The Best 12 String Guitar Songs To Play

When making the transition to the 12-string guitar, there are fundamental differences in the way it’s played versus a 6-string. By this notion, songs that were made for a 12-string really sound good because of the extra strings.

So what are the best 12-string guitar songs? Well there are many so it is quite difficult to choose. But there was one 12-string player who far excelled the rest. He was innovative, playing both rhythm and lead with his Rickenbacker. His name is Roger Mcguinn and his band was The Byrds. In the early years, all of their great songs were largely in part due to his Rickenbacker 12 string, the chime and jangle it produced became the quint-essential sound of the 1960s.

Of The Byrds material, two songs really stick out as being perfect with the 12-string sound. Those songs are “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn”. While his method of playing had three finger picks, one for his thumb, the others for pointing and the middle fingers. You can still play with a flat pick to get the essence of the song.


We will focus on “Mr. Tambourine Man”, which is actually written by Bob Dylan. The song starts out with a beautiful melody on the 12-string. Here is the tab for that intro:


Once you have that Intro down, the rest of the song is quite easy. It only focuses on three chords, all of which are open chords. They are G, A, and D. Here is how to play those chords:

Once you have those chords down, here is the structure of the song:

G, A, D, G, D, G, A

G, A, D, G, D, G, A, D

This song is nice and simple, taking your time with it, is the way to get the full beauty of the song. After playing the chords a few times, end the song with the original Intro. That’s basically the whole song, and one of the best for the 12-string guitar.

Here are other Great 12 String Guitar Songs:

  • Hotel California – The Eagles
  • Over the Hills and Far Away – Led Zeppelin
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  • Ticket to Ride – The Beatles
  • Free Falling – Tom Petty

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