currently i own an classical nylon string acoustic and an electric guitar. i am looking to purchase a new acoustic guitar most likely a steel string and i was wondering on the merits of buying a 12 string as compared to a 6 sting with a steel string or a better classical. as guide to how much i can afford: i am willing to spend up to $700 NZ which is about $445 US
12 Strings really have a lot of depth in their sound
also what effect if any will it have on my developemnt of my playing
12-strings tend to be slightly louder than 6-strings, because there's twice as many strings vibrating. As consanguinei mentioned, they have a very rich sound -- this should give you a good idea if you've never heard one before.
A good 12-string isn't too much harder to play than a 6, although some things will take adjustment. In particular, fingerstyle takes a bit of adaptation -- you have to be more attentive to posture. Actually this will benefit you when you go back to a 6-string, it's kind of the "if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" principle.
Most songs you can play on a 6-string will sound fine (or even better) on a 12, but there are exceptions. In particular, barre chords higher up the neck are harder to play and can sound a bit "weird," and playing leads is a bit different because of octave vs. unison strings (explained in the link below).
Whether or not to buy a 12-string versus a standard 6 depends on a lot of factors, including your style of play, usual genres, etc. My 12-string was the first acoustic I owned, and the one I still play most, but that's just me. The easiest way to decide would probably be to go to your local store and try a few songs on a 12. See if it sounds good and is comfortable to play. Always buy a 12-string locally, so you can try before you buy -- this is a good idea for any guitar, but an absolute necessity with 12-strings because there's so much more you need to take into account.
Most "good" 12-strings start around $500-600 (USD), but there are exceptions. For example, I got my Seagull (a Canadian brand) for a mere $385.
I've been putting together a thread that explains all this and more in detail, check it out:
It seems like with every 12string related thread made, obeythepenguin posts and provides loads of good information.
But it seems like you want to know the advantages to owning a 6 string vs a 12 string? Well, 1st off, the two sound very different. They tend to sound a bit more "full", because of the extra strings. But some people dislike this sound, so remember, try one out to see if you like it. Some prefer 6 to 12, and vice versa.
However, while 12strings do have that "fuller" sound, tuning them takes twice as long (mathematically that is; there's twice as many strings), and I can only imagine how much of a pain it would be to restring one. However, go and try one out, and then decide for yourself if you like the sound of a 6 or 12 string.
It's really a matter of preference and what kind of songs you play. Technically any song that can be played on a 6-string can be played on a 12-string, but not always vise-versa. This doesn't mean that one or better than the other, it's really about what type of music and style you play. Do you play fingerstyle or do you just mess around with chords? Questions like that can definitely help you choose between the two. I myself would prefer a 6-string as my first steel-string and get a 12-string as my second, but it's really up to you. The person that knows you best is yourself.
Sir Penguin, you must have ALOT of free time responding in a paragraph everytime.
Write a book, will you?
Write a book, will you?
Gibson SG FTW