When it comes to scaled down versions of bigger guitars, those ones that get near to or around travel size definition, the Taylor GS Mini is always mentioned. Very good it is too as many players, including my better half, really like it. Trouble is I don't seem to be able to gel with one.
The Martin Dreadnought Junior gets a few mentions too, but I've never been a fan of the more boomy Dread bass sound.
What seems to be totally off the publicity radar is the Guild jumbo Junior. Very similar in dimensions and shape to the GS Mini but it feels and plays and sounds very different. I have heard there's a feature in the Acoustic Guitar Magazine on these guitars and their ilk. They mention the Guild as "accentuates mid –range sparkle rather than big, pillowy bass notes , but within the smaller tonal palette the Jumbo Junior delivers a good Balance between bass and treble strings" and the Taylor as "a bright roots-orientated sound, The punchy Bass and crisp trebles are present whether I pick hard or with a softer touch".
I'd agree with the mid range sparkle thought and it helped make the Jumbo Junior my choice against a number of competitors in replacing a smaller scale guitar that I have had to give up on due to the hard V profile on the neck playing hell with my left hand finger and thumb joints.
I found the sound to be very good across the range and there was a nice note separation across the different notes when chords are played. It was also immediately comfortable to play and it got me improvising and trying to find music from it straight away - two must haves for buying a guitar for me.
I tried these other guitars on a couple of visits:-
Seagull Coastline Grand
Takamine GX18CE-NS (Taka-Mini)
Guild M-240E Archback Westerley
Sigma 00MSE Limited Run
Takemine G93 New Yorker
I was trying to avoid Parlour guitars as I already have those in the stable, but there are very few smaller body guitars that aren't Parlours round here. The Taka-Mini came close in the shoot outs, but the treble notes played on their own didn't seem to have the same satisfying quality as the Jumbo Junior.
It ended up with the Guild Jumbo Junior Maple and the Guild M-240E Archback Westerley as the best two options. These two were very similar in specifications but had quite different sounds and feel. Quite an extended try out of alternating between the two. The Jumbo was the one that had that extra added something and was the obvious choice.
Solid Sitka Spruce top, Maple B & S, 23 3/4" scale, 1 11/16" nut. Arched back.
Body Depth Upper Bout 3 11/32" (85mm), Body Depth Lower Bout 4 1/8" (105mm), Body Length 17 1/4" (438mm)
Body Width Lower Bout 14 1/2" (368mm), Body Width Upper Bout 10 1/2" (267mm), Overall Guitar Length 37" (940mm)
I had expected a Spruce top and Maple back and sides would give a harsh sound but I was totally wrong!
I'd never thought of having a Jumbo style guitar - I associate them with people strumming and singing. But this one really suits fingerstyle too! The other plus is that at under £400 it's not at all bad value for money. Suits a skinflint like me.
I now have to wait another 4 weeks till I can play it as it's a birthday thing. I have had to give it a quick check one morning to make sure it did really sound that good. It did!
A quick and random and sloppily played sound test recording before it got put away - no eq adjustment or fx, just recorded onto a Zoom Portable recorder.https://app.box.com/s/p0ipnvjebk2upjf1593bcyk0cwhyv0xh