Starting off on an old 12 stringer with high action and heavy strings (remember Monopole in the 60's?) isn't the worst thing you can do. If nothing else, and you don't give up - you end up with good strong fingers.
I've got seven of 'em (12 stringers, that is) and four of them get played all the time. Always tuned guitars by ear, but I've used an electronic tuner for the last couple of years. To be fair - with the exception of my useless B20/12 Norman - they all stay in tune even after a good session at the local singaround.
Nicest to play is my old 60's Epiphone; nicest sounding (by a whisker) is my Martin.
12 stringer - I love 'em.