Best Left Handed 12 String Guitars (For All Budgets)

Left Handed 12 String Guitar

Choosing the best left handed 12 string guitar for your budget, tastes, and ability is crucial to make sure that your practice sessions are both productive and enjoyable.

Although you most likely won’t find too many left-handed 12-string acoustic guitars in your local store, there are some great options for us out there.

In this article, we’ll look at my top 5 choices, from budget-friendly beginner kits, to premium instruments for intermediate and advanced-level guitarists. I was very careful to pick 5 solid options so as not to overwhelm you with decisions!

Disclosure: If you decide to purchase a guitar using the links in this article I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

What Is The Best Left Handed 12 String Guitar?

If you’re anything like me, you just won’t have the patience to wait potentially months for your local store to special order a southpaw guitar from the manufacturer – ain’t nobody got time for that!

Need a left handed 12-string acoustic guitar right now? Here are my top 5 readily available choices that you can pick up today!

If you’re in a rush, you can use the following links to jump straight to the guitars you are interested in. But make sure to also take a read through the end of this post where I will answer a ton of questions you may have about 12-string acoustic guitars.

The guitars below are arranged in order from the cheapest to the most expensive.

  1. Vangoa VA20CE
  2. Oscar Schmidt OD312CE
  3. Sawtooth Maple Series Jumbo
  4. Sawtooth Mahogany Series Dreadnought
  5. Martin D12X1AE-L

1. Vangoa VA20CE

Cheap Left Handed 12 String Guitar

On a tight budget, I’m going to send you over to the brand that really has us lefties covered when it comes to niche guitars – Vangoa. At the time of writing, the Vangoa VA20CE is just a shade over $200 – an incredible bargain.

Left Handed Vangoa 12 String Acoustic Guitar

LINKS TO BUY

Astonishingly, for such little money, the Vangoa is also bundled with a quality gig bag, plus a ton of other accessories such as a capo, headstock tuner, spare strings, and a strap. Check out the full list of included accessories below.

I have no doubt that for most, this won’t be their very first acoustic. So, for that reason, I almost question the point of the bundled accessories since the majority will already own most of the products. Still, they won’t add much to the overall cost, and I’m sure some players will find them to be of use.

The Vangoa VA20CE electro-acoustic won’t quite be able to go toe-to-toe with the guitars below, but then again, it is less than half the price of most of them! However, it will give tentative new players a perfectly solid taste of 12-string life without breaking the bank.

The guitar itself has a dreadnought body and features a Sitka spruce top with Sapele back and sides, and an Okoume neck with walnut fingerboard and bridge. A cutaway provides improved upper fret access, and it comes complete with built-in electronics to connect to an amp or recording device.

The black finish is complimented by a fully bound body to help protect the guitar’s edges from accidental damage. Plus the white binding and accents give the instrument a really classy, tuxedo-like aesthetic – there’s a clear Gibson Les Paul Custom flavor happening here!

Notice how the guitar doesn’t have a scratchplate? Vangoa has included one in the package, so you can decide which look you’d like to go for – a nice touch!

Psst… Not sure what a scratchplate is? Check out my guide to the different parts of the guitar.

Key Features:

  • Body: Sapele w/ Sitka Spruce Top
  • Neck: Okoume w/ 20 Fret Walnut Fingerboard
  • Electronics: 3-Band EQ Preamp
  • Gig Bag: Included
  • Accessories: Headstock tuner, capo, cable, strap, picks, cleaning cloth, spare bridge pins, pickguard, spare strings.

What I Like/Dislike About The Vangoa VA20CE

Like:

  • Includes everything you’ll need to get started with the guitar.
  • Low price without sacrificing quality and features.
  • Classic Sapele and Sitka spruce dreadnought body will give a balanced tone suitable for many styles of music.
  • Has the look of a guitar which is much more expensive than it is.

Dislike:

  • Dreadnought body size may be a little large for smaller players.
  • No built-in tuner.
  • Brand snobs may not approve.
  • No other color choices if black isn’t to your tastes.

Check out the video below for a great overview and demonstration of the Vangoa.

Overall, I recommend the Vangoa VA20CE as my pick for the best cheap left-handed 12-string guitar. You just aren’t going to find a more budget-friendly option than this excellent little package.

Check out the link above for more information plus owner reviews.

LINKS TO BUY

2. Oscar Schmidt OD312CE

Budget Left Handed 12 String Acoustic

If you would prefer a more traditional-looking instrument, then for just a little more money we can look at the excellent Oscar Schmidt OD312CE. For the extra cash, we get a slightly more premium guitar than the Vangoa, plus a respected and trusted brand name on the headstock.

Best Left Handed 12 String Guitar

LINKS TO BUY

For those who don’t know, Oscar Schmidt is owned by Washburn guitars, so you can be assured that the quality of this instrument will not be sub-par. Indeed, the brand is so confident in the OD312CE that you will receive a lifetime warranty with the guitar, versus only a year on the Vangoa.

The guitar itself is the common dreadnought body size and features the tried and tested spruce top and mahogany back and sides tonewood combination. This pairing is well known for producing well-balanced tones.

A mahogany neck is partnered with a 20-fret Rosetek (simulated rosewood) fretboard. Like the Vangoa above it features a fully bound body and neck for a really elegant aesthetic.

Electronics are handled by the excellent 4-band Barcus Berry EQ4T preamp system hooked up to an under-saddle pickup. This is a nice upgrade over the Vangoa’s electronics as it features an LCD screen plus a handy built-in tuner.

Other handy features include a cutaway for improved upper fret access, plus a nice low action for superb playability.

The only real downside to the Oscar Schmidt is the lack of any bundled gig bag, but that is easily remedied. Plus, I’m sure many of you who opt for this guitar will already own one anyway!

Key Features:

  • Body: Mahogany w/ Spruce Top
  • Neck: Mahogany w/ 20 Fret Rosetek Fingerboard
  • Electronics: 4-Band Barcus Berry EQ4T Preamp
  • Gig Bag: Not included
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Oscar Schmidt OD312CE

Like:

  • Traditional looks.
  • Electronics with handy built-in tuner.
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Classic mahogany and spruce dreadnought body will give a balanced tone suitable for any style of music..
  • Also a good option for intermediate players after something less pricey that they don’t have to baby.

Dislike:

  • Dreadnought body size may be a little large for smaller players.
  • No bundled gig bag or other accessories.

Overall, the Oscar Schmidt is another excellent choice for a budget left handed 12 string acoustic guitar. For just a little extra cash versus the Vangoa you are rewarded with a slightly higher quality instrument, backed up by a generous warranty from a well-known brand.

Check it out at the link below to read more about this fantastic guitar.

LINKS TO BUY

3. Sawtooth Maple Series Jumbo

Best Jumbo Left Handed 12 String Guitar

A significant step up from the Oscar Schmidt comes in the form of the Sawtooth Maple Series Cutaway. This is an excellent jumbo body sized option that comes with many premium features not usually found at this still affordable price point.

Left Handed Sawtooth 12-String Left Handed Acoustic Guitar

LINKS TO BUY

It is the first solid top 12 string acoustic to appear in this list, meaning it should have improved resonance and will also sound better as it ages. The top is solid Sitka spruce, while the gorgeous flamed maple back and sides will help to provide a clear and bright tone.

The larger jumbo body size results in excellent sound projection as well as a more balanced tone when compared to the more common dreadnought size.

The body is fully bound and incorporates abalone into the rosette and block inlays for a really premium aesthetic.

The bright and articulate sound of this guitar is further enhanced by the maple neck which is paired with a 20-fret ovangkol fingerboard.

The premium vibe of the Sawtooth is further enhanced by the inclusion of a quality 3-band Fishman Presys II preamp that also includes a handy built-in tuner.

As an added bonus, Sawtooth puts every guitar through a 24-point inspection before it leaves the factory. So, your new 12-string should (hopefully!) play well right out of the box.

In the video below, shred maestro Michael Angelo Batio puts the Sawtooth through its paces.

The only real downside is the lack of any included gig bag or case. In addition, smaller players might find the jumbo body size a little large and uncomfortable. Plus, depending on your tastes, the bright tone of the maple construction might not be to your preference.

Key Features:

  • Body: Flamed Maple w/ Solid Spruce Top
  • Neck: Maple w/ 20 Fret Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Electronics: Fishman Presys II Preamp/Tuner
  • Gig Bag: Not included
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Sawtooth Maple Series

Like:

  • Absolutely stunning looks.
  • The solid wood top offers a more dynamic quality of sound than cheaper laminated guitars, plus the tone will improve further as it ages.
  • Jumbo body size offers improved projection and well-balanced tones.
  • High-quality Fishman electronics.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag, accessories, or lessons are included.
  • Only one year warranty.
  • Brighter tones may not be to everyone’s tastes.
  • Jumbo body may be too big for some.

If you can wield the sizeable jumbo acoustic body, the Sawtooth Maple series will make an excellent 12-string guitar for any level of player. A still very affordable price point coupled with its premium looks and appointments makes it a very attractive proposition indeed!

Check out this guitar at the link below for current pricing information.

LINKS TO BUY

4. Sawtooth Mahogany Series Dreadnought

Best Dreadnought Left Handed 12-String Guitar

Another excellent option from Sawtooth is the Mahogany Series Dreadnought. Compared to the Maple Series model above, this guitar is a little smaller and offers a warmer tone thanks to its all-mahogany construction.

Left Handed 12 String Mahogany Guitar

LINKS TO BUY

Like its Maple Series cousin above, this guitar resonates really well thanks to its solid mahogany top. Plus, a great added bonus is that solid wood will begin to sound even better as it ages.

You won’t be surprised to discover that the guitar features mahogany back and sides, plus a mahogany neck. The 20 fret fingerboard is made from Ovangkol, a wood known for its balanced sound. The bridge is also constructed from Ovangkol.

Aside from their gorgeous, rustic appearance, all-mahogany acoustics will tend to sound warmer and smoother without becoming overly muddy. This is because, as a tonewood, mahogany produces a sound that emphasizes the bass and mid-range frequencies the most.

To help sculpt your sound when plugged in, the Sawtooth is equipped with premium Fishman electronics – namely the Presys II preamp. This is a 3-band preamp that includes a useful in-built tuner.

The body is fully bound with black binding to help protect the guitar from accidental knocks and dings. The custom Sawtooth diamond inlays give the impression that this affordable 12-string should cost way more than it does.

As with all Sawtooth instruments, the guitar is subject to a 24-point inspection to ensure that the guitar is in excellent playable condition before it leaves the factory.

Check out the video below to see and hear the Sawtooth Mahogany Series Dreadnought in action.

Again, the only major downside is a lack of any bundled gig bag or hard case. Additionally, those who prefer a brighter sound may not gel with the warmer tone produced by the all-mahogany construction.

Key Features:

  • Body: Mahogany w/ Solid Mahogany Top
  • Neck: Mahogany w/ 20 Fret Ovangkol Fingerboard
  • Electronics: Fishman Presys II Preamp/Tuner
  • Gig Bag: Not included
  • Accessories: None

What I Like/Dislike About The Sawtooth Mahogany Series

Like:

  • Gorgeous, rustic looks.
  • The solid wood top offers a more dynamic quality of sound than cheaper laminated guitars, plus the tone will improve further as it ages.
  • Dreadnought body size strikes a good balance between volume and playing comfort.
  • Premium Fishman electronics with an onboard tuner.

Dislike:

  • No gig bag, accessories, or lessons are included.
  • Only one year warranty.
  • Warmer tones may not be to everyone’s tastes.

The Sawtooth Mahogany Series Dreadnought is an excellent choice for those who prefer the rustic aesthetic and/or the warm tones that an all-mahogany guitar provides.

If it ticks all of your boxes, why not check it out at the link below?

LINKS TO BUY

5. Martin D12X1AE-L

Premium Left Handed 12 String Guitar

If you’d prefer to stick with one of the bigger, more well-known brands, then how about this beauty from acoustic legends Martin Guitars? Recently updated, it is undoubtedly one of the best value Martins available, at just a touch more expensive than the Sawtooth above.

Martin D12X1AEL LEft Handed 12 String Acoustic Guitar

Pricing Information: Check it out by clicking here.

Main features include a solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, extremely strong birch laminate neck, and richlite fretboard. It is also equipped with an excellent Fishman Sonitone onboard preamp system.

Left Handed 12 String Guitar FAQ

What Is a 12-String Guitar Good For?

The main selling point of a 12-string guitar is the much fuller sound that they produce when compared to a 6-string. Having twice as many strings gives a natural chorus effect, which sounds similar to playing two guitars at the same time.

How To Tune a Left Handed 12 String Guitar

The main difference between 12 and 6-string guitar tuning, is that on a 12, the strings are paired. Oh, and there’s double the strings – but you knew that, right?

It’s totally up to you how you decide to pair them, but generally, the 4 lowest pitched strings are coupled with thinner strings tuned an octave higher. The highest two are simply paired with another identical string tuned to the same note. This gives you that fantastic, airy, and jangly sound that only a 12-string can produce.

The most common 12-string guitar tuning from lowest to highest is (E3-E2) (A3-A2) (D4-D3) (G4-G3) (B3-B3) (E4-E4). So basically, standard 6-string guitar tuning with some additional octave notes thrown in.

Check out the diagram below for a visual representation of standard tuning on a left handed 12 string acoustic. Also notice that the thicker strings are the lower of the paired strings.

How to Tune a Left Handed 12 String Guitar

If your current tuner does not have the ability to correctly tune up a 12-string, check out my huge guide to guitar tuners for some inexpensive (or free!) alternatives.

How To Play a 12-String Guitar?

Although we have twice as many strings as found on a regular guitar, the paired strings are spaced closely together to allow them to still be played with a single finger simultaneously.

It isn’t like a 7 or 8-string guitar where the fretboard is widened to accommodate extra strings – although the neck is very slightly wider. If you are comfortable with a 6-string acoustic, you’ll be fine on a 12 as well.

Although the paired strings are usually close enough together to be played with the callused tips of your fingers as normal, this may not be comfortable for many. Oftentimes, 12-string players will adopt a flatter fretting technique to allow a larger area of the finger to be used.

Because of the extra tension and doubling of strings, extra force is required to play a 12-string. For this reason, it is much trickier to perform strings bends and solos, resulting in the instrument being mainly used for rhythm purposes.

There will also usually be a period of adjustment required to make sure that all strings are strummed or picked with control and accuracy.

A Note About Extra Tension

The added tension introduced by the extra strings is high, which necessitates improved reinforcement of the neck and body. 12-string guitars used to have a bad reputation for warping over time, but with modern design techniques, this is largely not a huge issue anymore.

Still, some players will tune down a half-step or two to help relieve stress on their instrument. You can still quickly revert to standard tuning by placing a capo at the 1st or 2nd frets. Learn more about how to do this in my guitar capo guide.

I only bring this point up to try and dissuade you from buying a super cheap 12-string which may not be up to the task. Check out the suggestions below for some great, but still affordable, lefty models.

Due to the additional tension, you should also be careful not to remove too many strings from one side at a time. Similarly, taking all of the strings off at the same time could potentially lead to issues with the neck thanks to the sudden large drop in tension!

So when restringing, it is a good idea to remove and replace one string at a time. If this isn’t possible, just try to keep the tension as balanced as possible.

12-String Guitar String Gauge

As I’ve mentioned above, due to the additional number of strings there is a lot of extra tension placed on the neck of a 12-string.

So to overcome this, most players will use a lighter gauge of strings than what they would usually play on their 6-string acoustics.

Downsides of a 12-String Guitar

Cost. You have twice as many strings, so restringing will set you back twice the price of a 6-string acoustic.

Time. You have twice as many strings, so restringing and re-tuning will take double the time.

Harder On Fingers. Fretting two strings at once is more difficult and will require more finger strength.

Wider Neck. The slightly larger neck and fretboard could be a struggle for people with smaller hands.

Set Up Issues. The additional string tension can lead to issues such as bowed necks and high action if not kept in check. Read my guitar setup guide for more information on how to prevent this.

Further Options

All of the brands listed below offer left handed 12-string acoustic guitars which may or may not need to be specially ordered depending on where you live.

Note that this list is for acoustics guitars only – I do plan to add a guide for left handed 12-string electric guitars at a later date.

Hopefully, that’ll give you plenty of left handed 12 string guitars to choose from.

Top 5 12 String Acoustic Guitar Songs

To finish up, here’s a great video from Andertons that showcases some iconic 12 string guitar songs that you can learn when you get yours!


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