6 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Play A 12-String Guitar

I really think the world would be a better place if more people knew about 12-String guitars. I remember when I first showed my friends my 12-string and they threw me off, saying “why the heck would you play one of those” they had never played one themselves, so I can understand why they wouldn’t know why. But now they are sitting there playing their dull-sounding guitar, while I’m having the experience of my life. So to share this secret with more people, here are the reasons why I think you should get and play a 12-string guitar.

1. You’ll Get More Beautiful Chords

Credit: Daniel E. Cook

There are two factors, that make chords sound better on a 12-string guitar.

The first is that you’ll play more strings at the same time which makes for a fuller, richer chord. The second factor is the string configuration. You’ll get a chorus effect, which is caused when the dual strings vibrate together. They can’t really be in phase with each other, which creates a shimmering effect in the sound.

Those two factors help create the unique sound that 12-string guitars are known for. Chords sound heavenly and epic at the same time.

2. Has a higher volume output

You’d be surprised by how loud an acoustic 12-string can get. In many cases, especially when strumming, it’s almost twice as loud!

Some of my friends have been shocked by just how loud of a sound they can produce. It can fill up any room, without an amplifier or microphone.

The reason for this is that the configuration of strings will produce sound across a wider frequency spectrum and the strings at the top are doubled. You’ll also be applying a greater force overall when you play. All of this adds up to an insane amount of loudness.

3. You Allready Know How to Play

If you can play a 6-String Guitar, then you can play a 12-string.

Any melody or chord will be the same as on a 6-string, so there’s really not much of a learning curve to speak of for those who already play guitar.

It works just the same way a 6-String does, despite having some drawbacks. If you get an Acoustic 12 string, bending notes will be close to impossible. And then we have the double pressure required to press down on the strings. Still, despite these drawbacks making it a little bit harder to play. It will not be a matter of if you can play. The question instead is, how quickly you can get used to it.

The biggest thing that held me back from playing a 12-String guitar every day, was due to the pressure. It just hurts the fingers to press down so hard for long periods of time. Luckily, I got used to it after a few months, and now it’s easy.

4. Unique Sound

There’s something special with melodies and chords being played on a 12-string. Nothing else feels quite like it.

Some people listen to Pink Floyd’s – Wish you were here, without knowing that the guitar they hear is a 12-string. But it’s such an iconic and unique sound.

Some people try to re-create the 12-Strings sound by using a 6-String guitar and computer software. But why’d you do that? It’s really hard to replicate the sound without owning one of these guitars. And what adds a little bit of uniqueness, is that everything you play will sound a bit different each time. This is because you won’t be able to always hit the double strings.

It’s a little bit hard to explain, but because it has 12-strings, whenever you play, it can be hard to hit every string you intend to. While you may hit the lower octave string all the time, you may not hit the higher octave one.

This may sound like a drawback, but it actually adds to the enjoyment. And it really gives the sound life and uniqueness.

5. It’s A Collectors Item

This may sound strange. But before I got my first 12-string. Do you know how many times I had encountered someone owning or playing one?

None!

There are 72 million people playing guitar, and even more people who own them just to hang up on the wall. I’m not saying, go buy a 12-string guitar just to hang up on the wall. But it would certainly look more interesting than a normal guitar.

And it’s a conversation piece. The sound alone is so interesting, and In a world of 6-String guitar players, there aren’t too many 12-String players around or let alone, people who’ve even touched one.

You could say, you’ll be joining a special club if you do get one.

6. You Can Get Started for Cheap

Price is not always what guitarists look at. But it’s nice to know that you can get a 12-String guitar for less than a hundred bucks.

12-String guitars are on average, more expensive than a 6-String, but they still don’t cost an absurd amount of money.

Thomann and a few other instrument distributors have their own brands of guitars which can be cheaper than more recognized quality brands such as Fender, Gibson, and Yamaha.

If you don’t know if this type of guitar is for you. I definitely recommend buying a $100 one for starters. The thing is, even if you get a more expensive one in the future. Guitars tend to sound different, and it can be good to own a cheap one as well as an expensive one.

My first 12-String guitar cost just $100, and despite now owning a huge collection of guitars. I tend to use the $100 one every now and then, and I’m still proud of owning it. Just goes to show that price is not always a factor in how good a guitar is.