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