How To Play 12 String Guitars for Beginners

A quality 12-string guitar is compelling and irresistible for everyone. It is one of those models in the guitar industry that doesn’t require any other feature for the promotion. Just the 12-string feature is more than enough to make people fall in love with it.

How To Play 12 String Guitars

How To Play 12 String Guitars

Is a 12 string guitar harder to play? To be honest, we believe this version of the guitar is for experienced players.

They can enjoy its versatility and tone diversity and also be creative with it in a million ways. The only issue is with the beginner guitar players.  It can be intimidating for them.

You may like: Best 12 String Acoustic Guitars

First, they don’t have any experience, and second so many features can baffle them. Their skills won’t complement the 12-strings, which it deserves.

How To Play 12 String Guitars

The gleaming, shimmering sounds of a 12 string guitar is so thrilling. It has captivated the listeners for decades.

But the real question is, is it easy to play? Well, it depends on your skills and passion. This guitar is equivalent in most aspects to a traditional 6-strings. There are some small differences between these two models, but when it comes to filling up space, having a richer tone and warm sound, the 12-string model beats the 6-string significantly.

If you are interested in learning this musical beast, keep on reading to shorten your learning curve and have command on 12-string skills quickly.

  • It will take some time to be comfortable with the 12-string model. So, start with one string only or a single tone. Understand how it works and sounds different than the 6-string.
  • Test the same thing on different strings one by one to check out the tone of each string. This will help you to differentiate the key aspects of this model.
  • As soon as you start feeling comfortable with it, play with the paired string. Move the two-note shapes around, and next test the third note. It is a good trick to learn each note and the tonality of the paired strings fast.

That’s it. You can learn to play 12 string guitar in these simple steps.

Understand The Sets of Strings

The most difficult part is understanding the string structure of this guitar.

It is because the notes are doubled which confuses many people. People who try this instrument for the first time don’t realize this and think each note plays differently.

In this guitar, the strings are paired and closely positioned. For example, there are double chords that retain the original shape (EE, AA, DD, GG, BB, EE). Though you use your fingertips on them; you need to put a little bend on your finger to fret the paired notes.

Due to these pairs, you need to alter your form when playing a note on it. Allow us to give you an example.

When you start with a single note, move to two fretted pairs. You can use both middle and forefinger for this purpose. Also, move the 2 note shape around. This is how you will achieve a comfortable feel and comprehend the uniquely paired string.

This is why experts also never recommend tuning this guitar on your own especially if it is your first time with it. Take it to the store owner or get some help from an experienced 12-string guitar player. These guitars are far more of a pain to tune than the normal axis.

An experienced player will not only teach you how each pair of string works but also tune it to resonate with the standard string.

Other than that, try to learn the G string as much as you can.

This is the only string that confuses people the most as it is the highest string on the 12 string guitar. It has a different kind of sound, and it is rather difficult to tune it too.

Because the G-string is under the most tension. While tuning your guitar, if you won’t be careful about it, you can break it or won’t get the sound or pitch you exactly need. In case you want to tune it on your own, there are many tutorials on YouTube that can assist you in understanding the tuning or the working of the G-string.


A friendly reminder: Don’t think a 12 string guitar can’t play like a 6 string guitar.

It can; it contains the sound of a 6-string guitar but it is capable of more complex and fuller sounds which are hard to achieve with the 6-strings. Professionals singers and guitar players produce difficult tones on it as they know it is more versatile and fuller in sounds.

Also, remember that the neck of a 12 string is also a little wider. It can be a little uncomfortable in the beginning because many players aren’t used to the extra heft.

However, with some practice, you can have command on it and in fact relish performing new tricks on it such as fingerpicking, due to string spacing.

Show Comments

No Responses Yet

Leave a Reply