The big, bold 12-string acoustic you can afford
There are acoustic guitars, then there are acoustic 12-string guitars, and then there are jumbo acoustic 12-string guitars.
At some point in every guitar player's life, a 12-string acoustic must be acquired because there's just nothing else that sounds quite like it. It's a big sound with natural chorus that's not only pleasant to listen to, but also makes you want to chord more - and that's a good thing.
The problem with most 12-string acoustics is finding one that can actually project without breaking the bank, and that's where the Guild F-2512E comes in.
Guild does the jumbo acoustic thing very, very well and has since 1954, so they know what they're doing when they put together these things. What you get with the F-2512E is more than just a pretty headstock (which I admit does look cool and distinctive).
Yes, there is an E in the model name. Does that mean this 12 is electrified? Indeed it is. There are Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics on board. But even so, you'll have more fun playing this just unplugged. And for home recording, this acoustic can be picked up easily by a microphone since it projects so well...
...but it also must be said that if you intend on playing live through a PA system, oh yes, this Guild will work very nicely there too.
The best part about this Guild is that you can afford it. It looks a lot more expensive than it actually is.
Is the big body too big?
No, not too big. You can handle it.
Playing one of these is not all that much different from a standard size dreadnought acoustic. The size increase is noticeable, but it's not some giant thing that will dwarf you.
It's actually the headstock that makes the guitar look bigger than it is, and that can be said for almost any 12-string acoustic. When you see that long headstock with all those tuners, it can look intimidating. Trust me, it's not.
The best string choice to use?
The same rules used for a 6-string apply to the 12-string when choosing what kind is best to use.
Here's a quick right-now answer: If you want an easier time with your 12-string, go for a light silk and steel set. They're generally available, so you won't have to order a custom set or anything like that, and they feel great.
If you're ready to go for a 12-string, this is a good one.