- The FG Junior is a 3/4 sized guitar modeled after the acclaimed Yamaha FG Series
- The JR1 has a smaller body and shorter neck, perfect for young players or those with smaller hands
- Yamaha craftsmanship and a spruce top give this compact guitar an authentic acoustic tone
- 21 1/4" scale length; 33" full length
- Spruce top
- Mahogany back and sides
At first glance, Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 seems like similar guitars. Even their names are similar, and that is only natural for these two to have more similarities than differences. However, if you keep reading our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review, you can see they have their differences, too.
In our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review, we will try to focus on these guitars’ differences and help you decide which one to buy or which one is the best for your needs. If you are deciding between these two, then you might already know Yamaha’s name and their affordable price.
As the name implies, Yamaha JR2 is the newer version of Yamaha JR1. That is the key factor why these two are similar and why JR2 costs more than Yamaha JR1. If you are interested in this model, keep reading our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review for more information below.
Yamaha JR1 Review
Features: Yamaha made a straightforward guitar with the Yamaha JR1. The body is in ¾ size and it has a good balance between being wide enough to play easily but still being compact enough to hold around the house or travel with.
The Yamaha JR1 was built with balance in mind. It has spruce as the tonewood of choice on the top and meranti on the back and sides. These are, of course, laminated on such a low-cost guitar. Meranti is not a good choice overall, but it justifies the affordable price.
For players with larger hands, we do not recommend this body style, but beginners or people with small hands can get the best of it for sure. J in the JR series means junior, which indicates that these guitars are best suitable for children.
Overall, Yamaha JR1 is a basic but elegant little acoustic guitar suitable for kids. The binding of the black body is a good detail to have and looks amazing to the eyes.
With a nato build, satin finish, and a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets, the neck is regular. To be honest, there is nothing similar to this guitar but it is sturdy and easy to walk around with.
Yamaha JR1 sounds well-made for a mass-produced model. However, since it is a really cheap one, a string change and proper setup can be necessary to get the best of it.
If you are still wondering whether to get Yamaha JR1 or not, the answer is yes. It is a good guitar for children and beginners which comes at a really low cost. We cannot see any quality materials being used in cheap guitars, but that is not true for Yamaha JR1.
Yamaha JR2 Review
Features: A few aspects of Yamaha JR2 have improved in terms of construction since the JR1. It has a slightly angled tidy spruce top and authentic-looking mahogany. The finish is Ultra Thin Film finish on the laminate mahogany back and sides.
At first glance and use, you can experience strumming a chord of Yamaha JR2 creates a light acoustic sound. That makes it enjoyable to play a variety of musical genres. The design of Yamaha JR2 is mimicked from other full-sized guitars and looks cool enough for a child’s guitar.
If you hardly strum the chord, it will not sound good enough. We can say that this guitar has a lot more power if played lightly as the little, 90mm-deep body indicates. You cannot find any full-bodied bass tones due to the fact that this is a small guitar. But the sustain of the Yamaha JR2 is sufficient when we consider its scale.
Playability is limited compared to a larger guitar due to the small 43mm nut. This guitar is best suited for children and it was the purpose it was created. The Yamaha JR2 provides comfort, consistency, and sound to help your child grow into a great player.
This is a good first guitar and when you gain experience, you can progress to new, larger guitar. You can think of Yamaha JR2 as the first step into success. If you are an adult experienced guitar player, you might also try to use JR2 for your travels because of its portability and lightweight aspects.
Yamaha JR2 has everything that other guitars are offering at this price range. To be honest, it offers much more than any other guitar.
Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 Comparison
Both guitars are from Yamaha’s junior series, which means they are best suited for children or people with small bodies and hands. For that reason, Yamaha adjusted the weight of these two guitars. Thanks to that, children can play these guitars with ease.
Do not think that these two are toys. Yamaha JR1 and JR2 are often confused as toys because of their weight and measures. Even though their bodies are smaller compared to full-sized acoustic guitars, these two manage to offer amazing sound and have lots of features just like a bigger guitar.
When it comes to the sound quality, they both have nice and warm sounds. However, since these are small guitars, they do not produce loud sounds. Yamaha JR1 and JR2 have a spruce top. This is the core of the good sound that comes from these guitars and we can say that Yamaha made a good choice of material there.
Both guitars have steel strings that do not produce loud sounds. However, they are produced for kids who cannot apply too much pressure to the strings. When we consider that, the sitting choice is also a good one according to our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review.
For that same reason, if you apply too much strength to the strings, you will get a very rough and irritating sound. The fingerboard of both of these instruments is made from rosewood, which is a material that is seen in many high-end guitars.
There are some cons to these guitars, too. One of the biggest ones is that both Yamaha JR1 and JR2 do not have a cutaway body. It is kind of a big deal because if a guitar does not have a cutaway, it means it will be harder to play notes that are closer to the soundbox as we can say in our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review.
Both of the guitars are made from laminated spruce tops. The laminated spruce top is good for making the instrument durable for change of temperature and humidity. However, compared to a solid spruce top, laminated ones affect the quality of sound.
Another issue is, since the bodies of both guitars are small, it affects the volume of the sound that they can produce. That means they produce little sound compared to a full-sized one.
When it comes to portability, both Yamaha JR1 and JR2 are sufficient. Since they weigh less than normal, it is easier for children to carry and play, which offers more storage options and the possibility of travel with it.
Yamaha JR1 and JR2 have steel strings which are good for easy finger movements and highlighting individual notes as we can say in our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review.
Yamaha JR1 is made from meranti wood, which not a good material to have in a guitar. There are many wood options that can produce better sound than meranti. Even though meranti is considered a hardwood, it has lots of pores and looks not as neat as other wood types.
Yamaha JR1 is also cheaper than JR2 according to our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review. If you are looking for the most affordable option, you should go for JR1. If we were not comparing Yamaha JR1 to JR2, there is not a single guitar that can beat JR1.
One of the major cons of JR2 is the cost. It costs more than Yamaha JR1 and it is because of the fact that it is the upgraded version and better materials are used in the making. Other than that, we have nothing to complain about JR2.
Yamaha JR2 has mahogany back and sides, which is a better material than the one used in Yamaha JR1 and gives a more warn and bright sound if compared. Also, mahogany helps with the longevity of the product and offers a really long time of usage.
Mahogany is an outstanding wood for guitar construction and luckily, JR2 is made with one. Its tonal consistency is appropriate for a wide variety of musical styles so your child can play whatever she or he wants.
Mahogany gives off a well-balanced sound, a wide dynamic range, and a wide range of overtones so there are lots to explore with this material. Mahogany outperforms woods like Meranti in terms of strength and structural integrity.
When we consider that Yamaha JR1 is made from meranti, JR2 beats that by having mahogany back and sides. For that reason, mahogany is something we are used to seeing in high-end guitars. One quick tip about mahogany is, as it ages, its sound increases and gets better.
We have mentioned that Yamaha JR1 is made from meranti wood. When comparing Meranti to Mahogany, you can realize that the grains on Meranti are significantly shorter which makes it a weaker option.
Meranti is a thick wood, but as opposed to mahogany, it is more likely to crack or take damage upon falls and bumps. As a result, we can warn you in our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review that the Yamaha JR1 is unlikely to last as long as the Yamaha JR2.
Meranti also has a lot of empty pores, which is a concern to us. The vibration of the wood will definitely be restricted by these empty pores, which makes JR1 more challenging to deal with.
We want to remind you that we are going into really deep details right now because there is not really a single thing to complain about both guitars. Both Yamaha JR1 and Yamaha JR2 are small-bodied, quality guitars from Yamaha that are intended for the use of children. We can confidently say that they are serving their purpose perfectly.
Conclusion: Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 [2023 Review]
Both Yamaha JR1 and JR2 are amazing guitars made for ids and small bodies. If you have the money, we recommend buying JR2, though, because it is literally the upgraded and better version of JR1.
With the upgrade, JR2 bests Yamaha JR1 with the material used in its back and sides according to this Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review. With the ultra-thin finish, JR2 sounds better than JR1.
Other than these, we do not think that you will not regret any decision you make between Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 because they are both from Yamaha and sound nice.
When you consider the price, there is not a single guitar that can beat these two. Yamaha JR1 and JR2 offer incredible quality at an affordable price. Many people who used Yamaha JR1 and JR2 shared their feedback as positive and they even compare them to more expensive guitars.
Yamaha JR1 and JR2 can offer you a good mix of both low and high-end sounds. However, JR2 comes with mahogany back and sides and produces better sound because of that. Even though it is a small one, it has the same features as a full-sized one.
JR2 is marketed as one of the best guitars for kids, and that is absolutely true. You can get JR1 or JR2 for children up to 12 years. If you are buying this for a guitar class, JR1 and JR2 are the most similar to a full-sized guitar so your child can continue when he is big enough to switch to a regular one.
We hope you liked our Yamaha JR1 vs JR2 review and it was helpful.