Student of Guitar

Jay Turser Guitar Review: What to Expect from this Brand [2022 Edition]

Table of Contents

If you’re interested in a Jay Turser guitar review, this is the post 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 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, Canadian-based Jam Industries 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 in 2021.

Electric Guitars

Their line of electric guitars consists of two series, 300 and LT. The 300 series includes three models. These are:

  • JT-30
  • JT-300
  • and JT-300M

The 300 series guitars are essentially Stratocaster copies. They all come with three single-coil pickups and tremolo bridges. The JT-300M model 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:

The LT series features only one model, the JT-LT. This 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. 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.

Acoustic Guitars

As for acoustic guitars, there are three series. These are Jay J, Jay Jr., and JTA. The Jay J series features the regular dreadnaught body shape. All of these guitars are pretty similar, bearing basswood bodies and mahogany necks.

The Jay Jr. is a series of four models. The materials are pretty much the same as with the Jay J series. However, we have what appears to be the 000 body shape.

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. They also have catalpa bodies and mahogany necks. They’re the most advanced series offered by Jay Turser Guitars.

Bass Guitars

Their bass guitars line consists of two series, 400 and CL. Those from the 400 series are copies of Fender Precision basses.

Meanwhile, the CL series features only one bass. 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:

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’s Michael Amott 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 model. You can check it out in the player below.

And another interesting one was the JT-50 model. This guitar is a copy of Gibson’s classic SG with a slightly modified body shape. You can check it out in action in the video below:

Of course, there’s been an abundance of great models over the years. Although it’s all cheaper stuff, the company wasn’t afraid to test out new designs. This also includes the Stiletté Futuré with an aluminum body. However, I wasn’t able to find any videos of it online.

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.

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

I hope this article has helped you learn a bit more about this brand!

As usual, let me know in the comments if you have questions!

16 Responses

  1. John Nevada says:

    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.

    1. Hi, John.

      Thanks for the insight!

  2. Greg Chance says:

    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.

    1. Hey Greg,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Jay Tursers! They make some great instruments.

  3. Phil Davis says:

    I just found a JTA-DQ acoustic for sale for $50.00. Is it worth it?

    1. Hi Phil,

      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!

  4. Doug in VA says:

    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.

  5. Chris Forster says:

    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.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Anytime you can find a working guitar (let alone a decent instrument) for that low of a price, I think it’s a steal!

  6. Bee Curtis-Monro says:

    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?

    1. Hi Bee,

      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)!

  7. william turner says:

    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’

    1. Hi William,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! It’s always nice to hear from others how they feel about the instruments we discuss on the blog!

  8. 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.

  9. James Kambouris says:

    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?

    1. Hi James,

      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!

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