Fender Villager 12-String Review & Prices

Fender Villager 12-String Review
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  • From Fender's 2013 California series
  • Made in China
  • 12 strings
  • 24.72"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Solid Spruce top
  • Laminated Mahogany back
  • Laminated Mahogany sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Walnut fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fishman-designed preamp system (Preamp/Active)
  • Modern Viking bridge
  • Acoustic Slim C Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Sealed Nickel tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 85
Sound 84
Build quality 74
Value for money 86
Overall Score 81
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Villager 12-String
  • Expensive Wood
  • NuBone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Electronics
  • NuBone Saddle
  • Solid Top Wood
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $600, which means that the Fender Villager 12-String is within the average price asked for this kind of guitar. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 12 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Videos

Fender Villager 12 string Acoustic/Electric guitar overview + demo
Fender Villager 12 String Acoustic Guitar Review - YandasMusic.com
Gregg Foreman Demos The California Series Villager 12-String | California Series | Fender
A Novice's Honest Review - Unboxing and Review of the Fender Villager 12 String
Guitar Close Up - 1968 Fender Villager 12 String $1199
More Videos

Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Fender Villager 12-String meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Fender Villager 12-String
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Fender Villager 12-String's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Fender Villager 12-String's 24.72" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Fender Villager 12-String Scale Length Comparison
Fender Villager 12-String's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a normal short scale length. The advantages are that it is easier to play for people with small hands, and it has a mellower sound. The disadvantages are that it is less versatile than a full-size guitar and harder to find in some styles.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Fender Villager 12-String Neck Profile
Fender Villager 12-String's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Fender Villager 12-String has a 12" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Fender Villager 12-String Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Fender Villager 12-String's fretboard radius compared to others

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Fender Villager 12-String has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Nut Width

Fender Villager 12-String Nut Width
Fender Villager 12-String Nut Width

The Fender Villager 12-String has a nut width of 45mm (1.77''). This is considered a narrow width for a 12-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Fender Villager 12-String Fret Size Comparison
Fender Villager 12-String's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Fender Villager 12-String's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 90
Chord Playability 85
Solo Playability 80
Playability 85

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Back, Sides, Neck
Walnut wood pattern used for guitar building
Walnut Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Mahogany Back, Sides and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Walnut Fretboard: It's a hard wood with a chocolate color that is often used to give an elegant finish. Since it's quite expensive and rare, it's mostly used for guitar tops.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Fishman. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

Sound Score

Sustain 80
Versatility 85
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 84

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Fender Villager 12-String is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Modern Viking: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Fender Villager 12-String has a NuBone nut. It's a synthetic nut from the same creators of Ivory TUSQ. It's a hard and self-lubricating material that helps a lot with tuning stability. It produces a brighter tone similar to TUSQ, but it's not as hard.

More with the same nut material:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 76
Features 85
Quality Control 60
Build Quality 74

All Specs

Fender Villager 12-String
General
Brand: Fender
Year: 2013
Configuration:
Strings: 12
Made in: China
Series: California
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Solid Spruce
Bridge: Modern Viking
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Sealed Nickel
Fretboard: Walnut
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: White Dot
Scale Size: 24.72"
Shape: Acoustic Slim C
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: NuBone
Nut Width: 45mm (1.77'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Fishman-designed preamp system (Preamp / Active)

User Reviews

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1 user reviews:

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Guitarist
04/07/23 15:39:07

The V3 is not made in China, it's made in Indonesia (same as Squier Classic Vibe models). My wife bought me this and it's unbelieveably good for the money. The action is low and it's easier to play that a lot of 6 string acoustics, it stays in tune well and sounds good both acoustically and via the fishman preamp. It doesn't have a ton of acoustic projection as the body is actually quite small but the sound is nonetheless very good and if you plug into a nice acoustic combo it sounds great. The hockey stick headstock is a matter of taste but I find it so ugly that its cool...! I would highly recommend this guitar.