Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.
The single most critical element of an acoustic guitar is its soundboard. What is the soundboard? The top of the guitar's body is its soundboard. More often than not spruce is used as the tonewood of a guitar's soundboard. Why? Because spruce provides lots of volume. There are physics involved in all of this.
If the soundboard produces the volume, then more soundboard would produce more volume. At least the larger soundboard gives the potential for more volume. So with jumbo size acoustic guitars you have an opportunity to really drive the strings hard with your strumming or picking hand, and get tons of volume. The upshot is when you play more lightly with your pick or fingers, you still get more volume than you would on a smaller guitar.
Then beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That curvaceous jumbo frame looks like a pinup Lady from the 1950s or 60s, when female models had curves. Think Marilyn Monroe. Never stand between a man or woman and their objects of desire.
Why buy a value jumbo guitar?
Volume is the primary reason persons buy a jumbo acoustic steel string guitar. But the visual aesthetic is something some may really gravitate towards. You can really drive into the strings on a jumbo acoustic and be more aggressive than you may be with a smaller guitar, and without the jumbo's tonality becoming 'muddy' or over-driven.
While the jumbo acoustic guitar can be used for any style of play, what it especially excels at is use as a rhythm guitar. The presence of a jumbo when chords are strummed loudly and aggressively behind singing is something beautiful to hear.
A good jumbo sized acoustic steel string guitar is a beast which will bark heavily on the bass end of the tonal response spectrum. Are you a power chord person? Go jumbo. Because the jumbo is altogether louder than other size guitars, it's not adverse to up the neck treble picking. Not at all. The jumbo is willing and responsive.
The real question here regarding whether or not a jumbo size acoustic is right for you is play-ability. Ideally, you spend countless hours playing a fine guitar. But you only do that if the guitar is comfortable for you to play. Be certain you can be comfortable playing a jumbo sitting and standing before you buy.
Front and back of the Guild Westerly F-150 jumbo guitar
1. The Guild Westerly F-150
When we think of value in guitars we're talking about the buyer getting the most guitar for the bucks spent. The Guild Westerly F-150 is going to be very tough to beat in the value arena. This is an all solid wood construction guitar. Sure, it is made somewhere in Asia. But just look at all the value you get with these guitars!
This guitar is the Asian version of the American made Guild F-50. This guitar, with its solid Sitka spruce top and solid east Indian rosewood back and sides is going to ring loud and clear. And it comes with a bone nut and saddle. Bone nuts and saddles weren't even standard on American made instruments not too many years ago.
That these all solid wood, rosewood and Sitka guitars sell for just at one thousand dollars is astounding. This is fabulous value. The Guild Westerly F-150 does come with options. If you get one with Fishman electronics and a cutaway, you're price rises to just a tick over one thousand dollars. Below are specifications for a Guild Westerly F-150ce.
- Body Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
- Body Back: Solid Indian Rosewood
- Body Sides: Solid Indian Rosewood
- Body Shape: Jumbo
- Bracing: Westerly Jumbo Sitka Spruce Scalloped X Brace
- Rosette: Black/Ivory Striped with MOP ring
- Finish: Natural Gloss Polyurethane
- Body Depth Upper Bout: 4” (101 mm)
- Body Depth Lower Bout: 4.5” (114 mm)
- Body Length: 21” (533 mm)
- Body Width Lower Bout: 16.625” (422 mm)
- Body Width Upper Bout: 12” (305 mm)
- Overall Guitar Length: 43” (1092 mm)
- Guitar Weight: 5 lbs. 4 oz.
- Body Binding: Ivory ABS
- Top Purfling: Black/Ivory/Black/Ivory
- Neck Material: Mahogany
- Neck Shape: C Shape
- Scale Length: 25 1/2” (648 mm)
- Nut Width: 1 3/4” (44.5mm)
- Nut Material: NuBone
- Fingerboard Material: Indian rosewood
- Fingerboard Radius: 16”
- Fingerboard Inlays: Mother-of-Pearl Dot
- Number of Frets: 20
- Tuning Machines: Guild Die-Cast Closed-Gear
- Hardware Finish/Plating: Nickel-Plated
- Truss Rod: Single Action
- Truss Rod Wrench: 4mm Hex Key
- Bridge: Indian Rosewood
- Bridge String Spacing: 2 1/4” (57 mm)
- Saddle: NuBone
- Bridge Pins: Ivory Colored Plastic with Black Dot
- Strings: D’Addario EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze, Light, 12-53
- Case: Guild Jumbo Polyfoam Case
- Electronics: Fishman Sonitone with Sonicore pickup, Volume and Tone controls, battery bag and endpin jack
- Pickguard: Tortoiseshell
- Strap Buttons: Ivory Colored Plastic with Black Dot
Epiphone EJ-200 Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar Vintage Sunburst
2. The Epiphone EJ-200
The Epiphone EJ-200 Super Jumbo Acoustic Guitar is the less expensive Asian made version of Gibson's world famous J-200. It is a famously large guitar. And instantly identifiable everywhere. It is also priced to sell. It goes for under five hundred bucks most of the time.
Is there a catch here? No. The guitar has laminated maple back and sides. But that is a very big spruce and solid spruce soundboard. So you get a lot of volume from the EJ-200, and a lot of volume for the money. You can get this guitar in a natural finish for substantially less money than the sunburst finish version. The EJ-200 Artist is the less expensive natural finish version.
I don't want anyone under any illusions here. This Epiphone EJ-200 is in no way comparable to the Gibson J-200. It just looks like the J-200. The J-200 can run you five thousand dollars. This Epiphone is a five hundred dollar guitar. It isn't a J-200, but it isn't a bad guitar at all. And for the money you spend to buy one of these Epiphone EJ-200s, you are getting a great value jumbo for that money.
I should also say here anyone interested in buying an Epiphone EJ-200 should definitely just go ahead and pay the extra for the ones equipped with pre-amp and pickups. Did you catch that? This guitar has more than one pickup should you purchase the acoustic/electric one. The Guild can stand alone without electronics. But this Epi could be a better value guitar for the person who plays live often, loves jumbos, and needs one to take to the clubs. Here are some bullet point specifications for the EJ with electronics:
- Select maple jumbo body
- Solid spruce top
- Set Slim Taper maple neck
- Rosewood fingerboard with crown inlays
- Rosewood bridge with synthetic bone saddle
- 25-1/2" scale
- eSonic2 preamp with built-in tuner and NanoFlex/NanoMag pickups
- Stylish mustache bridge and pickguard
- Sloped Dovewing Epiphone headstock
- 14:1 die-cast Gold Grover machine heads
- Gold screws on the traditional "bell" style truss rod cover
- 1.68" nut width
- Body, neck, and headstock binding
- Case sold separately
The Blueridge BG-2500 jumbo guitar
3. The Blueridge BG-2500 jumbo guitar
I take what I'm doing here very seriously. So with no uncertainties around, this is the pick of the litter. Blueridge makes some of the very best bang for the bucks guitars in the entire world. Yes, they are made in China. The name implies Tennessee, but that says more about the target demographic for Blueridge guitars than anything else.
While every manufacturer of guitars lets some lemons slip through, I've never seen one from Blueridge. These are very high quality guitars. It would be great were the shopper able to compare this Blueridge to the Guild by playing one, setting it down, and then directly playing the other. I know the Guild is a great guitar for the money, but my personal preference here is the Blueridge. They do have different characters, and the buyer should go with what feels and sounds best to them, and them alone.
The Blueridge BG-2500 is plainly a copy of the Gibson J-200. But this is an all solid wood guitar, far superior in quality to the Epiphone, which has laminated back and sides. The Gibson J-200 sells for around five thousand dollars. The Blueridge for about half that price, and the people at Blueridge are not shaming themselves with their copies, they are, in fact, building dream guitars and selling them far below what an American made guitar of that quality would cost.
This Blueridge BG-2500 is not cheap, but it is inexpensive for what you get.It is also available with a sunburst finish. This guitar is priced at $2,500; but can often be bought for around $1,700.
This is a professional grade guitar in every respect. You can plainly hear the sound quality on many a Youtube video. Because Blueridge makes such a fine quality guitar, I expect the prices of their instruments will increase over time. And the resale value of these guitars will also increase. To be perfectly clear, if you are in the market, you should probably get yours sooner rather than later.
- Solid spruce top
- AAAA grade solid,highly flamed maple back, sides and neck
- Laminated maple neck with ebony stripes for strength
- Adjustable truss rod for perfect neck alignment
- Elegant bound tortoise-style pickguard
- Natural finish
- White body binding with alternating white-black purfling
- Ebony fingerboard with large, Art Deco-syle white pearl position markers
- Vintage-style gold-plated tuning machines with Green plastic buttons
- Special X-bracing of top is lightweight and strong for best tone and volume
- Original design Deco ebony bridge with white pearl panels Shop adjusted
Fender Kingman Jumbo SCE Acoustic/Electric Electric Guitar Sunburst
4. Fender Kingman Jumbo SCE Acoustic/Electric Electric Guitar Sunburst
The Fender Kingman Jumbo is a very cool guitar. It's got great visual appeal and is very inexpensive. Again, this is not an American made guitar. Fender probably built the Kingman to compete directly against the Epiphone EJ-200. Like the Epiphone this Fender Kingman is a solid spruce top guitar with a laminated back and sides body. Unlike the Epiphone the Fender Kingman is using laminated mahogany, not maple.
The Fender Kingman should provide plenty of volume unplugged, but the guitar is best as an acoustic/electric guitar. And you would probably not see many, if any without the Fishman electronics. So the prospective buyer of the Fender Kingman would do well to try out the Ephiphone and the Fender to decide which of the two is most right for them.
How much money are we talking here? The Fender Kingman jumbo goes for around six hundred dollars. So it cost just a bit more than the Epiphone. I do not think I can say whether or not the Fender is better than the Epiphone EJ-200. I very much suggest playing both before deciding on one or the other.
Fishman Preamp with Built-In Tuner
A Fishman pickup/pre-amp system gives your acoustic instrument terrific amplified performance, with a variety of on-board controls and no compromise whatsoever on pure, rich and resonant acoustic tone. The built-in tuner is conveniently placed right where you can see it, helping to keep your intonation right on the money. Electronics for acoustic guitars continue to be improved. Fishman is one of the brands leading the way.
Scalloped bracing allows the soundboard or top of the guitar to vibrate more freely. This increases the volume a guitar can provide. It also makes the guitar more fragile. The truth of the matter is the finest acoustic guitars are always fragile.
Bone Nut and Saddle
It wasn't too many years ago when everyone was using synthetic materials for their nuts and saddles. Synthetics were even used on the finest acoustic guitars. Luckily for everyone who plays the guitar that trend died as it should. Bone nuts and saddles aide in creating volume, and sustain, and altogether provide a superior tonal quality when used on any acoustic guitar.
Maple Strat Neck with "C" Profile
This is a Stratocaster neck on this Fender acoustic guitar. While it is possibly the coolest visual feature, very distinctive; it is literally a Strat neck. So if you are already a person who plays a Stratocaster, then playing this Fender Kingman ought to be just the thing for you. Don't like the Strat's neck? This isn't your guitar then.
- Body type: Jumbo
- Cutaway: Single cutaway
- Top wood: Solid Spruce
- Back & sides: Laminated Mahogany
- Bracing pattern: Quartersawn Scalloped X
- Body finish: Gloss Urethane
- Orientation: Right handed
- Neck shape: C
- Nut width: 1.69" (43mm)
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Neck wood: Maple
- Scale length: 25.35"
- Number of frets: 20
- Neck finish: Gloss
- Pickup/preamp: Yes
- Brand: Fishman
- Configuration: Condensor mic
- Preamp EQ: 3-band
- Feedback filter: Phase
- Tuner: Yes
- Headstock overlay: Ebony
- Tuning machines: Grover
- Bridge: Rosewood
- Saddle & nut: Bone
- Number of strings: 6-string
- Case: Hardshell Case
- Country of origin: China
Seagull Entourage Rustic Mini Jumbo Acoustic Guitar Rustic Burst
5. Seagull Entourage Rustic Mini Jumbo Acoustic Guitar Rustic Burst
Seagull guitars are tremendous bang for the bucks guitars. They are real value buys comparable to Blueridge guitars. But this specific guitar is nothing like any of the others on this page. This guitar is not competing against others listed on this page. This Seagull is its own 'person,' if you will.
What about it is so different? Well, it is smaller. This is a jumbo, or mini-jumbo. It's got jumbo dimensions but is smaller. That isn't the end of it, as this guitar has no spruce top. This Seagull Entourage Mini Jumbo has a solid cedar top on it. So this guitar is marketed more towards finger pickers and light strumming rhythm players than flatpickers.
At a sale price of $379 this should also be the least expensive jumbo on the page. At least in a brand new guitar it is. Do you have a tall child who is serious about playing the guitar? This Seagull could be the exact thing to purchase. This is a great guitar for beginners, intermediate level players, or professionals who're playing live in a club somewhere.
Have I mentioned Seagull guitars are made in Canada? Everything else on this page is Asian manufacturing. Canada is a great nation very much like our USA, and supporting Canadian manufacturing is a fine thing to do.
The back and sides of this Seagull guitar are of wild cherry. Cherry is a newer tonewood in guitar construction. I've played some cherry body guitars, and they've got their own tonality, their own tonal character. So this guitar won't sound like everyone else's guitar out there. The internal bracing of this guitar is Adirondack spruce. You could spend the rest of your days searching for another guitar at this price with Adirondack spruce bracing inside of it.
Here are some specifications for this great value guitar:
- Top: Select pressure tested solid cedar
- Back and Sides: Wild cherry
- Neck: Silver leaf maple with the seagull slim 1.72 inch nut width
- Fingerboard and Bridge: Rosewood
- Nut: Tusq
- Saddle: Compensated tusq
- Nut Width: 1.72 inch
- Finish: Rustic burst custom polished finish
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
© 2016 Wesman Todd Shaw
Rose Olshop on July 02, 2016:
Jumbo guitars are most likely common guitar which guitarist are using.. aside from its design its more comfortable and easy to use. I have my Jumbo guitar bought by my parents when I was 16 years old. It's still on its good condition and I'm still using it.
pavitrin on July 01, 2016:
i like all these guitar
Januar Sam from Jakarta Timur on July 01, 2016:
Nice review. Based on your review, I like the Fender Kingman Jumbo SCE Acoustic.