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I am thinking of buying a 12 string to add some options for songwriting and recording projects. I am looking for something that plays well (many 12 strings are a bear), intonates well, sounds good, and has electronics. I am OK with either a solid or laminate guitar if it fits the criteria. Any suggestions.

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I have played and actually like the Martin D12X1AE ... This is just a hunch on my part, but I actually think the High-pressure laminate (HPL) back and sides and the Stratobond laminated neck might contribute to a stronger and more stable 12-string construction and be better able to cope with the higher string tension.  At well under $1,000, this guitar looks, plays, and sounds very nice.

Here's a you tube video for the Martin D12X1AE - I'm sure there are others...


I just went through this - I was innocently doing research on the Internet for 12-string guitars for a possible FUTURE purchase - and ended up buying a Giannini Craviola 12-string - solid spruce top, laminate pau-ferro/morado (Bolivian rosewood) back and sides:


I think you would be remiss if you did not consider one of these - great tone, very comfortable to play - mine has no electronics, but they do make them with electronics.  Here's a link to Amazon (where I bought it from) for the one with electronics:

Also, check out the 7 12-strings available at Wolfe Guitars in Jupiter, FL - "my" shop:

I've played the Tacoma - and it is sweet!  Here's pics of the 3 under $1,000:

2011 Breedlove Solo C35/SMe 12 string


Tacoma EM912


Ovation USA Balladeer 6751



And, of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Seagull and other Godin 12-strings:

And a link to the specs:



Another thought - Carvin!

  Cobalt C980T12 12-String Jumbo Acoustic/Electric
The C980T12 is a 12-string jumbo-cutaway instrument with an AA solid spruce top, and rosewood back and sides finished in high gloss. The body features abalone sound hole purfling and body trim on the front of the body, and white binding on the back of the body. The Cobalt's special internal X-bracing yields a sweet acoustic tone with superb depth and brilliance, and provides strength for a long life. The Fishman™ Matrix pickup and Fishman™ Prefix Plus-T electronics provide the ultimate in amplified acoustic tone. Standard Features:
- Premium rosewood back & sides with AA spruce top
- Gloss finish
- Cutaway jumbo body w/ X-bracing
- Set neck w/ dovetail neck joint
- Solid mahogany neck, satin finish
- Bound rosewood fingerboard
- Notched abalone diamond inlays
- Bound rosewood headstock w/ inlaid logo
- Abalone sound hole purfling and body trim
- Grover™ full-size Rotomatic tuners
- Gold hardware
- 25.4" scale
- 20 medium acoustic frets
- Rosewood bridge w/ ebony pins
- Fishman™ Matrix pickup, Fishman™ Prefix Plus-T electronics
- Built-in tuner

LIST PRICE: $1839.00
DIRECT: $899.00
SALE: $799.00


I've never played a Carvin 12-string, but I have played a friend's 6 string, and they are nice - great action - check them out - - and they give away a $500 gift card once a month! -


I agree with Jud. There was a time when Guild was the best 12 string and Yamaha 12 strings were my second choice. I never liked the old Martin 12 strings, but the new ones from the D12X1E up are all excellent guitars. I'm told by the Martin folks that Stratabond is definitely stronger than mahogany. 

Wow. Lots to think about. I never heard of the Gianinni. Looks interesting. I played a low-cost Martin that sounded pretty good recenlty. Wonder if it was the D12X1AE. I'm not sure it had electronics, but it did have the laminated neck. Seems there was a pretty decent sounding Takamine, too. Also curious about Seagulls and Recording Kings. I've purchased 6 strings on-line with pretty good success but I'm not sure I would do that with a 12 string. Seems dicey. Is it completely unrealistic to think I might find an American made guitar in that price range?

The Gianninis are made in Brazil. Seagulls are made in Canada (pretty close!), and Godin (the parent company) does have an electric guitar facility in New Hampshire.
The guitars I posted pictures of from Wolfe - the Tacoma is US made, the Ovation is as well - not sure about that Breedlove...
I ordered my Giannini from Amazon - my friend ordered a Seagull S6 through them, too - both successful purchases, IMHO. They have a good return policy...
Check out - they are the US Giannini distributor - there is a dealer list there - maybe one close to you? Also, if you end up with Giannini GAS, e-mail Georges @ etros - he'll sell me a hard case for $160 (cheapest online is $250 or so) - maybe he'll sell you a GWSCRA12-EL direct for a good price...
The Seagull is also a great, if more conventional-looking, choice. And definitely research the Carvin - made in Korea, but set-up in CA.
Have fun looking!

If you played a Martin 12-string with a laminated neck, then it had to be the D12X1AE ... Martin currently only makes 4 different 12-string models and that's the only one under $1,000 and also the only one with the "Stratabond" laminated neck.  As far as I know, all D12X models come with the built-in Fishman Sonitone pick-up.  Here's the link to Martin 12-string models currently available.

The "X" series Martins are currently made in Mexico, but under strict Martin supervision.  Still, they are not "American Made" ... Unfortunately, I don't think you'll find any 12-string actually manufactured in an USA facility for under $1,000.

Just FYI, I checked Craigslist for Illinois and found a couple of these in the $400-$550 range.  Not sure where you are in the state, but here's the link to one for sale in the Sherwood area:

and another in Columbia, MO

I've had great luck finding bargains by shopping Craigslist locally and going to see/play before I buy.

So, the Breedlove I posted is definitely NOT US made? Alas...

Floridagull ... I wouldn't say anything definitely, but I've been told that the lower priced Breedloves are manufactured from USA materials in the orient (China? Korea?) but then "inspected and set-up" in the States. 

I wasn't sure about the Solo series...

I'm not positive either. 


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