Are you looking for a new guitar and considering trying Jay Turser?
We’ve got you covered!
In this Jay Turser Guitar Review, we aim to provide an in-depth understanding of this underrated brand, its offerings, and what you can expect when picking up one of its instruments.
By the end of this review, you’ll have a clearer picture of whether a Jay Turser guitar is the right choice for you.
And if you want to check out one of my other brand reviews, I have also written about Esteban guitars.
I didn’t know much about this brand till I started doing research for this article.
But here’s what I found.
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Background
Jay Turser Guitars is not exactly the best-known brand.
However, they have had a somewhat successful run over the years.
The company originally started back in 1988 in the United States.
During the 1990s, they had more commercial success in the marketplace focusing specifically on budget guitars.
These have all been beginner-friendly instruments or inexpensive alternatives to other brands.
But despite this, they still had a pretty good reputation.
It’s not something that you usually expect from a brand that exclusively does budget stuff.
What’s more, in 2004, Guitar Player magazine readers chose them as the best value brand.
In 2006, after years of successful business, American Music and Sound acquired the brand.
However, it seems that Jay Turser Guitars changed ownership over the years.
After a while, they were purchased by U.S. Music Corporation.
Later on, Jam Industries, based in Canada bought them.
At this point, Jay Turser is a part of Davitt & Hanser.
And Davitt & Hanser is a part of Jam Industries.
What’s also really interesting is that Jay Turser Guitars have been collaborating with Graph Tech Guitar Labs since 2008.
It’s also worth noting that all of their instruments are manufactured in China.
Guitars They Offer
Although they’ve been around for a while, today, they offer a limited number of models.
Their electric guitar collection is modest as well as their electric bass guitars.
It seems that their main focus is on acoustic guitars at this point.
They have some interesting models to offer, all of which are budget-friendly.
But let’s see what Jay Turner Guitars have to offer within each of these categories.
These are the current models available as of now.
Their line of electric guitars consists of two series, 300 and LT.
The 300 series includes three models. These are:
- and JT-300M
The JT-30 and JT-300 models are essentially Stratocaster copies.
Though the JT-30 has smaller 3/4 size solid body for players with small hands and want a lightweight electric guitar.
They all come in classic style, solid body, gloss finish, rosewood fretboard with three single-coil pickups.
The Jay Turser (JT) comes with a versatile 5-way selector switch, which allows you to easily switch between the neck pickup, bridge pickups, or a combination of both.
This feature, along with the fulcrum tremolo bridge, ensures that you can achieve the perfect intonation and sound for your desired musical style.
The JT-300M model is the same as the other two models, with a white pickguard and chrome die-cast machines, but it is noticeably different as it comes with a maple fretboard.
This is a pretty decent guitar, and you can check it out in the video below:
Also, this series’ double cutaway design allows easy access to the higher frets, making it a great option for those who play jazz, pop, or other styles requiring a lot of fretwork.
An interesting feature of the Jay Turser JT guitars is their scale length, which measures 22.5″ from the nut to the bridge, compared to the standard 25.5″ found on Stratocasters.
This shorter scale length doesn’t compromise the guitar’s design or playability.
In fact, it’s quite advantageous for beginners and younger players just entering the guitars world, as it provides a more comfortable playing experience.
The LT series features 6 models:
This series is essentially a Telecaster copy. However, it comes with a maple neck and a rosewood fingerboard.
Other than that, we have the standard configuration with two single-coil pickups and scale length of 25-1/2″.
Here’s what this model sounds like with a clean tone.
All of the four electric guitar models at the moment come with the same 6-in-line headstock design.
As for acoustic guitars, there are three series.
- Jay J
- Jay Jr.
JAY J Series
The Jay J series has four models:
- JJ45LH (Left Hand)
These models feature the regular dreadnaught body shape.
All of these guitars are pretty similar, bearing basswood bodies, mahogany necks, gloss finish, and die-cast machine heads.
JJ45 and JJ45F have adjustable truss rod.
JJ45-PAK and JJ45LH have 3/4 dreadnaught body shapes.
A fantastic travel guitar and a terrific guitar for musicians searching for a smaller-bodied instrument or students with smaller hands.
Jay Jr. Series
The Jay Jr. is a series of four models:
- JJ43LH (Left Hand)
The materials are pretty much the same as with the Jay J series. However, we have what appears to be the 000 body shape, which means shallower than dreadnaught.
The JTA series has two models:
- JTA-424QCET LH (Left Hand)
Finally, the JTA series features jumbo body shapes, as well as a cutaway design.
Additionally, these also come with a preamp and a tuner, as well as a piezo pickup setup.
They also have catalpa bodies, rosewood fretboard, and mahogany necks.
They’re the most advanced acoustic series offered by Jay Turser Guitars.
If you’re interested with this series, grab the JTA-424QCET here:
Now, let’s check the Jay Turser’s bass guitars. Their bass guitars line consists of two series, 400 and CL.
The 400 series has three models:
Those from the 400 series are copies of Fender Precision basses.
The JTB-40 has P Style 3/4 size solid body guitar is a fantastic option for those who are just starting their musical journey or have smaller hands.
Same with their other guitars, this is crafted with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard.
This offers a comfortable playing experience without compromising quality.
Equipped with a split P-style pickup, this model delivers a versatile range of tones, allowing you to explore various genres and styles.
With a single volume and tone control (1-V & 1-T), you’ll find it easy to dial in your desired sound, making it ideal for beginners who want to focus on their playing technique.
The superior JTB-400C bass design is made simple – this classic P-style bass guitar also boasts a solid maple neck, rosewood fretboard adorned with medium-jumbo frets, a split humbucking pickup, one volume and one tone control, and chrome open-gear tuners.
This timeless configuration delivers the perfect blend of tradition and modernity for bass enthusiasts.
The JTB-402 has slim nut width and provides exceptional playability, particularly in the lower registers.
This bass boasts two single-coil pickups, each with individual volume controls.
Combined with a master tone knob, you have the flexibility to fine-tune your sound precisely as you imagine it.
Meanwhile, the CL series features only one bass – the JTB-2B.
And this one is pretty interesting.
This is a copy of the classic Hofner 500/1 “violin” bass.
This 4-string comes with two humbuckers.
The controls on it are the same as with the old 500/1 bass.
There are bass and treble switches, individual pickup switches, and separate volume controls for each pickup.
Here’s a demo of this Hofner copy:
Check out this JTB-40 Bass Guitar of Jay Turser from Guitar Center:
Interesting Discontinued Models
Sure, we only have a limited number of pretty basic models today.
However, Jay Turser had some pretty interesting guitars, even experimental stuff.
But being a lesser-known brand, it’s kind of hard to dig them all up.
But one of their famous guitars was the Warlord.
It’s a heavily redesigned “Flying V” guitar.
Its body shape kind of reminds me of Dean Michael Amott’s signature model.
Here’s a video detailing the instrument.
They also experimented with shapes back in the day.
For instance, there was a pretty crazy Shark Guitar model.
You can check it out in the player below.
This also includes the Stiletté Futuré with an aluminum body.
However, I wasn’t able to find any videos of it online.
Other Guitar Series Inspired by Famous Guitar Brands
Another interesting series of Jay Turser guitars are the JT-50 and JT-200 series.
This series has 6 models:
- JT-50 Custom
- JT-50 Custom 12
This guitar is a copy of Gibson’s classic SG with a slightly modified body shape.
This range focuses on double-cutaway guitars boasting solid bodies, 24-3/4″ scale lengths, set-in necks, SG-inspired design, chrome hardware, and 22-fret fretboards.
The JT-50 showcases a robust, double-cutaway guitar with a flat top structure crafted entirely from maple.
The SG-influenced pickguard and control knobs are prominently displayed on the body’s top.
A two-section bridge comprises a tune-o-matic bridge at the front and a traditional stoptail bar at the rear.
For this model, Jay Turser incorporates a standard pair of active humbuckers.
The JT-50’s six-string neck, constructed from maple, is adorned with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard.
The other models are pretty much the same except for the JT-XG2.
This is SG with a double body and neck model.
Crafted from elegant mahogany, the core of this instrument boasts a robust construction.
The maple necks, fastened securely to the body, provide a durable foundation.
The top neck features a dozen strings that gracefully span across the standard 22-fret rosewood fretboard.
Additionally, it is equipped with a pair of dynamic humbuckers.
The lower neck, designed for six strings, also showcases a 22-fret rosewood fretboard.
Close to its bridge, two open-coil humbucking pickups are meticulously placed to ensure optimal sound quality.
You can check out the JT-50 in action in the video below:
Of course, there’s been an abundance of great series and models over the years.
Although it’s all cheaper stuff, the company wasn’t afraid to test out new designs.
The JT-200 series offers 6 models as well:
- JT-200 Serpent
Contrasting with the JT-50 series, which focuses on SG-inspired guitars, the JT-200 line takes inspiration from the classic Les Paul design.
These somewhat vintage-style six-string instruments primarily target younger musicians who desire Gibson aesthetics and authentic sound.
Moreover, these models offer affordability without compromising quality.
The JT-200 series boasts a sturdy, single-cut construction with a carved top featuring a mahogany back and a maple top.
A standard two-piece bridge section is complemented by dual active humbucker pickups.
The set-in mahogany neck is adorned with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard, highlighted by a unique serpent inlay that spans the entire fretboard.
Take a look at the JT-220D video demo below:
Get your JT-200PRO from Guitar Center:
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Basswood Body
When you see a basswood body mentioned in the context of a guitar, it means that the main material used to create the guitar body is basswood.
This light and somewhat soft hardwood is a popular choice for crafting guitars, particularly electric models.
However, there are a few drawbacks to using basswood for guitar making.
Due to its softer nature, it can be more vulnerable to nicks and wear compared to sturdier woods like mahogany or maple.
Additionally, some musicians might feel that the tonal quality of basswood-bodied guitars lacks the warmth or depth of instruments from other tonewoods.
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Maple or Rosewood Fretboard?
So you’ve been seeing 2 types of fretboard Jay Turser offers: Maple and Rosewood.
Both have unique characteristics that appeal to different players.
Maple is a light-colored hardwood with brighter, snappier sound with more pronounced high-end frequencies.
Rosewood, on the other hand, is a dark-colored, dense hardwood with a more porous, open-grained texture.
It produces a warmer, richer sound with a more balanced frequency response, emphasizing mid and low-end frequencies.
Maple fretboards are known for their durability, thanks to their ability to withstand environmental changes and temperature shifts.
Conversely, rosewood fretboards boast a robustness that outshines their maple counterparts.
The choice of maple or rosewood can significantly impact your guitar’s sound and overall playability.
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Affordability and Value for Money
When purchasing a guitar, your budget can significantly influence your decision-making process.
That’s why our Jay Turser guitar review wouldn’t be complete without discussing affordability and value for money.
Jay Turser has built a reputation for providing budget-friendly guitars.
Despite their affordable price tags, these guitars have pretty decent craftsmanship and reliable hardware, making them an ideal choice for those seeking bang for their buck.
Their lineup spans from entry-level models for beginners to more advanced options for seasoned musicians.
Prices typically start from around $200 for basic acoustic or electric models and can go up to several hundred dollars for more advanced or unique designs.
This makes Jay Turser guitars accessible to many players, regardless of their financial constraints.
Jay Turser competes in the budget-friendly guitar market with brands such as Squier, Epiphone, and Ibanez, which offer economical solutions for artists on a tight budget.
Though you can hardly find Jay Turser guitars available on Amazon, you can still find some of them as pre-loved on other online shops such as eBay and Reverb.
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Quality of Their Guitars
One thing to bear in mind is that these are all budget-friendly guitars. With that said, you can’t expect too much from them.
On the other hand, they perform decently well and, in my opinion, are worth the price.
Overall, these are Chinese-made inexpensive copies of popular American-made designs.
They get the job done and are pretty great as beginner instruments.
With some minor modifications, they can serve as backup guitars and basses.
But what I’m discouraged about is the fact that there’s not much info on them.
Sure, these guitars are okay, but specs on these are hard to find which isn’t uncommon for cheaper brands.
If you’re a beginner at playing the guitar and want to hone your guitar skills, check out this Guitar Exercises for Beginners book:
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Are They Worth It?
At the end of the day, Jay Turser guitars have the reputation of being good, not great.
You can expect a reliable instrument with no bells and whistles.
Sure, the pickups could be better.
But you can easily swap them for something else and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent guitar!
The present-day electric and acoustic guitars are okay.
But the company’s older stuff seems underrated.
If you happen to stumble upon one of these, they’re worth checking out.
They’re somewhat obscure, but they shouldn’t be too expensive.
Jay Turser Guitar Review: Conclusion
In summing up our Jay Turser Guitar Review, we’ve covered the brand’s history, lineup, quality, craftsmanship, playability, affordability, and presence in the music community.
It’s been a pleasure exploring this brand and sharing personal thoughts along the way.
But don’t just take my word for it – go ahead and give them a try!
I hope this article has helped you learn a bit more about this brand.
We would love to hear your thoughts on Jay Turser guitars.
Feel free to share your own experiences, opinions, and insights in the comment section below.
As usual, let me know if you have questions!
I have 3 Jay tursers. First one i bouight was a sg copy. Second one was a strat copy. Third was a blue LP copy. gold hardwhare double perloid fretboard inlays. The guitar is very heavy. Sounds and plays great. I seen another one like it on hole in the wall. PAs place.. Mine has a different inlay on the headstock. Mine is probably newer. I willnot change the pickups on any of these guitars I have. They rip.
Thanks for the insight!
I have 3 Jay Tursers, an LP copy with snake inlay, rosewood body Tele copy and a Strat copy and I’m now looking at a 4th! I was amazed at the playability of these guitars. I have one other budget Strat copy and it sounds like crap compared to the Jay Turser. I personally like the weight of the LP copy. I really don’t know which one I prefer.
Thanks for sharing your experience with Jay Tursers! They make some great instruments.
I just found a JTA-DQ acoustic for sale for $50.00. Is it worth it?
I’m not super familiar with secondary market pricing for this instrument. But if you there’s a guitar you can get in good condition for $50, it sounds like a good deal to me!
I got a lightly used JT- LT Telecaster copy for cheap and revamped it for resale. As a Telecaster, it can be made to play well and the pickups are pretty good. They are not Fralins (I live in his town) or Duncans or Kent Armstrongs, but most players are ‘bangers’ and cannot sing much, anyway.
Very few fellows know how to ‘set up’ a guitar, but I paid attention to pros in my town and can do most everything needed to make a guitar playable and adjusted well. Nut slots, string gap height at fret 12 and the ‘3rd fret test’ are unknown to most players … so they pay a setup guy too much money to do what is fairly simple to do (basic tools and learning). For a guy who built models as a kid and is fairly good with tools and analytical, electric guitars and acoustics are not too hard to set up and fix.
I found a Jay Turser JTA 35C/TBL for £20 in a charity shop. It is nicely finished, great slim neck and rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Great condition and plays very well. A bargain, I think.
Anytime you can find a working guitar (let alone a decent instrument) for that low of a price, I think it’s a steal!
I recently bought my husband a Jay Turser jta – 300 tbl semi-accoustic guitar at a second hand store but cannot find anything (not even a picture) of one online.
Do you happen to know anything about them?
I wish I did know more about it! I also had trouble finding pictures of that specific model (but I found plenty of the Jay Turser jta – 300). Maybe you should do the internet a favor and upload a few pics of it (ha)!
I’m a drummer but have bought and played a few guitars in my day(i’m 73) i owned a Turser “Beatle Bass”, a Strat, Telecaster and the Les Paul copy. I used to have the Vox Phantom copy. I found them easy to play and a viable instrument which always stayed in tune and always played straight. I have since given them away to “budding guitarist” family members. If you want in my opinion a great guitar as a great price Turser is your brand’
Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s always nice to hear from others how they feel about the instruments we discuss on the blog!
Yea,I own 4 jay tursers black jt 132 tb j132 a single cut away jazzed jt 142. Sg style jt 150. All lefty. Took awhile to get these original lefties. Jay turser use to build quality reproduction esq. Guitars. I beleive the are affiliated with swith craft ,and graph tech. So your gonna get decent.electronics and guitar nut.
They use to build great jazz box guitar. What happened? I love mine. I have 2 es 335 copies. 1 es 175 style and 1 sg style. I mean back in the eighties you couldn’t find anything at this quality!;; not to mention the price point? Mine are all.left handed axes so even more rare. I’m hanging on to my stuff,you dig?
I’m sorry to hear you think the quality has suffered. And I hear you about the prices. It seems like almost everything is a lot more expensive these days!
Great write-up on Jay Turser guitars and thanks for doing this because I was also looking for info on JT guitars and I have found nothing available. I noticed you did not mention the Vintage Series line of JT.
I have been buying, storing and reselling guitars for the last 13 years and wouldn’t touch a Jay Turser with a 10 foot pole until one day. I was looking to buy a very cheap guitar to customize and relic it. I came across Jay Turser (Vintage Series) Strat for $75 (Canadian).
I took it home and was blown away.
The Vintage Series line of JT has vintage looking volume knobs and pickup covers (cream color).
The guitar didn’t feel cheap and it was rather solid and a little on the heavy side.
I was going to remove the pickups and install some Wilkinsons but the JT pickups sounded great. I did eventually replace them with Wilkinsons but they weren’t as good as the JT ones.
The body was beautiful it was a solid piece of Tiger maple (AAA for sure). The neck was maple and the frets felt pretty good (no sharp ends). The tuning pins and the bridge were average….
I fixed this guitar and it felt and sounded just as great as my CLASSIC VIBE (Squier) guitars.
Sold it for $265.
I also came across a JT Telecaster (Vintage Series) and bought it for $100.
It also felt and sounded amazing. Fixed it and sold it for $200 (which I regret, should have kept this one)
All to say that Jay Turser has or had a line of spectacular guitars (Vintage Series line). If you ever come across one get it….they are definitely worth it.
What a great story! Thanks for sharing your experience. These experiences are super valuable to the readers of this blog, and I really appreciate it!