Is a 12-String Guitar Hard to Learn? Mastering the Extra Strings

All the youth guitarists either now or before must dream of playing a 12-string guitar at least once. Whenever their dream comes true, it leaves them with a big confusion. In such a scenario, they all have the same question, is it hard to play a 12-string guitar?

Unfortunately, yes, It’s harder to play a 12-string guitar compared to the 6-string ones. It’s because the 12-string one demands extra finger dexterity and string tension with a different neck thickness.

Also, this type of guitar is more prone to tuning instability and the maintenance is difficult as well. However, if you are planning to buy one, you should check this comprehensive guide on the difficulties of using a 12-string guide that must be helpful for you in many ways.

6 Reasons 12-Strings Guitar Is Hard To Play

Playing a 12-string guitar is challenging compared to its 6-string counterpart.

Many newbies mistake it as the same thing as the 6 string ones. It’s because they are not aware of the basic facts that make this type of guitar hard to deal with.

Even though it’s slightly difficult, it’s not impossible. So, once you are aware of all the small details that make the differences, it won’t be something above your skillsets.

If you are planning to buy one, check out our comprehensive guide on the best 12-string guitar.

Let’s first learn about the reasons why 12-string guitars are harder to play:

1.      Needs More Finger Strength

The additional strings on a 12-string guitar usually create higher tension. As a result, it requires more finger strength to press down the strings effectively. That’s why beginners might suffer from finger fatigue after playing this guitar for a certain period.

2.    Difficult to Pluck in Closure Strings

In comparison to the 6-string guitar, the 12-string one must have fewer spaces among the strings as the number of strings is twice. So, it’s difficult to pluck in a particular string without making a mistake. It becomes more difficult when you try to play it faster.

3.    Holding the Wide Fretboard Can be Tiring

To hold all the 12 strings in their specific places, the fretboard of this type of guitar must be wider than the regular one. That’s why it demands greater finger dexterity and precision. Because of the wider and thicker neck with thinner string, you might find it difficult to pick while playing it.

4.   The Body of the Guitar Is Bigger

Not just the neck and the fretboard, the body of the 12-string guitars is bigger. As a result, it becomes heavier and comparatively difficult to hold on for a long time while playing. So, not just playing it, but also mastering this guitar-holding style can be difficult as well. Carrying this jumbo-size guitar is another issue here.

5.   Can Easily Cause Tuning Instability with the Bare Cords

With twice the number of strings, 12-string guitars are more prone to tuning instability. Ensuring all twelve strings remain in tune can be challenging for sure. Not just the beginners, pro guitarists often find it difficult to deal with the additional tension exerted on the neck and bridge.

6.   Achieving Accurate Intonation Is Troublesome

Also, achieving proper intonation on a 12-string guitar is difficult even for professional guitarists. Getting the accurate intonation across all twelve strings requires advanced and professional adjustment of the guitar’s bridge and nut. If you fail, it can cause dissonant chords and a less harmonious sound.

Also, mastering the 12-string guitar involves adapting to a different playing technique compared to the 6-string guitar. Besides, maintenance for this guitar is another problem because of frequent string changes.

Difference Between 6 Strings and 12 Strings [Check The Chart]

For sure, there are many visible and functional differences between a 12 and a 6-string guitar. Once you will understand the differences it will be easier for you to know why they are not the same to play.

Here are the basic differences between a 12-string and a 6-string guitar:

Feature6-String Guitar12-String Guitar
Number of Strings612
String ArrangementSingle EADGBEDoubled strings
SoundRich, full-bodiedBrighter, shimmering
ToneDeeper and warmerOften brighter and jangly
FretboardLess crowded fretboardCrowded fretboard
String TensionGenerally lowerHigher because of doubled strings
MaintenanceStandard maintenanceRequire more frequent tuning and adjustment

Can A Beginner Play 12 Strings Guitar?

Even though mastering the 12-string guitar has a lot of challenges, beginners can certainly learn to play it with dedication and practice.

As a beginner, you should start with simpler chord progressions and gradually build finger strength and dexterity.

Also, you should take time to learn how to hold this jumbo-size guitar before you start learning it. It will help novices overcome the initial hurdles. Also, you should have enough patience, persistence, and a willingness to experiment with different playing techniques on the 12-string guitar.

Just remember that it’s not easy but not an uphill battle you must lose. So, if you have enough passion and manage to spend time practicing, you must do great with a 12-string guitar even if you are a beginner.

A Few Reddit Threads About 12-String Guitars Check out the following Reddit threads about 12-string guitars. You will find proper discussion and detailed reviews for the guitars. Also, you can find playing techniques, maintenance, and buying requirements as well. /r/Guitars r/12stringguitar r/ExtendedRangeGuitars

Pick Up The 12-Strings With No Hesitations!

As you see, playing a 12-string guitar is hard compared to a 6-string one. However, the concepts for playing both the 12 and 6-string guitars are the same. The differences in size, spaces between strings, and the higher tension created by this guitar are the basic facts that make playing slightly difficult.

However, even if you are not a pro, there is no reason to give up or lose hope. Just make sure to be punctual and spend time practicing. Success must come to you if you work hard. Best of luck.

You don't have permission to register