Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 12-String Guitar

Jon Clemence
3 min readOct 28, 2022
Photo by Lucas Leon on Unsplash

I had to change out my car’s battery the other day. The normally simple procedure was made more complicated because there was a bracket securing the battery to the car. I could not quite reach the bolt to unscrew the bracket with my wrench.

I found out via a YouTube video that you needed an extra-long fixture to easily reach it — something any auto shop or gearhead would have, but not me. I eventually found a way to get the job done, but it would have been much easier with that specialized tool.

Too Many Guitars? You Mean Not Enough Guitars

There is a certain point for many of us where we start getting more than a few guitars — enough to unironically refer to them as a “stable.” At that point, we usually start branching out. We ask questions like, “Which guitars are missing from this collection?”

So we start buying the “new and different.” As for me, I started my current collection with a cheap Epiphone Les Paul Special. After a few years and a lot of saving up money, I expanded my collection to a PRS SE Custom 24 and a Godin Strat-style guitar. A little more time and savings netted me a replacement for my long-lost Seagull acoustic, a Deering banjo, a Danelectro, an Ibanez semi-hollow…you get the picture.

But there is one guitar type that I no longer have. It was special, it was different, and it filled in a hole in my collection. Yet it just didn’t stick.

The 12-String Question

The guitar in question was a 12-string acoustic by my favorite guitar brand, Seagull. It was well constructed and had a cedar top, which I prefer over spruce because of the darker, richer tones. Quality was not an issue; neither was the full, chimey sound.

And yet, it didn’t last. I had it for maybe a year before I sold it to acquire other gear. But why?

A Specialized Tool

In my experience, just like the extra-long socket wrench I needed to change my car battery, an acoustic 12-string is a specialized tool. There are certain songs it really works well for, but many others not so much.

In my case, I was finally able to play “Life By the Drop” by SRV the right way. And I…



Jon Clemence

Medium needs more guitar-related content. I. Am. That. Hero!