Best 12-String Electric Guitars – Top 5 Reviews in 2024

Best 12-String Electric Guitars

What are the top contenders among 12-string electric guitars?

Navigating the vast sea of options can be overwhelming. A simple Google search yields over a hundred choices, each accompanied by differing opinions and conflicting information.

In this article, I aim to offer a fresh perspective. Rather than inundating you with a laundry list of brand names, I’ll take a practical approach to comparison.

I’ll evaluate each guitar based on factors such as tone, playability, price, and real-world user experiences.

Let’s dive in…

Top pick

Rickenbacker 360/12C63 FG

Rickenbacker 360/12C63 FG

The slim-profile neck ensures effortless chord playability.

Editor’s choice

Gretsch G5422G-12

Gretsch G5422G-12

The 5422G-12’s neck, bridge, and tuners are impeccably sturdy.

Best value

Ibanez Artcore AS7312

Ibanez Artcore AS7312

The AS7312’s mahogany neck, adorned with a comfortable Artcore contour.

Best 12-String Electric Guitars Reviews

1. Rickenbacker 360/12C63 FG Fireglo

Rickenbacker 360/12C63 FG

Behold the pinnacle of high-end 12-string guitars – the extraordinary masterpiece that is the Ricky series. Among its illustrious lineup, the red-and-yellow 330/12 and the 360/12 stand out as quintessential icons. The Rickenbacker 330 boasts remarkable affordability compared to its counterpart, the 360, with its differentiating factor being a standard mono output, while the 360 offers a stereo output, facilitating the assignment of signals from distinct pickups to separate amplifiers.

Both models share exquisite craftsmanship: a maple body, rosewood fretboard, hi-gain pickups, and a 24-fret neck. Acoustically, the Rickenbacker transcends imagination, delivering abundant sustain and the quintessential jangle alongside a harmoniously balanced tonal spectrum.

The slim-profile neck ensures effortless chord playability, while the three-way-selector permits swift transition between neck and bridge pickups, or a blend of both. Moreover, a fifth tone pot regulates the lead volume of the neck pickup, doubling as a bass/treble equalization control.

Schaller tuners adorn the headstock, intelligently positioned for instant string identification. Complementing this design ingenuity is a six-way adjustable bridge with individual saddles and the iconic ‘R’ tailpiece, simplifying re-stringing endeavors.


  • Iconic aesthetics
  • Superb tonal versatility with comprehensive switching capabilities
  • Mono/stereo outputs for added flexibility
  • Distinctive Rickenbacker trapeze tailpiece


  • The neck of the 330 model may feel slightly stubby

2. Gretsch G5422G-12 Electromatic Classic

Gretsch G5422G-12

This guitar stands out as an absolute marvel in our lineup of the finest 12-string electric guitars, boasting unparalleled beauty and craftsmanship. Adorned with exquisite gold hardware and pickguard, it effortlessly complements its natural finish and meticulously bound body. The opulent gold “G”-cutout tailpiece adds a touch of luxury to its allure.

Featuring an arched thinline hollow body, it delivers ample volume for intimate practice sessions sans amplifier. The inclusion of blacktop Filter’Tron pickups ensures a harmonious blend of chime and jangle, while maintaining robust punch and warmth, aided by its hollow construction. Its thoughtfully spaced strings cater to both strumming and arpeggiating, offering firm bass tones and vibrant yet balanced trebles without the need for additional compression.

The 5422G-12’s neck, bridge, and tuners are impeccably sturdy, promising steadfast tuning and impeccable intonation once set. Despite the inherent tendency of 12-strings to be neck-heavy, Gretsch’s strategic placement of strap buttons ensures optimal balance, alleviating strain on the player’s back.

The neck strikes a harmonious balance between the familiarity of a traditional acoustic 12-string and the playability of an electric guitar, making it a delight for flat-picking enthusiasts. With its intuitive setup and individual volume controls for neck and bridge pickups, along with master volume and tone controls, achieving distinct lead and rhythm tones is effortless.

Versatility is the name of the game with this guitar, transcending genre boundaries to excel in jazz, blues, rock, and pop alike. From pristine cleans to searing overdriven tones, it effortlessly covers the spectrum of musical expression.


  • Consistent tone with impressive sustain
  • Impeccable intonation across all strings
  • Robust body construction for enhanced presence and classic chime


  • Limited finish options available
  • Slightly heavy headstock due to die-cast tuners

3. Ibanez Artcore AS7312

Ibanez Artcore AS7312

The AS7312 12-string guitar from Ibanez draws its inspiration from the AS73 model, renowned for its semi-hollow body ideal for rock and jazz enthusiasts seeking versatility. Crafted with compact dimensions, it seamlessly accommodates players accustomed to solid-body guitars, while its semi-acoustic nature eliminates the need for amplification, adding to its allure.

Constructed with a double-cut maple body featuring a carved, creme-bound top and bound “f” holes flanking the bridge, the AS7312 boasts an elegant gloss Sweet Transparent Cherry finish. Equipped with an ART-1 bridge and stoptail bar, both chrome-plated, this model ensures stable tuning and reliable performance. Its active ACH humbuckers deliver a wide range of tones.

The AS7312’s mahogany neck, adorned with a comfortable Artcore contour, pairs harmoniously with the bonded rosewood fretboard, facilitating effortless access to all 22 medium-sized frets and dot inlays. With a medium fret size, even novice players find fretting and chord transitions more manageable. Additionally, individual volume and tone controls, along with a 3-way pickup selector, cater to diverse musical preferences.

For those seeking an affordable yet high-quality addition to their collection, the AS7312 Artcore by Ibanez presents an excellent value proposition.


  • Striking cherry finish enhances aesthetic appeal
  • Affordable price without compromising quality
  • Exceptional playing comfort
  • Versatile and responsive pickups
  • Performs well with various effects or clean tones


  • Relatively narrow saddle width for a 12-string guitar
  • Limited availability of suitable cases (ASB 100C Case / ASB 180 Bass by Ibanez may suffice)
  • Preference for real pearl dots over acrylic for a premium touch

4. Guild Starfire IV 12-ST

Guild Starfire IV 12-ST

The Guild Starfire IV ST-12 is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, featuring a laminated wood body with double-bound f-holes reminiscent of classic design. With its double-cutaway chassis and wooden center block, it shares similarities with the iconic Gibson ES-335, yet distinguishes itself with its twelve-string configuration.

Crafted with a set mahogany neck and a 24.75-inch scale reminiscent of Gibson’s style, the guitar boasts a luxurious 240mm (9.5-inch) radius fingerboard, available in either Indian rosewood or ebony depending on the manufacturing period. Cream neck binding and pearloid dot inlays add a touch of elegance to the instrument.

The bridge and tailpiece, anchored and tune-o-matic, ensure precise tuning stability, complemented by twelve 18:1 sealed nickel-plated tuners and Guild LB-1 ‘Little Bucker’ pickups. The wire loom offers two volumes, two tones, and a three-way pickup selector for versatile tonal options.

Visually striking with a maple strip along the neck, Art Deco-style stepped pickguard, and reflector control knobs, the Starfire IV ST-12 exudes sophistication.

Featuring a small neck profile and D’Addario EXL150 Nickel Wound Super Light strings, the guitar offers effortless playability with a factory-set action that allows the strings to resonate freely without causing fatigue, even after extended playing sessions.

The LB-1 ‘Little Bucker’ pickups deliver a rich tonal spectrum, ranging from vintage single-coil clarity to thick PAF-style humbucker warmth, making it suitable for various musical genres, from clean jazz chords to bluesy licks.

With its wider string spacing compared to classic twelve-strings like the Rickenbacker, thanks to its 43mm nut, the Guild Starfire IV ST-12 offers increased comfort and playability, making it an attractive option for semi-hollow guitar enthusiasts without the hefty price tag.


  • Exquisite aesthetics
  • Versatile tonal options
  • Comfortable playability


  • Limited range on tone pots
  • Buttons for volume and tone controls may feel somewhat inexpensive.

5. Danelectro 66-12

Danelectro 66-12

The bridge/tailpiece of this guitar boasts six saddles for precise intonation adjustment. Equipped with classic Kluson-style machineheads and UFO volume and tone knobs, it exudes vintage charm. Additionally, featuring F-hole binding and Danelectro pickups, it embodies classic aesthetics.

The ’66 model boasts a bolt-on maple neck from 1966 with 22 medium frets, offering a nostalgic touch. Its alder body, semi-solid in design, contributes to its resonant tone. A fat single-coil at the neck pickup, coupled with a master volume, master tone, and three-way pickup selection, ensures versatile sound options. The C-shaped neck and retro zero fret enhance playability and string height regulation, respectively, making it a well-organized instrument.

With its semi-hollow alder body, 25″ scale, and lipstick bridge pickup, this guitar delivers a Rickenbacker-esque jangle. Meanwhile, the neck pickup, resembling a P-90, excels in jazz and blues genres, showcasing the guitar’s versatility and clarity.

Crafted with quality construction, it offers excellent playability and a wide range of tones. The semi-hollow design enhances resonance, while the hardtail adds excitement to performance.


  • Quality construction
  • Excellent playability
  • Versatile tones


  • Relatively high price tag; case not included
  • Operation of the tone’s coil-split switch can be challenging.

Guide to Buying 12-String Electric Guitars

Transitioning from a 6-string to a 12-string electric guitar involves a few adjustments. While the fundamental aspects of guitar playing remain the same—picking, fretting, and strumming—there are notable differences in technique and feel.


Playing a 12-string guitar can present some challenges. Pressing two strings simultaneously requires a bit more pressure on the frets compared to a 6-string guitar. It’s crucial to ensure consistent spacing between string pairings at both the nut and the bridge. While soloing may be more challenging on a 12-string due to its primary function as a rhythm and texture instrument, it’s still achievable and offers a distinctive effect.

To accommodate the 12 strings, these guitars are constructed with some variations: longer headstocks, wider necks, and flatter fretboards. Finding a neck that fits comfortably in your hand is essential. Additionally, experimenting with softer strings can greatly enhance your playing experience.


The most common tuning for 12-string guitars involves an octave difference between the lower four strings (E, A, D, G) and unison tuning for the higher strings (B and E). The subtle variations in string tuning contribute to the natural chorus effect that is characteristic of 12-string guitars.

Final Word

When it comes to the realm of 12-string electric guitars, there’s a world of sonic possibilities waiting to be explored. These instruments offer a unique tonal palette and a rich, textured sound that can elevate your music to new heights.

As you embark on your journey to find the best 12-string electric guitar for your needs, remember to consider factors such as playability, build quality, and tuning stability. Look for a guitar that feels comfortable in your hands, with a neck profile that suits your playing style. Explore different models and brands, and don’t hesitate to try out several options before making your decision.

Whether you’re drawn to the shimmering chorus-like effect of a 12-string or the lush, resonant tones that it produces, investing in a high-quality instrument will undoubtedly enhance your musical experience. So, dive in, unleash your creativity, and let the captivating sound of a 12-string electric guitar inspire your musical journey.

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