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Brand/Model: Yamaha JR1
Number of Strings: 6
Hand Orientation: Right
Body Material: Meranti/Spruce top
Neck Material: Nato
Fretboard Material: Rosewood
Price Range: Under $200
Our Rating: 9/10
Yamaha FG JR1 3/4 Size Guitar Review
The JR1 might be on the petite side, but its size serves more than one purpose. As a 3/4-scale guitar, it’s on the smaller end for a smaller person – think dainty hands and young-aged players from 8-10. Additionally, an adult can make use of its mini size for strict use as a travel guitar. But, how small is it really?
You can see that the guitar sports the FG-series inspired “Traditional Western Body,” as Yamaha puts it – the dreadnought body style to the rest of us. With the full and resounding sound projection that comes from the body shape, you can bet that the 3/4 size guitar will still ring out bright and loud. With strong sound performance and a solid body shape that enhances tonal projection, it’s not so small after all!
However, it’s true to its Junior name with its 3 1/8″- 3 9/16″ (80-90 mm) body depth, 21 1/4″ scale, and its light weight. Young players will find the shape and size suitable for all the learning curves and practice sessions ahead.
With a restrictive budget beginners and small learners are limited to, there’s no need for solid wood in this guitar. It’s a laminate guitar with Meranti back and sides, spruce top, nato neck, and rosewood fingerboard and bridge.
There’s nothing about the Junior guitar that says it can vie against one twice its price. But, players get a break when they need it most – in the beginning. So, Yamaha includes this guitar as a package bundle with a load of accessories to sweeten the deal. As if it couldn’t get any sweeter than this!
- 3/4 size
- Starter kit included
- Low-cost guitar
Out of the box, buyers appreciate the good action, and it’s playable to get started strumming right away. It holds tune well, and overall, the guitar is well-built for a child to use or to haul to the beach for a strum or two.
However, there are complaints that some buyers just aren’t happy with the guitar. They feel like it’s a “kid’s” guitar that’s cheaply made. To be fair, cheaper materials were used to build the guitar, but that’s how it’s able to be sold for such a low price. Secondly, it’s a 3/4 size guitar that’s made to be smaller for travel or smaller persons. It’s not a “kid’s” guitar per se, but we and the masses admit that it’s great for kids!
Alternatives to Consider
If you want a full size acoustic guitar, the 3/4 Yamaha guitar isn’t the place to look. The Epiphone DR-100 is a full-size dreadnought acoustic guitar – check out our full review of the DR-100 here. You’ve still got a laminate guitar, but it has a SlimTaper neck, and Epiphone is a Gibson brand. Even better, the DR-100 will keep you under budget. Unfortunately, you’re still going to have to spend a little extra to buy a case and accessories.
The Yamaha JR2 is identical to the 3/4 Yamaha guitar in size and specs. It’s a compact acoustic guitar that’s closer to a 3/4-size than a 1/2-size guitar. Like the JR1, the JR2 was also inspired after the Yamaha FG series, and it comes in two color options: Natural and Tobacco Sunburst. Expect a starter bundle in the purchase too! Check out our JR2 review to compare the two.
Yamaha FG JR1 3/4 Q&A
The Yamaha JR1 guitar is a 3/4-size guitar that’s made for travel or smaller players. Kids aged 8-14 will find the 3/4-size guitar easier to play versus a full-size dreadnought one. It’s a great guitar that kids will enjoy playing as it’s not a toy – it’s a real acoustic guitar. Small and petite adults may enjoy the scaled-down size, and they may prefer to use it as a travel guitar for playing in places where they wouldn’t dare take their more expensive ones.
The Yamaha starter kit includes the JR1 guitar, soft case gig bag, and a shoulder strap. Also included is a clip-on tuner, capo, and peg winder. Additional accessories thrown in are multiple picks in various sizes, extra set of strings, and a Guitar Lessons instructional DVD.
The gig bag does not have backpack straps to be worn on the back. It simply has a carrying strap and a front pocket with a zipper to hold accessories.
This is a steel string acoustic guitar. Steel strings may be a little rough for beginner players that are not used to playing. Light gauge strings may help to make the learning process easier.
The JR1 guitar has a tortoise shell pickguard, dot inlays, rosewood bridge with black pins, opened chrome tuning machines, and chrome tuning pegs.
The string scale is 21 1/4″ with a 20-fret neck joined at the 14th fret. Frets have pearloid dots inlays.
The guitar comes in only one color option: Natural. The back and sides have a satin finish and the spruce top has a gloss finish.
Hardware/Electronics You’ll Need:
Fortunately for you, you’re saving a ton of money since you’re getting the starter kit in this guitar purchase. Yamaha really has you covered when it comes to spending as less as possible while gaining as much as possible. The guitar already comes with an extra set of 80/20 Brass Light Gauge strings that you might want to string-up upon box opening, and the clip-on tuner will help you get tuning and playing right away. Since you don’t have to spend extra on buying any additional parts and accessories, you still might want to get a professional setup to ensure the guitar will sound its best!
- Complete accessories bundle
- For young beginners
- Great for travel
Our Verdict on the JR1
To strum it up, the Yamaha JR1 FG Junior 3/4 acoustic guitar is a great buy for any beginner and small person – young or old. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to thinking you need to be on the petite side to take advantage of this deal. If you’re in the market for a travel guitar, why not maximize your buy with the JR1 and all the accessories that come with it?