- 12 string guitars are great for experimenting with new sounds and textures.
- After a new 12 string guitar on a medium budget?
- Here are seven strong choices to check out!
Many guitarists stay on the lookout for tools to add to their arsenal to expand their sound, so what could possibly be more exciting than another guitar? Well, maybe one with twice as many strings!
Used traditionally in folk and 60’s rock, 12 string guitars are also quite useful for experimenting with new sounds and textures. However, as you probably don’t want to spend a fortune on something new and unfamiliar, we’re bring you the best 12 string guitars under $1000.
What Are The Best 12 String Guitars Under $1000?
Our pick for the best 12 string guitar under $1000 is the Martin D-X2E. It features an ideal cost-benefit relation and unmistakable Martin quality.
For those on a budget, the D’Angelico Premier Fulton LS is hard to beat. And for the really discerning players, the Taylor 254ce is our premium choice.
Here are our candidates for the best 12 string guitars under $1000.
- Martin D-X2E 12-String Guitar (Our Pick)
- D’Angelico Premier Fulton LS (Best Value)
- Taylor 254ce (Premium Choice)
- Fender Villager 12-String V3
- Guild F-2512E
- Ibanez AEG5012
- Luna Art Vintage 12-String
1. Martin D-X2E 12-String Guitar
With its built-in Fishman electronics and the player-favorite High-Performance neck taper, the Martin D-X2E 12-string acoustic-electric guitar is a delight to perform with.
- Martin quality at an affordable price
- Tonal balance and enhanced projection
- Comfortable to play
Martin took their renowned 12 string guitar D12X1AE and reimagined it to create the D-X2E 12 String. This guitar provides you with true Martin quality and craftsmanship, but at an affordable price.
As a matter of fact, with the D-X2E 12 String, you get an incredible cost-benefit relation. This is our pick for the best 12 string guitar under $1000.
- Acoustic-electric guitar with HPL back and sides
- Fishman MX electronics built-in for plugged-in performance and direct recording
- Compensated TUSQ saddle for precise intonation
- X bracing for tonal balance and better projection
The D-X2E 12 String is a dreadnought-sized model with a Sitka spruce top and figured mahogany pattern high-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides.
This 12 string also features a new mother-of-pearl pattern inlay on the rosette and fingerboard. This further adds value to the D-X2E 12 String, making it as impressive to look at as it is to play.
This 12 string is also comfortable to play. It features a low-profile neck, fingerboard, and bridge, all made from select hardwood.
Additional features include a 16″ radius, 20 frets, 25.4″ scale length, Chrome Closed Gear Tuning machines, white Corian/white tusk for the nut and saddle, and nut width of 1.875″.
The D-X2E comes gig-ready! It is equipped with a Fishman® MX preamp system and strung with Martin’s Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 strings. To top it off, the D-X2E 12 String ships with a soft gig bag featuring headstock, bridge, and endpin protectors, a durable water-repellent exterior, and foam padding.
If you are looking for a fantastic 12 string guitar that does not break the bank, the Martin D-X2E is a strong choice.
2. D’Angelico Premier Fulton LS
This Grand Auditorium acoustic features a smaller, 16-inch-wide all-mahogany body for stellar tone that delivers robust bass and shiny high end.
- Delivers exceptional playability
- Robust bass and shiny high end
This company started back in 1932 offering handcrafted acoustics for New York’s jazz players. Today, D’Angelico is one of the most respected guitar makers, especially in the jazz community. Some notable players include Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Isaiah Sharkey (John Mayer), and jazz guitar legends Russel Malone and Kurt Rosenwinkel.
D’Angelico offers its very first 12 string guitar with the Premier Fulton SL, offering a fantastic instrument at a budget price.
- Smaller grand auditorium 12-string acoustic-electric
- All-mahogany body for enhanced with robust bass and shiny high end
- Mahogany neck with torrefied Merbau fingerboard for playability and response
- D’Angelico preamp with onboard tuner
- Comfortable “C”-shape profile neck makes chords easier
The D’Angelico Premier Fulton LS features a smaller, 16-inch-wide all-mahogany body. But don’t be fooled by its smaller size, this DAngelico delivers a great tone with thick bass and a shiny high end.
It features a mahogany neck with a torrefied Merbau fingerboard for better playability and response. The neck features a player-friendly slim “C”-shape. Its contours are matched to the natural curvature of your palm for ultimate comfort.
This guitar comes gig-ready with a D’Angelico MG-30 Preamp/Tuner for amplified acoustic tone.
Additional features include 20 medium jumbo frets, X-scalloped bracing for enhanced resonance and rugged durability, and a Torrefied Merbau bridge for added acoustic resonance and sustain. Overall, the D’Angelico Premier Fulton LS is an excellent choice for any guitarist, offering a comfortable and smooth playing experience.
3. Taylor 254ce
This Taylor 12-string’s complex and chorusing octave interactions are sure to breathe new life into your licks, chords, and leads and will inspire new textures for your arrangements.
- Accurate sound reproduction
- Quality Taylor 12-string at a comfortable price
- Easy to play
The Taylor 254ce 12 string guitar is right around the $1000 mark. It is our premium choice for this list, as it offers Taylor tone and construction for a much lower price than typical guitars of this brand.
- Workhorse 12-string acoustic-electric guitar
- Comfortable Grand Auditorium body style projects at a reduced size
- Layered Indian rosewood with Sitka spruce for a full-bodied sound and present top
- Matte-finished mahogany
- ES2 electronics for natural acoustic tone without a mic
The Taylor 254ce 12 string features a construction that blends the best of traditional guitar making with modern traits. Firstly, there’s the reduced Grand Auditorium body style, with a tapered waist and graceful cutaway.
It offers a familiar playing feel with a solid tone that can cut through in a mix. Secondly, it features the layered-wood approach which offers the tone you’d expect from Taylor but at an affordable price. The top is Sitka spruce top for focus and definition. It combines nicely with a layered rosewood back and sides for an authentic Taylor tone.
This 12 string comes with Taylor’s Expression System 2 (ES2) electronics, featuring a three-section proprietary pickup behind the saddle.
(For the best pickups for nylon string acoustics, check out 7 Best Pickups For Classical Guitar (That Aren’t Trash))
This pickup offers clear and accurate sound reproduction and sits in the perfect spot for the best possible tone. Additionally, there’s a master volume control as well as a pair of tone controls and a discreet phase switch for onboard feedback suppression.
The fingerboard is made of West African Ebony and has 20 frets with a 25.5″ scale length.
Additional features include close gear with chrome buttons tuning heads, ebony bridge, nut width of 1.875″, and ships with a gig bag. In short, you get Taylor quality at a fraction of the typical cost.
4. Fender Villager 12-String V3
A folk icon since it was first introduced in 1965, the Fender Villager 12-string acoustic-electric guitar is an outstanding instrument at an amazing price point that continues to inspire players of various styles over 50 years later.
Fender knows a thing or two about guitars, and the Villager 12 string is no exception. This affordable instrument not only sounds good but features a striking appearance that will surely create a strong impression.
The Villager is comfortable, durable, great-sounding, and with an affordable price tag.
- Solid-spruce-topped 12-string kicks out incredible projection and tone
- Smaller footprint and enhanced comfort with mahogany slim C-shaped neck with walnut fingerboard
- Fishman Presys pickup system delivers outstanding amplified tone
- Built-in tuner lets you tune without complicated and confusing handheld tuners
- Viking walnut bridge with NuBone saddle offers more tone support
The first thing that stands out on the Fender Villager 12 string is its unique body shape. This shape is a Fender exclusive and will look fantastic on stage, giving you a vintage-inspired look with modern appointments.
The top of the Fender Villager is made of Spruce, providing this instrument with durability, brightness, and dynamic range. The fingerboard and bridge are made of walnut while the neck is mahogany.
This 12 string also ranks high on playability, thanks in part to its comfortable slim-taper “C”-shaped neck.
Additional features include a matching painted 6-in-line headstock, Gloss Polyurethane finish, laminated mahogany on the back and sides, classic gold pickguard, a bone nut, and a vintage-inspired Viking walnut bridge with a compensated NuBone saddle that enhances tone on this instrument.
Besides choosing woods that help project sound forward, the Fender Villager 12 also features an optimized X-bracing system that adds further tonal support to the solid spruce top.
When plugging in, you can rely on the trustworthy Fishman Presys pickup system, which comes complete with tuner, tone (bass, middle, and treble), and phase controls.
5. Guild F-2512E
Here's a Guild with all the makings of a classic: an arched-back jumbo body, a rich 12-string sound, and a vintage-inspired look - all at a great price.
- Constructed with great attention to detail
- Rich sound
Guild has been making 12 string guitars for over 70 years. They decided to pay tribute to that history with the F-2512, giving it the best of both worlds: construction for the modern musician but with several vintage features.
The result is a guitar that sounds good and is durable, with a look that resembles the golden years of folk music.
- Sitka-on-maple jumbo body for bold and bright sound
- Arched back reminiscent of Guild’s early acoustics
- Lighter and louder than comparable guitars
- Slim C-shaped neck with Indian rosewood fingerboard for comfort
- 1960s red tortoiseshell pickguard
The Guild F-2512E features solid construction with great attention to detail for an instrument at this price range. This guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top and laminated maple on the back and sides.
The neck is made of mahogany, while the fingerboard is Pau Ferro. The F-2512E has 20 frets and is comfortable to play.
This 12 string comes with a pearl rosette and tortoiseshell guard for a special retro feel that is complemented with an arch back to make it a true testament to the history of Guild.
Additional features include bone nut for enhanced sustain and clarity, 1-7/8″ nut width, compensated bone saddle, scalloped X bracing, Pearloid dots fingerboard inlays, satin polyurethane finish, 25.5″ scale length, and smooth action.
This guitar belongs to Guild’s Westerly series of acoustics and pays tribute to the company’s golden-era flat tops with its arched jumbo body and vintage traits.
6. Ibanez AEG5012
Featuring the same slimmer body depth design of past AEG offerings, the AEG5012 is an ideal performance acoustic.
- Great playability
- Stellar amplified tone
Ibanez has made its name by covering the need of musicians from every walk of life around the planet. The Ibanez AEG5012 hails from the company’s popular AEG line and features the same slimmer body depth design of the said line.
This 12 string guitar offers good sound, comfort and playability at a low cost.
- Slimmer body design for comfortable playing
- Spruce top with Okoume back and sides
- Okoume neck with purpleheart fingerboard for playability and response
- Ibanez T-Bar II under saddle and AEQ-TTS preamp system
- Ibanez Advantage bridge pins for keeping strings in place
The Ibanez AEG5012 features a spruce top with Sapele back and sides to provide a full and rounded tone. Its undersized AEG body shape helps avoid the boom of larger-bodied acoustics, making the AEG5012 a great choice for performing plugged-in on a budget.
The neck is made of Okoume and features a purpleheart fingerboard for improved playability and response.
For plugged-in performance, the Ibanez T-Bar II features an undersaddle pickup that captures palm hits and bass drum-like tones, adding to the versatility of this 12 string guitar. Another great addition (especially for a 12 string guitar) is an onboard tuner.
Additional features on the Ibanez AEG5012 include gloss polyurethane finish, 15.7″ radius, 24.9″ scale length, chrome die-cast tuning machines, plastic nut, and saddle. This guitar comes with Ibanez strings .010 – .047.
7. Luna Art Vintage 12-String
A worn satin finish and vintage-styled appointments give the Luna Art Vintage Dreadnought Cutaway A/E 12-string a nostalgic look to match its mature tone and response.
- Beautifully crafted
- Fishman Presys II electronics
- Comfortable to play
Luna Guitars has stood out in recent years for producing fantastic guitars and ukuleles. This company has a varied and growing line in both instruments and their presence in this highly competitive industry continues to grow each year.
The Luna Art Vintage Dreadnought Cutaway is a great choice for anyone looking for a 12 string guitar that sounds good and is affordable.
- 12-string acoustic-electric with a broken-in look
- Crafted from solid tonewoods (spruce, mahogany, and pau ferro)
- Comfortable “C” mahogany neck
- Versatile 15″-radius fingerboard with Moon Phase Inlays
- Fishman Presys II pickup system
This guitar features a distressed satin finish with vintage-style details and a single-cut dreadnought body. It features a mahogany body with a spruce top and a comfortable C-profile mahogany neck, and is rounded out with a warm and tonal Pau Ferro fingerboard, for added comfort to the guitarist.
The Luna Art Vintage 12-string guitar also has inlays with the brand’s typical design called Moon Phase. These inlays reflect the different phases of the moon on the frets where they are located and are a visually distinctive detail that adds to the aura of the instrument. Adding to the visual flair, the tuning pegs have been upgraded from cream to brushed nickel open gear.
This guitar has a 15” radius fingerboard which is very comfortable to play for guitarists of all styles.
As for the electronics, the Luna Art Vintage has a Fishman Presys II pickup system that allows you to connect to an amplifier or directly to the sound system of the venue or console. This system comes with a Sonicore pickup that is powered by the Fishman Presys II preamp, and offers 2-band EQ, output level, and phase controls.
To top it off, the Fishman Presys II also has a built-in tuner with a bright LED display so you can tune in any situation. It is very comfortable to play thanks to its 15” radius dipstick and its C-profile masthead.
In short, the Luna Art Vintage 12-string is a great option for 12 string guitar from a relatively new name in the guitar-making game.