Price vs Value in Jumbo Acoustic Guitars

I like small guitars and I talk a lot about them on these pages. But big guitars are nice too. I find dreadnoughts uncomfortable to play. But that’s me. And that has little to do with how they sound. So if you love your dreadnought, don’t mind me. Still, if I had to get a large acoustic guitar, it would be a Jumbo, not a dreadnought. The differences between jumbos and dreadnoughts are: The lower bout of jumbo is typically about 17 inches wide while on a dreadnought the width is 16 inches; the waist on a jumbo is narrower than on a dreadnought; the narrower waist leads to a rounder shape for the upper bout than on a dreadnought. The guitar shown in the upper right is the “King of the Flattops” the Gibson Super J-200 (SJ-200). It is a great guitar if you want big. It’s estimated cost (February 2015) is $5800.

Guild Guitars, a fine company that had been bought by Fender a while back is now owned by Cordoba (known for ukuleles and classical guitars). It’s nice to be able to try and buy their acoustic and electric guitars still. Their jumbo is the F50 (left image). The price is about $3000+. A savings from the Gibson model but still a significant amount of money. I haven’t seen or played a Guild jumbo in a long time but one of the things I remember is they were said to be, and felt, over built. That is, they were heavy and sturdy guitars. This is a good/bad thing depending on your needs. It is a gigging road warrior guitar if still true. But a very nice guitar.

One last guitar from the quality for a price selection is also from Guild. It is the F-412 (right image), a 12 string jumbo. Not everyone makes a 12-string jumbo but if you’re into 12 string guitar this is good to know. The 12-string will cost you about $3150.

The main purpose of this post is to give you less expensive alternatives to these quality but pricey jumbo guitars. So the next guitar is from BlueRidge and will save about 40% compared to the Guild jumbo. The model is the BG-2500 (left image) and costs about $1800.

Looking for other values? Blueridge and Recording King both have less expensive jumbos that are less ornate and may have different woods for back and sides. The Gibson J200 typically has maple back and sides but you can rosewood or mahogany from other companies and mahagony laminated sides and back will save you a lot. Be sure to do your research. I’ve found not all of the lower cost models had good reviews. Value shouldn’t mean you should settle for crappy sound.

Something different is the Rancher Jumbo from Gretsch (image to right). It’s an acoustic electric with a solid top and maple sides. The triangular sound hole is cool. It sells for under $500.

Three less adorned, more plain looking models of Jumbo are from Fender, Takamine and Alvarez. They are shown below. All have solid spruce tops and maple back and sides. The Fender and Takamine models shown are acoustic-electic. All are values.

The Fender CJ 290SCE Jumbo (far left) is about $600. The Takamine GJ72CE-NAT Jumbo costs about $400 (middle image). Both are cutaways (as you can see from images). The Alvarez Artist Series AJ80 Jumbo is about $360.

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