#1
So I've recently just gone out a brought a fender tele, once some more pennies are saved I'll be looking for a 12 string next (within the next 6 months - 1 year).

During that time I'll be on the hunt. Being located in Melbourne, Australia, it is sometimes difficult to come across any brand that isn't Taylor, Gibson, Fender Martin, Yamaha and Maton. Now I already have a Taylor and Mini-maton, as well as a SG and Tele and not the biggest fan of Martin, but I have played a really nice Yamaha (that was friggen cheap!) that sounded incredible. They do make very underrated guitars.

What are some other 12 string makes that are worthwhile searching for and trying in the mean time? Budget can be anywhere from $1000-$4000 depend how much I fall in love with it.

Takamine, Lakewood? I've heard are really good but are generally a little hard to come across here.
#2
Yamaha are good, but I would be thinking about repairability if it is a long-term investment, so Taylor or Maton. Taylor 12 strings sound good, and the very easily resettable neck joint means that the long-term structural deformity to which 12-strings are prone over time will not be a major problem, in spite of our lousy importer warranties. The deformity/neck reset/repair/warranty issue is the reason I would put Maton as the second choice. - One of the reasons I'm a Maton fan is their good customer support here in Oz, I also often like their tone (at least the old ones) better than Taylor.

I'm no longer a rabid Martin fan either.
#3
Tony Done

My guitar teacher has a Maton 12 string. He's sent it back twice under warranty. I thought they were a quality guitar but obviously not so much.
#4
Kimt0wn

Yeah, the modern ones might be more lightly built than the old ones. - I've never owned a recent one, the youngest of my current two is about 15 years old. At least he got decent warranty service, which is more than I did with my Martin! I once had a late 70s-early 80s Maton 12-string, probably an FG-80, it was built like a tank.
#5
Tony Done

Yeah that would make sense. His is only a year or two old and the neck was splitting from the body. That might be more a general 12 string issue than a Maton issue though.
#6
So I just read through the acoustic brand sticky with all the pros, cons and such. It seems it's a fairly contrary opinion that 'Guild' make the best 12 strings in the world? Never really heard of them but upon googling they appear as a really nice guitar on the eyes. Unfortunately Google doesn't really give much info about how they perform on the ears. I might try and track one down and have a strum, although a quick ebay search suggests their is none for sale in Australia at present so it might be hard.

Disappointed there is no reviews for takamine, lakewood or Maton in that review thread. Would have been really interesting to see how they compare to other major brands.
#8
Yamaha guitars are available pretty much worldwide and are virtually always of good quality. HST one of the best value-for-money 12 strings I've played was the Washburn WD10S - very playable and sounded great. I cannot attest to its longevity but that can be problematic with all 12 string guitars - if you use light gauge strings and/or tune down a couple of steps it should be fine (PS. if you want to use standard E tuning I would recommend you go no higher than 10 gauge strings).
#9
$4000 is your limit? Get a RAINSONG 12 string! Carbon fiber...NEVER have to worry about the neck warping on you or any of the other problems with a wood 12 string. Plus Rainsongs are great guitars. I think you can find one for under $3000.
#10
Here's my 2 cents:
Get a Taylor...the 555 (or 355) if you want to tune it to pitch or
the LKSM if you like the sound of a lower tuning (3 half steps down).
I've owned all three of these at one time or another and have been very pleased.
I've never sent any of these instruments in for repair.
I now own a Bozo Bell Western 12 string built in 1997...for me, its perfect.

Re Guild:
Good brand, a bit over built IMHO. Not quite the 12 string a taylor is, but close.

Re Martin:
I've owned 2 ...a 12-20 and a 12-35...Horrible instruments. Just not for me.

I think Taylor is making some of the best production 12 strings in the world today (though I really dislike their 6 strings).
The reverse it true for Martin.

Keep in mind this is one guys opinion (albeit an informed opinion).
I play acoustic exclusively, mostly fingerstyle ( John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Peter Lang) , and I've been at this for almost 50 years
#11
I've owned a few 12 strings in my time, Martin, Yamaha, Yairi and an Epi, but I have a 1995 Maton CW80 that has been with me now for 15 years and it has amazing tone. Full and lush, and for a 12 string I don't find the neck too much of a handful. The solid QLD maple CWs from this time, in my opinion, are some of the best sounding guitars Maton ever made. I'd thoroughly recommend you give one a try if you come across any.
#12
Quote by gabbarker
Here's my 2 cents:
Get a Taylor...the 555 (or 355) if you want to tune it to pitch or
the LKSM if you like the sound of a lower tuning (3 half steps down).
I've owned all three of these at one time or another and have been very pleased.
I've never sent any of these instruments in for repair.
I now own a Bozo Bell Western 12 string built in 1997...for me, its perfect.

Re Guild:
Good brand, a bit over built IMHO. Not quite the 12 string a taylor is, but close.

Re Martin:
I've owned 2 ...a 12-20 and a 12-35...Horrible instruments. Just not for me.

I think Taylor is making some of the best production 12 strings in the world today (though I really dislike their 6 strings).
The reverse it true for Martin.

Keep in mind this is one guys opinion (albeit an informed opinion).
I play acoustic exclusively, mostly fingerstyle ( John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Peter Lang) , and I've been at this for almost 50 years

Haha I love my Taylor 6 string! But I will look into their 6 string range. I didn't realize the neck warp was such an issue with 12 string guitars???

Quote by Dissenter70
I've owned a few 12 strings in my time, Martin, Yamaha, Yairi and an Epi, but I have a 1995 Maton CW80 that has been with me now for 15 years and it has amazing tone. Full and lush, and for a 12 string I don't find the neck too much of a handful. The solid QLD maple CWs from this time, in my opinion, are some of the best sounding guitars Maton ever made. I'd thoroughly recommend you give one a try if you come across any.

They do sound great to me though, my guitar teacher has kind of turned me off them though due to the horror stories he has had with his. I mean everyone is different, as is every guitar.

At this stage, if the neck is such a big issue, then I won't bother spending big, and probably just go with a Yahama. Top of the range one is like $2000 and a quality sounding guitar.
#13
Quote by Kimt0wn
Haha I love my Taylor 6 string! But I will look into their 6 string range. I didn't realize the neck warp was such an issue with 12 string guitars???
It's not really. The trouble begins when players who are stronger than they are smart, tune them to concert pitch. They shouldn't be tuned higher that Eb-eb with light strings, or D-d with mediums. D-d with lights, better still.
Quote by Kimt0wn
They do sound great to me though, my guitar teacher has kind of turned me off them though due to the horror stories he has had with his. I mean everyone is different, as is every guitar.
Taylor has the best entry level 12 string going right now, their 150e.: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/150eES2
Quote by Kimt0wn
At this stage, if the neck is such a big issue, then I won't bother spending big, and probably just go with a Yahama. Top of the range one is like $2000 and a quality sounding guitar.
There's no sense spending that much money of your first 12 string. Have a look at that Taylor.
#15
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Taylor/2016-500-Series-556ce-Grand-Symphony-12-String-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar.gc

I love these goddamned things, they're within your budget if you want something new.
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#16
Quote by Kimt0wn
I didn't realize the neck warp was such an issue with 12 string guitars???


Already told you that the Rainsong doesn't suffer from neck warp at all. The action will be the same (perfect) forever. At any temperature or humidity. Stays in tune forever plus you don't have to downtune it. Well under your $4000 max price, too. Plus it sounds amazing.
#17
I don't think you'd go wrong with the Yamaha or Taylor options.
Personally I've had an Alvarez 12 string kept tuned to concert pitch since 2001 (and wasn't new when I got it) and the neck is still just peachy. I'm not convinced it's that much of a concern anymore. True, I keep extra lights on it, but the thing is a jumbo so it's plenty loud.
If you get the chance, that price range could provide some options as far as vintage Guild models--but there are specific year ranges people rave about.
Carbon fiber intrigues me too, but I wouldn't be keen on dropping that much cash without having played a carbon fiber guitar.
#18
Frogstar: try to find a CF guitar to play. They are superb. I bet if you can wait a few more years the price of CF guitars will eventually drop.