Top 12 String Guitar Songs


There is no comparison for the robust sounds and qualities you can get when playing your instrument.

If you love the sound of an acoustic guitar, you may want to consider choosing a 12 string guitar because of its available range of tonal variation. 12 string guitar songs when played take advantage of a fuller sound, which
has a sparkle thanks to the use of octave strings.

Many classic rock songs were made strictly to be played on a 12-string guitar, including “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, and “Hotel California” by The Eagles. Early blues and folk musicians relied heavily on the unique sounds that only the 12-string guitar possesses.

The wider neck and extra strings might take some time to get used to if you started playing guitar on a 6- stringed guitar if you want to play 12 string guitar songs, a substitute to a 12-string guitar will not come close to the robust sound and sparkle your ear craves.

In no particular order, here are some 12 string guitar songs that are sure to keep you feeling challenged, but still are enjoyable to play.

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd was released on September 12, 1975.

The way David Gilmour performed the intro, it was made to sound as if the guitar was being played through an AM radio. The concept was to create a listening experience as if a musician was playing along to a song they
were listening to on the radio.

The solo is overdubbed using a six-string guitar. Overall, the effect of this song makes it a timeless classic worth playing on your own.

Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi

“Dead or Alive” may have been a single released by Bon Jovi on March 3, 1987, but it was created d to be played using a 12-string.

The song is an homage to the heroes of the Wild West, who were both hated and admired.

This classic is a signature of the band and was certified in 2015 for going quadruple platinum. Hotel California by The Eagles Don Felder wields a 12-string acoustic guitar when making the intro for “Hotel California.” With the stroke of every note and chord, “Hotel California” is one of the best songs hands down to play using a 12-string.

Both the intro and chord pattern for the verse uses eight measures. Initially, the song was played in B-minor.

However, E major is also within the song to add to its richness for depth.

Guitar players will relish the chord progression and the harmonies during the solo a the end.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones.

The Rolling Stones is an influential rock band that has inspired countless guitarists. And the song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is perfect for the 12-string.

Although Keith Richards used an acoustic 6-string guitar tuned to an open E or D, a 12-string guitar deserves to be used to enjoy the rich tones and sound playing this number. Keith used another guitar on top of the first
using Nashville tuning. The second guitar used was set similarly to a 12 string with the lower octave strings missing in action.

Using tips Keith had gleaned along the way from other seasoned musicians, he was able to deliver a higher ring.

Ghost Riders In the Night by The Outlaws

the outlaw
Put on your ten-gallon hat and your cowboy boots. You’ll need both when you whip out your 12-string to play this classic hit by The Outlaws.

Created as a nod to the Wild West in its heyday, “Ghost Riders In The Night” is a lot of fun to play.

Not only is the song one of the Top 100 Western songs out there, but enthusiastic guitar fans also love to play this song on their 12-string for the full range of sounds. The solo gives you a good challenge and being able to tackle this song provides you with a much-needed rock classic to add to your arsenal.

More Than A Feeling by Boston

After five long years, Boston finally managed to finalize & More Than A Feeling. The verses are executed in D major, and the chorus is in G major.

The chord progression used in “More Than A Feeling” is also used in the song “Walk Away Renee.” The solo is unique because it uses mordents and inverted mordents, both of which are more commonly found in the baroque style of music.

As a classic of modern rock music, this song has been voted by many as a top song for the 12-string guitar.

Free Falling by

Tom Petty is one of those guitar players who valued their Rickenbacker 12-string guitar. Ever since he witnessed The Beatles perform “A Hard Day’s Night,” he realized how the unique sound that inspired him, was created by George Harrison’s 12-string guitar.

The color and sounds created using distortion with a 12-string is the only thing that can bring certain songs to life when played.

When it comes to the song "Free Falling was created with the 12-string in mind from the very beginning. The Rickenbacker is used to create the mini-solo.

Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds

The Byrds
Influencing guitarist greats like the late Tom Petty, The Byrds utilized the Rickenbacker to produce the song, “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

Many of the songs played by The Byrds showcased the unique jangy sound that can only be produced by a 12-string. The sound that fans craved from The Byrds can be attributed to guitars like the Rickenbacker. Many guitar enthusiasts agree that Mr. Tambourine Man, along with other classics make for a fun time playing.

A Horse With No Name by America

the america
The song A Horse With No Name wouldn’t enjoy that je ne sais quoi sound without the inclusion of a 12-string guitar. Although the 12-string was not a predominant force in this song, it cannot be denied that the influential sound and overall feel of this hit relied on its use.

A lot of fans of the song were confused about who originated this folk classic and accidentally attributed it to Neil Young. Funny, but no one seemed to make the connection that this song pushed Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” from the number one position on US pop charts.

Either way, it’s an excellent choice for an acoustic 12-string guitar.

Colours by Donovan

The song “Colours” was Donovan’s second hit single in the year 1965. The musical style displayed in this song showcased Donovan’s signature style as a folk musician in the bend of Woody Guthrie.

If you want to open up the capabilities of your acoustic 12-string guitar, this selection is a definite crowd pleaser to show off your taste and guitar skills.

The Only Living Boy in New York by Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel
When Simon was left alone because Garfunkel was away for a film shooting, writing Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon created his music off of his current emotional state.

If you want to be a well-rounded musician on your acoustic 12-string, there’s no finer duo to select a piece of folksy-style music to set the mood.

Like The Way I Do by Melissa Etheridge

And last but not least, in order to break up the boy’s club of musical selections that are worthy of playing on a 12-string guitar, enter Melissa Etheridge with the song, “Like The Way I Do.”

This song is the second single from Melissa Etheridge’s debut album; it is filled with passion, desire, and pain from the tumultuous downsides to a relationship that has become a bit messy.

You could probably rock out to this song on an electric guitar, but it would be far better suited to be belted out on an acoustic to do it justice.

Appreciate Your 12-String Guitar

The 12-string guitar provides a unique musical experience that beckons avid fans of the guitar to try their hand playing some of their favorite songs. You may be surprised at how much an extra set of strings can transform
sound and create a depth of quality and richness that cannot be matched.

The neck and body of a 12-string are reinforced to handle the extra tension placed on the guitar, and it takes some getting used to handling an elongated neck that makes room for 12 tuning machines. However, it is all
worth it.

As the strings vibrate out of phase, you get this fantastic shimmering effect.

Whether you pick up an acoustic or electric 12-string guitar, you are in some good company. Musical influencers such as George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Jim McGuinn have all taken up the 12-string guitar to produce some fantastic and memorable music.

Many guitar players may pass up on a 12-string guitar, solely because it is typically thought of for its use as an accompaniment and not the primary player for creating music. However, there are so many classic and favorite
songs that would not have had the draw that they did, if they didn’t include a 12-string guitar.

You may decide to play unison strings, but you don’t want to miss out on hearing how octave strings provide a high-pitched quality that is akin to the sound of a bell. Still a little underrated compared to 6-string guitars, pick
up the 12-string, choose a top song, and enjoy the magic.

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