The twelve-string guitar offers a fuller sound than the six-string classical or acoustic guitar. Because of the doubled strings, it is able to produce chords in more diverse voicings and has a delicately beautiful tone when played softly, yet can also matchet the intensity of hard rock.
Although the twelve string has often been used for folk and country music, the instrument has become more and more popular in rock band’s of modern day. The power and volume of the instrument has led to heavier styles of music being played on it, such as grunge, punk rock and metal.
Also check out these best 12 string guitar options.
Four Reasons To Use A 12 String Guitar
- It is a unique sound that has been used by a different group of musicians over the years.
- It produces a different sound than most other guitars when played with the volume rolled down.
- It has lead to heavier music being played on it, such as grunge, punk and metal music.
- It looks cool!
Pros Of 12 String Guitars
There are several reasons why one would want to play a twelve-string guitar:
- There is a large sonic spectrum possible with this instrument. Not only can one play chords here and there; one can also play single notes on a 12 string, plucks and strums with ease.
- There is a fuller sound available with twelve-string guitars over six-strings because of all the doubled strings.
- A unique sound and tone that is different from other guitars is also possible by playing with the volume knob rolled down, producing a very soft and gentle sound that can be heard above almost any other instrument.
- It’s cool! Who doesn’t like a twelve-string guitar?
12 String Guitars Problems
Also there are several reasons why one would NOT want to play a 12 string guitar:
- The similar sound of a guitar and a twelve-string can be indistinguishable at times, which may make it difficult playing with other instruments.
- The doubled strings on this instrument will require more skill to play than other guitars, which may cause some to give up before they have truly gotten into the instrument.
- The most obvious reason not to use the twelve-string is that it doesn’t sound good with any music, no matter how skilled one is at getting that great tone from their instrument.
Some Uses Of 12 Strings
Many famous bands and artists have used the twelve-string guitar as their main instrument of choice. Two of the most well known are Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Bob Dylan, both whom used a Rickenbacker twelve-string guitar.
The wonderful tone of a 12 string guitar has made it popular for use in recording studios as well. Many major artists such as James Hetfield of Metallica, and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith have recorded their albums on twelve-string guitars.
Sometimes the twelve-string guitar’s sound is very unique, especially when it is used in combination with different effects. These effects can be added with microphones or by using pedals. The most common effects used by twelve-string guitarists are chorus, delay, and reverb.
12 String Vs 6 String Guitar
A 12 string guitar is certainly a unique instrument. There are several reasons why one may choose to play a 12 string instead of the conventional 6 string acoustic or classical guitar. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- The fullness of sound is greater than that of the six-string guitar
- Playing chords takes less effort and is easier on the hands than with a normal six-string guitar because there are doubled strings
- First of all, the sound is huge, the 12 string guitar can produce chords in more diverse voicings. This gives a greater range of sounds than with a six-string, making it easier to pick up and play.
Is A 12 String Harder To Play?
While it is true that the doubled strings of a 12 string guitar will require more skill to play than a typical six-string, the difference between the two instruments in terms of difficulty is not very much. So, if you have a decent amount of experience on guitar, you should have no problem getting into a 12-string guitar with relative ease.