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Jay Turser jazzbox - a good buy?

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HobbyPicker
(@hobbypicker)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 62
Topic starter  

One of these is up for sale not far from me, if it's available I'll go check it out. Has anybody round here any experience with these guitars, or any good advice on what to look for. It seems "suspiciously" inexpensive?


Jay Turser JT-143


   
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Rahul
(@rahul)
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If it sounds good, plays well and is sturdy in your hands, I don't see a reason why it shouldn't be a good buy. Hope your seller includes some sort of return back policy if the thing breaks up in 2 days of your playing...


   
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Dan T.
(@dan-t)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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I don't own one, but I did play one that looks pretty much like the one in the picture at my local guitar store. It was very inexpensive price wise, but seemed to be a pretty good quality guitar for the money. Check it out, and if you like it, go for it. It's not gonna set you back too much, and you can always upgrade the electronics if you need to.

Dan

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


   
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TwistedLefty
(@twistedlefty)
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I haven't had the pleasure of trying one of these yet but i think it looks like a very nice guitar. try it out if possible and if the price is right, go for it.

on a side note: has anyone here owned or played a Jay Turser Strat copy?
an old friend of mine is interested in purchasing one and was asking if it would be a good deal.

#4491....


   
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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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Is it a solid, carved wood top or an all wood laminate?

Given that the marketing doesn't say carved or solid wood, my guess is laminate.

I have never heard a laminate top guitar that sounds quite right for Jazz.

The best buy in hollow-body jazz guitars that I've seen is the Eastman guitar's. They're not cheap, but they're great value for their money.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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BmanCV-60
(@bmancv-60)
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I don't have the one you're looking at but here is mine:

and paid nothing near that price... :D

It is laminate, very solid and seems pretty well built; no blemishes in the finish and the binding is very well done, even in the f-holes. It doesnt have any buzzing or rattling, the action comes from the factory set pretty low and I haven't had it set up yet. I will once I stop buying learning essentials (and some stuff not so essential). I was nervous when I bought it online but have been very pleasantly surprised with the way it feels and sounds with and without an amp. I read reviews on the Harmony forum and saw how quickly they were being snatched up on eBay before I jumped in. I got a great deal and have absolutely no regrets on the purchase.

"...I don't know - but whasomever I do, its gots ta be FUNKY!"


   
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catcha
(@catcha)
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Theres a review video here.....

The thing to remember is that its meant to be a budget playable big jazz box and not a top of the range instrument , mine was ok'ish for the price but the sound needed a good deal of reverb to sweeten it up which destroyed the sound and made it pretty unuseable for serious use but I tried one because my old Antoria big Jazz guitar got stolen , it was good fun for home use and practice .
Good thing though is that they dont drop much in value so you have nothing much to loose by trying one out.

I found another Antoria Matsumuko Jazz guitar a few weeks after buying the JT and to be honest they just dont compare , Ive had a few differing Jazz boxes including Ibanez George Benso Model GB 5 and a pretty great sounding Hagstrom (still have that) and I find the early Antoria H974 Jazzstar to have the best playability and tone out of them all.

Has to be the earlier Matsumoko Japanese factory or Korean ones though , made in same factories as the best early Ibanez big boxes .

In my opinion Ive played and had quite a few big Jazz guitars and its very hard to make a decent Jazz box for little money and theres really not much point in buying one just for the shape alone and having to then layer it through effects to get a decent sound .
Upgrading the electrics on a big box semi doesnt quite have the same effect obviously as a solid guitar as with big box jazzers the sound is much more reliant on the woods used and placement of undertop support cross pieces etc.
The Jay Turser wasnt really up to the Jazz sound but nice for messing around on , have to say though that I actually gained on the sale as because the Jazzers are pretty rare in a cheap model they get snapped up quicker and atract more bidders .

The Matsumoko or Korean Antorias from the 70s early 80s are among the best out there and you can pick them up on Ebay or elsewhere for a very decent price , much much better than the JT's .

Both my Hagstrom and my Antoria keep perfect tuning and can be played easy high up the neck for the faster runs which would be pretty impossible to cleanly play on a JT but the price of the Hagstrom makes it to risky to take it out and probably out of the price bracket you are looking at .
The good Antorias are getting rarer but if you want a "real" big box jazzer i'd try and find one of those second hand , excellent value and usually kept in decent care due to not being a thrashers tool but avoid any of the later chinese matsumoko rip offs , they just cant do that creamy deep jazz tone :wink: .

Antoria Jazzstars are a very underated big box Jazz model that have aged extremely well , going to be very collectable which is a bit of a rarity in Japanese guitars so a good investment too , they are so close to the early rarer Ibanez L5 types that its possible they came off the very same production line with just a label and user guide / case change .

Its a good sign of workmanship that my 2nd Antoria I found plays and sounds as good as the first , just wish I could find the thief.

Harmony reviews...

http://reviews.harmony-central.com/reviews/Guitar/product/Antoria/Jazzstar+Solidtop/10/1

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dont give a shite about punctuation or spelling , I have to do that all day at work.
Free times for rocking !!


   
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Scrybe
(@scrybe)
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catcha,

cheers for that post, I found it really interesting. I'm looking to get a jazz box sometime in the next 12 months (depending on finances, lol) and was looking at the Ibanez artcore range (the AF105 and AF105F in particular). I don't suppose you have any opinion as to the quality of those, or any others in a similar price range I should look at?

I'm a pretty competent guitarist, and would be using it to practise, record and play gigs.

Again, many thanks for that post, I'm gonna bookmark it.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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catcha
(@catcha)
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Im afraid Ive not played the models you are thinking of but I did briefly have an Ibanez Artcore with a bigsby that was beautiful both sound and finish

The thing I have found with big box guitars though is if you can buy second hand you rarely loose anything (at least in the UK) if you dont get on with a certain model and have to sell as they are a rarer breed here they seem to hold price much better which makes buying not so much of a risk.

As far as I am concerned though the Ibanez Artcores are beautifully made guitars with excellent service , I would definately try a few though there are some real classy Jazz guitars out there including the not so shabby Hagstroms , stunning guitars.

I do have to repeat though if you ever come accross an Antoria or Aria big box guitar from the 70s dont pass by because of the name , they were both made in the same factories as the big names as indeed was the situation 10 years ago with Epiphone Dots / Sheratons coming off the same lines as some of the much cheaper Tanglewoods , Hohners etc

I once owned a cheapish Tanglewood that played just as well as a pals genuine Dot , looked exactly the same and Im pretty sure that whichever Korean company was making them were using the overstock to supply Tanglewood , doesnt always work mind cause Ive since seen some pretty useless ones when trying to replace it a long story but I didnt quite realise or apreciate what Id had until I had foolishly sold it and then realised that most the other Tanglewoods had different shaped headstocks.
Im pretty sure mistake or using another companies overstock or whatever that there are some Tanglewood Chicagos out there that are not just copies.

Its a shame some of lifes guitar luxuries sometimes sneak past you whilst you are learning all about guitars.

I wont tell you about my Aria Paul Brett that I sold for £85.00 or my Gordon Smith Gemini that I part exchanged for a Yamaha keyboard ..even worse when the PART exchanged meant that I even parted with money as well for the keyboard .

Just to put it in perspective Aria Paul Bretts are so rare these days that Paul Brett wants to buy them back and it was without a doubt the best accoustic guitar Ive ever owned I get to play one once a year and he wont part with it for any money .

The Gordon Smith Gemeni was made by Britains finest guitar luthier and is stunning but they usually go for about £1000.00 these days as tatty as you like , mine pristine went for a £250.00 keyboard and I payed £80.00 as well for the fun of it :x
I know we are talking Jazz guitars here but below is a picture of a Gordon Smith Gemeni one of Britains best guitars ever and I let it go ....for a Yamaha keyboard with sampled animal sounds , what ever was I thinking LOL

Id like to show you a picture of my wonderful Aria Paul Brett fully bound beautiful accoustic that I also passed on too but after being voted the best ever Japanese accoustic guitar ever and probably the only one that keeps appreciating at the same rate but due to those facts they are now so rare that not even Paul Brett himself can get hold of one or even a picture for his website :oops:

Right I'll be gone before I cry... Ive been a bit foolish in the past , but goes to show that there are some real sleeper classic guitars out there youve got to try as many as possible so all the best .
Maybe try a not so big box great Jazzer the Washburn HB35 a fantastic sounding guitar for the price , its more like a 335 really but with heavy strings sounds like a big box I hope to buy the one Ive been using for the past month or so whilst my mates been abroad , about £300.00 here in UK used and its real nice :D

Dont give a shite about punctuation or spelling , I have to do that all day at work.
Free times for rocking !!


   
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Scrybe
(@scrybe)
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catcha,

sorry to have made you go over such painful memories, but serious props for posting all that....I'll keep it in mind while I conduct my search for a jazzboox.

and I gotta say, that post has made me even more resolute than ever in my principle of never selling my guitars (or amps, and I still can't believe I considered parting company with a marshall...tsk, tsk)!

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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phangeaux
(@phangeaux)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 144
 

Disclaimer: I am not certain about some of the information details here- it's based on recollections:

I have a JT 134 DC thin line semi- hollow body similar to the photo that Bman CV60 posted except that mine has a long sweeping S curve at the end of the headstock, with a beautiful continuous binding up the neck and all the way around the headstock. It also has beautiful rectangle MOP fret inlays, not dots. I think that sweeping S curve was the original headstock design for these JT guitars. Mine is blue color with non stock DeMarzio pickups. I have the original humbuckers but I have never played it with those.

I suspect that the older ones like mine are quite a bit better quality than the newer ones because there was a substantial price drop for JTs within the past few years. I seem to recall that they switched manufacturing facilities and country of manufacture and cheapened (reduced the amount of) the detail work in order to better compete in price. I can't say for certain as I no longer recall the details that I had searched out but the older models and numbers disappeared from the Jay Turser website maybe 3 years ago. I think that the early ones were made in Korea and then they switched to manufacturing in China. (Yup, it is China now)

Incidentally the Chinese are very capable of making extraordinarily good quality instruments, using top quality materials and excellent workmanship and high tech manufacturing, as fine as any in the world, but that demands that importers pay the price for that quality. On the other hand alot of the bargain priced guitars imported from China are made with much less quality. Some Marketers go to China seeking cheaper quality and lower price in order to inflate their prices in other world markets, like the USA and maximize profit margins. If you happen to find a cheap junk guitar from China that you think is over priced, DON"T blame the Chinese, who probably didn't get paid enough for it but blame the profiteers on this end who ordered it that way and over priced it. Even on the budget and low price end, there are certainly some decent quality instruments from China that are excellent values for the money- some simple upgrades like replacing a soft plastic nut and bridge saddle with a hard bone nut/saddle can make a huge difference. My favorite acoustic right now is a very beautiful looking Chinese made Suzuki acoustic/electric blonde color which sold at Costco originally for about $169. I found it brand new at a liquidation store for $116.00 total. I played it and i really liked the neck and playability. I came back a couple of times and played it again. The last time I had money in my pocket and I thought for sure that it would be gone but it wasn't so i bought it and it has been my constant player (out of 16 other guitars) for the past 8 months or so. It doesn't sound as good as a $1500 acoustic guitar (which I can't afford now) but I really like the neck/playability and it is a real beauty eye catcher. It is one that I would take anywhere to play, even out in the rain which is one of the reasons I bought it - Sorry to stray off topic.

It might be (I seem to recall) that the older original JT guitars had the sweeping single S curve at the end of the headstock which was i th9ought then was a signature design of Jay Turser, and the newer ones don't have that. The JT 143 that you show, hobbypicker is listed at the JT website so it is one of the newer style ones and most likely made cheaper than the older JT Jazz models. That might be the way to tell them apart (headstock shape) I'm not sure, although that 143 does appear to have a continuous binding also. The newer ones were priced substantially lower, too. The one I have was at around $499 and then suddenly dropped to about $325 at some sites, I think those were likely Chinese made ones, or possibly close out sale prices.

I just went to the JT website and I can tell you right now that these newer jazz style guitars with the headstocks as shown in the photos are more cheaply made than the older ones for equivelent models. I'll try to get a photo up within an hour so I can show you the difference in headstocks.

By the way, one of the Jay Turser Stratocaster look alikes was voted as the best guitar (best value) for the money by Guitar Player Magazine a few years ago, 2003-2004? That established a good name for JT in the market place and based on the guitar I have I would say that the reputation for quality at low price was well deserved, although $499 (which is what the one I have listed for then) isn't exactly 'low price'. However, that reputation may have been exploited (or abused) in order to get more money for a lesser quality guitars and sell more product in the marketplace after switching to Chinese manufacturing. or maybe they were fairly priced for the low price market

I do recall for sure that mine was made in Korea and these newer ones are made in China.

I can say that I am very pleased with the one that I have, which I got an excellent deal on, paid $200. and drove about 350 miles (563km) miles round trip to pick it up. I loved the looks of it and back then JT had a good reputation. I am on medical disability so I can't afford expensive guitars very often, but I am planning on eventually having a good set of them.
The JT serves it's purpose for me.

This might also explain why some people rate Jay Turser guitars as quite good guitars and others don't agree. They may be unknowingly comparing Korea manufactured ones to later Chinese manufactured ones.

Again- disclaimer i am not certain about some of these but I think a got the more important stuff right.

Sorry this post was so long

Phangeaux
BadBadBlues


   
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HobbyPicker
(@hobbypicker)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Topic starter  

I appreciate the feedback to my thread, and your long and thorough replies, along with your stories of different guitars. There really is som good advice here, i feel!

I owe you to tell how this story turned out for me. The Jay Turser was a second hand, and when I finally got in touch with the seller it was already gone, so that's not an option. After some more research on the internet, along with a thorough research within myself, this is what I ended up with, bought on Ebay yesterday, expected to arrive at my place in a week or two:

A GandL ASAT Special, Tribute series! Far from a jazz box, but hopefully a guitar that will suit my wants and needs when it comes to an electric. Using the neck pickup and rolling of tone, it should deliver som jazzy tone, after all Ted Greene played a Tele, though a bit modified, and then there's a lot of other possibilities. I hope I will be satisfied with this one, as I was with my DeArmond, but having heard what my pal has recorded with that one, it definitely is in the best hands now, and it made me realize that time had come to part with it and move on. This time to a Tele!


   
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Dan T.
(@dan-t)
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Nice looking Tele. 8) I've never played a G&L, but they are supposed to be very good guitars. Congrats & enjoy. :D

Dan

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


   
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BmanCV-60
(@bmancv-60)
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I had a G&L bass years ago, and didn't realize what I had until I traded it :(

Love the color scheme, hope you have a great time with it!

"...I don't know - but whasomever I do, its gots ta be FUNKY!"


   
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