" thing is pretty much an old wive's tale.

    This is a common excuse for why some people think they have to de-tune acoustic 12s (and use a capo).

    It may have been true 70 years ago but with modern construction techniques is not nearly as relevant anymore.

    As far as recommendation goes, if one can buy a Martin, "buy a Martin:"


    As I've posted elsewhere, GE Smith played my D12X1 and it was the sweetest thing I ever heard in my life.

  10. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 25, 2007
    Try a Simon Patrick if you can, same company as Seagull. I got mine 15 years ago and it's still going strong, althought the cedar top is starting to "relic" naturally from heavy strumming. Actually it was my heavy-metal buddy who loved doing speed versions of Beatles songs on it...

  11. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    If you can spend $500, the Martin D12X1 is fantastic. The startabond necks are bulletbroof. I can put mine in a frozen car trunk and take it out and the set up and tuning are perfect. I've had my D12X1 for a couple years now; it was an upgrade from an Epi.

    At $330, the Yamaha FG720 - 12 String is a great solid top guitar. They are available everywhere and I prefer the tone and feel over a Seagull (and Seagulls are generally best bargain bets)


    Yamaha 12 String Linky


  12. getbent

    getbent Telefied Ad Free Member

    I got a righteous 70's Takamine 12 for 250.00... it is a great instrument worthy of 12-1500.00 instruments....

  13. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Yup...old Getbent beat me to it..if you can find one of those 70 Takumine Martin copies, they are the best...mine was $369...our 1978 tax return and its a sweetheart...D28-12 copy

  14. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Colorado Springs
    Um, maybe you can do that, but it's certainly not recommended.

  15. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 17, 2007
    Oklahoma City
    +1 for buying a used 12 stringy.

    A lot of people love the sound, but after they buy one they get a bit disenchanted with them. Maybe they only use them for one or two songs, it becomes a pain to re-string, or maybe it's just too hard to tune. Anyway for a multitude of reasons people turn them loose. Give a go at finding a used one. JMO

  16. johnnykf

    johnnykf Tele-Holic

    Jan 4, 2006
    Twin Peaks. NY
    Used Larrivee DO3-12

    Got one in mint shape for $500, with a hard case on ebay. Something I always wanted to have without spending a lot on

  17. aunchaki

    aunchaki Friend of Leo's

    Mar 12, 2006
    Central New York
    Yet another vote for a used Takamine. I got mine at GC for $179!!!! It's my Number One guitar at the moment (sorry Teles). I can't get over the lush sound. I put a Fishman Neo-D single-coil soundhole pickup in it and it sounds great amplified (into the PA from my L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI).

    I've also recently seen (at GC) a 1970s Epiphone 12-string Bard for under $200. Good deals are out there. Keep looking and playing.

    There are a couple of under-$200 12-strings (Fender, Mitchell, Epiphone). I find them to be of the quality of $99 6-string guitars. If you think a high action and poor setup are rough on a 6, just wait until you try it on a 12. That's why I recommend going up the price ladder a bit or watching for a great deal on a used 12.

    Here's a stock pic of my Tak. Mine doesn't have the lawsuit headstock:


  18. FirstBassman

    FirstBassman Friend of Leo's

    Mar 18, 2008

    Yeah, I've heard this before too.
    Which, of course, doesn't make any sense.
    If people "love the sound" why only use them for only one or two songs.

    A lot of people look upon 12-strings as a one-trick-pony.
    I think 12-strings (acoustic or electric) are a lot more versatile than people give them credit for.

    There's another thread here about popular songs with 12's in them.
    That's a lot of songs.

    12's work with blues, folk, jazz, bluegrass, anything.

  19. hekawi

    hekawi Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2003
    greenville, sc
    Thanks for the recommendations/suggestions/advice guys! i'm gonna go looking in the local shops for used ones first, and then move on from there if they don't have one that fits the bill. i'm a little apprehensive about the ebay route, 'cause i like to play a guitar before i buy.

    in the meantime, check out what Jimi could do on a 12:


  20. FirstBassman

    FirstBassman Friend of Leo's

    Mar 18, 2008

    There's a history behind that guitar, by the way.

    And ... one of my favorite SRV clips:


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