|Body And Neck:|
Readers of our round-up article on the cheapest acoustic guitars will certainly recognize the name Jasmine – Takamine’s wallet-friendly subsidiary – as they really shine in this price range. And their sleek steel-stringed Jasmine JO-36 Orchestra is yet another superb affordable guitar, promising solid style, sound and performance. So how does it stand up to the rest?
As the name suggests, the Jasmine JO-36 features a non-cutaway orchestra body shape, with a 24.75” scale length. This helps it feel more manageable and comfortable to play, especially when compared to bigger dreadnought shapes. With attractive features, like a traditional pearloid rosette and black teardrop pickguard, this guitar is built from laminated woods – as you may expect for the price. These comprise a select spruce top, along with sapele back and sides, all finished in natural gloss. The top also features Jasmine’s Advanced X Bracing, which is forward-shifted to add more definition and help open the sound. Joining the body at the 14th fret is a nato neck, which features a nut width of 1.75”, a rosewood fretboard, 20 frets, and pearloid dot inlays. It’s a good-looking instrument, and feels relatively well-built, despite its mass-produced nature.
The Jasmine JO-36 is a solely acoustic affair, and therefore includes no electronics or pickups. The guitar features a rosewood bridge, with a compensated synthetic bone saddle, as well as synthetic ivory bridge pins. At the other end of the guitar we find a matching nut, and – on the Jasmine-branded headstock – six die-cast chrome tuning machines, which keep your tuning stable. This model comes shipped with light gauge phosphor bronze strings, but no case or gig bag. So, nothing premium here, but all solid enough.
For the low price, the JO-36 actually makes a sound worth listening too. Even though the tonewoods are laminated, you pick up some traditional characteristics from the sapele (similar to mahogany, although a little brighter), while the familiar spruce top gives it a well-balanced tone, meaning it’s versatile for any style of acoustic music. Although lacking the complexities of solid wood, the sound remains quite rich and is perfect for beginners. The bracing also allows this guitar to sing despite its smaller size, so volume won’t be a problem whether finger-picking or strumming.
For under $150 it’s very hard to fault this budget guitar. It certainly doesn’t possess the premium style or playability of a high-end Takamine, but it also doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be a cheap copy. No, this is its own guitar. The refined looks, the compact body and well-balanced sound combine to make the JO-36 a wise choice for any player looking for something playable on a budget.