If you are thinking of introducing your child to music, you’ll often hear that the guitar is a great place to start. It has a big part in most styles of music, it’s easy to carry with you wherever you go, and it’s a lot of fun to share with friends and family. One of the first hurdles children encounter when starting is the size of the instrument and the uncomfortable sensation of the strings. The Jasmine JC-23 (coming soon) addresses both problems by being a nylon-stringed guitar and in ¾ dimensions. This means that younger players will have an easier time practicing and developing on a more manageable guitar. I took it for a spin to see how it handles and if it’s worth investigating as a first instrument.
I filmed a short video documenting my first impressions and a sound sample to give you an idea how the JC-23 sounds.
A classical guitar aimed at beginners
The JC-23 is a ¾ guitar. This means that it’s a smaller instrument that retains the original proportions of a regular one. This has a very nice benefit of making everything a little bit easier to play. A full-sized model might be a bit too big for anyone under 12 or who is still growing. The smaller neck and fret proximity will accelerate learning and facilitate playing chords and melodies. When starting out, every little bit helps.
Being a classical guitar, the JC-23 features nylon strings. These produce a silky smooth tone, quite different from the regular acoustic sound were used to. Although it’s not the most widespread timbre in music, it’s still featured in jazz, rock, and pop, as well as classical, obviously. Most guitar techniques are available on such an instrument, so for a first guitar, it’s not much of a compromise. The upside is very interesting though: the softer strings will greatly reduce any pain or discomfort. This is one of the biggest hurdles when learning guitar for new players. The general enthusiasm for practicing will be higher, and longer sessions will be possible.
Jasmin JC-23 design
Although the JC-23 is intended for beginners, Jasmine didn’t cut corners in the design and construction. The materials used are of good quality. The top, which is greatly responsible for the overall tone of the instrument, is made of Spruce. This is the industry standard type of wood for acoustic guitars. For the back and sides, Sapele is used. Being a relative of Mahogany, it offers the same type of warm tone, but at a more affordable price. The same concept is used for the neck, which is crafted from Nato wood, another economical alternative to Mahogany. For the bridge and the fretboard itself, Rosewood was chosen.
Although the top is covered in a glossy finish, the rest has a satin coating. This is very pleasant and offers a very comfortable playing experience. Lastly, the rosette (the decoration around the sound hole) has a beautiful mosaic pattern.
Great sound and playability
For an affordable learner’s instrument, the JC-23 has a good tone. The combination of materials really works in favour of the guitar, offering a resonant, pleasant timber. The good factory setup allows the strings to ring clearly, and every note rings out with a nice amount of volume.
Being a 3/4 guitar, some of the resonance and depth is lost when comparing to a regular size. This is a small trade-off for having enhanced playability. The sound is more than pleasant enough to accompany a child’s first steps on the instrument.
Out of the box, the guitar is very easy to play. This is thanks to a good action that puts the strings at a very comfortable distance from the fretboard. This will also make things easier for a beginner. A high action can negatively affect playability and makes every note and chord harder to play.
Solid option for young beginners
The JC-23 is obviously aimed towards the younger beginners. Thanks to its soft strings and smaller dimensions, it’ll be a lot easier to play and learn on than a full sized guitar. If your child is under twelve or still has some growing to do, this is a great starting point. The instrument is well built and should offer years of service and might even be a great item to hand down to a younger sibling.
Although this is a classical model, you do not have to play that style exclusively. Acoustic guitars are built on the same principal, so you can actually play any style that you wish, with plucking, picking, and strumming techniques. Famous musicians have integrated it in very creative ways and different styles. Willie Nelson, Sun Kill Moon, Lauryn Hill, Leonard Cohen, and Jerry Reed all come to mind.
When starting out, it’s nice to explore your musical interests, but a teacher can guide you to efficiently achieve your objectives. With a solid understanding of the guitar’s layout, the various techniques employed and general musical knowledge, you’ll have a much easier time learning and playing your favourite songs. A classical guitar such as this is an excellent tool to master the basics, and those skills will absolutely transfer to the other types, such as the acoustic and the electric.
Adults should consider full-sized guitars
While adults can certainly play and use this guitar, it’s not the most logical choice to start out with. The vast majority of adults can handle a full sized instrument, and you’ll get the benefit of a fuller sound. The full scale length is suitable for most grown-ups and shouldn’t pose any problem. If you want a model with a smaller body for comfort, there are various shapes available that feature a regular neck size such as parlours and 000s.
Jasmine caters to beginners, and the JC-23 is a great option for young players that want to get started as early as possible. As a first guitar, it will serve this purpose very well. Also, in the future, that solid foundation will help users to pick out the next, full-sized instrument in a much more informed fashion.