Hi, I'm new here.
I have a decision to make and I need help.
I ordered a Takamine Jasmine S-34C from musician's friend for around $90 after price match. But I found this guy on craigslist selling a used Yamaha FG-403S for $80. I don't know which one to choose..

The Jasmine has a cutaway and is brand spanking new. It's a laminate top though..
The Yamaha has small dings here and there on the top and back. It has a solid top and is cheaper. But if I chose the Yamaha, I'd have to send back the Tak. If something happened and I got screwed over, I'd get stuck with one extra guitar I wouldn't need.

I guess it comes down to this really - how important is a cutaway? Is it enough to warrant choosing a laminate top over a solid?
Which should i choose?

Jasmine - http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Jasmine-by-Takamine-S34C-NEX-Cutaway-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=516458
Yamamaha - http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/CDA/ContentDetail/ModelSeriesDetail/0,,CNTID%253D2550%2526CTID%253D221000,00.html
Last edited by jt85 at Aug 15, 2006,
the cutaway allows you to reach higher frets much more easily. id go with the jasmine, its new and it is only $10 more, which isnt very much.
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The price difference isn't a big deal for me... But the yamaha has a SOLID top whereas the jasmine has a LAMINATE one. From what I've heard, laminate "sucks" and solid rules..?
your spending 90 dollars on a guitar, whatever you get is going to suck, and i'd go with Trapmans advice, having a cutaway makes it a lot easier
Ibanez AFS75/Fender Strat Plus > Fulltone Deja' Vibe > Keeley TS808 MOD+ > Fulltone OCD > VanAmps SoleMate > Metro JTM45
Quote by Trapman870
the cutaway allows you to reach higher frets much more easily. id go with the jasmine, its new and it is only $10 more, which isnt very much.

Quote by igotabcrich32
your spending 90 dollars on a guitar, whatever you get is going to suck, and i'd go with Trapmans advice, having a cutaway makes it a lot easier

Don't listen to them...

That Yamaha will sound many times better then the Jasmine. Just because its $10 less doesn't mean its not a good guitar. The solid top is the way to go in this case, and that Yamaha is a steal at that price, assuming its in good shape. A cutaway is not essential to most acoustic playing...especially if someone is just starting on acoustic. The Jasmine is better off as firewood than a musical instrument (same goes for any acoustic that has Ibanez on the headstock).

Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
Idealyy I would want a side by side comparison to see which one I liked better. Cutaways are nice and some laminate wood guitars sound good. And some solid wood guitars sound like crap. You just never know which might best ring your bell until you've played both.
But if I had to make a sight unseen choice based on the info given, I'd probably choose the Yamaha.
I've got a Jasmine S-35 that I bought used (in VG condition) for $50. I use it for camping trips etc.
It is solid and plays OK (good action), but the tone is no-where near what I'd call good. It's a cheap guitar and it sounds like one.
By the same token, I looked at the low end Yamaha's recently at GC and had the same impression. Except my Jasmine has much better action.
I'm not sure where the Yamaha you mention fits into thier quality range. But if it's at all above the "low end", it's probably a much better guitar than the Jasmine.
BTW: I have purchased, didn't like and returned a guitar to MF. Follow their return instructions TO THE LETTER, and you should be OK. I had 0 problems.
You do realize that you will have to pay return shipping costs w (I strongly advise) insurance? I think it costs me about $25. for my return.
Last edited by EL Conquestidor at Aug 15, 2006,
Well it looks OK from that angle. But that angle doesn't show the important parts.
I've owned probably at least 50 guitars (elec and acoustic) in my years and only 1 was bought new.
I don't let a few cosmetic dents & dings bother me much. It happens and it'll happen to a new guitar too in short order.
But the question is: Is it PLAYABLE?
Are there any CRACKS in the body or neck?
Is the neck straight? How's the action? Any fret/string buzz?
Yamaha's tend to have a sligtly higher action than I prefer for "up-neck" pickin. It's just the nature of the beast. And it shouldn't be a problem for standard chording.
Pluck each string while fingering EACH fret to make sure you don't have fret buzz. Also pluck each string open, fairly hard to see if it buzzes.
Sometimes a good used guitar will have a minor problem or two (Never buy if MORE than 2) and just might need some adjustments. But knowing the difference is kind of a crap shoot that takes some experience.
How's it sound & play? If you like it and it passes the above tests, you're in business!
Thanks El Conquestidor, you're helpful. and everyone else too
I doubt there's anything wrong with the guitar; the guy was very honest. He gave pretty detailed pics of what he probably thought were the major problems on the guitar. From what I can see it's pretty OK.

He also sent pics of the back but I didn't think they were too important.

I think i'm gonna do this: wait for the jasmine to arrive on thursday. Play it, check it out, be REALLY careful. Then I'll arrange a meeting with the guy and check out the Yamaha and we'll see from there.

The only problem I see is returning the jasmine.. I really DON't want to pay 25 bucks just to ship it back. It's getting shipped for free to my house, does that account for anything? lol
Well the "free" shipping to you is not actually free. MF is paying for it and just not charging you. But your return shipping is a matter between you and the carrier (whoever you ship it with).
Perhaps might just keep the Jasmine as a 2nd guitar for camping/vacations or where-ever you might not want to take your favorite axe.
I've always kept a cheapie around for this reason.That's why I own a Jasmine.