Can I Play A 12 String Like A 6 String Guitar? Most people are familiar with the standard six-string guitar. But if you ask them if they know anything about 12-string guitar, they are most likely to give you a shrug. For guitar enthusiasts, other guitar variations that have more strings are more exciting to play. It is especially that the difficulty level of playing such a musical instrument is higher compared to a standard guitar.

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Can I play a 12 string like a six-string guitar? Yes, you can. While there are small differences in terms of the guitar’s tone and feel, the way it is tuned and played is the same. Aside from that, the notes and chords of a 12 string guitar are entirely transferable.

Guitar Tuning

6-string and 12-string are similar in terms of tuning. A standard guitar with six strings is tuned from low to high, specifically “E, A, D, G, B, e.” On the other hand, 12-string guitars are tuned exactly. The only difference is that the notes are doubled.

You can observe that the high “e,” as well as the “B” strings, are doubled in unison. Both of these notes have a similar twin string right next to them. Meanwhile, “G” to low “E” strings are doubled with an octave above them. You can write this tuning as “eE, aA, dD, bb, ee.”

You can play the 12-string guitar just like a traditional 6-string by utilizing the same chords and strumming ideas. Also, you can play all the songs you have learned using a standard guitar without making much adjustment.

How Do 12-string Guitars Look?

Aside from having a larger headstock that integrates double tuners, a 12-string guitar only has minor changes. The changes to the guitar’s body handle the additional tension of the instrument due to its extra strings.

The neck of a 12-string guitar is beefier and broader to provide extra space for the extra tension on its neck imposed by its additional strings. This difference is the first thing you can notice between a traditional 6-string guitar and a 12-string guitar.

Aside from that, most 12-string guitars have shorter necks to assist with the added tension due to added strings. Usually, a traditional guitar has a 25.624-inch length while 12-string guitars feature a 25.5-inch length. While these differences are minor, even a beginner can notice them from afar.


To conclude, guitars are not only about types and variations. These musical instruments also come with different numbers of strings and levels of playability, as well as the skill needed to play them. For example, a beginner who wants to figure out how to play guitar is recommended to start learning a standard 6-string guitar first. Afterward, they can switch to learning more complex guitars such as the 12-string guitar that has more strings. Shorter fingerboard, and wider necks.

If you already know how to play a standard guitar, challenge yourself to learn more complex instruments like 12-string guitars. But before that, you may want to try the 7 and 8 string guitars first aside from this guitar variation.

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