As a music teacher and private lessons teacher for over 10 years, I’ve had many new guitar students come up to me with beginner guitars they went out and bought themselves.
And most of them turn out to be junk and a waste of money.
When one of my new students came to me with the Jasmine S34 Nex, I honestly thought it was going to be more of the same. I knew it didn’t cost much, and low price usually equals low quality.
When I played on it myself, I was pleasantly surprised. This actually makes a great guitar for beginners.
Let’s dig into this Jasmine S34C NEX review to find out why!
Jasmine S34C NEX Acoustic Guitar
The brand of Jasmine has been through several sales over the years.
It first started with the Takamine brand. Takamine is a guitar maker known for quality and value, but they usually focus on intermediate and advanced guitars at higher prices.
When Takamine wanted to expand into the beginner market, they didn’t just start creating new Takamine guitars, they started a sub-brand called Jasmine.
Jasmine guitars have always stood for beginner playability and even more value. These are entry-level guitars, but this is perfect for many people.
Since then, Takamine and, by extension, Jasmine has been purchased by KMC Music Corp which has consolidated many music instruments brands into one company.
Don’t fret though (pun intended)! The design of the Jasmine S34C NEX was not altered.
This guitar stands as a prime example of what Jasmine guitars are meant to do:
Be one of the best guitars for beginners and new players.
What We Liked:
- Great value
- Beginner-friendly design
- Balanced sound
- Useful cutaway for higher fret playing
What We Disliked:
- Neck may warp over time
- Missing resonance in the middle ranges
Beginner Design Choices
Guitars are an instrument with a steep learning curve. In my experience, most guitar players will quit within the first year of playing.
This is due to frustration brought on from trying to build the finger strength and coordination to finger different chords. It’s also in large part due to the pain of fingers until calluses are built where the left hand touches the strings.
While nobody can help with the finger callus problem (unless you practice in short sessions at first which I recommend), Jasmine does help with the fingering issue.
It’s slim neck design is easier to handle for beginners, and the action is fairly low making it require less pressure to push down the strings.
Cutaway Design For Different Styles Of Play
Most beginner guitars are the simple dreadnought, full-body design. There’s nothing wrong with this choice (in fact, it’s the one I prefer for my personal acoustic guitars), but it’s limiting as your ability to play solo and lead work grows.
You lose easy access to the higher frets near the body of the guitar.
For those interested in a more complex style of playing the deep Venetian-style cutaway used by the S34C NEX may be just what you want.
Nice Sounding Materials: Spruce, Agathis
The materials in this guitar are surprising for such a low priced instrument. These woods help produce a good sound for this level.
The top is a laminate (or layered) spruce wood. Spruce is king for top woods and gives the sound power and clarity.
Laminate spruce is a more affordable and less quality option than a solid top. But the difference in manufacturing cost is a big part of why this guitar is much more affordable.
Agathis gets a lot of hate in the guitar world by amateur guitarists. It’s easy to write off Agathis as a bad wood, just like it’s easy to say all mahogany is a good wood.
More experienced guitar players know this isn’t so clean-cut.
Agathis is a fine tonewood if the wood is quality and treated well. Jasmine takes good care of this with the S34C.
Their Agathis actually provides good balance to the spruce and deepens the sounds in its low and high ends.
Overall, the sound is clear and deep. It won’t match more expensive guitars for sound especially in its middle overtones, but you won’t be paying hundreds of dollars either.
The Distinguishing Feature: Great Value For Beginners
If this guitar cost around $1000, I would never recommend it. But Jasmine is somehow able to sell this for under $200.
For the sound it gives, beginner-friendliness, and unique cutaway, the Jasmine S34C NEX presents one of the best values a guitar offers.
If you improve consistently over a couple of years, you’ll outgrow this guitar, but if you’re happy with an intermediate playing style (no reason you shouldn’t be), this guitar can last you your whole life.
|Feature||Jasmine S34C NEX|
|Back and sides||Agathis|
|Nut and saddle||Synthetic bone|
|Number of frets||21|
|Bracing design||Jasmine Advanced X Bracing|
|Scale length||25.5 inches (0.65 meters)|
|Neck design||Slim neck|
|Body shape||Venetian-style cutaway|
What Customers Are Saying?
All the above comes from what I’ve experienced with this guitar, but what do other players say. I’ve spoken with my students, other music teachers, and read reviews. Along the way, I noticed these trends.
Love the slim neck
All users thought the slim neck was a good feature. It made it much easier for them to hold the guitar and finger the strings.
Surprisingly good sound
As with my own experience, customers who bought this guitar immediately noticed the deep sound of this guitar. When you buy an acoustic guitar for under $200, you expect it to sound a little thin or muddy.
Users noted the guitar had a deeper sound than they were expecting.
Of course, as I mentioned before, most players noted the low price for the guitar.
This is actually an important feature for beginners. When starting something brand new, it’s sometimes hard to justify spending a large amount of money on a hobby you may end up quitting.
The affordable cost of the S34C NEX takes care of this.
Between the cutaway design, satin finish, and nice-looking woods, most users commented on how classic and clean the guitar looks.
Doesn’t sound as good with fingerstyle playing
With all the different styles of playing, it’s hard for a beginner guitar to sound good in every way. Most players noted when they started playing in a fingerstyle (think James Taylor), the guitar lost its depth.
Check out how the guitar sounds when played in this video.
When looking at this Jasmine S34C NEX review, you may have noticed some common threads. This guitar has a great value.
The Agathis tone woods are hit or miss in some cases, but the Jasmine S34C makes it work. The sound quality for its low price is hard to beat.
The NEX takes their popular S35 model and pumps it up a little bit.
For any new player looking for a guitar that won’t break the bank but still sounds good and is easy to learn on, the Jasmine S34C NEX acoustic guitar is worth checking out.