Although a guitar is a perfect travel companion, it sometimes feels slightly too big to bring on your camping trip, vacation or even train adventure. An instrument of regular dimensions is hard to fit in a fully loaded trunk or an overhead compartment. Your main instrument might also be too delicate for a trek in the mountains. This is where travel sized guitar shines. They offer the same satisfying activity, but at a fraction of the size, weight and price. I’ve received the Jasmine JM-10, a smaller sized dreadnought acoustic that will follow you, wherever you may please. Read on to see how it sounds and performs.
First of all, I’ve filmed a short video of the main features and my initial impressions of the Jasmine JM-10. It also includes a sound example to let you hear the tone quality.
Jasmine JM-10 guitar is made of standard materials
The JM-10 might be a mini guitar; it still has the same materials you’d find on full-sized and priced acoustic guitars. First of all, the top is made out of spruce, the go-to tone wood for that part of the body. The soundboard is very important because it’s the part that vibrates and participates in the sound the most. It’s good to know that even though this is a smaller instrument, it still features quality materials where it counts. The back and sides are made out of Sapele, while the neck is Nato. These are similar to mahogany, which is very popular in guitar manufacturing. It has a throaty mid-range that is well liked by most guitarists. The neck is also finished in satin, providing a pleasant, comfortable surface for the fretting hand. The fretboard and bridge are made out of rosewood, another very common choice.
The body shape of the JM-10 has the same proportions as a dreadnought, so expect a familiar tone, although with less volume and low frequencies. The neck scale is slimmed down to 23 3/8” compared to the usual 25.4-25.5”. This makes the frets narrower and saves space. While this is definitely smaller than a regular guitar, it’s not quite intended to be an instrument for young beginners. The nut width is 1” ¾ which is the regular dimension. This means that the space between the strings is conserved and it doesn’t feature a smaller neck, widthwise.
There are no electronics mounted in the body of the instrument. If you want to amplify it, you’ll need to have a pickup installed or use a temporary one. A lot of guitarists prefer to install their favourite product, so this might not be a disadvantage at all. Sometimes it’s annoying to be stuck with a system you don’t like and need to get it swapped. You’ll then have to find a way to get rid of the stock electronics, unless you want to keep them as backup.
The finish and decorations on the guitar are basic and you won’t find any sort of added bling. It has that standard or traditional look. The stock strings are a regular light .012-.053 that is commonly used for new guitars. According to the website, a deluxe gig bag is included. Unfortunately, my demo model didn’t, so I can’t comment on its design and protection.
Jasmine JM-10 guitar is easy to play
It doesn’t take long to get used to the smaller size of the JM-10. Since it’s well set up out of the box, it’s easy enough to pick up and play. After a few minutes, your muscle memory adapts and you’ll be able to use all of your techniques in adequate fashion. The regular string spacing really helps to make the jump. Even though the frets are narrower, the distance between each string is the same as you’d expect on an acoustic and it makes the playing experience authentic. Its smaller size and light weight make it very comfortable to hold and I can picture musicians picking away at the campfire for hours, entertaining their friends and family.
Sound-wise, you won’t be absolutely blown away, but it’s still a decent-sounding travel guitar. It doesn’t have a very loud projected volume, so it might be a challenge to hear the guitar in noisy get-togethers outside. There is no thunderous bass either, but it’s still a balanced instrument. You can hear it in action in my short video. There is some finger-style, as well as strumming.
While the guitar is comfortable to play and well set up, the finishing isn’t impeccable. The neck edges are a slightly uneven and you can see it. On the instrument I received, there are even inlays that don’t completely fill up their openings on the fretboard. You won’t really feel these while playing, but it’s not the most aesthetically pleasant sight. Many budget-friendly travel guitars have similar problems, but it didn’t ruin the playing experience all that much. These types of defects aren’t constant in the production line, so it will depend on the actual guitar you receive.
A great acoustic guitar for beginners and travelers
The JM-10 really shines as a travel guitar. It’s inexpensive, sounds good, it’s easy to play and you won’t worry about dinging it up while it travels with you. The smaller body will make it a lot easier to carry on rides, no matter the means of transportation. Some of the most inspiring moments in life are while we are on a trip and it’s really great to get the chance to translate those feelings into music. If you are looking for a great companion for your adventures, this is a good one.
This guitar can also double as a first instrument for your child. Although it doesn’t have narrower string spacing like ¾ guitars do, it’s still quite manageable and it’s possible to learn on it. This means it can comfortably fulfill two purposes: a travel instrument for mom and dad, as well as a learning platform for the kids. Later on, they’ll be able to use it on their own trips. It’s hard to beat that kind of value.
Make sure to check out the JM-10 on Best Buy’s website.