All of the guitarists at least once would have desired to play a 12-string guitar. It is the coolest thing that ever happened to the guitar world. However, a 12-string guitar is harder to play. It is what most of us always think.
So, the answer to this question is yes. A 12-string, either acoustic or an electric guitar, is way harder to play than a six-string guitar. The stretch of the strings is greater, and the neck width and neck thickness are different. Along with it, the closeness of the strings is also different in a 12-string guitar than in a normal 6-string guitar.
So, if you want to play a 12-string guitar, we must inform you that you will find it hard to master it. But, you do not need to worry about it anymore if you are here reading this article. Here, we will not only inform you how hard it is to play a 12-string guitar, but we will teach you how to learn and play it with ease.
Hence, to master the art of playing a 12-string guitar, we ask you to give this article a proper read. It will allow you to have proper grip over any 12-string guitar.
4 Reasons Why 12 String Guitar Harder To Play
Everyone asks why it is hard to play a 12-string guitar when it looks the same, sounds a bit the same, and has the same chord pattern. So, for you to understand it with ease below, we will provide you with four major reasons that make a 12-string guitar harder to play than a six-string guitar.
Great neck width and thickness
One of the major reasons for a 12-string guitar to be one of the hardest types of guitar to learn and play is the width and thickness of the neck.
If you compare a 12-string guitar with a regular six-string guitar, you will find that there is a big difference in the width and thickness of their necks.
To accommodate 12 strings on the fretboard of a guitar, the manufacturers have to enhance the width of the guitar neck.
So, when the width of the guitar neck is increased, the producers also have to increase the thickness of the guitar to add durability to the neck.
When the neck of width and thickness of the guitar is changed, your picking style will also differ from a normal guitar.
So, when you grab a 12-string guitar, you find it hard to place the right chords. In short, the enhanced width and thickness of the guitar neck is the reason that you find it hard to play a 12-string guitar.
Though there are other reasons too, this is one of the most important and most defining reasons.
Less space among strings
We know that we said that the neck width is great on a 12-string guitar, but it is not great enough to accommodate all of the 12 strings with the same string space as you find on a six-string guitar.
So, on a 12-string guitar, the most unusual thing that you will find is closeness among strings.
Six of the strings of the guitar are placed with the same spacing as one on a six-string guitar or even more. But then the rest of the six strings were placed with about negligible space between the strings.
These strings are placed so close to each other that a beginner can never play them with ease. So, if you are a beginner and try to play a 12-string guitar, you will end up buzzing the guitar.
It is the most important and common reason that will make things hard for you while playing a 12-string guitar. So, if you want to overcome this issue, you will have to master your fingerpicking technique.
Larger in size
The body size of a 12-string is one of the most common reasons that you will find it hard to practice. We have told you before, too, that if you want to master any guitar, you will have to overwhelm your guitar body.
You need to dominate the guitar. Those who are being dominated by the guitar they will never become great.
So, when you see a 12-string guitar, you will notice that the body size of these guitars is a bit large. We also call them jumbo guitars in informal terms.
So, when you shift from a regular six-string guitar to a 12-string guitar, you will witness a great difference in body type and body size.
It is something that makes things hard for most guitarists to master or even play a 12 string guitar. But, if you are really dedicated to playing a 12 string guitar, this thing will not be as hard as it looks.
You only need to practice the guitar a bit, and after some jamming sessions, you will be able to play the guitar only if you have mastered other things too.
Barre chords are hard to play.
Barre chords are some of the most important yet one of the hardest things to play on a guitar. For beginners, playing guitar on a regular six-string guitar is hard, so how will you expect them to play it on a 12-string guitar.
On a 12-string guitar, the stretch and the tension of the strings are a bit high, and this makes it harder for you to practice barre chords. Along with it, we all know that while playing such chords, we need to mute certain strings and play some.
This is what we feel is difficult on a six-string guitar, so how do you think to do it on a 12-string guitar?
All in all, if you want to master playing a 12-string guitar, then you either need to be great at fingerpicking, or you need to be an amazing guitarist.
Difference Between 12 String Acoustic and Electric Guitars
One of the things that I was asked a lot about being a guitarist is the difference between a 12 string acoustic and an electric guitar. It is something that most of us want to know, for you let us remove the curtain again.
Below there are mentioned some of the most common differences between these two guitar types.
So, if you want to know, the major difference between these two guitar types is the tonal difference. This is the same thing that you find in a six-string acoustic and electric guitar.
So, a 12-string acoustic guitar will always sound soothing, smooth, and calm. However, on the other hand, an electric guitar having 12 strings will sound more metallic, sharp, and fresh.
Practical Playing Unity
Here comes the most varying thing about a 12-string acoustic and electric guitar. If you’ve ever played or even heard both of these guitars, you will admit that a 12-string can never be played with other instruments.
It is one of those rare instruments that you can only play alone; it will never complement other instruments.
However, on the other hand, a 12-string electric guitar can be played with other instruments just like a six-string electric guitar. This type of guitar is good to play at concerts and during jamming. So, this is one of the major differences between these two types of guitars.
Single String Playing
SIngle string playing in these two types of guitar is also different. On a 12-string acoustic guitar, it is a bit easy to play fingerstyle tones as differentiating the strings is easy in it. Also, you can combine and play two strings, and they will sound almost the same.
While on a 12-string electric guitar, things are different. You can never play two strings together as they will sound odd. Also, the width of the neck of a 12-string electric guitar is a bit lower than that an acoustic one. So, you will find it hard to play single-string tones on it.
4 Tips To Learn 12 String Guitar Easily
We know that it is hard to learn a 12-string guitar, but it is not impossible. So, if you want to learn a 12-string guitar with minimal effort, follow the tips below.
So, if you want to play a 12-string guitar with ease, we suggest you practice fingerpicking. It is one of the most important things that you will have to do to play a 12-string guitar.
The reason behind it is that a 12-string guitar is mostly used for fingerpicking. So, this is something you need to master. So, first, master it on a regular guitar and then shift to a 12-string guitar.
We know that there are other factors like great neck width and more string tension, but this is the most important thing. Other things are easy to do, but you cannot survive on a 12-string guitar with lousy fingerpicking.
Do not practice barre chords.
Barre chords are hard to practice on even a six-string guitar, so how will you be able to practice on the 12-string guitar? So, if you want to learn a 12-string guitar, we suggest you first learn the basics and, after mastering the basics, shift to the advanced features.
Most guitarists think that they know how to play a six-string guitar, so they can also play a 12-string guitar too. But, this is not how things work. Those who think this way do never master the art of playing a 12-string guitar.
So, if you wanna master the art of playing a 12-string guitar, we suggest you first hold the basics and then move to the advanced things.
Master playing a high-action guitar first
No one would like to play a high-action guitar. It is one of the hardest things to do, and above all, it offers a lot of pain. But, if you want to play a 12-string guitar with ease, learn to play a high-action guitar.
A 12-string guitar has high string strength and tension, so those who love to play easy-to-play guitar will never be able to play a 12-string guitar.
You will not believe it, but I also started my career with a high-action student guitar, and now I can play any guitar available. So, to master the easy-to-play guitars, you first need to learn those guitars that are the hardest to play.
If you wanted to know if a 12-string guitar is harder to play or not, then this article would have been a treasure for you. We are sure that if you have been through the article above, you must have found answers to your issues.
Above in the draft, we have offered you a solution to all of your issues. Along with it, we have clearly defined some of the reasons responsible for making a 12-string guitar hard to play. Moreover, you also come to know the difference between the 12-string acoustic and electric guitar.
All in all, the draft has fulfilled all of your needs. But, if you feel anything missing, do let us know. We’d love to answer your issues.
Which is better, a 12 or 6 string guitar?
It is something that cannot be answered directly. This all depends on your musical taste and mood. If you ask me, then both of them are better for different occasions. When you are on stage rocking the world, a six-string guitar will be perfect. But, when you need peace and calmness, then there can be nothing better than a 12 string acoustic guitar. So, in different places, both of them are amazing.
Are 12 string guitars louder?
Not at all, but if you connect them to an amp, they can be as louder as you want them to be. A 12 string guitar, especially the acoustic one, is one of the most soothing types of guitar I have ever played. It is calm, relaxing, and above all, it soothes your mind. So, it is not true that these guitars, especially the acoustic ones, are louder. The electric ones are supposed to be louder.
How much tension does a 12-string guitar have?
On a standard note, E3, the tension of a 12 string acoustic guitar is 18.12. However, if you ask in totality, then the tension will account for 173.64. Along with it, the tension of a 12 string guitar differs depending on the string type, the guitar type, and the type of tuning you demand.
Is a 12-string guitar good for beginners?
In simple words, it is not good for beginners. So, if you are a beginner and trying to play a 12 string guitar, you will waste your time. Along with it, doing this may also alter your playing style, and you will not be able to play a six-string guitar finely if you start with a 12 string guitar. Moreover, if a beginner starts to learn a 12 string guitar, it will take time, and this might end their interest in learning guitar.