- Unbelievably Good
- June 19, 2012
- By: Jim
I was in Milwaukee for business and dropped into Interstate Music to look for a travel guitar since I was going to be in the air traveling over the next 5 weeks. They had a couple of Baby Taylor, including a sweetly priced used one, Mini-Martin, locally produced Archer and the Yamaha Junior series.
I really was excited about the used Baby Taylor BT-1 but it was pretty thin compared to it's amazing but significantly higher priced brother GS-1, but it was very playable. The Martin was super nice feel, but tonally was like playing a kleenex box with strings, very dull. Next to these were both a Yamaha JR1 and JR2.
Being familiar with the JR1 it was hard to even give the JR2 a look. But not being completely happy with either the Taylor, Martin or the Archer I picked up the JR2 and was so impressed I bought it on the spot.
To be clear the JR2 is not comparable to any full sized guitar or even or some of the higher end 3/4 guitars, but comparing the BT, MM and JR2 is fair and the JR2 bested them in sound, where Taylor and Martin come out ahead is in feel, perhaps construction and the important fret board scale. The JR2 has very little room for fat fingers and if you need a capo forget it because the spacing gets to be a problem for chording next to a capo. I have small fingers and a capo isn't a must have for me.
The selling points for me were chiefly in what I need it for basic strumming and flat picking of open and barre chords and lead. In strumming towards the neck the tone blows BT and MM out of the water, this was unbelievably good and fairly warm for such a small body. Playing over the sound hole cooled the tone significantly, but for playing lead over chords in a jam or recording on my laptop working on some arrangements is very nice. I am elated with this dynamic.
It gets 5-stars, because in side by side comparison it excelled where Baby Taylor and Martin Mini didn't (in tone) and it did it for half the price. Yamaha didn't skimp on the travel bag either it is pretty nice, it isn't just sleeve like the JR1 it is a true travel bag very well made.
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