10 Best Starter 12-String Guitars (Under $1,000) • Acoustic Tuesday 299

Looking for that jingly and sparkling tone that’ll charm your ears without breaking the bank? Look no further than these 10 guitars.

In today’s episode, we’ll explore the wonderful world of 12-string guitars. I truly believe you don’t have to break the bank to get your hands on a quality 12-string. That’s why I’m highlighting 10 starter acoustic 12-string guitars that are under $1000! That’s right, I’ve been on a mission to find you guys the best budget-friendly 12-strings that don’t skimp on quality.

I’ll include beauties like the  Yamaha FG820-12, which boasts a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides, which makes for a full, rich sound, as well as classics like the Guild D1212—a guitar that sings with warmth and clarity. The D1212 is a testament to Guild’s legacy of crafting fantastic 12-string acoustics.

Whether you’re a seasoned 6-string player looking to branch out or a newbie who wants to dive straight into the deep end, I’m confident this list has the perfect guitar for you.

Remember, it’s not about the cost, but about finding the right instrument that fits your style and inspires you to create. Tune in to this episode of Acoustic Tuesday to start your 12-string journey with confidence.

Featured in this episode…

  • Trevor Gordon Hall  
  • The Real Andy McKee  
  • Caitlin Canty  
  • Gems On VHS  
  • Play Country Blues  
  • Turn to Blues  
  • Chicago Music Exchange  

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  1. I always wanted a 12-string but didn’t get one until recently. After a bit of research I ended up with a Martin D-X2E 12 String. Spruce top and HPL back and sides. I think it sounds amazing and it’s just fun to play. The biggest surprise to me was the weight! I normally play a classical nylon and when I first picked up the Martin I was stunned by its heft – metal tuners, double the metal strings, probably the HPL too. $650? I consider it a good deal.

  2. Hey, Tony
    I’m new to TAC and I’m stoked to be a new member.
    I like this episode and I like all of 12 strings that you introduced. I am glad to be a TAC member and I’m all in to learn more about this great instrument. Thanks again. DB

  3. The 12-string guitar is my primary instrument; it matches my voice range and I love the full sound. I have a really fine Patrick Raymond custom 12 jumbo but don’t like to take it out to places where it might get dinged, so last year I bought a Crafter ABLE D-600-12/N, a dreadnaught size instrument for those occasions. It was $480 at Bay Tunes in Edgewater, Maryland and is the best bargain I’ve ever found. It has solid spruce top, laminated mahogany body and plays easier “Out of the box” than my Martin D-18. The tone is not as full as the jumbo but it is plenty for jams and song circles and it’s a truly well-made guitar.
    Crafter isn’t well known in the US (it’s an established Korean company dating back to 1972) but is popular in Europe and I don’t know any other US dealers besides Bay Tunes. It’s worth checking out and no, I have no connection with the builder or the music store. Just a delighted player.

  4. Forgot to mention – on my Guild D-1212, replace the bridge pins with Waverly ebony pins. No matter what you replace the original plastic pins with, you will need a 5 degree taper. The 5 degree taper is what a tech at Guild told me when I asked him about replacing the pins. Hope that is helpful !!! Have a great day!!!

  5. I have owned the Guild D-1212 since May of 2020. The $799 price tag is an incredible bargain considering this an ALL solid body guitar made out of African mahogany. The grain in the wood is simply stunning!!! Bone nut and saddle. But the most impressive part of this guitar is the sound. YES!! Jingly , jangly awesomeness!!! Plenty of sustain… and the sound will resonate thru your whole body. A nice warm tone with plenty of brightness and very responsive.
    You will want to change out the plastic bridge pins…. I put solid ebony wood in mine. It comes with a gig bag. I upgraded to a solid case. And this guitar is aging nicely…. you simply will not want to put it down!!! Highly recommend!!!

  6. I was able to pick up a Guild F2512, B Stock, for $649. Spectacular all solid rosewood, spruce jumbo. Traded a more expensive Taylor 750 but love the Guild.

  7. About next wk first guitar. Take a player you like (their playing )with you and try them all.
    1- looks. If you don’t like it you won’t pick it up ,to play it.
    2- fit. If it’s not comfortable you won’t play it very long.
    3- sound. If it doesn’t sound good to you you’ll grow tired of it and not play.So you and friend both play it.

  8. I own an Epiphone FT112 Bard 12. Bought it in1964 for 200 dollars. Still have won’t ever part with it. It is heavy and hard to play now age catching up with me. But it was fun for many years.

  9. what you didn’t mention and that I think should be mentioned…, is how easy is it to play bar chords on the guitar. Personally, I feel that bar chords should be relatively easy to play at the 7 fret. Then it would be string spacing.. how easy is it to “finger pick”. Not a technique that falls along with 12 string playing, but it attributes to overall playability for someone who plays solo more than in a group, where the 12 string is more of a background instrument.
    just my 2 cents. Thanks Tony and keep up the good work. I’ve picked up a bunch of great tips from your teachings.

  10. Have you ever tested out or considered Ovation 12 strings? Really unique sound and feel for a 12 string and if you plug it in, man it sings. Mine is a Standard Elite, so no Glen Campbell or Melissa Etheridge skills, but it’s in your $ range and worth a test ride.

  11. Of course you had to display Emerson’s handiwork. You’d have committed Daddy Suicide if you took it off too soon.