Most avid guitarists will admit, a 12-string guitar is one instrument that doesn’t have to be overly fashioned from some of the fancy materials to necessarily make sense. But, a quality 12-string sound is undoubtedly compelling and irresistible.
I have to admit; a 12-string guitar is one of the best invaluable assets you can add to your collection and it is notably one of the greatest instruments of our time.
By now you probably know that the kind of guitar strings your guitar comes with will always determine largely the kind of responses, feel and the general play you are likely to experience.
For about ten years now, I have always fallen a victim of wanting more guitars, in part, because of the need to change my musical style now and then in search of ‘that’ sound, but not until I bought my favorites, the Ibanez Artcore AS7312 and the Epiphone DR-220 12-string dreadnought.
I love the fact that these guitars boast a resounding breadth of sound every time I play them; the natural tone echo in the room is awe-inspirational. But, first things first, what could be the basics of a 12-string guitar? And why play a 12-string guitar?
Basic characteristics of a 12-string guitar
To honest, for beginners, this guitar can be intimidating when starting out. But forget the myths about its playability, if you can play a 6-string guitar, you can play a 12-guitar. If you have never played a 12-guitar, mostly they come with a wider neck to accommodate the extra strings.
Their strings are paired and are closely positioned with the convenience of single finger fretting for each pair. The lower pitched 4 strings are paired with a thinner string which you can tune for a higher octave. The high pitched 2 strings are usually paired with matching strings. If you have smaller hands; I suggest you try it out before buying one.
Reasons why you should play a 12-string guitar
As a serious seasoned or newbie guitarist, if you need huge chords, a little bright upper frequency accompanied by the unique modulation void in 6-string guitars, then you really can’t wait to try out your new 12-string guitar. But, what is more in for you;
- 12-string guitars will provide you that perfect filling space and rich tone you are looking for in improvised acoustic instruments. After the fingerpicking, they are full of the warm sound that will fill up your room.
- 12-string guitars bring closer to you the extra energy when strummed with remarkable resonation.
- If you love guitars with a larger headstock and a slightly wide fretboard, a 12-string guitar is your ideal choice. Particularly, this is to accommodate the extra strings.
- These guitars make it possible for you to achieve ‘Nashville tuning’. This is simply the practice of guitarists combining a set of 12-string guitar strings to pull off the sound similar to that of the ‘b’ strings in your six-string guitar.
- Apart from that, you can restring and tune the 3rd and 4th string of your guitar, with gauge strings to achieve an octave high note. The result is incredible sounding to complement your quest for the right sound. A good example is ‘wild horses’ by Keith Richards which has perfectly embraced ‘Nashville tuning’.
- In a 12-string guitar, you will find the convenience of using six pairs of strings, normally tuned either in octaves or for the first and second string pair’s harmony (E and B in most standard tuning). Consequently, you stand to hear sounds likened to the chorus effect you experience when playing an electric six string guitar.
- I find handling a 12-string guitar easy with growing experience and it is not so different from a six-string guitar when it comes to playing the notes and chords.
- Depending on how perfect your play is, you are likely to experience a potentially robust sound, more of chimey than boomey.
- A 12-string guitar is that instrument that can give you the extra edge you need for any unique style you may wish to play with respect to the genre of music in your mind.
- Do you want a guitar that makes it possible for evenly spacing of strings? Then a 12-string guitar will not only give you the playability but also the extra space of a wider neck. For beginners, the neck is the width of the fingerboard measured perpendicular to the strings.
- The guitar brings closer to you a closer fingerboard width, similar to that of a nylon string guitar or simply a classical one.
- Lastly, if you are a musical fanatic in need of a great instrument for accompaniment, a 12-string guitar is a great choice.
If you become an expert overtime in sophisticated fingerstyle techniques that a 12-string guitar favors, there is no doubt you will enjoy this instrument better just like probably you have had it with a six-string.
A 12-string guitar, depending on the specific design, would provide you with a very bold twang, especially when composing or playing classical. You can listen to ‘wish you were here’ by Pink Floyd for a taste of the feeling.
Fortunately, you have all the right reasons nowadays to go for a 12-string guitar than way back since they have become more affordable. Equally, you can add it as an extra second or plus accessory to your sound equipment for that diverse sound note and pitch quest.
You can try out different brands and types of 12-guitar strings before you buy your favorite. This will give you a feel of how best you can manage the fingering in the long run. Remember, this should be worth the savings. If you are a newbie with an experience with 6 string guitars, I would suggest you pick the most popular 12-strings models but check on their quality.
Nevertheless, never feel intimidated by these guitars, regular practice overtime could make you an expert guitarist. I hope you have found this 12 String Guitar reviews informative and you have all the whys and wherefores to own your next 12-string guitar.