Jasmine Guitars

Jasmine Guitars

jasmine-guitar-banner

This complete Jasmine Guitar review covers every aspect of all models of Jasmine guitars currently offered, including the distinctions between their 4 body styles, 4 different finish options, and the 2 possible pre-amps available in the cutaway acoustic electric versions.  

Before we dive into all the differences and nuances of each guitar model, we'll cover a brief history of the Jasmine Guitar line, which currently offers 22 different model variations in 4 distinct body styles.

Although the Jasmine S35 Dreadnought is the top selling "Steel String Acoustic Guitar" on Amazon at the time of this review, there is another acoustic guitar which, according to other world guitar statistics is the other OR "former" best selling beginner acoustic guitar and you can read our complete review on that other guitar here.

A little background on the Jasmine brand and manufacturer:

Jasmine Guitars (the brand) are currently owned by KMC Music Company out of Bloomfield Connecticut (since about 2005).   A lot of people believe they are owned by Takamine (a popular Japanese guitar manufacturer), and I contacted both companies to find out the history between these 2 guitar lines (how Takamine and Jasmine guitars are related), as I can find nothing on the Jasmine site about Takamine and can find nothing within Takamine's sites about Jasmine guitars, so it is difficult to verify the actual connection from online research.

When a service rep wrote back from Takamine Guitar company, there was a connection 10 years ago, but Takamine (Japan) sold the Jasmine brand to KMC as noted above.

Here is what the rep from Takamine wrote back,

"Thank you so much for your inquiry.  Actually Jasmine has been sold by Takamine made by the factory in Korea and China.  But all of the rights have been succeeded to KMC Music about 10 years ago.  So currently we don't have any rights to handle this brand.  Thank you very much.  Best regards"

So there you have it. . . if you have a Jasmine guitar that states on the inside label that it was made by Takamine, chances are the guitar was made somewhere around 2005 or earlier, approximately, or perhaps he meant that the Japanese Takamine factory still makes a Jasmine line and labels them "by Takamine" (I do not know but will ask them for more detailed information to clarify).  

There is, however, no evidence that the quality of this line has diminished in the last 10 years, in fact, the Jasmine S-35 Dreadnought Model has become the best seller for "steel string guitars" on Amazon within only the past few years, so they cannot be junk as you will discover.

At first, I was hesitant to review the Jasmine guitar line because their price points for entry level guitars are under $100, and by my own budgetary preconceptions, I thought they would have to be high priced junk.

I was wrong.  

In fact, I steer away from most guitars that are under $300 unless they are for an absolute beginner guitar player, and they are not sure if they are going to stick with the guitar for more than a year or 2.  However, many guitar manufacturing companies are finding ways to offer more stable and affordable guitars between $80 and $300 that are not all that bad, and can be quite good for a beginner or even an intermediate player, as long as the guitar is set up properly.

If you search Google or go to Amazon.com (the largest online retailer) and simply search "Jasmine Guitars" you will find hundreds and hundreds of reviews for their top 2 selling models:  the Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar and the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar.  

jasmine-guitar-listing-amazon

Both of these guitars average around 4.5 stars with literally hundreds of reviews, so I finally figured there must be something to them having such a high customer satisfaction, and all the reviews are not from beginners if you read some of them.

While the Yamaha FG700 S claims the be the best selling beginner acoustic guitar worldwide (for about $200 to $250), apparently the Jasmine S35 is the #1 best seller on Amazon for those searching for "steel string acoustic guitar", and apparently most purchases are for beginners (at the time of this post, which could obviously change in the future).

I personally believe this is almost strictly due to the significant pricing difference ($80 for the Jasmine vs $200 to $250 for the Yamaha), with not that much difference in provable value.

Think about this. . . how many people are buying one of these guitars as a gift for a first time player, or of those who are brand new players buying for themselves, how many of them are going to notice any difference between the 2 guitars when they have absolutely no experience nor do they know what to look for or notice?

It's difficult to justify the extra $120 to $170 difference for a beginner's purchase when there is no noticeable difference between all of the novice reviews.

That being said, I will first share the most common objections with these Jasmine starter guitars, and then I will go into thorough reviews on every model offered in the Jasmine Guitar line at the time of this review.

What's the #1 complaint about the Jasmine guitars when received in "the mail"?

(drum roll. . . . .)

The #1 complaint with low reviews is the string height or Setup. . . (which is a very easy adjustment)

jasmine-guitar-string-heightThe string height complaint is only in 1 out of ever 30 or 40 reviews, as the guitar line still has 4.5 stars.  Setup or string "set" (how high the strings are from the fret board) upon shipping arrival is the #1 complaint from beginning player / purchasers of a Jasmine guitar, but this is not craftsmanship issue, because most guitars can be adjusted somewhat, and all should be adjusted for personal use when they are bought new from a factory, or used from a 3rd party seller or non-commercial re-seller.

The biggest issue that most people have with these very inexpensive guitars when they arrive is the string height from the fret board- also called the "set" of the strings - might be a little bit high.  This is also called the "action".  The action tends to be a little high on the lower priced Jasmine guitars when they arrive from the factory making it a bit more difficult to play.

The good news is that the string height is adjustable with a little bit of know-how.  If the string height is too high, it is difficult to play.  If it is too low, the strings will give "fret buzz" which can be an annoying and unwanted buzzing sound that comes when the strings are strummed or picked.  Setting up any guitar when it is new is advisable, regardless of how much was paid for the guitar and regardless of your playing ability level.

jasmine-guitar-truss-rodThe other good news is that the Jasmine guitar line comes with an adjustable truss rod (see image) in the sound hole to be able to adjust the bowing of the neck until it is set appropriately for any playing preference.  I would never buy a guitar without an adjustable truss rod, unless it was some cheap little travel guitar where it is not as ideal to be adjusted, and it is just used to hack around the campfire or throw in the back of the Volkswagen or in the travel compartment on a plane (just kidding- I would not throw any guitar).

The action on any guitar may not be ideal for your specific desires and playing style, and to be honest, I have adjusted every guitar I have ever owned, whether it was a $400 Seagull guitar or a $3500 Larrivee.  I did not always do this during my first 2 years, but as I became a more advanced player, I realized, as most maturing players do, that all guitars will require some adjusting from time to time, especially if they are brand new and set up from the factory.

Most beginner guitars come with the strings set a little bit high (for a beginner anyway), and so they tend to be a little more difficult to press down to make decent' clean chords for the beginner.  This can be frustrating for a small child or someone with weak hands, weak fingers, tender finger tips or a tender grip.  However, over time, one will build hand strengths and some finger tip calluses with persistence and practice.

The intermediate or advanced player, however, will know this fix is almost as simple as tying your shoes or changing laces in your tennis shoes.  Just loosen the strings and pop out the saddle, then sand the under-side of the saddle down a bit, adjust the truss rod if necessary, and use a lighter gauge string if necessary.  No big deal.  Chances are, however, that your Jasmine guitar will come playable right out of the box, as long as you tune it properly, which brings me to my next point. 

digital-guitar-tuner-jasmine-guitarsEvery guitar player at the beginner or intermediate level should own a digital guitar tuner.  Some guitars come with built in pre-amp pickups and have LED tuners built into the pre-amps, but not so with most of the Jasmine guitars, unless they have the letter "E" at the end of the model name (which simply means Electric for an electronic pickup".

If you buy a Jasmine with an electronic pickup, there's no need to purchase an additional digital guitar tuner.  If you buy a purely acoustic model from Jasmine guitar, you will definitely want to start with a tuner, which you can easily purchase for $10 to $25 at Amazon.

Upon doing thorough research, the Jasmine guitar line is a great starter line for people who do not have a large budget, but also want a guitar that sounds decent and is playable.  

The 4 Major Jasmine Guitar Model Lines

At the time of this review, Jasmine has 4 basic acoustic guitar bodies or model series listed officially on their website.  
It is relatively easy to determine which model you are looking at from their model codes once you break it down:

There are 2 letters before the hyphen and then a few letters and / or numbers after the hyphen - for example - JD-37CE  or JO-36

BEFORE THE HYPHEN:

"JD" simply means "Jasmine Dreadnought"
"JO" means "Jasmine Orchestra"
"JC" means "Jasmine Classical"
"JM" means "Jasmine Mini"
"S" means "satin finish" (the rest are gloss finish)
 
AFTER THE HYPHEN
 
"10"   |   "23"   |   "25"   |    "27"   |    "34"   |   "35"   |    "36"   |    "37"   |  "39"  
The numbers are all models within the particular body style offering different options
"C" means "Cutaway" or venetian cutaway giving access to higher and more frets
"E" means "Electric-Acoustic" or "Electronic Pickup"
 
The 4 Jasmine Guitar Body Styles:
 

jasmine-guitar-body-stylesThe Jasmine Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Models include: JD-36  |  JD-36CE  |  JD-37  |  JD-37CE  |  JD-39  |  JD-39CE  |  S-35
All come in natural finish and the JD-39 and JD-39 CE offers black and sunburst finish also

The Jasmine Orchestra Acoustic Guitar

Models include: JO-36  |  JO-36CE  |  JO-37  |  JO-37CE  |  S-34C

The Jasmine Classical Acoustic Guitar

Models include:  JC-23  |  JC-25  |  JC-25CE  |  JC-27  |  JC-27CE

The Jasmine Mini Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Models include only the JM-10 and makes a great travel guitar for about $110

All Jasmine acoustic electric versions have an option between 2 different installed pre-amp pickups.

Those are the model number codes ending in "E" or "CE" because only their cutaway versions have preamps available.

The 2 available pre-amp / pickups are:
Pickup Option #1 - The B-Band® M-450T w/Built-In Tuner
 
b-band-m450t-preamp-built-in-tuner
this pickup comes in the following models:
JD-36CE  -  JO-36CE  -  JD-39CE  -  JD-39CE black  -  JD-39CE sunburst  -  JC-25CE
Pickup Option #2 - The Fishman® Isys III (3) w/Built-In Tuner

fishman-isys-iii-3-preamp-jasmine-guitars
this pickup comes standard in the following models:
JD-37CE   -   JO-37CE   -   JC-27CE

The biggest difference between these 2 pickups is that they are made by different companies and the B-Band pickup has an additional "presence" eq dial, which essentially gives more boost to the treble end without having a feedback issue.  This allows the guitar sound to punch through or become a little more "crisp" when plugged in, which will help it stand out when playing in a group with other instruments.  However, both will offer equal quality for amplified sound in my opiniton and the difference is not very significant.  Any guitar player can learn to make both preamps give about equal output, so I would not make a decision based on the pickup, but on the other qualities of the guitar models after reviewing all of the options.  Both makers, Fishman and B-Band make excellent products, and this is one of their entry to mid-level pickups which keeps the acoustic electric guitar very affordable for most people.  The great thing about them is that they are both manufacturers of quality pickups so I would go with either in this price range.


Starting with the standard Jasmine dreadnought acoustic guitar:  

Since the Dreadnought body style is the most popular and common body style, popularized back in the 1940's by Martin Guitar company, we'll review this one first.

The Jasmine Dreadnought currently comes in 11 different options.  There are actually only 4 dreadnought body styles with cutaway, electronic and different paint / finish options, giving a total of 11 choices and 2 different pre-amp pickup options.
 
When you review a guitar company's naming system, you can often find a pattern to make sense of the guitar lines and to differentiate them from other models.  Essentially, there are only 4 different body types within the Dreadnought line, and 3 of these options have and electronic guitar pickup installed, giving you 7 total options in the Dreadnought body size.
 
Major differences between dreadnought model numbers  (35, 36, 37 and 39):
 
"35" is the least expensive, most popular selling, satin (not gloss) finished guitar and does not have a pickup option and uses Agathis wood for sides and back instead of Sapele
 
"36" is the next cheapest budget line with gloss finish, sapele sides and back and a laminated top and inexpensive decorative features - it's the budget conscious, bare-bones model
 
"39" is essentially the same as the 36 in terms of construction materials, except it comes with a hard shell case as well as natural gloss, black and sunburst finish options.
 
"37" is the highest quality of their JD series with abalone rosette and a quality solid spruce top instead of laminated wood top and real pearl dot inlays
 

The Jasmine Dreadnought series -11 models and options:

1) Jasmine JD-36 (about $99)  and 2)  JD-36CE  (about $189)

jasmine-jd-36-jd-36ce-acoustic-guitars
The Jasmine D-36 series comes as either JD-36 or the JD-36CE - the only difference is that the CE is the venetian cutaway for access to higher frets with electric preamp and pickup installed (to plug into an amp).
 
The Jasmine JD-36 or 36 CE is a beautiful dreadnought with a full, dreadnought (robust) sound and decent features that won't break any budget.
 
This is a great choice for any beginner, or more advanced player seeking a cheaper guitar to travel around with.
 
The Jasmine JD-36 has a laminated spruce top with what they call an Advanced "X" Bracing for better sound projection.
 
The back and sides are made from laminated sapele for great sound and maximum durability.
 
It also boasts a slimmer neck and shorter than standard 24 3/4" scale length making playability easier for the beginner or intermediate.  It also features a beautiful Rosewood fret board and bridge, quality chrome die-cast tuners (which do not have wiggle or play room keeping the guitar in stable tuning) a synthetic pearl rosette and a high gloss, natural wood finish.  Sapele wood is native of Africa and is very similar to Mahogany as it is in the same tree family, so the wood and sound would be very similar to Mahogany at a fraction of the price.
 
This is an sound and very affordable starter guitar with 2 options - $99 for the acoustic version (JD-36) and $189 for the acoustic electric cutaway version (JD-36CE).  The JD-36CE comes standard with the B-Band M450-T pickup.
 


3) Jasmine JD-37 (about $192)  and 4)  JD-37CE  (about $237)

jasmine-jd-37-jd-37ce-acoustic-guitars
 
The Jasmine JD-37 and JD-37CE are a step up from the JD 36 series in that the guitar top is made of select solid spruce instead of laminated spruce, it has a reddish pearloid pick guard and a real abalone rosette decoration around the sound hole, and beautiful ivoroid binding around the body.
 
Essentially, you are paying more for a select solid top instead of a laminated top guitar, as well as some more expensive ornamental items.
 
This guitar should age a little more and offer a bit more of a resonant, projecting sound and age-ability due to the solid spruce top.  Many beginners may not notice the sound difference, but a more accomplished ear will hear the difference between this and the laminated top models.
 
All of the other features are the same as the JD-36 including the slim neck, slightly shorter than standard scale length for the fret board, making this a very playable and great sounding guitar that will not break the budget.
 
In addition, the bridge pins are synthetic ivory color with real abalone decorative dots versus ivory colored plastic pins with black dots on the JD-36.
 
The Jasmine JD-37 models boast beautiful Rosewood fingerboard and bridge, a 24 3/4 inch scale length, a slime neck profile for easier playability, a synthetic bone nut and saddle (hard polymer) and a natural gloss finish, which will make this guitar sound a bit more crisp or bright than the models starting with the letter "S" for satin finish.   
 
This is an excellent guitar at a very affordable price for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player looking for a "budget" second guitar while also desiring to have a solid spruce top guitar versus a laminated spruce top guitar, for a richer, more authentic acoustic guitar sound that should improve with age.
 
There are 2 options - $192 for the acoustic version (JD-37) and $237 for the acoustic electric cutaway version (JD-37CE).  The JD-37CE comes standard with the Fishman Isys iii (3) pickup and pre-amp as discussed above.
 


5) Jasmine JD-39  (about $206)   6)  JD-39 Black  (about $206)   7)  JD-39 Sunburst  (about $206)

8)  Jasmine JD-39CE  (about $249)  9)  JD-39CE Black  (about $249)   10)  JD-39CE Sunburst  (about $249)

jasmine-guitar-jd-39-and-jd-39-ce-natural-black-sunburstThe Jasmine JD-39 series comes with some interesting finish options, and also a hard-shell case with either the acoustic non-cutaway or the acoustic-electric cutaway versions.
 
Essentially, the JD-39 natural is the same guitar as the JD-36 natural in most aspects, except that you are paying for a deluxe, hard shell case.
 
If you prefer a black guitar or one with a beautiful sunburst finish, the JD- 39 series is for you.  Most people will not be able to hear a difference between a guitar that has a natural gloss finish, and one that has gloss over an air-brushed paint as it is with the black and the sunburst versions.
 
The JD-39CE also comes in 3 finish choices, with a natural gloss, black gloss, or sunburst gloss finish and is standard with a deluxe hard shell case which offers the best protection for the life of a guitar.
 
The JD-39 CE also comes standard with the B-Band M450T which they state is a 4-band Eq tuner, assuming that the "presence" knob gives the pre-amp a 4th frequency band to adjust, when all it really does is compress the output so that the treble is more amplified, giving the guitar an added ability to cut through or have and edgy tone when plugged in and playing in a rich sound environment with other instruments.  Whether there is that much of and advantage over the Fishman pickup which is installed on the JD-37 model is a matter of personal opinion and preference, but ultimately, will not give a player a distinct advantage. 
 
What is a little odd in their pricing structure is that when you jump from the JD-36 CE to the JD-39CE, the only real difference is 
a hard shell case and the price difference is $60 (they are both essentially the same guitar with the same pickup).
 
But when you jump from the non-pickup versions JD-36 to the JD-39, the only difference again is the hard shell case and the price difference this time is $107.  
 
That being said, you really just need to figure out which guitar best suits you and whether you prefer a natural, black, or sunburst finish.  Then, decide whether you want a pickup installed in your guitar or if you are fine playing without one.  A nice hard-shell case can always be purchased later for between $60 and $85.  
 
However, when it comes to pickups, it is best to have it installed at the factory versus after the purchase, as a 3rd party installer could compromise the integrity of the guitar, unless you have a pickup installed that does not have an on-board pre-amp where they have to cut into the side of the guitar.  This is the best and least-invasive option for installing a pickup after the factory purchase.  
 
There are plenty of great pickups out there without pre-amps that can be installed with minimal cutting and invasion into the body of the guitar.
 
 

 

11) Jasmine S35  the #1 seller on Amazon (about $80)

jasmine-s-35-acoustic-guitarThe Jasmine S35 is the #1 selling "steel string acoustic guitar" on Amazon.com.  
 
Does that make it the best guitar?  Of course not.
 
It is by far the cheapest guitar you can buy and still have a decent quality instrument.  
 
Several years ago, no one could produce this nice of a guitar in terms of looks, feel, sound, resonance, and playability until the folks at Jasmine figured out how to optimize this model using laminated Agathis wood for the back and sides and laminated spruce for the top.   Whereas the other versions in the Dreadnought series for Jasmine use laminated sapele wood, Agathis is a very inexpensive, conifer or evergreen wood that is very similar in character to Mahogany.
 
The Jasmine S-35 version, unlike all the other Dreadnoughts, has the "S" in the title because it also has a satin finish instead of a high gloss finish.  Satin finishes are usually lighter (less thick) in terms of the finish coat that is added, and some people believe that this creates most natural sounding acoustic guitar with the most natural resonance for the tone woods used, and I would agree.  I would also argue that satin guitars usually do not have as "crisp" or punchy of a sound as their gloss finished cousins.  
If you want a brighter, more crisp tone, you will want a natural, high gloss guitar.  If you want the most naturally sounding acoustic guitar, the Satin finish will come closest and possibly resonate a little bit longer.
 
My personal experience over the past 25 plus years has shown that satin guitars always have a less bright, warmer or more dull tone than their gloss or high gloss models.  
 
Additionally, the Jasmine S-35 also does not come with a "CE" version, so you cannot buy this with a venetian cutaway or with a preamp and pickup installed.  That being said, this is probably the most playable, best "bang-for-your-buck" acoustic guitar available on the market today.  To be honest, I do not know how they can afford to put this amount of quality in an $80 price point and still make margins.  You can read other reviews or purchase this #1 selling acoustic guitar for the best online price here at Amazon.
listen to a beautiful plugged in demo of this top selling S-35
You can find more reviews on the Jasmine S-35 here
 

The Jasmine Orchestra series - 5 models and options:

Price range- $89 to $249 depending on the model and options you choose.

jasmine-orchestra-model-acoustic-electric-guitarsThe next of Jasmine Guitar's 4 body styles is the Orchestra Model.  What differentiates an orchestra body guitar from a dreadnought, mini or classical guitar?
 
The shape / contours and the sound projection or Eq balance.
 
Who would want an orchestra model guitar?
 
Usually, the orchestra model guitar is chosen for several reasons.
 
1- (Vanity) people like the look and the narrow waist and figure-8 shape to the body.
 
2- Many people find it easier to hold and to rest on the knee when sitting to play.

3- Some people like the more "bell-like" tonal qualities when finger-picking.

4- Some people like the distinction between the treble and mid range and the punchier sound offered by the shape.
 
 
Regardless of the reason, the Jasmine Orchestra model guitars offer 5 different options at a very affordable price point.  The price breakdown is as follows, and then we'll go into the differences between the different models.  
 

So what accounts for the significant differences in the prices?  

The Jasmine S-34C Orchestra Model Acoustic Guitar

Essentially there are 2 major distinctions: the pickups installed in the CE models them and the solid spruce top in the JO-37 and JO-37CE versus the laminated spruce top in all the other models.
jasmine-s-34c-acoustic-guitarThe least expensive is the S-34C, which is a satin finished Orchestra body cutaway, for higher access on the fret board and the only one in this line with a full 25 1/2 inch scale length.  
 
The satin finish gives a warmer tone than the other models that have a gloss finish.
 
The 4 other models also offer a slightly shorter scale length finger-board and neck for easier playability.  
 
The S-34C does not come with a pickup installed, so this is purely an acoustic model.  If you are used to a standard length scale, the S-34C is the only one in this line with a standard scale length.  It is also incredibly affordable at only $89 and has over 4.5 stars with hundreds of reviews at Amazon.  If you are looking for the very best acoustic guitar under $100 and do not want the full dreadnought body, but would like a standard finger-board scale length guitar, the Jasmine S-34C is perfect.
 

The Jasmine JO-36 and JO-36CE

 
jasmine-jo-36-jo-36ce-acoustic-electric-guitarsThe next step up are the JO-36 and JO-36CE, which offer a laminated spruce top and Sapele back and sides, similar to Mahogany in sound, with a nice punchy middle tone and distinct treble in the overall EQ balance.  
 
In addition, instead of the Satin finish of the S-34C, they offer a gloss top as well as a beautiful pearloid rosette around the sound hole, and a shorter 24 3/4" scale for a little easier playability than a standard 25 1/2" scale length found only on the S-34C in the Orchestra line.
 
The gloss top will give a brighter, more crisp tone when played unplugged, versus the S-34C (satin finish).  So if you want a brighter, more crisp tone that cuts through, the JO-36 or 36CE would be the next step up.
 
The JO-36CE also offers the B-Band M 450-T as their factory installed pre-amp and pickup with 4-band EQ.  This is easily one of the very best deals you can get in an acoustic electric guitar for under $200.
 
The JO-36 at $146 receives a perfect 5 stars and the JO-36CE at about $195 receives about 4.5 stars - both offer excellent value and are great guitars for the beginner or intermediate player, offering great sound, value and playability.  
 
They also make a great second or third guitar for an advanced or professional who does not want to shell out the bucks but wants a very playable guitar with great sound to leave out or travel with, without having the worries of their expensive professional guitar getting a ding or 2. 
 
But you don't have to take my word for it. . . you can read what other owners and players have to say here.
 

The Jasmine JO-37 and JO-37CE

 
jasmine-jo-37-and-37-ce-acoustic-electric-guitarThe Jasmine JO-37 and the JO-37CE are the next step up in the line of the Jasmine Orchestra model guitars.
 
It is very similar to the JO-36 and JO-36CE except that it features a solid spruce top instead of a laminated top, which will age better and will give a more true, acoustic resonant sound, with a bit more authentic projection than the lamintated JO-36 models.
 
All of the Jasmine Guitars lines feature their Advanced X-Bracing which helps improve the integrity and strength of the guitar tops, while also helping to maximize vibration and amplification of the guitar's resonance.
 
It also features the same, slightly shorter than standard scale length at 24.75" and a slimmer neck for easier playability all along the neck or fretboard.
 
It also features a more beautiful natural Abalone rosette around the sound-hole and pearl dots on the fingerboard, as well as pearl dots in the bridge pins.  These are deluxe features that are ornamental in nature, but give the beauty of the guitar that extra visual elegance and pop, above the standard ornaments of the JO-36 and JO-36CE models.  
 
As with all of the Jasmine guitars, there is a synthetic bone compensated saddle so that the guitar stays in tune all the way up the neck.  This is great for those guitar players that advance their playing ability to be able to play chords and lead guitar riffs at the upper end of the fret-board near the body.
 
Additionally, by selecting the Jasmine JO-37CE (cutaway electric model), the guitarist has access up to the 18th and 19th fret, versus the 14 fret at the neck joint in the non-cutaway model, the Jasmine JO-37.
 

 

The Jasmine Classical Acoustic Guitar Series

jasmine-jc-classical-guitars-23-25-25ce-27-27ce
 
The Jasmine Classical Line has some great value based guitars for the classical, finger style playing on an affordable budget.  
 
They offer 5 different models, 1 being a 3/4 (junior size) model, 2 being cutaways with electronic pickups, and 2 offering a solid cedar top for the pure classical warm and crisp, resonating playing tone, all coming equipped with the standard nylon classical strings instead of steel strings found on steel string acoustic guitars.
 
If you are new to guitars, classical guitars are those which are used commonly in spanish, flamenco style, or classical orchestral finger style.  They have a distinct crisp, plucked sound that does not sustain like a strummed steel string guitar, but has a crisp, distinct attack and decay for very crisp, clear, and fast classical style playing.
 
While these models are not the best for strumming like their steel string cousins (although they can be strummed) these are great guitar models for those who are strictly seeking to learn to play classical fingerstyle or flamenco, spanish style guitar playing.
 
*** NOTE *** From all of the other reviews I have investigates online, it seems as though the non-cutaway versions, the JC-25 and the JC-27 have had multiple complaints with the guitar playing sharp in the upper frets because the saddle is not compensated but simply slanted.
 
However, the JC-23, JC-25CE and JC27CE have 4 stars and above with most reviews I have read.  If you are seeking a classical guitar on a budget, I would go with the 3/4 scale JC-23 for about $120 (also good for a smaller player or beginning child student), or the full size JC-25CE or JC-27CE.  
 

The Jasmine JC-23 classical acoustic guitar

 
Jasmine-JC-23-three-quarter-size-classical-guitarThe Jasmine JC-23 3/4 size classical guitar is very affordably priced and is great for the smaller framed player or young student who might have some challenges holding a larger bodied guitar.  It also has a shorter playing scale length of 23 3/8" and a slim neck for much easier playability.  This guitar is not recommended for people with large or thick fingers as it will be more challenging to make proper chords.
 
The Jasmine JC-23 also comes with laminated spruce top, mosaic rosette and gloss finish for a crisp sound.
 
The Jasmine JC-23 could also be a great classical version for a travel guitar.
 
What makes this a great travel guitar?
 
First, the price and quality combination.  
 
The Jasmine JC-23 is a great value for a 3/4 size travel guitar that would not create a life-altering dilemma if it got a ding or scuff while on the road.
 
Additionally, classical guitars project significantly less sustain and volume, because they do not project as much as steel string guitars, and are most commonly played "finger style".  Some people prefer a travel guitar to be less loud in case they prefer to play in the car or hotel room without bothering neighbors or fellow travel members (or worse. . . in-laws . . . just kidding).  
 
The Jasmine JC-23 also has a truss rod, like the rest of the Jasmine guitar line.  The truss rod is essential for adjusting the back-bow of the neck, to either increase or decrease the "set" of the strings or the height they suspend from the neck or fret board.  If the strings are too high, the strings are more difficult to press and chord, and will also go out of tune in the "sharp" direction when chording up the neck.  If they string set is too low, the strings will create too much fret buzz and some chord positions might not play cleanly at all.  If you are inexperienced, it is best to have a professional or experienced friend adjust the saddle and truss rod the first time, until you know what you are doing. 
 
In addition to the 3/4 size body and shorter scale, they project less sound, take up less room than a full size guitar and they list at just less than $120.
 
Also, for a smaller framed player or for the developing youngster who is seeking to learn classical, finger style guitar, the Jasmine JC-23 is the perfect option and it will not break the bank at just under $120.
 

The Jasmine JC-25 and JC-25 CE Full Size Classical Guitar

 
jasmine-jc25-jc25ce-classical-guitarsThe Jasmine JC-25 Classical Acoustic Guitar is the non-cutaway version and is a standard size classical guitar, but has some buyer complaints about it not being in tune well past the 4th or 6th fret, most certainly due to the non-compensated saddle and probably the string height or "set" from the neck and fret board.  
 
After reading some of these other people's complaints, many of these people did not know how to adjust the truss rod, which comes in all Jasmine acoustic guitars.  Knowing how to change the curve of the guitar neck slightly to lower the string action and back bow of the fret board / neck will make all the difference.
 
In addition, a compensated saddle could be purchased for a few dollars and sanded to comfort, but if you don't want to take the risk, you can pay $70 more for the Jasmine JC-25CE, which seems to offer a better sound, a nice electronic pickup and a venetian style cutaway body for easier access to the higher frets - The JC-25CE has 16 reachable frets whereas the JC-25 only has 12 frets that are honestly playable by most players.
 
If you do not want to pay the extra $70 for the CE version (you do not need a cutaway and do not need a pickup), you could buy the JC-25 for around $130 and simply install a compensated saddle for under $10, and have an expert friend or technician help adjust the truss rod until the bowing of the neck and string height are optimal for playing in tune with ease.
 
Both the Jasmine JC-25 and the JC-25 CE are made from the same materials, including laminated Sapele back and sides, Nato wood neck, Rosewood fingerbaord and bridge, and laminated Spruce tops.   Nato wood is very similar in sound and color to Mahogany, but is much cheaper and comes from the Mora genus of trees. The tops are gloss finish with satin finish on the back and sides and neck.  Additionally, the classical neck finger-board radius is flat versus slightly rounded with acoustic steel string guitars, which is standard for classical, finger-style playing.
 
For the preamp and pickup, the Jasmine JC-25CE uses the B-Band® M-450T w/Built-In Tuner that we discussed above.
 
For the price, I would not hesitate to purchase one of these 2 models, knowing that you might want to change the saddle out and that you might have to adjust the truss rod.  To be honest, I adjust the truss rod and sand the saddle down in almost every guitar I have purchased, until I am able to get the strings to the exact height and playability I desire.  Most seasoned players adjust and tinker with their guitar setup on occasion throughout the life of the guitar to give it a more custom feel and playability.  
 
*CAUTION -  I would only recommend doing these things to your guitar if you know how.
 
The biggest decision between these 2 guitars is whether you just want the basic, standard classical guitar with the Jasmine JC-25 or the cutaway for playing up to the 18th fret and the electronic pickup in the Jasmine JC-25CE.
 
 

The Jasmine JC-27 and JC-27 CE Solid Cedar Top Classical Guitars

 
jasmine-jc-27-and-27ce-classical-guitarsThe first thing most people would see when looking at the Jasmine JC-27 and 27CE versus their cheaper cousins, the JC-25 and JC-25 CE, is the darker colored top.
 
What is the cause?  
 
Solid cedar tops versus laminated spruce.
 
The biggest value difference between the JC-25 and JC27 lines is that the JC 27 models come with a solid cedar top, versus the laminated spruce tops in the JC-25 models.  True classical guitars, the more expensive ones, are traditionally cedar top guitars.  Cedar gives the guitar a warmer, deeper, and more resonant sustain than the laminated spruce top.  A spruce top will be brighter sounding, and cedar will be richer and warmer, for that true classical acoustic guitar sound.
 
The Jasmine JC-27 and JC-27CE also have a full gloss body finish and gold tone tuning keys, versus chrome in the JC-25 models.  These are the only significant differences.  Essentially, you are paying more for the solid Cedar top, which is a higher quality wood and a richer, truer classical guitar sound.
 
Additionally, solid wood guitar tops should age better and sound richer and more "open" with age if they are under proper care.
 
The Jasmine JC27-NAT  and Jasmine JC27CE-NAT are also often listed this way, with "NAT" at the end of the model name, which simply means "Natural Finish".  In other words, they do not stain or paint the wood at all before giving it a gloss finish.  The color coming through is the natural colors of the woods.  The guitars are the same whether they say JC27-NAT or just JC-27 - same with the CE models - sometimes the NAT is listed in the model name and sometimes it is not.
 
The Jasmine JC-27 and JC-27CE  feature a full scale length 19 frets.  You can realistically only chord up to the 14th fret on the JC-27, and must get the cutaway JC-27CE to chord above the 14th through the 19th fret.  
 
All of the classical models come with Jasmine's Advance Classical Bracing.   This is a mixture between classical fan bracing and more modern top bracing structures, using quarter-sawn bracing to give the guitar top maximum strength, rigidity and reinforcement without hindering the top to vibrate and resonate freely, giving it the best sound and strength combination. 
 
In addition the Jasmine JC-27 Series also features sapele back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, slim neck profile, a decorative mosaic rosette and a synthetic bone nut and saddle.
 
For the pickup and preamp, the Jasmine JC-27CE comes with the Fishman Isys III with built-in tuner that we discussed above.
 
If you are looking for a true solid cedar top classical guitar at a great value, the Jasmine JC-27 Classical Guitar for under $200 is solid as long as you don't mind adjusting the neck and saddle a bit until it suits you.  If you are looking for a great value in a solid cedar top classical guitar you can plug in with a nice pre-amp and pickup, you read what other owners are saying about the $270 Jasmine JC-27 CE Classical Guitar here.
 

The Jasmine JM-10 Mini

 
jasmine-jm-10-mini-acoustic-guitarThe Jasmine JM-10 Mini is a great little guitar for someone who wants a travel size guitar to travel with road with, or for someone who is a little smaller, such as a small framed teenager, adult, or bigging child.  In addition, it is a 6 string (steel string) guitar for those seeking  a non-classical / non-nylon string guitar, as in the Jasmine JC line.  
 
It features all of the same technology as the other Jasmine standard guitars, including a laminated spruce top, Advanced X bracing for high strength without compromising sound projection, sapele back and sides, chrome tuners and a gloss finish.
 
In addition, because it is a mini-guitar, it is going to be larger than the children's models, but smaller than the dreadnought, the classical and the orchestra model.  It has a shortened scale length neck and finger-board at 23-3/8" and a slim neck for very easy playability, as well as a built in adjustable truss rod, which is critical for adjusting the bowing of the neck and the height of the strings from the fret-board.
 
It also comes with a beautiful rosewood bridge and fingerboard, as well as a deluxe gig bag to tote it around on the road, to school, picnics, or wherever you may go.
 
This model comes only in the non-cutaway version, and it is modeled after the Jasmine JD-36, a standard dreadnought guitar with laminated wood construction.  The great thing about laminated wood guitars is that they tend to be more durable, and less prone to issues with fluctuations in temperature and humidity.  Although they do not necessarily open up with age as a solid wood guitar does, they do project a great sound and are generally more durable at a fraction of the cost.  The Jasmine JM-10 Mini Dreadnought will certainly not produce booming bass or as much projection as the regular size body styles, but that is normal because of the smaller body size and less room to resonate and project.
 
For about $119, the Jasmine J-10 Mini Dreadnought guitar with gig bag is a great beginner guitar for a smaller person, child, or any level guitar player seeking a travel size companion for those long, over the road hauls or exciting camping trips.  You can read more about what other owners say about the Jasmine J-10 Mini here
 
I really hope you found this a very helpful and thorough review of all of Jasmine's current acoustic guitars offered on the market.  Several days of research, listening, and playing went into the background of this review to help you make the most informed decision if you were thinking about buying a Jasmine guitar.
 
Thank you for taking valuable time out of your busy day to read it!
 

Also, if you found this review helpful, please leave a comment or question below, and also please share this article on your favorite social media channels.

Share/Save

Comments

Thank you for this detailed overview.

Fleer, Thanks for the kind comment. It was a lot of work with several days invested in research and playing different models at a local guitar store, but these are really good for the price point, especially for beginners and intermediate players who really don't want to fork out the money and want a decent sound and playability. No, they're not going to sound like a top end Martin, Taylor, Seagull, Yamaha, or Gibson, but the Jasmine Guitars are the best I could find between $90 to $200 bucks, plus the non classical versions get nearly 5 stars on Amazon consistently.

Blessings - Aaron

Thank you so much for the reviews on the Jasmine guitar line. I haven't played in many years so I was so confused. The guitar I had was a Harmony Sovereign, which I loved dearly. Unfortunately it was stolen and I didn't replace it. Your review was so helpful. Thanks, Catherine

Catherine,

Glad to hear this helped.  Jasmine guitars are a great place to start if you haven't played in years and are just getting back into guitar playing!  Hope you enjoy getting back into it.

Aaron

I ran across an S35 in a second hand shop a few years back for $25.00; first reactions had me looking closely to see if it really was a lam top...lol. My wife (a cellist) actually chose it over my vintage Guild D40 in a blind test on one quick and dirty run..but then she is used to the maple tonewood dynamics, which along with the cloar walnut do I. Not to say that the S35 can compete with the "big dogs", but it don't have to stay on the porch :-). Found your article while researching a discontinued model, the S40 that I was considering bidding on, but upon finding it was a lam top, figured that the 'vintage' quality would not be there; but the jury is still out on that issue from some of the heretics I have read...it sure had the vintage look though.

Thanks for your labor of love...Happy New Year!

Hi Ladds - Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience. I played these last year again in a guitar store and they do have a light-weight feel to them, but for this price range, it's hard to beat, plus you don't have to worry if it gets a ding or 2. Great beginner guitar and they do put out a nice tone and projection. Hard to believe they can make a decent guitar like this little Jasmine S35 for under $100!  I have played other cheap entry model acoustic guitars for this price range and often they do not stay in tune.  These hold their tune nicely so I was surprised.

Wonderful job giving the run down of the Jasmine models. I have had a S34c for about two years and have found it to be a real pleasure to play.

Thanks Ben for sharing your experience! The Jasmine S34C is definitely a versatile guitar with the cutaway shape making it great for any level player.

What is your take on this rare model looking at possibly buying from local who has one for sale not much info available

HI Norman. I am not sure. From what I have read, they were produced some time between 1994 and 2003, but I cannot verify that. I do not do many reviews on old models or obsolete (out of production) guitars because they are not helpful to the vast majority of the people who visit and read here on my site. However, if you do buy it and have a good experience, feel free to share it and we can post it on the guitar blog here for others to read. Thanks for sharing, reading and asking - sorry I could not be more help. Aaron

Ben, Thanks for the great overview. I went ahead and purchased the Jasmine JO36 and really enjoy it. The only problem is that when I got it from Amazon, one of the string pegs in the bridge was jammed way too far into the hole. I had to use needle nose pliers to pull it out. Successful, but it ruined the peg. They seem to be a tad thinner than most. Do you know where I could get a replacement? Thanks, Bob

Hi Bob, Not sure who "Ben" is LOL. . . but thanks for posting. I have had the same exeperience before, with a guitar having a peg jammed in the peg hole.  Pegs are easy to come by. You can find some at your local music store or have a spare set that you can buy fairly cheaply from Amazon.com here or another online music store. It's good to have a few spare string sets as well as pegs.  One thing I would also recommend is trying out Elixr strings. My fingers or my chemistry eats through strings pretty quickly so I use Elixr because they last a lot longer due to their coating.  Sometimes factory strings are cheap and not as good as a new set of Elixrs.  Thanks for posting- Aaron

Appreciate your article & the work to post it all. I have run across several Jasmine models (notably S34 and S35) which have an SK at the end of the model number, and can't find anywhere that explains what the "SK" means.

Hi Canute,
I reached out to Jasmine guitars to find out. Here is what they said! Unfortunately, we do not have this information, as these models were produced before the Takamine/Jasmine split in 2012. You are going to want to contact ESP Guitars at 800-423-8388, as they are now the distributor for Takamine in the US. (end)

Hope this helps - Aaron

I'm a brand new guitar player (just started about 3 months ago). I found your site while trying to research a guitar I found last month in a thrift store for $25. It's a "Jasmine by Takamine" (which is what's on the headstock) electric acoustic model ES42C. 
 
Like you, I contacted both Jasmine (at KMC music) and Takamine (at ESP Guitars) about it, but neither of them gave me any info at all. Jasmine gave me the EXACT, word-for-word, same reply as they gave you. 
 
ESP Guitars said "We regret to inform you we do not distribute the Takamine Jasmine line. We focus solely on the Takamine brand. Unfortunately our system does not show any information on the mentioned instrument. None of the Takamine Jasmine specifications were forwarded to us when we became the authorized distributor for Takamine and at this time we are unaware of who is providing support for the Takamine Jasmine Series."
 
I tried sending a note to Takamine in Japan, but I haven't gotten an answer yet.
 
Is there any chance you might have some insight on this guitar?

Hi Dave,

Thanks for sharing!  What a unique find these days.  I am sorry, I don't have any real insight on these, other than to say, if you buy a Jasmine by Takamine vs. the newer Jasmine guitars, my experience has been that the older Takamines felt a bit heavier and essentially more solid in construction.  I was surprised at how light the newer Jasmines are, but for a beginner, they are very playable, light and they stay in tune.  All for under $100 and it's hard to beat Jasmine guitars for beginners on a slim budget.  Sorry I could not be more help, but if you find more info, feel free to come back and share.  This site is more dedicated to helping people buy current guitars because that kind of article and research appeals to a much wider audience and I feel like I can help more people make the right purchase decision.  Thanks again for sharing!

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.